Professor of materia medica and pharmacy in the University of Pennsylvania, one of the physicians of the Pennsylvania Hospital, &c., &c.,
CANNABIS SATIVA. Hemp. An annual plant, originally from Asia, but now cultivated in various parts of Europe and North America. The leaves are possessed of narcotic properties, and are employed in Persia and the East Indies, in the form of infusion, as an intoxicating drink.; They are also smoked, in these and other countries of the East, in the same manner as tobacco, with which they are frequently mixed. A resinous exudation from the plant is much employed for the same purpose. Even the odour of the fresh plant is stated to be capable of producing vertigo, headache, and a species of intoxication. According to Dr. O'Shaughnessy, of Calcutta, who has experimented with this narcotic, it alleviates pain, exhilarates the spirits, increases the appetite, acts decidedly as an aphrodisiac, produces sleep, and in large doses, occasions intoxication, a peculiar kind of delirium, and catalepsy. Its operation, in the hands of Dr. Pereira, appeared to resemble very much that of opium. (Pereira's Mat. Med.) Dr. O'Shaughnessy employed an alcoholic extract of the dried tops with great advantage in tetanus, and with alleviating effects in a fatal case of hydrophobia. He gave the remedy usually in doses of two or three grains, at intervals of two, three, or four hours; though, in these violent affections, the quantity may be much increased; and in hydrophobia from ten to twenty grains may be given at once. He employed the remedy also in rheumatism and cholera, giving, in the latter affection, ten drops every half hour, of a solution made with three grains of the extract and a drachm of proof spirit. (Medical Examiner, iii. 530) The seeds of hemp have also been used in medicine. They are about the eighth of an inch long, roundish-ovate, somewhat compressed, of a shining gray colour, inodorous, and of a disagreeable, oily, sweetish taste. They contain a considerable quantity of fixed oil, which is separated by expression, and used to some extend in the arts. They contain also uncrystallizable sugar and albumen, and when rubbed with water afford an emulsion, which may be used advantageously in inflammatory affections of the mucous membranes, though it is not superior to a similar preparation from other emulsive seeds. They are much used as food for birds, which are fond of them. It is, however, for the fibrous bark of hemp, and the various products manufactured from it, that the plant is chiefly cultivated. Some consider the hemp cultivated in the East as specifically different from the common hemp; and name it Cannabis Indica, but most botanists think the two plants identical.