Hemp as Medicine

The first recorded medical use was described in Indo-Chinese medical texts more than 5,000 years ago. They described how it could be used for a variety of physical and mental conditions.

According to Chinese legend, in 2737 BC Emperor Shen Neng was one of the first major leaders in the ancient world to officially prescribe cannabis tea to treat various illnesses — including gout, rheumatism, malaria, and poor memory.

The medicinal use of the hemp plant spread throughout the Greek and Roman empires and then to the Islamic empire. During the Middle Ages, it was used as a topical salve to alleviate muscle and joint pain.

Hemp became a common ingredient in many medical formulations. By the early 1900s, hemp was the second most common ingredient in medications. There were more than 2,000 preparations containing hemp from over 280 manufacturers. At that time, pharmaceutical

In 1851, hemp was added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia, an official public standard for all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Companies such as Eli Lilly, Wyeth, Park-Davis, Sharp and Dohme were all making medicinal hemp formulations.

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The 20th Century – The Dark Ages for Hemp

By the early 1900s agricultural hemp had become a major cash crop throughout the entire U.S. The medicinal uses of Hemp Extract were embraced by the medical profession and the public alike. However, there were sinister forces at play that would eventually alter the course of the hemp story for the next 70 years.

There are many explanations and theories as to why the government outlawed hemp. But the end result was the demise of farming agricultural hemp and the many industries that were reliant upon it. Hemp, thus, became a contraband crop as well as an illegal ingredient in medicinal formulas.

The most substantiated explanation for the demise of the hemp industry revolves around corporate greed and government collusion.

By the 1930s the hemp industry was a booming business. New machinery, which separated the fiber from the rest of the plant, had been invented and was affordable. These innovations simplified the harvesting and production. Growing hemp became very cost- effective.

As it turns out, what was a boom for some would become a threat to others.

Around that time, there was a convergence of several major companies who conspired to destroy the hemp industry, which included the new petroleum-based synthetic textile companies. The 1930s saw DuPont patenting their new “plastic fiber.” DuPont petrochemical company was making cellophane, nylon and Dacron from fossil fuels. DuPont held the patents on many synthetics and became a leader in the development of paint, rayon, synthetic rubber, plastics, chemicals, photographic film, insecticides and agricultural chemicals. Hemp was in competition with many of these new petroleum-based products.

As a result of these new laws, hemp all but disappeared from the American scene. The many benefits derived from the hemp plant were denied to American citizens.

The good news is that a hemp renaissance is now under way!

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My best wishes for your best health.

Frank Davis,
Founder and CEO of Optivida Health

[For more science-based evidence for the use of hemp extract read "Hemp Health Revolution: The A to Z Health Benefits of Hemp Extract"]