Plant-Based Medicine Rises Again!
Seniors born after 1937 have been deprived of one of America’s agricultural ethos of a plant which came with the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, hemp. At midnight on August 1, 1937, the United States Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. This taxation on hemp was over the opposition of the American Medical Association (AMA) because; the hemp plant that was soon to be taxed out of production. One of the components of hemp, cannabis, had been in America’s Pharmacopeia for one hundred years dating back to 1827 as a variety of different medicines commonly found in Americans’ medicine cabinets.
Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Company, once called “the largest pharmaceutical company in the world,” had its origins in 1866 as a partnership between a doctor and a businessman. Their partnership began on October 26, 1866 and had more than forty cannabis preparations of medicines. Many of these were commonly found in American’s medicine cabinets which were now under suppressive taxation, vilification and subsequent elimination secondary to misinformation. What happened?
America had a new Constitutional Amendment in 1933 lifting alcohol prohibition, a new Bureau of Narcotics formed in 1930 and a new commissioner looking for a new landing strip. The prohibition of alcohol was no longer a target, so the new target was the hemp plant, the whole plant and nothing less which included the cannabis byproducts
Cannabis at the turn of the 20th Century was considered a poison at one of the international conferences which required each preparation containing cannabis to be labeled in big red letters, as “poison”. Subsequently, at another international conference Cannabis sativa L was denoted to be a narcotic. This label of cannabis as a narcotic allowed this new Bureau of Narcotics and its commissioner to take control of this homeopathic medicine which was subsequently criminalized by Executive Order in 1970 making Cannabis a Schedule 1 drug with the creation of the Controlled Substances Act.
Fast forward to December 20th of 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into law. This made a portion of the Cannabis sativa L plant legal again for the first time in 51 years. A renaissance of this age-old botanical, hemp, has set the medical community “on its ear”. Robust research is taking hold of the scientific community to better understand why this substance was in our Pharmacopeia for 115 years prior to its exile.
This essay speaks to just a few reasons as to why we need a “daily dose of wellness” from this plant-based medicine, welcome back in a bigger way.
Eric I. Mitchell, MD MA FACPE CPE