The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    History of cannabis in medicine

    Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria has an exhaustive review.

    I summarize it here.

    Before the Christian era

    • First evidence of cannabis use in China, 4.000 BC.
    • 2700 BC, uses of cannabis include rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria.
    • In India around 1000 BC cannabis used to treat pain, as an anticonvulsant, hypnotic, tranquilizer, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiparasite, appetite stimulant, diuretic, aphrodisiac and more.
    • Assyrians used cannabis for its psychoactive effects in the 9th century BC.
    • References to cannabis by the Greeks and the Romans are scarce.

    The Christian Era to the 18th century

    • In 1000 AD Muslims use cannabis as a diuretic, digestive, anti-flatulent, ‘to clean the brain’, and soothe pain of the ears.
    • Cannabis known in Africa since the 15th century.
    • In the 16th century, the plant’s seeds reached Brazil; brought by African slaves.

    19th and 20th centuries

    • European physicians use the seeds and in homeopathic medications.
    • Second half of the 19th century, over 100 scientific articles published in Europe and the US about the therapeutic value of cannabis.
    • Cannabis extracts and tinctures are marketed.
    • Legal restrictions limit medical use and cannabis research in the US.
    • Second half of the 20th century, there’s an explosion of cannabis use for hedonistic purposes.
    • 2005, a multinational pharmaceutical laboratory receives the approval in Canada, and attempting to get approval in the UK and EU to market a medication neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.

    2/9/07 20:42 JR

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