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Cannabis Anesthesia

The Chinese physician, master of acupuncture, and surgeon Hua Tuo (circa 140 - 208 AD) is recorded as the first surgeon to use anesthesia. Dr. Hua is considered a shenyi,

(#神醫 "divine doctor") and is worshiped as a medicinal god or immortal in Daoist temples. "Hua Tuo zaishi" (#華佗再世 "Hua Tuo reincarnated") is a term of respect for a highly skilled doctor.

Hua Tuo is reported to have performed painless abdominal surgeries involving resectioning of intestines and organ grafts using an anesthesia that he had formulated himself.

The anesthesia recipe, called Mafeisan, consists of wine combined with herbals which include cannabis/hemp. It was also referred to as “cannabis boil powder”. #麻沸散

As a result, the Chinese term for "anesthesia" (mázui 麻醉) literally means "cannabis intoxication."

In the Chronicles of the Later Han Dynasty, it is said that: "Knowing well the way to keep one in good health, Hua Tuo still appeared in the prime of his life when he was almost 100, and so was regarded as immortal."

In fact, Dr. Hua Tuo was sentenced to execution by the war lord Cao Cao and subsequently died in prison. A legend states that Cao Cao became angry with Hua Tuo and threw him into prison when he recommended brain surgery be performed to alleviate the many headaches that Cao Cao suffered.

Artist Credit: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)

“Guan Yu attended to by the physician Hua Tuo”

Description - Hua Tuo is scraping the bone of his patient, Guan Yu, who had been struck by a poisoned arrow.

Below: 1885 Hua Tuo Chinese Shaolin Temple Acupuncture Book

And Below: Yuanmen Maijue Neizhao Tu (元門脈訣內照圖), a chart of the internal viscera and organs. Attributed to Hua Tuo. Imprint of the Qing dynasty.


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