INDIAN HEMP. (Cannabis, hemp.).
The Indian word bhang is Hindustani for hemp and under this name the leaves are used for smoking. An intoxicating drink is prepared by infusing the the pounded leaves in cold water and in India this is known as ganja or gunjah, while the Arabs call it hashish.
The true Indian hemp, i.e., that which contains to the fullest extent the narcotic properties of the herb, grows at altitudes of 6,000 to 10,000 feet, principally in the Himalayas above Calcutta and in Tibet, and its physiological activity is influenced largely by the height at which it grows.
Some of the local names by which it is known, the leaf of delusion, the increaser of pleasure, the laughter mover, will serve to indicate some of the mental states produced by its use. Hale says: “It stands almost alone as a medicine that seems to possess the power of acting on the soul. It seems to give us some idea of the vast capabilities of emotion, comprehension and capacity for happiness and sorrow, which the soul of man possesses, but which lie latent while the body incloses it.”
The most extensive provings that we have of this remedy were made by the American Provers Union and obtained by eight physicians, the report being published in 1839. In addition we have on record many fragmentary provings and the effects of single doses of varying amounts.
I do not feel that Cannabis Ind. has lived up to the hopes entertained for it in mental disorders. Hale gives it as his opinion “that in order that it shall prove curative in mental diseases, they must be purely psychical in their origin, and not depend on any bodily ailment.”.
Cannabis Ind. produces loquacity (55) and indiscriminate laughter, an abnormal exhilaration and excitation of thought, so that ideas crowd upon each other with great rapidity.
Delusions concerning time and space are very pronounced, so that time seems indefinite, space, immense; “a few seconds seem ages, a few rods an immense distance” (Hering).
There are also hallucinations and imaginations innumerable; he hears music or bells ringing most sweetly; imagined that he was a pump-log through which a stream of hot water was playing; that he was an inkstand and that the ink might spill over the bed; imagined that he was gradually swelling or that he was a huge hippopotamus; fears that he may become insane (120).
The sense of duality (54) is often noticed, as if the soul were separated from the body (54) or as if he had two beings, with two distinct, yet concurrent trains of ideas, or even that he is a third person and looking at himself and a friend. Exaltation of spirits is apt to be followed by sadness.
Talcott tells us that “the natural tendency of the individual is exaggerated under the influence of Cannabis Indica; the mild and gentle person becomes more pleasant, happy and agreeable than common, while those possessing irritable dispositions become exceedingly vicious and violent under this drug.”
It is a remedy of value in “nervous diseases, with delusions relating to time and space, and accompanied by unusual sexual disturbances” (Talcott). In delirium and delirium tremens (54) we are apt to have frequent shaking of the head, misapprehensions concerning time and distance, great flow of language (55) and exalted ideas concerning his power and wealth (54).
In the head it is of value in uraemic headache (103) and in migraine (99), with severe agonizing pain, “rendering the patients delirious or unconscious” (Hale), and a feeling as if the top of the head were opening and shutting, or as if it were being lifted or raised (106).
The urinary symptoms of Cannabis Ind. are very similar to those found under Cannabis sat., although inflammatory symptoms are more marked in the latter.
In Cannabis Ind. we have stitches or burning (194) in urethra before, during and after micturition, with dribbling of urine after the stream ceases (198).
The primary effect of Cannabis Ind., on both sexes, is that of an aphrodisiac, associated with amorous dreams, “in which are realized the prophesies and promises of Mahomet’s heaven for the time being” (Talcott); the secondary effects are to cause impotency or sterility. We use it with success in satyriasis (163) and for chordee (31).
Menstruation under Cannabis Ind. is profuse, but attended with great pain. “It appears,” says Hale, “to control the neuralgic (139) and spasmodic varieties of dysmenorrhoea, but is more frequently indicated when the patient is hysterical, emotional, and the menses are preceded, attended, or followed by unusual sexual desires.” It is also to be thought of in uterine colic, with great nervous agitations.
In the heart, we have sharp stitches, with a sensation of oppression (110), the latter better from deep breathing (107).
It is to be thought of in nightmare soon after falling asleep, and for dreams about horrible objects or of dead bodies (62).
I use Cannabis Ind. 3rd.