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Cannabis Time Capsule, 1876: Marijuana as a medicine for a "remarkable invalid"

Here's a pretty interesting and surprising positive story about cannabis being used as a medicine from the Colorado Banner out of Boulder County from July 1876 -- making this the oldest Cannabis Time Capsule piece we've run.

And though the mention of marijuana is brief, it illustrates how cannabis might have been perceived differently by the public and the press before paranoia and fear over this complex and amazing plant took over.

The item is basically a re-write of a Boston Globe obituary about Ruth W. Burgess, who died at the age of 64. The write-up talks about how Burgess suffered from a wide range of conditions in her life starting around the age of eight. Over the course of her life, she battled seizures, paralysis of her right eye and edema (then called "dropsy").

Cannabis Time Capsule, 1876: Marijuana as a medicine for a "remarkable invalid"

But the article says she found a cure for the ailments through cannabis. Apparently, her brother was in what is now Guyana when he met a French doctor who gave him an unlabeled bottle of tincture. It turned out to be cannabis (called "Indian hemp").

Burgess saw improvements for some time and regained the use of her eye; she was also able to walk again. But her seizures eventually became much worse and her condition deteriorated.

Still, the article mentions that Boston doctors continued to use cannabis to treat dropsy with great success for many years.

Are some of them doing so today? That's another story....

Cannabis Time Capsule, 1876: Marijuana as a medicine for a "remarkable invalid"

More from our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive: "1884: Woman describes terrifying first experience" and "1921: Marijuana use worse than opium addiction."