The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    History of cannabis in medicine

    Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria has an exhaustive review.

    I summarize it here.

    Before the Christian era

    • First evidence of cannabis use in China, 4.000 BC.
    • 2700 BC, uses of cannabis include rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria.
    • In India around 1000 BC cannabis used to treat pain, as an anticonvulsant, hypnotic, tranquilizer, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiparasite, appetite stimulant, diuretic, aphrodisiac and more.
    • Assyrians used cannabis for its psychoactive effects in the 9th century BC.
    • References to cannabis by the Greeks and the Romans are scarce.

    The Christian Era to the 18th century

    • In 1000 AD Muslims use cannabis as a diuretic, digestive, anti-flatulent, ‘to clean the brain’, and soothe pain of the ears.
    • Cannabis known in Africa since the 15th century.
    • In the 16th century, the plant’s seeds reached Brazil; brought by African slaves.

    19th and 20th centuries

    • European physicians use the seeds and in homeopathic medications.
    • Second half of the 19th century, over 100 scientific articles published in Europe and the US about the therapeutic value of cannabis.
    • Cannabis extracts and tinctures are marketed.
    • Legal restrictions limit medical use and cannabis research in the US.
    • Second half of the 20th century, there’s an explosion of cannabis use for hedonistic purposes.
    • 2005, a multinational pharmaceutical laboratory receives the approval in Canada, and attempting to get approval in the UK and EU to market a medication neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.

    2/9/07 20:42 JR

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