Weed has been a bone of contention for centuries – whether used for recreational or medicinal purposes. But, whether you approve or not, a number of prominent historical figures undeniably took advantage of its powerful effects.
Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, reportedly took cannabis seeds with him on his expeditions. It meant that if they were to be shipwrecked somewhere, they could plant the seeds and cultivate the weed.
George Washington apparently grew weed on his farm and firmly believed in the medicinal benefits the drug offered. The same went for Queen Elizabeth I, who allegedly fined landowners who didn't grow weed if they had property exceeding 60 acres and kept stock for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Safer than opiates
Ancient physician, Hua Tuo, a renowned Chinese doctor, is said to have created a herbal anaesthetic. The Institute for Traditional Medicine says that Tuo created a numbing powder called Mafai San, which is reported to have included weed and was taken with alcohol.
Queen Victoria reportedly smoked weed because this is what her doctor prescribed to help ease her menstrual cramps. Dr Peter Grinspoon of Harvard Health Publishing says that the most common use for medical marijuana in the US is for pain control.
Former US president, John F Kennedy, occasionally smoked weed to alleviate the back pain that he suffered from, but he is also believed to have used it for recreational purposes.
Dr Grinspoon adds that marijuana isn't strong enough for severe pain, such a post-surgical pain or a broken bone, but that it's quite effective for chronic pain, such as endometriosis and fibromyalgia. It's also said to be a safer option than opiates and could be used in place of certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
It's believed that the drug has several health benefits, which does not only speak to pain management. Research is being conducted to determine if the drug could help people with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.