Medical Marijuana

History of Medical Marijuana

Ancient and medieval physicians mixed the plant into medicines or teas to treat pain and other ailments; back then, it wasn’t a highly controlled substance the way it is today, where in the U.S. it’s listed as a Schedule I drug along with LSD and heroin. Here’s a brief history of medical cannabis to better understand the level of its efficacy in treatments and therapies.


2737 B.C. According to Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Neng was one of the first major leaders in the ancient world to officially prescribe marijuana tea to treat various illnesses — including gout, rheumatism, malaria, and poor memory, according to Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence.

1550 B.C. Ancient Egypt’s Ebers Papyrus makes note of medical cannabis as a way to treat inflammation.

100 A.D. In ancient China, the Shennong Bencaojing, a medical book, refers to cannabis as “dama” and notes that the flowers, the seeds, and the leaves of the plant can be useful in medicine.

200 A.D. Hua Tuo, a Chinese surgeon, is the first recorded physician to use cannabis as an anesthetic during surgery. Hua Tuo ground the plant into powder, then mixed it with wine for a patient to drink before surgery. Interestingly, the word for anesthesia in Chinese, mázui, literally means “cannabis intoxication.” During this time, Chinese physicians also used the root, leaves, and oil of cannabis to treat blood clots, tapeworms, constipation, and even hair loss.


100-1000s A.D. During the Middle Ages in Europe, cannabis may not have been a religious or spiritual hallucinogen like it was in India, but it was still integrated in folk medicine. Cannabis was used to treat tumors, cough, and jaundice.


1500s. The Spanish brought cannabis to South America, but during the North American colonization, there was only hemp — used for practical purposes like clothes, bagging, paper, and ropes for the maritime industry. The hemp industry largely relied on slave labor, and cannabis wasn’t introduced to America as a psychoactive or medicinal drug until years later.

Late 1700s. At this point in time, some American medical journals were suggesting using hemp seeds and roots to treat various health problems, including skin inflammation and incontinence. William O’Shaughnessy was an Irish doctor in the British East India Company who touted medical marijuana’s benefits for rheumatism and nausea in England and America.

1906. During this time, Mexican immigrants entering the U.S. introduced marijuana to the country (and the word “marijuana” itself likely originated in Mexico), popularizing the recreational use of the drug more. However, many Americans saw those who smoked weed as debaucherous and troublesome, associating cannabis with “lower class” criminality.

1970. Marijuana was categorized as a Schedule I drug along with more dangerous ones, and was listed as having no accepted medical use. Despite the fact that some early American medical journals had begun listing the medical uses of cannabis, the government restricted any further research into it until more recently.

As of August 2023, 41 states in the U.S. have legalized medical cannabis, but only people with certain qualifications can obtain it.

How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card

Check Qualifying Conditions

North Dakota




Terminal Illness

Anorexia Nervosa



Rheumatoid Arthritis


Anxiety Disorder

Brain Injury

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)



Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

Bulimia Nervosa

Crohn’s Disease

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Spinal Stenosis or Chronic Back Pain

Tourette Syndrome

Decompensated Cirrhosis by Hepatitis C

A Chronic or debilitating disease (must produce one or more of the following:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe debilitating pain which has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than 3 months or for which treatment has produced serious side effects.
  • Intractable nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis


Alzheimer’s disease

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD


Chronic Pain

Sleep Apnea

Autism Spectrum

Tourette Syndrome

Cancer with severe pain, nausea, cachexia or severe wasting

Crohn’s Disease

Chronic vocal or motor tick disorder

Sickle Cell Anemia


Terminal Illness with the life expectance of less than 1 year

Seizures, including those by Epilepsy

Intractable Pain – pain without benefit seen from previous conservative treatments or without intolerable side effects

Severe Muscle Spasms, including those by Multiple Sclerosis



CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is legal for purchase in the United States and is beneficial for anti-inflammatory treatment and for pain relief. It helps ease depression, treats anxiety and migraines. It also has anti-nausea, and anti-seizure properties


While CBD is found in both hemp and cannabis (marijuana), the distinguishing factor between the two substances is the amount of THC present. Hemp plants are legal for purchase and to be grown in the United States without special certification and used without a medical card due to it having less than 0.3% THC. Cannabis plants are restricted in several states as they have greater than 0.3% THC. THC is the acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is helpful in reducing anxiety, pain, inflammation, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, and increases appetite. In addition to improving immune function and sleep. The average Cannabis plants have a concentration of 12% THC.

