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Digital Subscriptions > iScot Magazine > October 2017 > Cannabis


Treatment or Trap?
William Brooke o’ Shaughnessy

By the mid 1800’s, cannabis was an accepted medicine

Cannabis, widely used in traditional Indian medicine, was first described in Europe in 1830, by Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck, a Professor of botany and pharmacy in Bonn, Germany. However, it was an Irish graduate from the Medical School of the University of Edinburgh, physician and scientist, Sir William Brooke o’ Shaughnessy who, in 1839, was the most important pioneer for the introduction of cannabis into modern medicine.

O’ Shaughnessy had used Indian hemp (Cannabis Sativa), from which cannabis products are derived, in Indian clinics in the form of essences and tinctures. With these, he treated a range of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, tetanus, rabies, childhood epilepsy, and delirium tremens. He was so impressed by the results of these cannabis treatments, that on his return to the UK, he published a book describing his clinical experiences, which inspired others in the medical profession to do likewise. Various cannabis preparations came into use to treat chronic pain, migraine, cramps, stomach pains, sleeping disorders and lack of appetite. By the mid 1800’s, cannabis was an accepted medicine produced by drug companies such as Merck in Germany, and Wellcome in the UK. However, great difficulties were encountered in standardising cannabis preparations, which caused frequent inaccurate dosing. This led to the rapid decline in use of cannabis by the early 20th century.

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iScot Magazine October 2017 The one with the Printed circuit board in the shape of Scotland.