Science Watch; Marijuana Medication

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Ashes from a fourth-century tomb near Jerusalem suggest that marijuana may have been used in the ancient Middle East to help in childbirth, a group of Israeli researchers says.

The tomb contained the skeletal remains of a teen-age girl with a full-term fetus within the pelvic area. She apparently died while giving birth or while she was in the last stages of pregnancy.

Analysis indicated that ashes found with the skeleton came from cannabis, the marijuana plant. Apparently, cannabis was burned for use as an inhalantat the time of childbirth, the researchers said.

The researchers noted that the use of cannabis for medical conditions was recorded in Egypt in the 16th century B.C. and was documented in literature well into the 20th century. A 19th-century medical publication said it strengthened contractions while reducing labor pain.

The report appeared in the journal Nature.

Source: SCIENCE WATCH; Marijuana Medication - New York Times
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