Considering marijuana

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By Richard P. Holm, MD

Just about 4000 years ago, Chinese writings explained the medicinal powers of what is now called marijuana or cannabis, describing its power to help arthritis, gout, malaria, nausea, and psychological stress, along with its intoxicating/recreational properties. The use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes eventually spread to India and then Persia, often used by various cultures during religious ceremonies. From there cannabis spread to Europe about the time of the middle ages.

In the 1500s and 1600s the Spanish and English brought marijuana to the new world for medical purposes, and, alongside tobacco, it became a huge commercial crop. The fibrous cannabis plant was good for making rope. In the late 1800s marijuana lost popularity for use as material for rope and as a medicine for pain, but in the 1920s, cannabis re-emerged in jazz clubs as a recreational drug. At the time, it was thought of as a better alternative to alcohol since cannabis users didn’t seem as disruptive to the community.

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