Author: R. J. Bouquet
Pages: 14 to 30
Creation Date: 1950/01/01



Dr. R. J. Bouquet

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Since very early times, the peoples of Europe have known and made use of hemp. Originating in Central Asia, and growing abundantly throughout the whole of ancient Scythia, the plant soon spread through the inhabited parts of Europe. It was very valuable to human beings, owing to its textile fibres, which provided them with clothing and ropes, and its seeds, from which they extracted oil. But even by those early times when hemp was first used in Europe, the tribes of the East and Central Asia had known about hemp and been using it for many centuries. The weaving of its fibre, the extraction of its oil, and even the use of its resin to provoke a special kind of intoxication, were all familiar to them. Probably, when we have knowledge of a larger number of ancient documents from the East, we shall discover curious accounts of the uses of hemp in remote antiquity. It would indeed be extraordinary if a substance, the use of which was to have a considerable effect on the social and politico-religious development of the peoples of Asia acquainted with it, had not left many traces in the monuments left behind by thinkers of those days.

Superior figures in the text indicate reference to the "Bibliographic Notes" at the end of this article. (See page 29.)

The oldest document relating to hemp which we now possess is a Chinese treatise, the Rh-ya, of the fifteenth century B.C. It describes the plant, and states that there are two varieties, one producing seed and the other only flowers.[1]

There is also evidence of the use of hemp to produce a certain form of intoxication in the eighth century B.C. among the Assyrians. They called it Quonoubou Qunnapu (cf. the Hebrew Qanneb, the Arabic Qannob and Qinnab, the Persian Quonnab, the Celtic Quannab and the Greek Kannabas), and Azall?.[2]

The Sanscrit medical work known as Sucruta - (sixth or seventh century A.D.) based on translations and documents dating back to far distant times - mentions hemp as a medicament under the name of B'hanga. This term occurs in the earlier Atharva Veda (2000-1400 B.C.) and in the work of the celebrated grammarian Pannini.[3]

The Kou-Kin-i-Tong, a Chinese treatise on remedies (dating from the beginning of the Christian era), mentions the use of a hemp preparation (Ma-Yo) as an anaesthetic in surgical operations.[4]

The use of hemp gradually spread, not only in India, but in the Tigris and Euphrates regions, Iran and Arabia. Hemp appears, however, to have been unknown to the ancient Egyptians and the Hebrews, as there is no mention of it either in hieroglyphic texts or in the scriptures, and no hemp tissue has been found in ancient tombs.

It was only later that the recognition of the qualities of hemp spread to the Ionian Archipelago and Hellas. It has been claimed that hemp could be identified with the Nepenthes of Homer (Odyssey, Book IV, 219-232). It is doubtful, however, whether the reference is to hemp, or at any rate to hemp alone.

It is not until Herodotus (Historiae, IV, 75) that hemp appears for certain in Greek literature. Herodotus says that the plant is cultivated in Scythia and Thrace, and that the inhabitants of those countries make clothing from it and intoxicate themselves by breathing the vapours given off from the seeds when roasted on white-hot stones. That is a clear allusion to the inebriating properties of Cannabis.

Diodorus Siculus[5] relates that the Egyptian women of Thebes dispel anger and sorrow with the help of a potion based on hemp. The Greek physicians, however, were ignorant of the chief properties of the plant, for Dioscorides(IV-5) speaks only of the emollient qualities of its seeds. Galen and his contemporaries were little better informed.[6]

Among Latin writers, Pliny (Hist. Nat. XIX., 2, 9, and XX, 23), Columella ( De re rustica, II); Lucilius, and Celsius, mention hemp as a textile, but give only very vague indications of its medical uses.

In the East, on the other hand, it was already known for its intoxicating qualities. The Sanscrit work ZendAvesta,[7] composed in Northern Iran some six centuries before the Christian era, is the first to mention hemp (Cadaneh) and its inebriating resin. The Fourth Book of the Vedas refers to it sometimes under the name of Vijahia (source of happiness) and sometimes under that of Ananda (laughter-provoker).[8] It was not, therefore, for its textile properties that hemp was used in India to start with; at the beginning of the Christian era the use of its fibre was still unknown there.

It is solely to its inebriating properties that hemp owes the signal honour of being sung in the Vedas, and it was probably the peoples of Northern Iran who discovered those properties, for they were already using the leaves (Cheng) and the resin (Cers) as inebriants and narcotics before the Hindus.

