Cannabis sativa L

[Probably from Hebrew, kaneh bosem = aromatic reed, in Exodus 30:23, and refer to the recipe for the Holy Anointing Oil of Israel and from Latin, sativus = cultivated]

Synonymy: Cannabis sativa subsp. indica (Lam.) Small & Cronq.

Common names: Cannabis, hemp, ganja (Tamil); vijaya, indrasana (Sanskrit).

Physical description: It is a shrubby herb which grows to a height of 3 m. The plant grows wild in India and Pakistan. The stems are terete and hairy. Leaves: at the base of the stem the leaves are opposite and palmately lobed. At the apex of the stems the leaves are 1- or 3-foliolate. The petiolules are very short and channeled. The blade is hairy underneath, 10.5cm-6cm x 1.1 cm-6mm, and papery. The margin is serrate. The midrib and secondary nerves are sunken above and raised below, and the blade shows 6-10 pairs of secondary nerves. The male flowers are grouped in panicles. The female flowers are grouped in compact cymes mixed with folia-ceous bracts. The flowers are tiny and 5-lobed. The fruits are ovoid achenes (Fig. 47).

History and uses: Cannabis has been cultivated for its seeds and fibers from a very remote period in time, but its narcotic properties are usually not marked in plants grown in temperate regions, and even in India, an active drug can only be grown in certain districts. Cannabis sativa L.

was valued as long ago as 6000 BC Fig-47 Cannabis sativa L.

________■ From: Herbarium KLU 14958. Field collector in China where the seeds were used

& botanical identification: Benjamin C Stone. fOr fOOd. The Assyrians used it as Geographical localization: Phoenchit, Thailand incense, and in India and Africa, the (Peninsula).

drug was used in religion and magic, and activities requiring endurance or physical effort. Greeks were acquainted with hemp more than 2000 years ago. Herodotus mentioned that in 600 BC, the Scythians burned its seeds to produce a narcotic smoke. Dioskurides mentioned that if the seeds of cannabis were eaten too freely, they destroyed virility, and that the juice was used to relieve earache.

The earliest medical writer who distinctly mentioned the intoxicating properties of cannabis is Ibn Baitar, a native of Africa who died in Damascus in 1248. Galen asserted that in his time (Middle Ages), it was customary to give hemp seeds to the guests at banquets in order to promote hilarity and enjoyment (Lib.I, De Aliment. Facult.). Georg Everhardus Rumphius, a Dutch naturalist who lived in Indonesia during the 17th century, stated that the kind of mental excitement produced by hemp depended upon the temperament of the consumer. M Rouyer, apothecary to Napoleon and a member of the Egyptian Scientific Commission, noted that leaves and tops collected before ripening were used by Egyptians to prepare a conserve (Bulletin de Pharmacie, 1810, p400).

The British physicians of the army of India (Dr O' Shaughnessy) and Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt shared the same responsibility for the introduction of cannabis into Europe in the 19th century. It was consumed in intellectual circles and the illicit use of cannabis spreaded rapidly. Cannabis (British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1949) consists of the dried flowering or fruiting tops of the male Cannabis sativa L. It has been used to assuage migraine and headache due to hypertension.

Three main types of narcotics are produced from the flowering tops, leaves, hairs and resin of Cannabis sativa L.: marihuana, Indian form and hashish. Marihuana consists of a mixture of the dried, crushed flowers, leaves and smaller stems. It is used for smoking, generally in the form of cigarettes, either alone or mixed with tobacco (joints).The name marihuana is thought A^T^rahydroaanrabinol to have orginated from the Spanish word marijuana which is a low grade of tobacco. The Indian forms consist of 3 main types of preparations of Cannabis sativa L. bhang, ganja and charas. Bhang consists of the dried leaves and flowering shoots of male and female plants. Ganja consists of the dried flowering tops of the female plant harvested when coated with resinous exudate. Charas or churrus consists of hairs, resin and fragments of leaves collected from the flowering tops and leaves. Hashish corresponds to first grade charas and lower grade ganja. The name hashish comes from the name of hashishin, followers of Hasan ibn al-Sabbah (11th century Persian sect), who committed political murders throughout Asia Minor in return

for cannabis resin. The effect of hashish was described as early as the middle of the 19th century in the literary writing of Baudelaire as follows : "External objects, one by one, slowly assume peculiar appearances...Sounds put on colors,and colors put on music...your personality will feel yourself evaporating...But you should see the results...hashish annihilates, hashish is a suicide weapon...will isolate is for idle bastards. Hashish is useless and dangerous" (Les Paradis Artificiels, Garnier-Flammarion, 1966, Paris).

In Burma, cannabis is used to treat tetanus. In China, the seeds are used to invigorate health, stop vomiting, counteract putrefaction of the skin, promote menses and urination, relieve the bowels of costiveness, resolve inflammation, expel intestinal worms and to induce narcosis. In Vietnam, the plant is used to assuage rheumatic pains, headache and stomachache. The seeds are used to treat uterine prolapse and fever.

Continue reading here: Pharmaceutical interest

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