cannabis, he used it to treat his patients. He found it to have “analgesic and sedative properties,…[and] his most
success [with cannabis] came…when hequelled the wrenching muscle spasms of tetanus and rabies with the fragrant resin.”
European settlers brought the plant to America and used it in the production of “clothing, twine, rope, blankets and canvas.”
The plant became so important to thelivelihood of the early settlers that some colonies required citizens to grow thesubstance, and fined those who didn’t harvest it.
Our own Founding Fathers encouraged the growth of cannabis and even grew itthemselves.
Ben Franklin used hemp in the production of paper at one of “America’sfirst paper mills.”
During the middle of the nineteenth century, cannabis was added tothe United States Pharmacopoeia.
Its medical applications ranged from treatment of epilepsy and tetanus to use as an analgesic.
Cannabis was used as an “aphrodisiac, for neuralgia, to quiet maniacs, for the cure of chronic alcoholism and morphine and chloralhabits, for mental depression, hysteria, softening of the brain, nervous vomiting, for distressing cough, for St. Vitus’ Dance, and for…epileptic fits of the most appallingkind.”
Marijuana was also touted as an effective “medicinal remedy” during the CivilWar, and was an ingredient in twenty-eight different medications.
In fact, a Civil War edition of a book called
U.S. Dispensatory Extractum Cannabis
listed the many medical benefits of marijuana usage. It was used as an effective aphrodisiac, “to increaseappetite, and occasionally to induce the cataleptic state…to cause sleep, to allay spasm,to compose nervous inquietude,…to relieve pain,…neuralgia, gout, rheumatism,tetanus, hydrophobia,” convulsions, hysteria, insanity, and even uterine hemorrhage.