Indian Hemp. N.O. Cannabinacae. A tincture is prepared by dissolving 1 part of the resin in 20 of rectified spirit. 1 part of this to 4 of alcohol makes the first centesimal dilution.
CANNABIS INDICA has for ages been used as an intoxicant in the East under the names of hashish, bang, ganja, or churrus. It is smoked either alone or mixed with tobacco, is drunk as an intoxicating drink, or taken mixed with honey or sugar as a confection. The active principle is a red oil or resin, boiling at a high temperature and called cannabinol. This is a phenoaldehyde of composition OH C20 H28 COH.
The effects of cannabis indica are almost entirely due to its disturbing the central nervous system in the direction of mixed stimulation and depression, especially of the higher intellectual faculties. Soon after its administration the patient passes into a dreamy state in which the imagination is stimulated while the judgment is lessened. He has most extravagant visions and ideas which vary in their character according to his intellectual make-up and his habitual pursuits. His ideas are without continuity, they crowd him in rapid succession and all sense of measurement of time and space is lost. He is usually exalted, merry and in a state of bliss, but sometimes unpleasant ideas predominate and he may be in expectancy of disaster and death. True hallucinations may occur but usually consciousness of reality is not entirely lost and the patient has a glimmering that his visions are unreal but he cannot control them. When aroused he can answer questions intelligently but immediately relapses under the domination of this phantasies. There is anaesthesia or greatly lessened sense of pain and touch. In more advanced state, when unconsciousness is complete, he can yet be roused out of it temporarily. Tranquil sleep follows from which he generally awakes refreshed without depression or nausea, but weakness of mind and body, with occasional short recurrences of his dreams, may last for a day or two. Continued abuse of cannabis indica may lead to mania and dementia. Some tolerance rapidly acquired. It is said to be more exhilarating when inhaled than when swallowed. In some cases acute mania and convulsive attacks have been developed and in the natives of India catalepsy has been observed. Acute poisoning is extremely rare and recovery has taken place after enormous doses. When death has occurred it has probably been due to a direct action of the drug on the heart muscle.
Mind.-It will give some notion of the extraordinary mental condition produced by cannabis indica if some of the experiences and expressions of the provers are quoted. “Very excited, he begins to dance about the room, frequently laughing and talking nonsense”; thought he had taken the elixir of life”; “thought he must surely die and be dissected (in a medical man)”; “the pencil he was writing with seemed to grow to an enormous size”; “the right side of the body seemed to be much enlarged”; “his head seemed to swell to the size of a balloon”; “he thought he was an inkpot and had been spilled”; “felt as if his body was lifted up and he was going to fly”; “felt as if raised from the ground and walking through air”; “ten minutes seemed two hours”; “voices of those speaking to him seemed to come from an immense distance”; “could hear and distinguish the sounds of colours”; “his mind seemed to be split into two halves, a sane and a mad half, with the sane half amusedly looking on at what the mad half was doing”; “could read the titles on the covers of books in a bookcase in another room (clairvoyance,)” and so on. Any slight sensation in his body or the least impression from external surrounding would start a train of most extravagant phantasmagoria.
Head-Accompanying these mental states the head feels heavy and confused, there is a sensation as if the blood is boiling and streaming up into the head, the head feels constricted as from an iron skull-cap, the scalp and skin of the forehead seems to be tightly stretched upon the skull, pendulum-like oscillations are felt in the head, “the parietal bones seemed to expand widely, as if parting at the sutures, and again collapsed.” On rising there is vertigo with a stunning pain in the occiput. Violent shocks pass through the brain and the patient feels as if th4e top of the head is opening and shutting (actaea rac.). Dull, heavy, throbbing pains are felt in coming up the back to the “brain” is experienced, or, on the other hand, there may be a feeling of cold air blowing on “the brain”(head).
Face-The face is hot and deeply flushed or pale and moist. Drawing pains are felt in the muscles of mastication. The features may be distorted or have a weary exhausted appearance.
Eyes-The eyes are red and hot and feel distended as if starting out of the head, the conjunctive are injected, the pupils usually dilated and there is itching round the orbits.
Ears-Buzzing, singing, and sounds of rushing water, and boring and stinging pains occur in the ears. Near sounds seem to come from an enormous distance.
Nose-The nose itches continually and there may be a sensation of icy coldness across the bridge of it.
Digestive System-A boring pain occurs in the3 right lower molars, which is relieved by pressure and worse from grinding the teeth. Flow of saliva is increased, it is thick, sticky and tasteless; or the mouth and throat may be dry, with a metallic taste. Appetite is much increased and there is desire for cold water but a dread of taking it. On drinking water, it seems to run down the throat by its own gravity without touching either side. Tasteless eructations and nausea may be present. In the stomach is a constructive feeling, with burning or a gnawing sensation. The abdomen feels painfully distended, as if filled with water, there are flatulent rumblings and painless, yellow diarrhoea. There is a sensation at the anus as if the patient were sitting on a hard ball that occupies the whole perineum and presses on the urethra.
Urinary-Sharp stitches with aching and burning are felt in the back in the region of the kidneys. Micturition is frequent and more difficult than usual; it may be involuntary, and dribbling often occurs after the urethra before, during, and after urination. After exposure to cold the urine is loaded with slimy mucus.
Sexual-Sexual desire is increased in both sexes. Violent, painful erections occur in the daytime without the incitement of amorous thoughts and at night pollutions are frequent. Menstruation is much increased. There are bearing-down pains in the loins, and during pregnancy uterine contractions are increased in strength and frequency. There is evidence that cannabis indica is an oxytocic.
Circulation-The chest feels oppressed and there is deep, laboured breathing and a sensation of suffocation: stitches in the heart may accompany the oppressed breathing….. The heart beats are quick, small, irregular, weak, jerky or embarrassed. The pulse is small, with long intermissions, imperceptible for a minute or more and then stronger, or more often it is full and bounding and ranges in frequency from 120 to 160 a minute.
A pain occurs across the shoulders and spine which causes the patient to walk stooping. A feeling like a weak electric current, a ” thrill,” is characteristic and passes through the arms and chest to spread all over the body. Hot and cold sensations are felt in various parts. The limbs feel heavy, as if they could not be lifted, they tremble and movements are sometimes felt. there may be spasms alternately of the flexors and extensors. In some cases cataleptic rigidity has been observed. Skin-sensibility of the skin to cutaneous irritants is much decreased, even amounting to total anaesthesia. There is itching all over the body or a sensation in many parts as of being bitten by some insect.
Sleep-the patient is very drowsy; starting of the limbs awakens him from sleep; dreams are voluptuous, dangers, of dead bodies, or prophetic.
In orthodox practice cannabis indica has been used as a hypnotic in sleeplessness from nervous exhaustion or pain, in doses of 4/1 to 1 gr. of the extract pr 5 to 15 min. of the tincture. It is less reliable than opium, but has the advantage that it does not cause the after-effects of that drug, viz, disturbances of digestion, nausea and depression. It has been used in migraine and as a substitute for opium in mental diseases.
In homoeopathic practice it should be thought of when ever mental symptoms similar to those produced by it are present in the case under treatment, and will some times give good and unexpected results. In such conditions as hypochondriasis, confusional insanity, the expansive stage of general paralysis of the insane, alcoholic suggests the probable usefulness of cannabis. It has often cured headaches when there is a sensation as if the brain is boiling over lifting the skull, or as if the head is opening and shutting. It is useful in catalepsy and in hysteria when it assumes a cataleptic character. It is valuable in fevers and delirium tremens when there are spectral illusions. It has been employed to avert threatening paralysis. IN all these cases the peculiar mental states is the guide.