According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, cannabis use for medicinal purposes dates back at least 3,000 years. It was introduced into Western medicine in the 1840s by W.B. O’Shaughnessy, a surgeon who learned of its medicinal properties while working in India for the British East Indies Co. It became useful because of its analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anticonvulsant effects.
In terms of eye health, cannabis and cannabis essential oil have been linked to a reduction in glaucoma and a prevention of macular degeneration, according to a report published by Dr. John Merritt, Department of Ophthalmology School of Medicine, University of North Carolina. Eye health is one of the major reasons why people turn to cannabis essential oil as they age.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
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