The Volstead Act, which enforced the 18th amendment, banned the manufacturing and selling of alcoholic beverages. There were two exceptions- religious leaders can store alcohol use for worship and doctors were allowed to prescribe alcohol for medicinal purposes. Learning about the history of medicinal alcohol one century ago can show you the battle the country faces with medicinal marijuana. 

Alcohol Thought of as Treatment

In 1916, alcohol was used for just about everything. At the time, there were very few effective medications for anything. Cardiologist John Davin would treat patients with heart attacks with beer. The beer would not make a difference in health, but standard treatment for heart attacks used to be long-term bed rest which led to clotting and strokes. The people who got beer were said to have felt much better.

Medicinal Alcohol Into Effect

Alcohol was considered an easy source of profit for doctors and physicians during the Prohibition era. Pharmacies in Brooklyn would charge $150 for a drink of whiskey weeks after the law went into effect. 11 million prescriptions were written throughout the year during the 1920s which was considered a big deal since there was only a population of 100 million at the time. 

The Controversy of Prohibition

Some doctors had issues with Prohibition as they saw it as a discriminatory policy driven by Protestants who felt drinking and gambling were “sinful.” They felt like Prohibition was more towards ethnic Catholics. Doctors would ignore the rules of Prohibition and use alcohol as a way to treat their patients

Medicinal Alcohol vs. Medicinal Marijuana

Now, medicinal alcohol is in the past. But just like how medicinal alcohol was controversial in the 1920s, the same is said today with medicinal marijuana. Some see medicinal marijuana as an excuse to use it recreationally and there are people who see criminalizing marijuana as discriminatory. The difference between the two is that alcohol back then was considered a big fight to be used as medicinal such as lobbying Congress and taking it to the Supreme Court. With medicinal marijuana, there have been no big fights as of yet. Doctors were passionate about making alcohol medicinal back then as they would always carry flasks around them. No one is doing that with marijuana joints. Knowing the dangers that alcohol can bring today shows how far we have come to not use alcohol as a source of medical treatment.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.