CANNABIS AND QUEENS | Women in history used cannabis for all sorts, even vaginal pessaries
FOLLOWING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WE CONTINUE TO CELEBRATE WOMEN THIS MONTH, RIGHT UP TO MOTHER’S DAY ON THE 31ST
This week we look at notable women in history and how they used cannabis for women’s health
Queen Victoria’s private doctor, Sir Russell Reynolds, would have been deemed a progressive GP these days, prescribing cannabis as a method of relieving medical conditions and ailments. But before cannabis was made illegal in 1928, it was commonly used for its medicinal properties. Victoria was reported to have suffered terribly from menstrual cramps for which Reynolds prescribed her concentrated liquid cannabis to relieve the symptoms. Maybe she wasn’t as prudish as we’ve been led to believe.
Cannabis use goes as far, if not further, back as the Egyptians. Female Pharaoh Hatshepsut came to throne shortly at the Ebers Papyrus was written around 1550 BC. It details the use of cannabis for many medical conditions such as depression, inflammation, pain relief, gynaecological issues, wounds and even child birth. Methods included taking cannabis orally as an oil (same as we do today!), ‘fumigation’ (ie smoking it) and even making pessaries for the vagina.
Benedictine Abbess of 12th century Germany, Hildegard von Bingen, believed hemp to be significant in the world of medicine. As well as theology she wrote about natural philosophy, composed astonishing music and plays and experienced ‘visions’. She wrote in her works Physica “a towel prepared out of hemp laid upon sores and wounds works well since warmth is contained within it” and “whoever has an empty brain and pains may eat it and the head pains will be reduced”.
Remember Meryl Streep’s character in Out Of Africa? She was playing the role of Danish author Isak Dinensen, real name Karen Blixen. It appear the glamorous Baroness was partial to a bit of cannabis to assist in her writing.
Maya Angelou, celebrated author and poet, waxes lyrical in her autobiography Gather Together In My Name about her cannabis experiences. As well as the usual enhances on humour, flavours and inspiration, she said it gave her “no fear”. Anti-anxiety!
Even Martha Stewart has even gone from cakes to cannabis! Check out this Vanity Fair article on her new CBD venture.