The hemp plant, Cannabis sativa has been used both recreationally and medicinally for thousands of years. The earliest written reference can be found in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the Pen Ts'ao (Hanrahan). Queen Victoria's personal physician, J.R. Reynolds studied cannabis declaring it "by far the most useful of drug in treating painful maladies-. In the late 1830's, Dr. William B. O'Shaughnessy, a British physician, learned of cannabis and began experimenting with various cannabis preparations. In 1939, O'Shaughnessy published his studies, marking the beginning of an intense period of study throughout Europe and America. Between 1840 and 1900, more than one hundred papers were published recommending marijuana for various illnesses and discomforts.
"Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat. The government should change marijuana's status from that of a Schedule I (prohibited) drug to that of a Schedule II drug and regulate accordingly."".
"Dr. Jerome Kassirer, editor, New England Journal of Medicine, .
January 30, 1997.
Since 1937, marijuana has been considered a Schedule I drug and is restricted by federal law. This means that it falls into the following category: 1) has a high potential for abuse and addiction 2) is not accepted for medical use 3) may only be used for research purposes.
"Marijuana- is just one term for the plant classified as Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. The active ingredient in cannabis is known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or more commonly known as THC. Marijuana contains chemicals called cannabinoids, found exclusively in cannabis, and may contribute to the behavioral effects of the plant. Of the 60 cannabinoids discovered, THC is the most common. The entire cannabis plant contains THC, but there are certain parts that are more potent than others.