I have been seeing a lot about cannabis remedies in the news. I know that marijuana has only recently been illegal, so I wanted to see how far back the history of the plant went. It turns out, it goes all the way back… to ancient China.
Original article on Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201105/history-cannabis-in-ancient-china?destination=blog/the-teenage-mind/201105/history-cannabis-in-ancient-china)
…Shen-Nung (c.2700 B.C.), is known as the Father of Chinese Medicine. Because he was a good farmer and concerned about his suffering subjects, he looked to plants for cures. According to legend, Shen-Nung tried poisons and their antidotes on himself and then compiled the medical encyclopedia called, Pen Ts’ao. The Pen Ts’ao list hundreds of drugs derived from vegetable, animal and mineral sources. Among these drugs is the plant cannabis, “ma.”
Ma was a unique drug because it was both feminine, or yin, and masculine, or yang. Yin represented the weak, passive, and negative female influence in nature while yang represented the strong, active, and positive male force.
When yin and yang were in balance, the body was in harmony and healthy. When yin and yang were out of balance, the body was in a state of disequilibrium and ill. Realizing that the female plant produced more medicine, the Chinese cultivated it instead of the male plant. Ma was used to treat absences of yin, such as: female weaknesses (menstruation), gout, rheumatism, malaria, beri-beri, constipation, and absentmindedness (Abel, 1980).
During the second century A.D., the Chinese surgeon, Hua T’o, began to use cannabis as an anesthesia. He combined cannabis resin with wine (ma-yo) and used it to reduce pain during surgery. He performed painful organ drafts, resectioning of the intestines, loin incisions, and chest incisions while the patient was anesthetized with ma-yo.
Cannabis was a mulitipurpose plant to the ancient Chinese. It has been cultivated and used for over 4000 years. It was used for war, writing, food, and medicine but there is very little mention of its psychoactive properties by the Chinese. It wasn’t until India came upon cannabis that it became a widespread religious and medicinal intoxicant.
Abel, E.L. (1980). Marijuana, The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: Plenum Press.