written by: Jeff Meints
When you look at a family tree relating to anyone or anything you can see many things. You can see the origins of where they came from, their offspring, siblings and so on. Each branch of the tree has its own unique stories, characteristics, and backgrounds. So, for us to understand medicinal marijuana, we must first understand the family tree of Cannabis. The family tree of Cannabis at some point, splits off and branches out into different segments, attributes and uses. The term Hemp is used when you are referring to the non-drug branch of this family tree, or “industrial hemp” as many countries have named it. The other branching out segment would be Marijuana and that is the medicinal, or drug related portion of this family tree.
For 10,000 years the world has used medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp, and continues to use it to this day. The United States not only used and supported medicinal marijuana as well as industrial hemp up until the 1930's, but it was one of the first crops planted on American soil. Currently there are 13 states who allow medicinal marijuana as well as the countries of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Israel, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Spain.
Archaeologists have found evidence linking hemp and its psychoactive counterpart cannabis back to 8,000 BC when agriculture and hemp textile industries began in Europe and Asia . By 3725 BC, Shen Nung Pen Ts'ao of China wrote of cannabis in the world's first medical text and Ts'ao declared cannabis as “a superior herb.” Also, in the book “Licit and Illicit Drugs” by the Consumer Union on pages 397-398 it reads, “"Ashurbanipal lived about 650 B.C., but the cuneiform descriptions of marijuana in his library "are generally regarded as obvious copies of much older texts." Dr. Robert P. Walton, an American physician and authority on marijuana says, "This evidence serves to project the origin of hashish back to the earliest beginnings of history."
Cannabis sativa has been used for medicinal purposes for over 4,800 years and has been prescribed for over 250 illnesses and diseases, for example: Asthma, insomnia, often used to treat pain in childbirth, anxiety, migraines, glaucoma, used for patients with AIDS, and THC pills allow cancer patients to find an appetite. Medicinal Marijuana relieves anorexia in Alzheimer's patients, it relieves mental health and mood disorders, and it can be used as suppositories for relieving the pain of hemorrhoids which the Ancient Egyptians practiced for centuries, along with gastrointestinal disorders, and pains. Medicinal Marijuana, or hemp seed oil, has been used to treat inflammation, and was the primary treatment for headaches until they invented aspirin. In fact, back when my dad was a kid the most commonly used pain reliever before it was replaced by aspirin was called APC, or All Purpose Capsule. APC contained an ingredient called Marinol which is extracted from the marijuana plant.
Did anyone see that newscast discussing how Acetaminophen (ingredient in some aspirins) can cause asthma in children? What was the first attribute that I said medicinal marijuana treated? Asthma, as well headaches. Oh, and ladies, it has been used since the dawn of time to treat PMS and menstrual cramps, and in the 18th century Queen Victoria used medicinal marijuana for that exact purpose. These are just a few examples of the 250 diseases and illnesses that medicinal marijuana can help prevent or treat. Researchers have also speculated that the THC of the plant will prevent atherosclerosis, the hardening of our arteries and the main cause for cardiovascular disease. 
Recent studies in Italy have shown that a chemical found in marijuana, inhibits the growth of cancer cells in animals. If by some chance you have a beef with smoking medicinal marijuana, patients now have THC pills which are made with the ingredients Marinol, and are necessary for the specific treatment of those diseases or illnesses. If the patients cannot swallow the pills due to their condition then that is when smoking the medicinal marijuana is applied. Vaporizers are also very common for medicinal marijuana users, so they don't harm their lungs through the smoking of marijuana. Patients who take the Marinol have stated that it takes over an hour for the medicine to take full effect. While smoking marijuana will give the patient immediate relief and comfort. There are countless other examples of it's beneficial medicinal properties, but here are two final and thought provoking examples to contemplate over: "Medicinal marijuana is used to treat alcohol addiction and other drugs such as heroin, and is used to treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in war veterans.”
There has never been a documented case where marijuana smoke has been the cause of cancer. There has also never been any documented or reported deaths in regards to marijuana use. The fact of the matter is that medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp are far to beneficial to our country and to our citizens for us not to be producing and thriving off of it as so many other countries do. If countries we maintain trade with and consider allies can find a responsible way to produce, import, export and thrive from medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp, then why can't we Americans find a responsible course of action as well?
The same year that big business helped outlaw medicinal marijuana, as well as industrial hemp, Dr. William. C. Woodward with the Council of the American Medical Association stated to Congress, “Since the medicinal use of cannabis has not caused and is not causing addiction, the prevention of the use of the drug for medicinal purposes can accomplish no good end whatsoever,” and also wrote, “How far it may serve to deprive the public of the benefits of a drug that on further research may prove to be of substantial value, it is impossible to foresee.”  Currently, the private pharmaceutical companies have the patent for producing Marinol, which is extracted from marijuana and gain millions a year in revenue.
For those of us who can't afford insurance, such as myself, and for those who can't afford simple doctor visits, or prescriptions for lifely pains and sufferings, wouldn't it be nice to grow your own medicine? Do you have grandparents who shovel out thousands of dollars a month on their normal medications that allow them simply to leave comfortably? Medicinal Marijuana can be grown year around and in the most hot to dry climates. Hemp requires no pesticides, its dense root structure actually smothers out other harmful and evasive weeds, it returns nutrients and nitrogen into the soil making it more arable, one acre of hemp produces as much oxygen as twenty five acres of forest, hemp seeds contain the most fatty acids out of any other food source and the best part? You can grow medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp conveniently in your own backyard.
You could have your own pharmacy, create plastics, clothing materials, food source, paper source, energy and fuel source all in your own backyard. If you really want to cover all the uses and products that can be produced from hemp you can simply start at A and go through to Z. The Cannabis family tree is one of the oldest family trees in all of existence and it is on this planet for a reason. There is a life sustaining gold mine waiting in everyone's backyard and the Cannabis family tree's benefits and uses is Humankind's savior.
Medicinal marijuana isn't only one of the most important medicines out there and treats over 250 illnesses and diseases, but marijuana's non-drug cousin hemp has over 50,000 uses and benefits. This family tree might have some myths and stereotypes surrounding it, but it is quite obvious that when you find out the facts behind medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp it is hard to deny that many, if not all, of America's solutions can be grown straight from our soil.