Active Ingredients. - The vegetative portions of the hemp plant exhale a powerful and rather repelling odor when fresh, but the scent is much diminished or lost altogether by drying. The taste is feebly bitter. These qualities are referable to the active principle of the plant, called cannabine, a resinous body possessed of a peculiar fragrance, and a warm, bitter and acrid taste. It is soluble in alcohol and in ether, but not soluble in water, which throws it down from the alcoholic solution as a white precipitate. Hemp likewise contains a small proportion of volatile oil, with some lignin, albumen, gum, and other less important ingredients. The seeds do not share in the composition of the stems and leaves, and of course not in their properties.

Physiological Action. - Observations and experiments upon animals with regard to the influence of hemp appear to indicate that carnivorous creatures suffer a kind of intoxication. Herbivorous ones, on the contrary, seem to be unaffected by it, although the dose administered has been considerable.

In man, when subjected to the operation of this drug, the pulse in some instances becomes quickened, though not remarkably so, and the respiration somewhat slower; in other cases no change is observable. At the same time there is a sensation of warmth in every part of the body excepting the feet, which, ordinarily, seem cold by contrast. It is said also to increase the appetite for food. The secretions do not appear to be materially affected. It does not cause dryness of the tongue, nor is there any constipation of the bowels.

Should the individual taking cannabis be of a temperament favorable to its peculiar action, there is very generally an agreeable exhilaration of the spirits, followed, more or less, by stupor and sleep. At times there is a delightful state of reverie. Having myself experimented with this drug, I can state from my own personal knowledge that the reverie, when it does come on, is agreeable beyond description. But the next day there are sensations of dulness and heaviness, which are anything but enviable. Because of the exhilarating effects, the natives of India are in some parts addicted to the use of it as a pleasant inebriant. It is certain, however, that in other countries the peculiar energy of the plant is not manifested in the same degree, nor to the same extent, nor always in the same manner; whence it is justly inferred that climatic and ethnological considerations have both to be taken into account in estimating the absolute powers of cannabis. Instead of agreeable sensations, it would seem that with certain individuals the effects are sometimes nausea, vomiting, and oppressive thirst. Cases are known where it has induced a kind of catalepsy. Indian hemp is said likewise to act as an aphrodisiac.

The medicinal properties of cannabis, strictly so called, are well summed up by Dr. Glendinning, who employed this drug extensively. "It acts as a soporific or hypnotic in causing sleep; as an anodyne in lulling irritation; as an antispasmodic in checking cough and cramp; as a nervine stimulant in removing languor and anxiety, also in raising the pulse and enlivening the spirits, without any drawback or deduction of indirect or incidental inconvenience; conciliating tranquil repose without causing nausea, constipation, or other signs or effect of indigestion, with out headache or stupor." Notwithstanding these praises, it must be acknowledged that much has yet to be learned in regard to the physiological action of cannabis, though in all likelihood what more is learnt will be in its favor. As an anodyne it is decidedly inferior to opium. (In doses of 1/4 grain of the extract, three times a day, and continued for several days, we have seen C. Indica produce involuntary twitchings and jerkings of the lower extremities.)

Therapeutic Action. - Indian hemp is employed in medicine as an antispasmodic and anodyne in Traumatic Tetanus. Dr. O'shaugh-nessy, and the late Prof. Miller, of Edinburgh, gave it in cases of traumatic tetanus, and state that the beneficial effects which followed its use were very marked. They record several severe cases which were treated with the extract, and all of which were cured. Dr. O'shaughnessy administered as much as two to three grains of the resin, once, twice, or even thrice in the twenty-four hours.

Uterine Haemorrhage, such as occurs at the period of the cessation of the menses, is often moderately arrested or abated by the use of cannabis. Dr. Churchill, of Dublin, gave for this purpose five to fifteen or twenty drops of the tincture three times in the day, and with excellent results.

Uterine contraction during labor. - Dr. Alexander Christison claims for Cannabis Indica a power of promoting contraction equal to that which is possessed by ergot. He states that the effects are perceived more quickly than those of ergot, and that they are more energetic but of shorter duration. He adds that these effects are far from certain to be experienced. The observations of Christison have not been confirmed by other authorities.

Gonorrhoea. - Cannabis Indica has been recommended in gonorrhoea, and there can be no doubt that the employment of it causes a diminution of the discharge, and relieves the violent burning pain in the urethra which comes on during and after micturition. (In gonorrhoea we have had considerable and very favorable experience with a tincture made from fresh native hemp. (C. sativa, var. Americana.) It should be given in doses of a few drops three or four times a day, but should not be given until the more acute symptoms have commenced to subside. It is fully as effectual as copaiva or sandal, and is infinitely pleasanter to take. It is referred to by Schoepf as being in use in this country for this purpose prior to 1787. It is omitted by Thacher, Bigelow, and Barton, but is noticed by Rafinesque.)

Neuralgia, and Neuralgic Headache more particularly, has been palliated and even cured by one-quarter to one-half grain doses of the extract, given two or three times a day. Cannabis also relieves dysuria, accompanied by bloody urine.

Chorea and Delirium Tremens are likewise said to have yielded to it; in the latter, if hypnotics must be employed at all, Indian hemp is one of the least dangerous and most useful. Half to one grain of the extract should be given as a dose.

(There is a good deal of confusion on the subject of hemp in this country, as there are at least three substances that pass under this name. These are, first, the resin obtained from the C. sativa grown in Asia, and distinguished in the Pharmacopoeia as the C. Indica; second, the product of the C. sativa of this country, and called (in the Pharmacopoeia) C Americana; third, the indigenous "Indian hemp " or Apocynum canna-binum. The narcotic properties of the C. Americana are much feebler than those of the C. Indica. The Apocynum is an active diuretic)

Preparations And Dose. - Tinctura Cannabis (Indicae),m v. - xx. (.30 - 1.20); Extract. Cannabis Indicae, gr. 1/6 - 1/2 (.01 - .03); Extract. Cannabis Americanae, gr. 1/2 - ij. (.03 - .12). The tincture of C. Americana that we have used in gonorrhoea is made from the fresh leaves and young twigs, one part; alcohol, two parts.