It was thus through the Iranian tribes that the priestly class in India-the only educated class at that time-learned of the properties of Cannabis, at a period which we cannot, at present, determine exactly.

Some curious documents contain information about the part played by hemp in certain religious ceremonies in India. Here is what Kaempfer, a doctor in the service of the East India Company, says:[9] "In Malabar, at the time of the sacrifices in honour of Vishnu, virgins pleasant to behold and richly adorned were brought from the temple of the Brahmins. They came out in public to appease the god who rules over plenty and fine weather. To impress the spectators, these young women were previously given a preparation with a basis of hemp and datura, and when the priest saw, by certain symptoms, that the action of the drugs was about to show itself, he began his invocations. The Devadassy (servants of the gods) then danced, leapt about yelling, contorted their limbs, and, foaming at the mouth, their eyes ecstatic, committed all sorts of eccentricities. Finally the priests carried the exhausted virgins into the sanctuary, gave them a potion to destroy the effect of the previous one, and then showed them again to the people in their right mind, so that the crowd of spectators might believe that the demons had fled and the idol was appeased".

Elys ée Reclus (L'homme et la terre) mentions similar practices.

The mendicant monks, or fakirs, have made use of hemp preparations from the earliest times, and still do so. "Their object in using this drug", writes Mohamed Shirazi Kalenderi, "is, in addition to their pleasure in the visions it engenders, to dry up the seminal fluid; they thereby diminish the inclination to sexual pleasure and can the more easily avoid libertinage".*

A Persian work of the thirteenth century, "The Good Literary Auguries concerning the Virtues of Hemp", the poems of Mohamed Dimashki, and those of Ahmed Halebi, relate that a powerful sheik, Haider, who had become a monk, discovered the plant. Shortly after his death, the use of hemp spread throughout Khorasan.

It was also through religious sects that Cannabis became known in Asia Minor and Syria.

While it is easy to show that the priestly classes knew and used the properties of hemp, it is difficult to establish where and how its use as an inebriant was learnt by the common people.

See also R. N. Chopra and G. S. Chopra.15

In Hindustan, in distant ages when the secret of the priests was revealed or stolen, hemp was used solely for the preparation of potions. The Brahmins appear to have attempted to control its use. They authorized it only on the occasion of certain important religious celebrations (Kali festivals, Druga-Puja etc.). We cannot know whether the people readily accepted the restriction of their consumption of Cannabis potions to the permitted dates; nor can we say whether it was not precisely in order to gratify the passion for the intoxicating drug, while at the same time respecting the law promulgated by the ministers of the divinity, that the custom of smoking hemp arose. This practice, more attractive, quicker in its effects, and less dangerous, spread with great rapidity, and at the present time smokers form the great majority of the hashish addicts of India.[10]

Persia, Asia Minor, Egypt, and other Moslem countries, which became acquainted with the use of Cannaois later on, learnt simultaneously to ingest it and to smoke it.

The great impetuous wave from Asia which, beginning in the seventh century, flooded Syria and then Northern Africa with believers, brought the use of hashish in its wake. Arab doctors of the period frequently used it as a remedy.

Iraq became acquainted with it in the reign of the Caliph Mostanser Billah (thirteenth century).

The Arab invasions probably introduced it into Northern Africa and made it known in Spain where its use did not become established.

In the Moslem world, in spite of the repeated prohibitions of the imams and the edicts and penalties of the emirs and sultans, hashish triumphed and triumphs still. As R. Meunier[11] so rightly says, "every Oriental is at once an artist and a metaphysician; he has the gift of conceiving forms and unity, the abstract in the concrete; but he has a great disdain for works and a lazy disinclination to act; he is an artist only for himself, whence his taste for intoxicants and especially for hashish, which conjures up visions of dazzling forms, of which each possesses an intense emotive coefficient".

In Europe, however, Cannabis was known only for its textile properties. Occasionally its seeds were used as medicine.

In the sixteenth century, more was learnt about hemp in Europe; it was the age of long voyages and great discoveries. Indian hemp must then have reached Europe from time to time.

The plant was drawn for the first time by H. van Rheede( Hortus Malabaricus, 1678-1692), who states that the natives of Malabar intoxicate themselves by smoking its leaves.

