Cannabis species are among the oddest manifestations in the plant kingdom,
something perhaps tossed off by the Creator as a wild afterthought on the seventh day.
Cannabis sativa. Hemp. N.O. Cannabaceae.
CLASSIFICATION The botanical classification of Cannabis is a story of reduction. Originally placed in the Urticaceae [48 genera], then in the Moraceae [37 genera], it is now included in the Cannabaceae, a family consisting of two genera – Cannabis and Humulus – which are native to temperate parts of central Asia, but now almost cosmopolitanly distributed. Debate continues as to whether there is more than one species of Cannabis. Some experts acknowledge only one species, others agree that there are at least three species.
SPECIES See CANNABIS INDICA.
HABITAT Cannabis prefers light, dry, sandy, slightly alkaline soil. The plant is dioecious: female and male reproductive organs occur on separate individuals. In favourable circumstances the ratio male / female is balanced. Environmental conditions can change this ratio, resulting, generally, in more females in light conditions and more males in adverse conditions. The seeds have a high germination rate. Cannabis plants closely growing together will stretch taller and develop more fibre. When more space is available, resin production seems to go up. Male plants usually get taller, whereas female plants become bushy and heavier. The leaves and flowers of the female plant are most psychoactive; those of the male plant are psychoactive, too, though they diminish in potency rapidly after pollination.
RESIN Preventing seed production in female plants greatly increases the females’ production of resin. The resin accumulates in the flowers as tiny points, sometimes even crystallising. The resin is collected by workers passing bareskinned or dressed in leather through the plantage, embracing the plants and then having the adhering resin scraped off their bodies.
IDENTIFICATION Cannabis species are thought to be highly variable, due primarily, according to some, to human activity. “Much of the American marihuana is from plants growing spontaneously, often having spread from hemp formerly cultivated in plantations for fibre production. In the United States, where the hemp fibre industry has all but disappeared, the cultivation of Cannabis sativa was once – up to the time of the Civil War – a major agricultural industry centred in and near Kentucky. Marihuana smuggled into the United States from Mexico, Colombia, and other hot, dry regions, or hashish introduced into Europe from the Near East and Africa represent a stronger and, consequently, a potentially more troublesome and pernicious narcotic. It was once believed that climate was the prime factor in resin production and high concentration of the inebriating principles, but recent experimental work has indicated that the source of the seed – that is, the genetic makeup of the strain, race, variety, or species – is much more important than environmental factors. … Botanists have long tended to assume that Cannabis is monotypic and that its one very polymorphic species – C. sativa – has diversified into many ecotypes and cultivated races. As early as 1869, DeCandolle recognized what he considered true botanical varieties of Cannabis sativa and offered detailed descriptions of them and published the indicated varietal names. Notwithstanding the general assumption of a monotypic nature of Cannabis, there has been opinion to the contrary for many years. The polytypic concept goes back to 1783, when Lamarck described C. indica as distinct from C. sativa, pointing out clearly that this new species differed in growth habit and morphological characters and implying, by detailing its stronger narcotic properties, that it was more potent – hence that there might also be chemical difference. Through the years, taxonomists have tended not to recognize Cannabis indica, but this binomial – or the alternative Cannabis sativa var. indica – has persisted in the chemical and pharmacological literature, used generally to indicate a more strongly active kind of Cannabis. … Only in the past six or seven years has the importance of the monotypic vs. the polytypic status of Cannabis become more than an academic problem and has come to command popular attention. The reason has its origin mainly in legal arguments, esp. in the United States, concerning the meaning of the term marihuana. The national laws and many state laws, as well as statutes in several other countries, define marihuana as a product only of C. sativa. If more than one species exists, legal authorities must prove that suspect material contains C. sativa and is not, in effect, of any other species.”1
