Updated on January 30, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Medical Marijuana Research
Marijuana, Mary Jane, grass, ganja, hemp; the cannabis plant is recognized by many names other than its scientific one, Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. Likewise, the various uses of the cannabis plant have been extensive in different cultures and peoples throughout history. From the first recorded use of cannabis found in ancient Taiwanese pottery in 10,000 B.C. to the 21st century medicinal use, the cannabis plant has been used as an integral part of people’s lives for many centuries. Over the last century however, cannabis has become the center of a controversial debate regarding the legality and proper use.
MarijuanaDoctors.com offers a great deal of information regarding medical cannabis research and much more. These are some brief samples of pages we encourage you to explore, as well as our blog.
- History of Cannabis — Cannabis use can be traced all the way back to around the year 2700 B.C., with a Chinese emperor writing about how the plant could be used to treat a wide range of illnesses. Nearly 3,000 years later, a physician in China used cannabis as an anesthetic when performing surgeries. In order to help relieve patients’ pain, Hua-T’o would mix wine with a resin made of cannabis. Persians turned to marijuana as a means of relaxation because use of alcohol was forbidden, and Egyptians were among the first to realize that cannabis could be used to treat glaucoma and other ocular ailments.
- First Marijuana Possession Laws — Marijuana possession was first addressed by law on the North American continent in 1619, during the colonization of Jamestown. But the law wasn’t what you think — it actually mandated that citizens had to grow cannabis, facing a fine if they refused. Legislators first started outlawing marijuana use in the early 20th century, largely due to friction between Mexican immigrants and Americans. When the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed in 1930, the war on marijuana escalated exponentially. Racism and violence were used to create the fiction of “reefer madness,” which was a large part of the rationalization that eventually made the possession or use of marijuana a federal crime.
- Medical Marijuana Research Studies — The first notable medical marijuana research was conducted in Calcutta in 1839 by a professor at a medical college. Dr. William O’Shaughnessy wrote about how cannabis could be used to treat tetanus and other diseases. Truly groundbreaking work in the field, however, would not be conducted until the 1960s, when Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli researcher, and his team synthesized THC and unlocked many secrets regarding it and other cannabinoids.
- Benefits of Marijuana — The medicinal benefits of marijuana are extremely well documented. Even though most people associate these benefits with THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, it is but one of more than 60 properties that are known to have therapeutic effects on the body. But there are industrial benefits as well. Hemp, the substance found in the bark of the cannabis plant, contains little to no THC but is extremely versatile. It is used to make textiles, plastics, paper and much more. Researchers are also studying ways that hemp could be used to help create an alternative source of fuel.
- Effects of Cannabis on the Central Nervous System — A great deal of research has been performed to deterine exactly how cannabis affects the body’s central nervous system. For example, scientists have shown that there are certain receptors in the brain and other parts of the body, known as CB1 receptors. These receptors, which are associated with feelings of euphoria, are affected by THC. Areas that don’t have these receptors are completely unaffected by the ingredient.