By Dr. David Bearman (California)




David Bearman, MD


Finally in the early 21st century, medicinal cannabis is being rediscovered by physicians

and patients alike. This paper discusses the current state of medicinal marijuana in the U.S. We’ll

look at contemporary medicinal use in the context of the 5000-year history of the therapeutic use

of cannabis. This includes cannabis use in ancient times, in patent medicines, its use in the early

20th century, and assess the modern medicinal cannabis research that started in 1949. The

paper will cover the current legal status of medicinal cannabis, recent research, the role of the

FDA, physician practice standards, medical indications, and mechanisms of action.


We stand at the dawn of a new era for medicinal cannabis. Since 1964, when Dr.

Raphael Mechulam, of Jerusalem University, isolated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) we have

learned more about the marvels of the brain’s neurochemistry. There has developed a greater

understanding of the role of serotonin in depression and we have had the discovery of

endorphins, the naturally-occurring opiates, and the endocannabinoid system. In 1992, Professor

Mechulam described the endocannabinoid system. He characterized the endogenous

cannabinoid receptors and the endogenous cannabinoids that bind to these receptors.

We have crossed the threshold into exciting cannabis-related treatments for many

conditions and symptoms. Cannabis gives relief from chronic pain which arises from a myriad of

pain-producing illnesses; cannabis provides both analgesia and anti-inflammatory relief for

autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, complex sympathetic dystrophy,

and restless leg syndrome; and assists many with mental health problems, including attention

deficit disorder (ADD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and obsessive

compulsive disorder (OCD) – to name but a few conditions which have been shown to benefit

from cannabis and cannabinods.

© This article is copyrighted by Medical Cannabis Journal 11-27-2013

Medical Cannabis marijuana Dr Bearman endocannabinoid  

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