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  • Dr. Charlotte Morgan, D.Ac.

A History of Cannabis in Chinese Medicine



Whether you celebrate or not, its 4/20 which gives me an excuse to talk about the fascinating ancient history of cannabis in traditional Chinese medicine, and how to activate the endocannabinoid system without marijuana.

Cannabis was first mentioned in Chinese medical literature over two millennia ago. Many of the ailments that cannabis was being used for then, now has modern research to back it up. Cannabis was documented to treat conditions including headaches, menstrual issues, convulsions, itching, and dry cough. It also stated that excessive use causes one to “see ghosts and run about frantically.” 👻 ⁠

In the sixth century CE, cannabis was recorded to treat bi syndrome, a Chinese medical diagnosis characterized by chronic pain or stiffness (think arthritis). We now can back this up with modern research on the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids on similar diagnoses, which is pretty incredible. ⁠

The psychoactive properties of cannabis were documented as early as the first century, mentioning using the plant to treat mental illness such as depression, or the “desire to be alone.” These books also mention marijuana being helpful for agitation, hysteria, mania-withdrawal, and insomnia. Once again, modern medicine has proven CBD to be helpful for mental health issues like anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. ⁠

Cannabis was also documented in ancient texts for being useful for “wind diseases,” which in Western medicine include seizures, tics, tremors, and muscle spasms. We now have modern research on the benefits of cannabis, specifically for epilepsy. ⁠

Like with most substances, moderation is key. In TCM, cannabis is a damp and sticky substance. Overuse can cause digestive issues, sleep disturbances, and weakened lungs. ⁠

💚 New research indicates that acupuncture increases CB2 receptors to up-regulate opioids in inflamed skin tissue. Additionally, acupuncture activates the body’s internal “feel good” chemical, anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter that binds to the same cell receptors as cannabis 💚⁠





With Love,




Charlotte Morgan, M.S. L.Ac.


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