The debate over medical marijuana
- By: Rebecca Wilkins
It is arguably the most controversial plant on the planet—some people regard it as a harmless and fun recreational drug; others view it as a slippery slope to long term addiction and the criminal underworld; and for some, it is a last resort for pain relief from the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic illnesses.
Cannabis sativa, more commonly known as hemp, has been grown and used across Asia and the Middle East for thousands of years: cannabis was listed in the world’s oldest pharmacopoeia, the Shen-nung pen-ts’ao ching, dating back from the first or second century AD. 1
All parts of the cannabis plant can be used in some way. Botanical literature lists many and varied uses: from weaving cloth and rope from the dried stems, to producing oil from the seeds, to making paper and fuel from the pulp.
The parts of the plant used