Cannabis Indica.

Botanical name: 


This is also called Indian hemp. But when calling for apocynum cannabinum we must be sure the druggist does not dispense the cannabis indica instead, as the common names are similar.

A quick emetic is all that saved the writer from the effect of such a mistake.

The hemp plant, cannabis sativa, Linn., is a large, very variable annual herb, with an upright, slender, usually branching stem, from three to ten feet high, long petioled, graceful, palmately divided leaves, and small clustered dioecious flowers. The bark of the stems and branches has an exceedingly tough fiber which is used in the manufacture of rope and cordage.

Though grown in many countries, that of the warmer climates, as southern China and India, has the greatest amount of resin, wherein lies the active principle medicinally.

The dried tops, the leaves and the resin are the forms in which it reaches the markets.

On account of the action of hemp being principally upon the intellectual centers, producing an intoxication, many Asiatics use it as a beverage. The leaves are also smoked.

The dried tops of pistillate flowering plants ("gunjah") is the form in which it is imported for medicine.

Cannabis indica is narcotic. It at first produces excitement, perverts the mental faculties, dilates the pupils, intensifies the hearing and destroys pain. If a poisonous dose is taken spasmodic movements, convulsions, pale, clammy skin, numbness, extreme debility, feeble pulse, and finally paralysis of respiration follow.

On account of its pain-relieving qualities, yet without producing constipation or disturbing the secretions, it is used instead of opium products.

In cases of irregular muscular action it is serviceable. Genito-urinary hyperesthesia is greatly benefited, sometimes intractable cases cured. Both in menorrhagia and metrorrhagia it is useful. In abnormal sexual desires or hysterical excitement it quiets the system. Urethral irritation and pain, caused by the passage of gravel, are relieved by it. In gonorrheal priapism and chordee it arrests the pain and overcomes the inflammation. Spermatorrhea is helped by it.

In treating neuralgia and hemicrania it deserves a prominent position. In alcoholism and mental disorders of a subacute type it will aid. Pain in the stomach is greatly relieved by it and in many other derangements where a sedative is desired, which does not dry the secretions.

It combines well with the action of gelsemium, opium, passiflora, hyoscyamus, chloral, scutellaria, and the bromides.

Of the fluid extract of cannabis indica the dose is one to five drops; of specific cannabis the dose is one to ten drops.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.