Cannabis was discovered around 12,000 years ago in Central Asia. There are records of its use for medicinal purposes before the Common Era in China, Egypt, and Greece, and later in the Roman Empire. The use of medicinal cannabis in Europe was introduced during the 20th century.

In Arabia, Sheikh Haidar, who appreciated its properties, encouraged his subjects and followers to use it, and thanks to them, its use began to spread to neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. Even Genghis Khan, the Mongol warrior and conqueror, advanced with this troops to conquer new territories and succeeded in extending the use of this plant to Russia and Central Asia.

The use of this product on other continents gave rise to a commercial network that facilitated its difussion in Europe and despite opposition from various personalities, including Marco Polo, the buying and selling did not stop. In fact, during the height of the Industrial Revolution, the trade of medical cannabis grew even more, coincinding with the increase in the production and distribution of tobacco, and thus it became a legal and freely used product.

However, in 1,800, Napoleon Bonaparte prohibited its use after conquering Egypt. He disliked the consumption of a drug imported from an “inferior” people. Despite his opposition and that of many other illustrious figures, the cannabis market and its derivatives did not come to a halt and reached its peak in 1,894.

The advanced of the pharmaceutical industry and the dissemination of news about the dangers of consuming cannabis-based drugs led to the repression and demonization of its use. Cultivation laws and the production of cannabis products became stricter worldwide, and cannabis consumption was prhibited, leading to the current situation.

However, after years of advocacy by activists such as Jack Herer and researchers like Raphael Mechoulam, coupled with results from scientific studies, the world of medicinal cannabis is experiencing renewed success with development of new types of legal hemp and THC-free cannabis.

Currently, Spain is awaiting a regulatory framework for medicinal cannabis that facilitates the development of the industry in this sector. The debate should focus on regulation with very clear rules that encompass a broad spectrum, regulating cannabis based on three main pillars: safety, public health, and human rights. In this same law, consideration should be given to medicinal, industrial, and ideally recreational use. The state should act as an arbiter in this process and achieve a high level of negotiation with all stakeholders involved.