Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
Marijuana Identification: Marijuana is a coarse, rangy annual that grows 6-12 ft in height. The leaves are palmately divided into 3-7 narrow, toothed segments, most about 3-6 in long. The stems are rough and scabrous and the inner bark is fibrous. Hemp is normally a dioecious species, with male and female flowers on separate plants, but
sometimes bisexual plants occur. The female flowers are in greenish leafy spikes a little less than 1 in long, born on stem tips, and the male flowers are yellowish, tiny, and born in axillary clusters. The flowers are inconspicuous and without scent; they are pollinated not by insects, but by the wind. The fruit is an achene, which is a hard, one-seeded fruit that remains closed at maturity.
Other Names: Hemp, Pot, Reefer, Grass, Weed.
Family: Cannabinaceae (Hemp Family)
Flowers: August – September.
Habitat: Abandoned fields where it was cultivated for fiber and in secretly planted plots. Native to central Asia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists it in every state except Arizona, Nevada and Mississippi. Almost certainly the plant can be found there also.
History: Native to Central Asia, and long cultivated in Asia, Europe, and China. Now a widespread tropical, temperate and subarctic cultivar. The oldest use of hemp seems to be for fiber, and later the seeds began to be used for culinary purposes. Plants yielding the drug seem to have been discovered in India, cultivated for medicinal purposes as early as 900 BC. In medieval times it was brought to North Africa where today it is cultivated exclusively for hashish or kif.
Parts Used: Leaves, seeds, flowering tops.
Constituents: Contains about sixty various psychoactive chemicals called cannabinoids. The most active component in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which is found in greatest concentrations in the flowering tops and leaves of the hemp plants. Also contains choline, eugenol, guaiacol, nicotine, and piperidine.
Medicinal Properties: Tonic, intoxicant, stomachic, antispasmodic, analgesic, antiemetic, narcotic, sedative and anodyne.
Uses: Few plants have a greater array of folk medicine uses: alcohol withdrawal, anthrax, asthma, blood poisoning, bronchitis, burns, catarrh, childbirth, convulsions, coughs, cystitis, delirium, depression, diarrhea, dysentery, dysmenorrhea, epilepsy, fever, gonorrhea, gout, inflammation, insomnia, jaundice, lockjaw, malaria, mania, mennorhagia, migraine, morphine withdrawal, neuralgia, palsy, rheumatism, scalds, snakebite, swellings, tetany, toothache, uteral prolapse, and whooping cough.
During the latter half of the nineteenth century a marijuana extract was the second most prescribed drug in the United States. The female flowers contain the highest concentration of the active chemicals (THC), the leaves less, and the seeds none. The flowers can be smoked, eaten or brewed into tea. They can be used directly in the dried form or concentrated into a product know as hashish or the resin can be extracted. Smoking is the preferred method of ingesting as it is the fastest and the safest. It is possible to overdose by eating the plant but no deaths have ever been reported.
Marijuana alleviates nausea, vomiting, and the loss of appetite which results from chemotherapy treatment. A study conducted on cancer patients found that 14 out of 20 patients exposed to THC showed an antiemetic effect.The study concluded that THC is an effective antiemetic for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Also smoking the marijuana shows a stimulation of increase in appetite and it is starting to be used to treat anorexia and other eating disorders.
In the 19th century, Cannabis was used to treat migraine headaches, which acted by blocking the pain and preventing attacks. Migraines are caused by the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin and smoking marijuana or the THC inhibited the release of serotonin. Now people with migraines smoke a small amount of marijuana when an early sign of attack appears. Researchers are not sure if the effect of cannabis on migraine is an analgesic or antiemetic.
There are some side effects of smoking marijuana. Most people experience a “high” which is characterized by mood changes, easy laughing, elation, heightened awareness, muscular incoordination, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, difficulty walking, dry mouth, and blurred vision. When marijuana is smoked at a high doses people can undergo a paranoid ideation, apprehension, fear, panic and frightening visual hallucinations. The manifestation of the side effects are dependent upon the dose of marijuana smoked.
Preparation and Dosages: FLOWERING TOPS.Tincture [Fresh Herb, 1:2, Dry Herb, 1:5, 95% alcohol] 5 to 30 drops. Smokers need higher dose.
Warning! Marijuana is classified as an illegal drug in the United States, and possession of hemp plants or drugs made from hemp is illegal. Recently, some states have eliminated their restrictions against the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes when taken under a physician’s supervision. However, the federal government’s anti-drug laws supercede the more lenient policies of the states, and possession of marijuana is still a federal offence. This page is being posted for information purposes only.