CULTIVATION Cannabis sativa [sativa means ‘cultivated’] is among humanity’s earliest cultivated crops. Over the thousands of years that it has served as an economic plant, it has been selected for specific characteristics. Where the narcotic properties led to its role in religious rites, strains or races richer in the psychoactive constituents tended to be selected; was the nutritious seed the desired part, then plants highly productive in seeds were selected; where it was valued for its fibre, varieties yielding longer and stronger fibre were those most desired. “It is not uncommon to find that, in a cultivated plant, intensive selection for one characteristic often leads to an overshadowing or even a disappearance of another characteristic. In C. sativa, races of unusually high yield of seed oil or of superior fibre have been developed which are either inferior in narcotic properties or possibly even devoid of them; yet, these races may sometimes grow in the same region, often in adjacent fields. On the contrary, highly narcotic races are reported in which the quality of fibre is decidedly inferior, so much so that these strains are considered commercially worthless. While it has usually been thought that climate had a major effect on the narcotic potency – i.e. , cannabinolic content – of Cannabis, several recent investigations indicate that the source of the seed seems to be more important than environmental factors.”2
USES The ancient Chinese wove clothes, shoes and rope from the fibres of the plant, and produced the first paper from it. It is not known if cannabis was growing in the Americas already when the Spanish came. It seems that the Spanish took their own cannabis to Chile in 1545 and then to Peru in 1554. In 1606, the British took it to Canada to be cultivated for maritime purposes [rope and sails]. In the early shipping industry canvas was widely used as sails because it was the only cloth that would not rot on contact with sea spray. The name canvas derives from cannabis. Five years later, the British brought cannabis to Virginia, and in 1632 English settlers brought it to New England. During the 150 years that preceded the American Revolution , cannabis production for textiles throughout New England was subsidized. By 1762, Virginia farmers were penalized if they didn’t grow it. It has been estimated that about half of the clothes worn at the time of the American Revolution were made of hemp. … With the end of the Civil War, the importance of hemp as a commercial crop declined. Emancipation of the slaves cut into the numbers of labourers harvesting hemp. More importantly, the invention of the cotton gin gave cotton a decided economic advantage over hemp and flax. The development of cheap wood pulp reduced the need for hemp as a source of paper, although it was still used in the manufacture of cigarette papers, money and Bibles. In addition, hempseed oil was used in products such as soap, paint and linoleum. With the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, imposing tax and declaring cannabis a narcotic, there came an end to the use of hemp. The only exception allowed was for sterilized seed for the birdseed industry, for industry lobbyists maintained that birds deprived of cannabis seeds would not sing. 3 Old names as ‘neck weed’ and ‘gallows grass’ refer to hemp rope as being used for the hangman’s noose.
MODERN USES Until 1883, 75%-90% of all the paper made in the world was from hemp fibre, whilst now only 5% of the world’s paper is made from plants [hemp, flax, cotton, sugarcane, etc.]. Currently, hemp fibre is mainly used for the production of speciality papers, such as technical and scientific filter paper, coffee filters, tea bags, cigarette paper, security papers, various speciality art papers, wallpaper, and archival paper. Dry cannabis has 50% cellulose, and contains four times less hemicellulose and ten times less lignin as wood. On an area unit cannabis can produce four times more cellulose than a forest!
The pulp of hemp plants can be processed, by decomposition through heat, into charcoal, methanol, methane, or gasoline. Hemp is an excellent source of high quality fuel made out of plants [biomass fuel]. Some diesel engines can run on pure pressed hemp seed oil. One of the newest uses of hemp is in such construction materials as pressboards. Pressboards made of fibrous hemp stalks are more durable and elastic than hardwood. The high-cellulose hemp pulp makes good bio-plastics. Research has proven that hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides. Hemp can also suppress weeds [on account of it growing about three metres in three months, thereby blocking out sunlight to other plants] and soil-borne diseases. In France, Madame France Perier builds 300 houses a year using a material called Isochanvre. Isochanvre is made by mixing hemp hurds, water, iron oxide, and natural lime together. Once mixed, the ingredients petrify and turn to stone. Isochanvre is stronger than cement and approximately one-sixth the weight. Moreover, it can be poured like cement. Hemp hurds [the inner, woody core] are extremely absorbent; they soak up about five times their own weight. They are used as bedding for livestock as well as cat litter in the form of fine pellets.
PROTEIN Hemp has the highest percentage of protein [25%], by weight, of any plant-based source, after soybeans. Hemp seed protein – edestin – closely resembles protein as it is found in the human blood. It is easy to digest, and patients who have trouble digesting food are given hemp seed medically. Edestin was originally obtained from hemp seed. Since the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in the USA commercial hemp seed must be heat-treated to destroy the narcotic properties, a process which also destroys the edestin. Very closely related proteins may be obtained from seeds of members of the Cucurbitaceae, such as pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber, and squash. As a highly nutritious source of protein and essential fatty oils many populations have grown hemp for its seed; the ground seeds were eaten as porridge.
