All the great civilizations knew the numerous medicinal properties of cannabis, which can have analgesic, soothing or stimulating effects on the human body. In our museums, the medicinal applications of cannabis are illustrated with the help of different objects, including original medicine bottles, pharmaceutical equipment and even a box with cannabis-based medicines from 1925, with its original content included! (can be seen in the museum of Amsterdam). The museum has the world’s largest collection of historic medicinal jars in which cannabis was one of the ingredients of medicines.
Discovery of the medicinal benefits of cannabis
The discovery of the medicinal properties of cannabis is linked to the oldest use of this plant in the history of mankind: the ingestion of its seeds, of a high nutritional value. Cannabis seeds develop within the pollinated female flowers (buds or buds) of the plant, which are also the richest source of psychoactive and medicinally valuable cannabinoids (the active ingredients of the plant, including THC). It is probable that the medicinal properties of cannabis were discovered when processing and consuming the seeds.
The oldest known source on the medicinal use of cannabis
The curative properties of cannabis are praised in the oldest known herbal encyclopedia, dating from 2637 BC. C. The book is attributed to Shennong, a mythical Chinese sovereign and the creator of traditional Chinese medicine. Since then, cannabis is mentioned in most medical treaties and became one of the most widely used medicinal substances in the world. This was true until the 30s of the last century, when the sudden prohibition caused the medicinal substance to be condemned to a marginal existence during a period of fifty years.
Shennong krijgt de eer honderden geneeskrachtige kruiden te hebben ontdekt, verzameld en geclassificeerd. Cannabis wordt sinds die tijd in de meeste medische verhandelingen in handboeken genoemd.
Scientific knowledge about the effects of cannabis at a cellular level
During the last decades, the natural benefits of cannabis and its use for the treatment of numerous diseases and ailments have been rediscovered. In addition, scientific knowledge about the effects of cannabis at the cellular level has increased dramatically. Thanks to research, new therapeutic applications continue to be discovered, and there is a growing awareness of the most effective cannabinoids for different conditions. Today, hundreds of thousands of patients around the world – from cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy to people with AIDS, arthritis or rheumatism – can be prescribed cannabis specially developed for medicinal use.
Currently, many countries have modified their legislation to allow cannabis to be prescribed as legal medicine. However, there is still a long way to go before we get to take full advantage of all the healing properties of this exceptional plant.