Medicinal use of marijuana and cannabis seeds has a very long history dating back to the earliest beginnings of human society. Only in the last century have these substances become associated with criminal activities and this is only due to the recent prohibition efforts by the state.
On October 19th of 2011, medicinal marijuana was again the subject of legislative activities, when the Justice Department of the United States declared that people who are in full compliance with state laws would not be charged by federal prosecutors. This was good news for patients who suffer from a variety of illnesses treatable by medicinal marijuana who are living in one of the thirteen states that allow doctors to prescribe it.
In ancient times, cannabis was a well-respected plant and early physicians prescribed it for a very wide range of ailments ranging from earache to post-natal trauma as well as for things that are more recognizable to contemporary ears such as pain relief. The mythical Chinese emperor Shen Neng is recorded to have prescribed a tea extracted from marijuana leaves as a treatment for gout, malaria, rheumatism and memory problems, no later than 28 centuries before our current era!
Marijuana spread all over Asia, the Middle East and Africa and had a great reputation as an effective medicine, though some doctors warned against excessive use of the substance, citing overconsumption effects such as blindness, impotence and hallucinations. By the late 1700s, cannabis’ mostly benign reputation was evident in its appearance in early American medical journals in which it was often recommended against incontinence, venereal disease and various skin ailments. Most likely, this reputation had first entered the American collective medical mind through the writings of the respected Irish physician William O’Shaughnessy who was the first to expound on the plant’s medicinal characteristics in the Anglosaxon world while he was a doctor with the British East India Company. He wrote at length on marijuana’s usefulness in treating the discomfort and nausea experienced by the many victims of rabies, tetanus and cholera he came into contact with.
However, all this changed in the early twentieth century when, in 1914, marijuana use was for the first time defined as a crime, after the Harrison Act passed in Congress. These early legislative activities were clouded in a haze of racism and protectionism as it was primarily directed against Mexican immigrants who had brought the substance with them. By 1937, there were twenty-three states that had passed anti-marijuana laws in an attempt to turn the tide of the immigrants in a nation which had once been defined by its openness towards immigrants. In the same year, 1937, the federal government also made all nonmedical use of the substance illegal by passing the Marihuana Tax Act.
In the 1950s, federal anti-marijuana efforts were increased with the passing of the Narcotics Control Act and the Boggs Act. These implied forced sentences for those who were unlucky enough to be classed as drug offenders, which included those who distributed and possessed marijuana.
In a very slow turning of the tide, California became the first state of the union to legalize medicinal marijuana in 1996 (strangely enough, it had also been the first state to outlaw it!), after which a dozen states did the same.
In view of the current laws regarding marijuana possession, it is imperative that, prior to purchasing cannabis seeds, you consult the legislation of your particular state to determine whether it allows people to grow the plant on behalf of a patient. Some state programs will even pay you to perform this function for a sick person. Being part of a state-run medicinal pot program will provide you with protection from the DEA as long as you can prove that you are operating your growing venture within the confines of the state’s legislation. Information regarding the availability of such programs in your region and how to participate in them can easily be found online.
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