"The cannabinoid drug THC has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in relieving nausea and vomiting and increasing appetite in people with cancer and AIDS. Testing of other marijuana extracts is still in the early stages."
American Cancer Society
The Cannabis plant is quite hearty. It can grow up to 18 feet tall and is known to pop up along roadsides and driveways from stray seeds. Marijuana stems are thin and have jagged leaves that branch into five to seven fingers. Cannabis flowers are small, greenish and grow in clusters.
The use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes is not new. Indeed, the use of marijuana has been documented as far back as 12,000 years ago, making it one of the earliest cultivated crops.
The first record of its medicinal use dates back to 4,000 B.C. in China, where the plant originated and was used as an anesthetic during surgery. Records from 1,000 B.C. in India praise it for reducing anxiety. By medieval times, the plant had reached Europe; and German records indicate it was used for toothaches and for relieving pain during childbirth.
Marijuana was widely used in the U.S. for centuries, where it was considered a useful drug for the treatment of numerous afflictions, and remained part of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until 1941.
Marijuana was criminalized in the early 20th century, not because of any evidence of risk to public health or safety, but rather as a result of racial prejudice against an influx of immigrants arriving from Mexico who were using marijuana.