A History of Medical Cannabis

By Harry Resin

Recently, in The Netherlands, Cannabis  Pollen was found in a 4200 year old grave; it is the first time such a discovery was made.

The  grave, near the city of Hattemerbroek, was discovered 5 years ago during routine upgrades on the nearby train rail. It took them close to five years to excavate the site. The pollen was found in small containers buried with the skeletal remains. Alongside the Cannabis pollen scientists found many other plants including the pollen from the Filipendula ulmaria, commonly known as Meadowsweet. This plant is also used in homeopathy and was also used heavily in the ancient world as a medicinal plant. Archeologists have therefore reasoned that the Cannabis was used for medicinal purposes as a pain killer. The grave contained other artifacts that place it in the Bell-Beaker culture, which was a Neolithic western European culture that existed from 2800-1800 BC. The term  comes  from the style of pottery and cups they drank from, no beaker bongs have yet to be found.

As we know Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It is only in our modern era that the powers that be decided we should be separated from our favorite medicine. The Cannabis plant has been used by humans since the beginning of recorded time. Some of the earliest Cannabis found dates back over ten thousand years ago from the stone age and was found on the island of Taiwan. It was found in the form of fibers woven into pottery.

From that time Cannabis spread west to mainland China, here hemp was heavily used in all parts of daily life, the fibers were used for clothing and for paper. In this time hemp was one of the main crops in China, through their extensive use of the plant they began to uncover all of its secrets, including that it was a dioecious plant. (this is even evident in the chinese character for Cannabis). They rec- ognized that the female was better suited for flowers and seeds while the male plant was better used for fiber. It was through this extensive use that Cannabis found its way into the hand of the shamans and witch doctors, the ancient worlds medical professionals. Ancient Chinese medicine was based on totally different concepts than western medicine. They believed in three energy forces that were responsible for our health, in those ancient times

they believed demons would enter our body and wreck havoc on those three energies thereby creating physical disharmony and illness. The early shaman doctors used many different techniques to rid the body of those demons, including charms, chants, drug therapy, and sac- rifices. One early tool used by the ancient doctors was Cannabis stocks that were bound together with snakes carved into them. The doctors would beat the bed in an attempt to scare away the demons.

Researchers believe the association between snakes and Cannabis comes from a famous Chinese parable. In the story a man was out in the fields one day chopping down hemp stocks when he saw a snake, fearing an attack he shot the snake with an arrow. The next day he returned to the same spot to work in the feilds again and he heard the sound of a mortar and pestle. Following the noise he  found two young boys grinding up Cannabis leaves. He asked what they were doing and they replied making a salve for their master who was shot by an arrow yester- day. The boys eventually ran off and left some of the salve. The man packed it in a jar and saved it, as the story goes he was later himself shot by an arrow and relied on the salve he had procured that day to save his life. This para- ble sets the tone for future use of Cannabis salves in early Chinese medicine.

Shen-Nung an early Chinese emperor from around 2700 B.C is credited with writing one of the first medical books called the Pen Ts’ao. He had vast experience in his life before being emperor as a farmer and plant botanist.

He decided he would experiment with many dif- ferent  poisons  in  an  attempt  to find their plant based cures, using his earlier life experi- ences. In this way he went through many herbs and flow- ers including Cannabis. In his book he mentions Cannabis or the Chinese word for it, MA. This is one of the earliest times Cannabis is mentioned in a medical text. He  also had the foresight to understand that it was the female flowers that contained the most powerful medicines. In later years a Chinese doctor known for his surgical tech- niques named Hua T’o used Cannabis  combined  with wine to make an anesthetic. He would use the anesthetic

on his patients before operating on them, they would then wake up totally free from having experi- enced the pain of surgery. As Cannabis became more and more prevalent it’s use eventually spread through the ancient world.

In India Cannabis became an important part of their culture, their ancient religious texts speak of one of their gods Lord Shiva, coming to earth and finding shade under a Cannabis tree. So much enthralled by the shade he was receiving he decided to eat one of the leaves, he was so refreshed by the plant it became his favorite. That’s where his name lord of bhang originates, bhang is a drink commonly used and served in India made from Cannabis. A study done in the late 1890’s concluded that cannabis was an integral part of Indian culture to the Hindu the plant is holy.  At this point they were using the plant already for thousands of years. As a medicine they used it for dysentery, sun- stroke excessive phlegm, and countless other ailments. They believed it freshened the intellect and mind.

These two are amongst the many examples of Cannabis used in ancient times. I’m always impressed when I see things that make me realize how much more intelligent we were in the past.

Cannabis sativa from the Vienna Dioscurides. Arabic words at left appear to be qinnab bustani ? or “garden hemp” 512 AD

Unfortunately these days humanity is governed by its need to acquire money and wealth rather than striving for a society free of illness and filled with happiness. We should take the time to demonstrate to our leaders that it is high time for this to stop, how can we stand by and watch as one horrible decision is made after another. I look around and see a world in chaos, suffering from a financial crisis created by the very governments that are meant to help us. I really do hope for some cataclysmic event this year as prophesied by the Mayans. Maybe it will finally wake this planet up. It’s high time we stopped following the demands of big business when it comes to governing how we live our lives. The fact that drug companies today have so much power is a terrible thing it puts too many impor- tant decisions in the hands of people who are only concerned with the bottom line. The fact that we live in such a technologically advanced society yet have such a backwards thinking when it comes to how we allow people to govern us, espe- cially when it concerns our health. It’s amazing that in some way our ancestors were wiser than us. It’s high time we embraced the best parts of our past, com- bining them with our forwards thinking in a goal of peace and happiness. With love and light.

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