Find A Dispensary Near You

North Dakota Dispensaries

Strive Life Grand Forks

1809 13th Ave N
Grand Forks, ND 58203
Phone: (701) 335-6124

Curealeaf Minot

2301 16th St SW
Minot ND
Phone: (701) 248-5310


Pure Dakota Bismarck

1207 Memorial Highway
Bismarck, ND 58504
Phone: (701) 795-0995

Curealeaf Dickinson

318 24th St E
Dickinson, ND 58601
Phone: (701) 660-3174

Pure Dakota Fargo

4302 13th Ave S #19
Fargo, ND 58103
Phone: (701) 807-1455

Curaleaf Jamestown

1513 Business Loop East
Jamestown, ND 58401
Phone: (701) 404 1987

Pure Dakota Williston

120 26th St East, Suite 500
Williston, ND 58801
Phone: (701) 409 8800

Minnesota Dispensaries

Leaf line labs

302 E Howard St
Hibbing, MN 55746
Phone: (218) 421-6350

Green Goods

104 7th St S
Moorhead, MN 56560
Phone: (800) 514-3707

Medical Marijuana Frequently Asked Questions

⦁ Please bring your North Dakota or Minnesota ID.
⦁ You must provide copies of your medical records indicating your qualifying condition. (If you need a records release, see the forms tab to print).

⦁ Currently pregnant or breastfeeding
⦁ Diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder
⦁ Not a legal resident of ND or MN

In Minnesota, certification is valid for 12 months. After this time, you will need to recertify with your provider. This appointment can be done via telephone, facetime, or in person. Additionally, you must re-register with the state annually.

In North Dakota, certification is valid for 8 months. After this time, you will need to recertify with your provider. This appointment can be done via telephone, facetime, or in person.

No, medical marijuana cards are not considered public record. Because of HIPAA, medical records, including medical treatments such as medical marijuana, are not public. People will not be able to access someone else’s medical records unless the patient gives his or her written permission.

It depends on what state you are traveling to. There are numerous states that recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards. This includes Washington, Washington DC, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona to Hawaii, California, and Colorado.

Marijuana is not federally legal; therefore it is illegal to travel out of state with your prescription.

As Medical Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, insurance companies will not pay for marijuana related provider visits or treatment despite these being legal in the states of North Dakota and Minnesota.

Yes. Medical marijuana records are private. Medical marijuana records are protected by HIPAA. HIPAA is a very strong, complete, and thorough health privacy law. Just as your doctor cannot call the police if you show up to the emergency room with marijuana, he or she cannot reveal your medical marijuana records to anyone else, including law enforcement, without your permission.

Yes, unreimbursed health expenses are tax-deductible. If you have a prescription for medical marijuana, any and all expenses related to that prescription should be tax-deductible. Keep in mind that you will only be able to claim this as a tax deduction if you itemize. KEEP YOUR RECIEPTS! If you are looking for tax advice related to medical marijuana, you should always double-check with a licensed tax professional.

Even though marijuana is not typically as addictive as other substances, it is possible that you may still become dependent on it. Make sure that you followed the advice of a trained medical professional.
Unlike opioids, however, over-using marijuana does not cause respiratory distress and death. This point is helpful for patients to understand. No data exists of a patient dying from a marijuana overdose.

Yes. It is possible for you to smoke medical marijuana. When you get a prescription for medical marijuana, you should speak with your doctor about the best way to take it for your specific condition. For example, if you suffer from a chronic lung condition, smoking medical marijuana is probably not the best idea. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

Medical marijuana has two main compounds. CBD which binds to cannabinoid receptors and THC which induces the “high” sensation. Different types of marijuana have different levels of CBD and THC. Depending on your condition, different ratios of CBD and THC are recommended.

Medical marijuana can be smoked, vaporized, consumed and applied topically. It comes in the forms of flower, concentrates, cartridges, tinctures and lotions.

Dr. Ewal’s recommendation for new users or medical marijuana is “start low and go slow.” The use of this medical is highly individual. Patient’s report reduced negative side effects while maintaining symptom relief during the initial 2 weeks.


Get Started With Medical Marijuana