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September 2016

Cannabis and Dr Piffard—A Century Ahead of the Curve

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville
  • 2Department of Dermatology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(9):972. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.6120

Henry Granger Piffard, MD (1842-1910), was one of the founders of American dermatology. A brilliant polymath and medical tinkerer, he invented the dermal curette, was the first to use roentgen rays for the treatment of skin diseases, and pioneered the use of flash photography in medicine. His contributions to medical literature were also prodigious. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Cutaneous and Venereal Diseases, the same journal that you now hold in your hands, known by its current name, JAMA Dermatology. The first textbook of dermatologic therapeutics was also penned by Dr Piffard. In it he notes, “a pill of cannabis indica at bedtime has at my hands sometimes afforded relief to the intolerable itching of eczema.”1(p38)

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