One prominent 19th Century advocate of medicinal cannabis was Dr F.W. Goodwin, President of the Nova Scotia Medical Association. In 1897 he gave a lecture about cannabis to the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, later published in the Maritime Medical News. Here are some excerpts:
The drug contains an aromatic oil and a resin. Opinion is divided as to which of the two is the active principle.
The patient should be forewarned that some peculiar symptoms might arise, but be assured that there is not the slightest danger.
From half an hour to three hours after taking a full dose, the patient feels a sense of well-being, or as if he had heard "good tidings of great joy." There is a tendency to laughter, and the subject in many cases says comical and witty things.
The appetite is often greatly stimulated. After sleep brought on by the drug, the patient in many cases wakes with a ravenous appetite.
In giving anything but the smallest dose, the patient should be forewarned that some peculiar symptoms may arise. But he should at the same time be assured that there is not the slightest danger.
One need not be afraid of a fatal result. All authorities agree that enormous quantities are required to kill, and no fatal case is recorded. Nor have I read of any case where the drug habit has been brought on by its use.
A doctor who took a very large dose, to convince his patient that it was harmless, told me that under its influence the wheels of his carriage seemed to move with painful slowness, although he was going at a very good rate. Another doctor, who took an enormous dose for experimental purposes, says the second-hand of his watch seemed ages in getting around.
Cannabis indica almost invariably produces a powerful erection when the necessary mental stimulus is at hand, but it takes away the hypersensitive condition of the penis. With diminished sensibility of the penis, coitus does not bring about a premature discharge.
• Dr. Goodwin's talk
Article: Cannabis Indica, by F.W. Goodwin MD, The Maritime medical news, Vol. 10, no. 4, April 1898