FOLKLORE Many plants are used for love divination, and so is hemp. “In certain parts of Britain [such as the Welsh border, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire] the seeds of the hemp plant were used in a very specific form of folk divination. In order to see a vision of her future husband a girl would have to retire alone at the witching hour to a churchyard, and whilst throwing the seeds over her left shoulder, enchant the following short rhyme: Hempseed I sow, Hempseed, grow; He that is to marry me, Come after me and mow. If she was lucky a spectral form of her husband-to-be mowing with his scythe would be there when she looked behind her. If she were not so fortunate she would see a coffin behind her, signifying that she would die whilst still young and unmarried. Such a use of hemp seed is known from the seventeenth century and certainly continued into the nineteenth and, perhaps, even the twentieth century. What is remarkable is the fact that very similar folk practices are also known from the Ukraine. Ukrainian girls with hemp seeds in their belts jump on a pile of hemp, crying out: Andrei, Andrei, I plant the hemp seed on you; Will God let me know with whom I will sleep? Then they take off their blouses, fill their mouths with water to spit on the hemp seeds and run around their houses a magical three times. Dances involving hemp were also common in Eastern Europe, sometimes in connection with magically aiding the hemp crop to grow and sometimes as part of marriage feasts and other wedding celebrations. Sula Benet sees another cultural role of hemp as having archaic roots: [a] custom connected with the dead in parts of eastern Europe is the throwing of a handful of seeds into the fire as an offering to the dead during the harvesting of hemp – similar to the custom of the Scythians and of the Pazyryk tribes, two-and-a-half-thousand years ago. There is no doubt that some of the practices, such as funeral customs, were introduced by the Scythians during their victorious advance into Southeast Russia, including the Caucasus, where they remained for centuries … hemp never lost its connection with the cult of the dead. Even today in Poland and Lithuania, and in former times also in Russia, on Christmas Eve when it is believed that the dead visit their families, a soup made of hemp seeds, called semieniatka, is served for the dead souls to savour.”4
PROVINGS ••  Hahnemann – 10 [male] provers; method: unknown.
Hahnemann prepared his remedy from the fresh expressed juice of the tops of the flowering male or female hemp-plant. He says: “Hitherto only the seeds, generally [rubbed up with water] as emulsion, or as decoction, have been used with advantage in the inflammatory stage of gonorrhoea, and in ancient times [by Dodonaeus, Sylvius, Herliz] in some kinds of jaundice. In the former case the homoeopathic reason for its utility is evident from the peculiar similar morbid states observed in the urinary organs after the administration of hemp to healthy persons, although no physician ever recognized this. The plant itself has only been used as a domestic remedy, but it was much employed in Persian country inns in order to relieve the fatigue of pedestrian travellers, for which it is truly homoeopathic as the cannabis symptoms 269 to 275 demonstrate. But we may employ the juice of hemp for curative purposes of much more importance in various diseases of the genital organs, of the chest, of the organs of the senses, etc.” [MM Pura]
••  Schreter – on himself and his wife; method: tincture in doses increasing from 1 drop 4 drops; also single dose of 20 drops of 1st dil.
•• Hughes states that the effects of C. sativa and C. indica “exhibit no sharp lines of demarcation, as the following pathogeneses show.” The first – of a physician named H.C. Wood who took, in 1869, a “very large dose of an extract from a hemp plant grown in Kentucky, the summers of which approach in heat the more temperate parts of India” – manifests all the characteristic elements of hashish intoxication. The second, Mademoiselle X., also exhibits ‘drug effects’: “While eating she became first of all very preoccupied, then began to eat gluttonously, which was contrary to her habits. Towards end of meal she looks at people at table with astonished air and strange expression, then bursts into ceaseless laughter interspersed with harsh cries. I called to her loudly to make her stop; she did stop, got up, and began to go about the room with preoccupied air, sometimes stopping, turning round on her heel, and then going on again. Pulse very frequent, though small; mouth dry, eyes red, palpebral circle narrowed. Began then to walk in grotesque manner and laugh loudly, then advanced majestically towards a person and bowed repeatedly to her, then burst out laughing. Walked on again mumbling something unintelligible, suddenly sat down, became very pale and fainted. … In a short time she called in a low voice, saying she could not see, and that she was dying; pupils very dilated, eyelids drooping, could not move, but limbs were not stiff. … Next day quite well.”5
 Stafford, Psychedelics Encyclopedia. [2-3] Schultes, The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens.  Rudgley, The Encyclopaedia of Psychoactive Substances.  Hughes, Cyclopaedia.
Genito-urinary tract. Eyes. Respiration. * Left side.
