American Herbal Pharmacopoeia releases cannabis monograph legitimizing herb as botanical medicine

Thursday, December 19, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: cannabis, botanical medicine, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

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(NaturalNews) After more than 70 years of exclusion due to longstanding prohibition at the national level, cannabis is once again gaining official recognition as a legitimate botanical medicine. The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) recently announced the publication of an official cannabis monograph, which is set to be installed in two parts, that establishes a solid groundwork for the full integration of cannabis therapy into modern medicine.

One of the world's premier herbal research organizations, AHP recently published the first part of the monograph, a 60-page document replete with diagrams and detailed descriptions about how the plant is cultivated, what constituents it possesses and how it functions. Leaving no stone unturned, the AHP cannabis monograph is arguably the most thorough and comprehensive document to date on this important herbal medicine.

"The adoption of cannabis into the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia as a safe, effective and low-cost botanical medicine is a testament to this human-plant relationship and a significant footprint on the trail towards acknowledgment as such by a much broader audience," says Dr. Michelle Sexton, one of the authors and reviewers of the new monograph. Dr. Sexton is currently the medical research director at the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy.

Cannabis monograph a powerful tool for both patients and providers

Botanical monographs, in case you were unaware, are meant to serve as comprehensive informational tools on medicinal herbs and plants. Each one provides a complete look into the history, taxonomy, morphology and biology of an individual plant or herb, as well as detailed information about how to properly grow, prepare and use it for therapeutic purposes.

"The inclusion of cannabis in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia returns the plant to its place alongside as a proven botanical medicine, which has been used for centuries by countries and cultures around the world," says Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the group that helped support the development of the monograph.

"Health care professionals, researchers and regulators now have the tools to develop effective public health programs for medical marijuana and to further explore its therapeutic benefits."

First cannabis monograph published in 1851

While the inclusion of a cannabis monograph into the official AHP fold of botanical herbs is a historic event, it is important to remember that, before the 1930s, cannabis had been widely regarded as a botanical medicine. The first cannabis monograph, in fact, was included in the 3rd edition of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, which was published back in 1851.

According to the historical record, cannabis remained in nine subsequent editions of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until around 1942, just a few years after Congress passed the federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The passage of this act was the beginning of cannabis prohibition in America, which ended up resulting in the removal of cannabis from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia.

But now that an increasing number of states are bucking this failed policy by legalizing both medicinal and recreational cannabis use at the state level, sentiments about this powerful herb are changing. No longer is cannabis just an illicit street drug consumed by stoners; it is increasingly being accepted as a therapeutic herbal remedy with scientifically backed antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and anticancer properties, among many other uses.

"The cannabis monograph was reviewed by the world's leading researchers and represents one of the most comprehensive and critically reviewed documents on cannabis in recent times," explains Hemp News.

You can view a preview of Part I of the AHP cannabis monograph here:

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