Sometime around 8,000 BC, Europe and Asia saw the start of human history’s first civilizations and agricultural practices. One of these early and widespread crops was hemp.
Hemp is an extremely robust and fibrous plant, whose myriad uses in ancient China ranged from textile production to the manufacture of food.
In the same fashion, marijuana, a close relative to the hemp plant, has been regarded in more recent history as a valuable medicinal herb with a wide range of benefits similar to its close cousin, hemp.
Shennong, or “The Divine Farmer,” was a mythical Chinese ruler who, according to Chinese tradition, lived around 5,000 years ago. Chinese written and oral history refers to him as the ruler to have shown the people of China their ways of agriculture, as well as the possible benefits attainable through the use of herbal medicines.
The “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” is a literary work that, according to Chinese tradition, was written by Shennong. However, scientists and historians have hypothesized that the origin of “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” was thousands of years later around 300 BC to 200 AD, making it one of the earliest pharmacopoeias, volumes depicting early medicinal practice, in human history.
This literary work refers to cannabis as a “superior herb,” or an herb which “nourishes life.” The “Shennong Ben Cao Jing” also includes 365 medicinal recipes derived from wildlife, minerals, and herbals.
The legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Washington occurred in 1998. Since the passing of this initiative, medicinal marijuana dispensaries have seen a steady increase of patients.
Patrick Seifert, the owner a local medical cannabis dispensary called Rainier Xpress, said, “We’ve been open eight weeks, and we’ve just reached over 500 patients.”
According to Seifert patients come into his practice with a wide range of complaints. Ailments including sleeplessness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and heroin withdrawal are among the most prevalent complaints.
A particular patient of his was prescribed a methadone regimen in order to control the withdrawal symptoms of heroin. Seifert recommended his patient a regimen of Simpson oil equal to the patient’s prior recommended methadone dosage. Simpson oil is a concentrated derivative of the cannabis plant, which can be ingested with food as well as smoked. Seifert said that this patient has experienced great results as well as a long-term and comparatively healthy replacement for methadone.
A common issue within the non-prescribed public is the value of the benefits of medical marijuana to the greater community. Washington State is in a bind and is nearly $68 million in debt. According to Seifert, in recent months he has paid over $4,000 a month in taxes to the city of Olympia, and the amount is rising every month.
This money is of the utmost value to the balancing of Washington’s financial delinquency. According to weedmaps.com, a website that locates and advertises dispensaries, Thurston County holds 12 medical marijuana dispensaries.
If these dispensaries are paying, on average, the same amount in taxes as Seifert at Rainier Xpress, the total value that the city of Olympia is receiving from these businesses is $48,000 every month. This money has now become state money and this is just Olympia!
The website also lists Seattle alone as having 27 medical marijuana distributors, and reported dispensary revenues from Seattle are exceedingly higher than those in Olympia.
A patient of Rainier Xpress, who wishes to remain anonymous, visits the dispensary on a weekly basis for his medicinal needs. He has been prescribed a marijuana license after injuring his collar bone which has led to chronic stress on his back and neck.
Constant pain causes nausea and sleeplessness. He said that his new found medicine provides him with a cure for most of the pain, and even if, on occasion, it doesn’t completely eradicate the problem, he stops caring about it.
He jokes that he has, “had a weak back since about a week back.” He wanted to also stress that, “Marijuana is not a drug but a valuable medicine.”
When asked if using marijuana before class or work aids in his performance he said, “Of course it does … I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints, and then I smoke two more, dude!”