Worse: Lying down. Ascending stairs. Forenoon. During micturition. After motion. Talking. Standing. After dinner.
Better: Standing [dyspnoea]. Expectoration. Remaining quiet.
• The thoughts seem to stand still; he stares before him; he feels as if his mind were occupied by elevated contemplations, but he does not know what they are.”
• “He can, no doubt, think of one thing and another, but the ideas remain stationary, as if they stood still, and he looks long at the object on which he was going to work.”
• “He could not speak properly; at one time words failed him, at another the voice itself [for 4 hours]; towards evening the attacks recurred, at one time there was a stream of eloquence, as if forced from him, at another a stoppage in his discourse, so that he sometimes repeated the same word ten times in succession in one breath, sometimes anxiously recalling his whole thought he was annoyed that he could not repeat it in the same words.” [Hahnemann]
M Irresolution and uncertainty, in consequence of too fickle an imagination; as if in a dream.
G Sensation of HEAT.
Rush of blood to the head.
Warm sensation in nose as if it would bleed.
G Sexual desire increased.
Impotence from sexual excesses.
Threatening abortion from too frequent intercourse.
• “Sexual overexcitement in either sex.” [Guernsey]
G Mental and head symptoms less pronounced than in Cann-i., yet eye and genito-urinary symptoms more pronounced.
G Twitching internally.
G < AFTER MOTION. G Sensation as if DROPS of COLD WATER were FALLING on head, from anus, from heart [characteristic]. P Urethritis and CYSTITIS with burning pain. Spasmodic CLOSURE of sphincter vesicae and CONSTRICTION of rectum AT CLOSE OF URINATION. P Burning pain extending to bladder [pain extending backward], while urinating. P Discharge very painful, only by drops, bloody and burning. Pain in kidneys on urging to urinate. P FIRST stage of gonorrhoea. And Purulent discharge, phimosis and burning micturition. Perineal region so tender that the patient can only WALK with LEGS WIDE APART. • “It is the remedy par excellence to begin the treatment of gonorrhoea.” [Nash] P Retention of urine on account of obstinate constipation. P Leucorrhoea in little girls. P Asthma or dyspnoea when the patient can only breathe by standing up. Wants windows and doors open. P Asthma and bladder trouble. Rubrics Mind Sudden anger alternating with cheerfulness ; anger at trifles . Anxiety on raising the voice [1; Cann-i.*]. Confusion in morning on waking , as if in a dream , knows not where he is on waking from a dream . Conversation < . Delusions, distances are enlarged , he will become insane , she is some other person , evil power had control of the whole of him, except of his will power [1/1], seems as if his senses vanish . Forsaken feeling, sensation of isolation . Indifference, to everything , joyless . Voices seem strange . Stagnation of thoughts . Time passes too slowly . Yielding disposition . Head Pain, as if top of head would come off ; opening and shutting sensation , < noise [1/1]; pressing, vertex, as if a stone were lying on it [1HA]. Vision Circle of white flaming zigzags on right side of field of vision [1HA]. Hemiopia . Sees objects beside field of vision . Hearing Voices seem distant , his own voice seems distant . Nose Sensation of swelling [1; Bamb.; Cann-i.]. Face Glowing heat, but face feels cold when she moves [1H]. Mouth Dryness , without thirst . Speech, difficult , stammering . Stomach Nausea > coffee [1H], on thought of food eaten , when lying on right side , > lying on left side . Vomiting, after coffee , > coffee [1H].
Coldness, as if cold water were running through abdomen . Sensation as if bowels were loose on moving the arms violently [1/1HA].
Sensation of coldness, as from cold drops [1/1]. Constriction, at close of urinating [2/1].
Urination, dysuria, in newly married women ; dysuria, painful, spasmodic closure of the sphincter while finishing [2/1].
Copious, night before menses . Odour, acrid .
Leucorrhoea, after coition , in little girls . Menses, painful, the more the flow the greater the pain . Sexual desire increased after menses .
Difficult, wants doors and windows open , must sit by open window , can only breathe when standing [1/1].
Anxiety in cardiac region at night in bed . Sensation as if drops were falling from the heart [1; Cann-i.]. Sensation of heat in cardiac region .
Sensation of coldness under fingernails [1/1]. Cramps in nates on stooping . Heaviness hands > motion .
* Repertory additions: Hahnemann [HA], Hughes [H].
Aversion: : Meat.
Desire: : Cold water.
Worse: : Coffee.
Better: : Coffee [*]; cold water; cold food.
* Repertory addition Hughes.