- Botanical: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica
- Family: Cannabaceae
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BotanicalCannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica
Known asMarihuana, Hemp, Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis sativa, Bangue, Bhang, Canamo, Canamo Indio, Chanvre, Ganeb, Ganja, Han Ma, Hanf, Hemp fruit, Hemp Protein, Hennep, Hint Keneviri, Hops, Huang Ma, Huo Ma, Indian Hemp, Kenevir, Kif, Ma Fen, Ma Jen Chiu
Old Useculinary; medicinal
Parts Usedleaves, seed
Medicinalabdominal pain, anxiety, anorexia, amenorrhea, arthritis, bronchitis, bronchitis, colic, conjunctivitis, convulsions, corns, coughs, cramps, cramps stomach, cystitis, depression, diarrhea, digestion, earache, exhaustion, fatigue, flatulence, gallstones, gastritis, gastrointestinal, glaucoma, gout, headache, heartburn, hemorrhoids, laxative, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint inflammation, kidney weakness, menstrual cramps, menstruation promotion, menstrual problems, pain relief, pre-mestrual, respiratory, rheumatism, sleep, stress relief, ulcers
Heart & Circulationedema
Hormone & Sexual Organsamenorrhea, cramps, menstrual cramps, menstruation promotion, menstrual problems, uterine bleeding, uterine cramps, uterine prolapse
Infection & Inflammationearache, fever, flu, infections, infections intestinal, skin inflammation
Muscle & Jointsarthritis, convulsions, joint inflammation, rheumatism
Mind & Nervesanxiety, anorexia, colic, depression, epilepsy, fatigue (exhaustion), headache, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, migraine, pain relief, restlessness, sleep, stress relief
Respiratory Systemasthma, bronchitis, cough, hiccups, hoarseness
Stomach & Intestinalabdominal pain, bowel cleansing, cystitis, digestion, flatulence, laxative, ulcers
Skin & Hairabscess, acne, bruises, corns, insect bites
Propertiesanticonvulsive, analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, antidepressant, antirheumatic, cholagogue, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, narcotic, sedative, tonic
Cannabis is an annual, dioecious, flowering herb. The leaves are palmately compound or digitate, with serrate leaflets. The first pair of leaves usually have a single leaflet, the number gradually increasing up to a maximum of about thirteen leaflets per leaf (usually seven or nine), depending on variety and growing conditions. At the top of a flowering plant, this number again diminishes to a single leaflet per leaf. The lower leaf pairs usually occur in an opposite leaf arrangement and the upper leaf pairs in an alternate arrangement on the main stem of a mature plant.
The leaves have a peculiar and diagnostic venation pattern that enables persons poorly familiar with the plant to distinguish a Cannabis leaf from unrelated species that have confusingly similar leaves. As is common in serrated leaves, each serration has a central vein extending to its tip. However,the serration vein originates from lower down the central vein of the leaflet, typically opposite to the position of, not the first notch down, but the next notch. This means that on its way from the midrib of the leaflet to the point of the serration, the vein serving the tip of the serration passes close by the intervening notch. Sometimes the vein will actually pass tangent to the notch, but often it will pass by at a small distance, and when that happens a spur vein (occasionally a pair of such spur veins) branches off and joins the leaf margin at the deepest point of the notch. This venation pattern varies slightly among varieties, but in general it enables one to tell Cannabis leaves from superficially similar leaves without difficulty and without special equipment.
Cannabis normally has imperfect flowers, with staminate "male" and pistillate "female" flowers occurring on separate plants. It is not unusual, however, for individual plants to bear both male and female flowers. Although monoecious plants are often referred to as "hermaphrodites," true hermaphrodites (which are less common) bear staminate and pistillate structures on individual flowers, whereas monoecious plants bear male and female flowers at different locations on the same plant. Male flowers are normally borne on loose panicles, and female flowers are borne on racemes.]
