Cannabis in early textbooks and treatment of migraines

David Bearman, M.D. – His introduction to Cannabis

Transcript – video below: Actually I was very skeptical rather than opposed. The first person who introduced me to the possibility that cannabis was medicinal was my father who was a pharmacist. We were talking about prohibition and he mentioned that when he was a freshman in pharmacy school at the University of Minnesota in 1928 and one of their assignments was to make tincture of cannabis. He said, we had to be very careful because the alcohol was illegal.

I’ve got his 1927 Remmington’s Textbook of Pharmacy and on page 999 and 1000 it tells you how to make tincture of cannabis. It also says that it is useful for relief of pain and a tranquilizer. In the process of marginalizing quackery we also tended to marginalize homeopaths, naturopaths, osteopaths all of whom placed greater importance on herbal medicine that allopathic doctors, the doctors that we today called MD’s.

There still was interest in plant based medicine but there was a problem that it was not standardized. However, as late as 1937 the AMA testified against the marijuana tax act. First off, they said we don’t have any idea why you are not calling this cannabis obviously we need to explore that why was it called marijuana when that’s not what it was called at that time. And secondly he said, yes, this is decreasingly being prescribed by physicians because of lack of standardization.

However, even then in 1937 there were about 100,000 prescriptions written by doctors in the United States where cannabis containing medicines and there were 28 patent medicines, over the counter medicines, that contained cannabis that were available in most every drug store in the land. Cannabis continued to remain the United States Pharmacopeia until 1941. Interestedly in 1942 the long time editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Morris Fishbein, said he thought that Cannabis was the best treatment for migraine headaches. And that merely repeated what Dr William Osler, Sir William Osler, who is considered the father of modern medicine and wrote the first textbook on internal medicine in the late 1890’s. In all three editions of that textbook said that Cannabis was the most effective treatment for treating migraine headaches.

This stuff has been around for a very long time.

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