The flowering tops of the female plant of Cannabis sativa Linne (nat. ord. Urticaceae), grown in the East Indies.

Habitat

Asia; collected in India.

Characters

Branching, compressed, brittle, about 5 cm. or more long, with a few digitate leaves, having linear-lanceolate leaflets and numerous, sheathing, pointed bracts, each containing two small, pistillate flowers, sometimes with the nearly ripe fruit, the whole more or less agglutinated with a resinous exudation. It has a brownish green color, a peculiar, narcotic odor, and slightly acrid taste.

Composition

The chief constituents are (1) Cannabinon, a soft resin. (2) Choline, C5H15No2, which is contained in (3) Tetanocannabine, and with alkalies gives (4) Cannabinine. (5) Cannabin, a brown, amorphous resin, said to be very active.

Incompatible. - Water, which precipitates the resin.

Dose, 2 to 5 gr.; .12 to .30 gm.

Preparations

1. Extractum Cannabis Indicae. - Extract of Indian Cannabis. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol, and evaporation.

Dose, 1/6 to 3/4 gr.; .01 to .045 gm.

2. Extractum Cannabis Indicae Fluidum. - Fluid Extract of Indian Cannabis. By maceration, percolation with Alcohol, which is distilled off, and evaporation.

Dose, 2 to 5 m.; .12 to .30 c.c.

3. Tinctura Cannabis Indicae. - Tincture of Indian Cannabis. Indian Cannabis, 50; Alcohol, by maceration and percolation, to 1000.

Dose, 5 to 30 m.; .30 to 2.00 c.c.

Synonyms. - Haschisch is a confection of the drug. Gunjah, or Ganga, is the dried flowering tops of the cultivated female plants which are coated with resin. Churrus or Charas is the resin scraped off the leaves. Bhang or Siddhi is the dried leaves and stalks made with preserved fruits into a confection. In some provinces it means powdered Ganga made into a drink. Ganga and Charas are often smoked like tobacco.

Action Of Cannabis Indica

External

None is known.

Internal

The effects of cannabis indica vary very much on different people. This is partly due to the uncertain strength of the preparations of the drug, and partly to individual peculiarities, but generally the symptoms are somewhat as follows. After some time, usually from half an hour to two or three hours, there is a pleasurable sensation of mild intoxication; the patient is particularly gay, joyous, and pleased with everything; he will laugh and smile on the slightest provocation, and is himself able to say sharp, witty things. Pleasant ideas flit through his mind with wonderful rapidity, so that time seems to him much prolonged; space also seems to be extended. Generally the ideas are quickly forgotten, but sometimes the memory of them remains after recovery. The eyes are bright, the pupils may be dilated. The limbs feel heavy, and there is a marked lowering of general sensibility, so that he scarcely feels a severe pinch; this may pass on to complete anaesthesia. There may be headache. After a time sleep, which is often accompanied by delightful dreams, comes on. On awakening the sense of hunger is acute. The drug is frequently taken in the East to produce the early pleasurable symptoms, and, in moderation, it causes no harm. Very few take it to excess, but in them it leads to loss of appetite and strength, trembling and much weakness. Cannabis indica is reputed to occasionally produce sexual excitement, but this is incorrect. Large doses given to a dog only made him sleepy, and uncertain on his legs, but he appeared contented and pleased. Much the same results followed when a monkey was made to inhale the smoke daily for six months.

Therapeutics Of Cannabis Indica

It has been given with success in migraine and neuralgia, but it very often fails to afford relief. Its use as an hypnotic has been discarded. The tincture is very difficult to prescribe, because of the voluminous precipitate of resin which falls on the addition of water. Mucilage must be used to suspend it, and the taste should be covered with spirit of chloroform.