Properties & Uses
Hemp, or more appropriately cannabis since the form grown for fibre contains much less of the medicinally active compounds, has a very long history of medicinal use, though it is illegal to grow in many countries since the leaves and other parts of the plant are widely used as a narcotic drug. The leaves and the resin that exudes from them are the parts mainly used, though all parts of the plant contain the active ingredients. Cannabis contains a wide range of active ingredients, perhaps the most important of which is THC. The principal uses of the plant are as a pain-killer, sleep-inducer and reliever of the nausea caused by chemotherapy, whilst it also has a soothing influence in nervous disorders. Although cannabis does not effect a cure for many of the problems it is prescribed to treat, it is a very safe and effective medicine for helping to reduce the symptoms of many serious diseases. For example, it relieves the MS sufferer of the distressing desire to urinate, even when the bladder is empty. As long as it is used regularly, it also greatly reduces the pressure in the eye to relieve the symptoms of glaucoma. The whole plant is anodyne, anthelmintic, antiemetic, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diuretic, emollient, hypnotic, hypotensive, laxative, narcotic, ophthalmic and sedative. It is used to relieve some of the unpleasant side effects suffered by people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer - in particular it is very effective in removing the feelings of nausea and indeed helps to create an appetite and positive attitude of mind which is so important to people undergoing this treatment. It has also been found of use in the treatment of glaucoma and relieves the distressing constant desire to urinate that is suffered by many people with multiple sclerosis. Given to patients suffering from AIDS, it helps them to put on weight. Since it strongly increases the desire for food it has been found of benefit in treating anorexia nervosa. It is used externally as a poultice for corns, sores, varicose veins, gout and rheumatism. Few plants have a greater array of folk medicine uses. Cannabis has been used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including alcohol withdrawal, anthrax, asthma, blood poisoning, bronchitis, burns, catarrh, childbirth, convulsions, coughs, cystitis, delirium, depression, diarrhoea, dysentery, dysmenorrhoea, epilepsy, fever, gonorrhoea, gout, inflammation, insomnia, jaundice, lockjaw, malaria, mania, menorrhagia, migraine, morphine withdrawal, neuralgia, palsy, rheumatism, scalds, snakebite, swellings, tetanus, toothache, uteral prolapse, and whooping cough. The seed is anodyne, anthelmintic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative, narcotic and tonic. It is used to treat constipation caused by debility or fluid retention. The seed is an important source of essential fatty acids and can be very helpful in the treatment of many nervous diseases. A high content of very active antibacterial and analgesic substances has been found in the plant. It has bactericidal effects on gram-positive micro-organisms, in some cases up to a dilution of 1:150,000.
A drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is used for lighting, soap making, paints, varnish etc. In the temperate zone, oil is produced from females which have been left to stand after the fibre-producing males have been harvested\. A varnish is made from the pressed seeds. Seed is harvested from the female plants when most of it falls off when the plant is shaken. Best time of day to harvest seed is in early morning when fruits are turgid and conditions damp. As fruits dry out by mid-day, seed loss increases due to shattering. Usually stems are cut and the seeds shaken out over canvas sheets or beaten with sticks to extract the seeds. A fibre is obtained from the stem. It is strong and very durable and is used in making coarse fabrics, rope etc. Male plants produce the best fibres and they are harvested when the plants turn brown and the flowers begin to open. When used for making paper the stems are harvested in the autumn and either retted or steamed until the fibres can be removed. The fibre is cooked for 2 hours or more with lye and then beaten in a ball mill or Hollander beater. The paper is off-white in colour\. A good companion plant for cabbages and other brassicas, it repels the cabbage white butterfly and also secretes a volatile essence from its roots that inhibits pathogenic micro-organisms in the soil.
The plant is a narcotic (legally) in some countries. Its action is almost entirely on the higher nerve centres, it can produce an exhilarating intoxication with hallucinations and is a widely used street drug. It has also been widely used in the past by mystics and sages wanting to communicate with the higher forces of nature. The nature of its effect does depend much on the temperament of the individual. The use of cannabis is considered to be less harmful than alcohol or tobacco by many people, nevertheless its use has been banned in many countries of the world including most western countries, New Zealand and Australia.
W. Asia - Iran to India. A casual in Britain
Cannabinone or Hemp resin is soluble in alcohol and ether. Cannabinol is separated from it. It is fawn-coloured, in thin layers, and burns with a clear, white flame, leaving no ash. This is the active principle. There is a small amount of ambercoloured volatile oil, one of the linseed-oil group. It has been resolved into a colourless liquid called cannabene, and a solid hydride of this.