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Cannabis ‘One of the Most Valuable of Drugs’ (Scientific American, 1898)

Cannabis ‘One of the Most Valuable of Drugs’ (Scientific American, 1898)

| 29 April, 2017

In 1898, Scientific American featured a comprehensive overview of contemporary medicinal cannabis research, prepared by Dr. G. Archie Stockwell. Stockwell noted the use of cannabis as a primary treatment for a wide range of conditions including migraine (“by long odds the best remedy known”), chronic pain, epilepsy, brain tumours, asthma, eczema, anorexia and even to “promote mental cheerfulness.” However, he lamented that “few practitioners understand the real value of cannabis Indica” because of the “varied character of the preparations found in shops.”

Researchers were still speculating on the “active principles” involved (cannabinoids such as THC and CBD were decades away from discovery) and potencies of cannabis extracts varied widely; physicians were thusly urged to buy from reputable suppliers and also to personally cultivate “the ability to judge the crude drug” themselves.

Stockwell reminded readers that “should the patient not speedily obtain relief, care must be taken to ascertain that the extract employed is physiologically active” and concluded that “as a whole, cannabis is one of the most valuable of drugs, but is sadly handicapped by the uncertainty that attends all pharmacopoeial preparations.”

Cannabis ‘One of the Most Valuable of Drugs’ (Scientific American, 1898)






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