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- History of cannabis as a medicine: a review

History of cannabis as a medicine: a review

Antonio Waldo Zuardi

Department of Neurology, Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo (SP), Brazil

Cannabis as a medicine was used before the Christian era in Asia, mainly in India. The introduction of cannabis in the Western medicine occurred in the midst of the 19th century, reaching the climax in the last decade of that century, with the availability and usage of cannabis extracts or tinctures. In the first decades of the 20th century, the Western medical use of cannabis significantly decreased largely due to difficulties to obtain consistent results from batches of plant material of different potencies. The identification of the chemical structure of cannabis components and the possibility of obtaining its pure constituents were related to a significant increase in scientific interest in such plant, since 1965. This interest was renewed in the 1990's with the description of cannabinoid receptors and the identification of an endogenous cannabinoid system in the brain. A new and more consistent cycle of the use of cannabis derivatives as medication begins, since treatment effectiveness and safety started to be scientifically proven.

Keywords: Cannabis; Cannabinoids; Tetrahydrocannabinol; History; Therapeutic uses


Source: Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. vol.28 no.2  São Paulo June 2006

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