ANCIENT CIVILIZATION (2900 BC – 1599 AD)
Marijuana has been used as form of medical treatment since the dawn of ancient civilization. Humans as a race have always seen the potential and use this wonder plant has for the betterment of our kind. It is only within the last 100 years that it has been outlawed and shunned, but this is practically nothing in the grand scheme of human history. This article should give you a brief outline of the historic references pertaining to the use of medical marijuana by ancient civilizations.
The earliest reference to medical marijuana dates back to 2900 BC where it is reported to be referenced by a Chinese Emperor. Emperor Fu, who Chinese society credits with bringing civilization to the Chinese people, was thought to have referenced “Ma” to being a popular medicine and one that possessed both yin and yang. Ma is the Chinese word for cannabis. Emperor Shen (2700 BC), the father of Chinese medicine, also perceived marijuana for its potent medical properties and thought of it as a very important medical herb.
It was not only China that recognized the uses of marijuana for the treatment of medical conditions. The Book of Exodus (estimated to be 1450 BC) references the use of cannabis for in the creation of holy oil, those to be anointed were quite literally drenched in cannabis.
The ancient Egyptians also used cannabis (1213 BC) for treating medical conditions - their earliest reference actually describes it being used for the treatment of glaucoma, much like it to this day.
In ancient India (1000 BC) it was mixed with milk to make an ancient form of anesthetic called Bhang. Bhang was not only used to numb though, cannabis was recognized by ancient India as being able to treat a plethora of illnesses and was used as such. They even cited it as a treatment for leprosy (600 BC).
In the Middle-East cannabis played a large part of ancient civilization and religious culture. According to the Venidid, an ancient Persian religious text (700 BC), cannabis was the most important of over 10,000 medical plants.
This next historical reference is one that was discovered fairly recently. It is a controversial topic that is still largely debated, especially by die-hard, right wing Christians - it is thought that Jesus used cannabis in his healing (30 AD). Using the same recipe found in The Book of Exodus, Jesus is thought to have used this psychoactive oil (called Chrism) to anoint his followers, the word “Christ” itself means “anointed one”. In addition to this, Jesus is described by the apostate Mark as casting out demons and performing healing ceremonies though the use of holy chrism.
This is not the only evidence of its use found within Christianity, it is thought to have been used from the times of Moses as a ritualistic oil, with its psychoactive properties being thought of as “revelations of the Lord”
The ancient Romans recognized marijuana for its medical properties. The book De Materia Medica (On Medical Matters) makes reference to the ability of cannabis to treat aches and pains as well as act as a sexual suppressant (70 AD). This book became a go-to medical reference amongst professionals for the next 1500 years.
This follows on to the spread of Islam into India (1500 AD), where doctors used Persian theories to guide their use of cannabis. They understood it for its many uses, including its ability to reduce the symptoms of pain and reducing the patients sexual drive.
Around this time the use of medical marijuana had successfully spread to Western Europe where it was used as a mainstream medical treatment. It was considered a central ingredient to any herbalist's medicine cabinet. It went on to be praised by William Turner, who is considered to be the first true English Botinist, for its wide and effective medical properties in his book, New Herball (1538 AD).
As you can see, medial marijuana has had a long, rich and fairly astute application throughout ancient history by a wide variety of cultures. Many of the illnesses it was used to treat were accurately done so, with the same illnesses being treated with medical grade marijuana to this day – and they all managed to understand this without modern science. Also, these references do not simply describe its use within a small time frame, quite often their use was continued by these cultures and civilizations from these points onwards – these references simply being some of the earliest that have been found. For example even though the earliest reference to its medical use was in ancient China in the year 2900 BC, medical references continue pertaining to its uses within Chinese texts all the way up to 200 AD and beyond. Humans have always used cannabis for medical purposes, and they shall always continue to do so - no matter what politicians say.
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