More information is given in the "Herbarium Am-boynense", published at Hanau about 1690 by Rumphius, Councillor to the Dutch East India Company at Amboyna. He describes certain differences between Indian hemp and that of Europe: appearance, size, resin production etc. He notes that hemp is smoked mixed with tobacco, and that it dispels melancholy and produces pleasant dreams, but that its effects vary with the individual, and occasionally provoke a kind of madness.

In 1692, Kaempfer[9] tried the effects of Cannabis preparations on himself and his companions during a cruise in the Persian Gulf; he has left a detailed account of his observations.

Chardin,[12] in his "Voyage en Perse et autres lieux de l'Orient" (written about 1711), states that various compounds (banghi, buengh) with a basis of Indian hemp, poppy, and nux vomica are used in those regions.

Linnaeus, in 1762, in "Amaenitates Academiae", describes the effects of hashish. He regards hemp as a narcotic, whereas Murray ( Apparatus Medicamentorum, 1787) states that it is a stimulant and aphrodisiac.

After Bonaparte's campaign in Egypt, attention was again drawn to the special properties of hemp, owing to the works and observations of the scientists who accompanied the expedition. Silvestre de Sacy,[13] Rouyer,[14] and Desgenettes studied hashish on the spot, while others, like Virey,[15] examined substances brought back from Egypt, and Lamarck studied samples brought from India by the botanist Sonnerat.[16] As a result, various memoranda were published in France in which Indian hemp was studied more thoroughly than ever before.

Attention having thus been drawn to the plant, it was discovered that it was used in a number of countries. Von Martius (1825) is the first to mention its use in America (by the Negroes of Brazil).

The first experiments in the therapeutic use of hemp were made in 1838, in Calcutta, by O'Shaughnessy;[17] at the same time, Raleigh, Esdale and O'Birest made the first attempts to carry out a chemical study of the resin extracted from the plant.

In 1840, Moreau de Tours[18] produced a remarkable work on the physiological action of hashish. Leaving the pharmacology of Cannabis aside, he studied only its action on the mental faculties, comparing hashish intoxication with a condition of artificially-induced madness ( Du hachich et de l'aliénation mentale, Paris, 1845).

Many chemists set to work with great keenness, anxious to isolate the active element in hemp. Improvements in laboratory equipment and progress in research technique soon made it possible for scientists to direct their activities along less uncertain paths.

At the same time, physiologists and physicians determined to study the effects of Cannabis on man, and the addiction which it produces. There would be no point16 in mentioning here the names of all these research workers.

I. Botanical Study


The common hemp, Cannabis Sativa (L), is a dioecious plant belonging to the Cannabinaceae group of the Urticaceae family of the order Urticales.

Characteristics of the Urticaceae

The Urticaceae are apetalous plants, the flowers of which are generally unisexual, with a regular perianth, that of the male flower sometimes differing from that of the female flower.

The androecium is isostemonous in the male flower, whereas in the female flower the ovary is unicarpellary or bicarpellary, but unilocular and uniovular. The fruit is indehiscent (drupe or achene), the albumen small or non-existent.

Characteristics of the Cannabinaceae

The Urticaceae include trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.

In the case of the Cannabinaceae group, in which the only important genera are Cannabis and Humulus (hop), the botanical characteristics can be defined in greater detail. These plants are herbaceous, either annual and upright (hemp), or perennial and voluble (hop). The leaves are generally opposite, with persistent stipules; the flowers are dioecious and unisexual, pentamerous at the calyx and at the androecium, the males spread out with straight stamens, the females sessile with bifid style and biflorous or uniflorous bracts; they are sometimes grouped in a raceme of cymes ( Cannabis), sometimes in cones or catkins (female hop).

The ovule is pendant and campylotropous; the albumen fleshy, and the embryo curved.

Characteristics of the genus Cannabis

The genus Cannabis consists of a single species, Cannabis sativa (L), including perhaps two or three varieties.

The common hemp is an annual plant, herbaceous, reaching, in the temperate regions of Europe, a height of approximately two metres. The stem is upright, rectilinear, fluted and rough. The branches are fragile and short, the leaves palmate, generally with five, seven, or nine folioles (rarely eleven), very unequal, lanceolate and regularly dentate. Most of the leaves are opposite, but in the neighbourhood of the inflorescence and towards the top of the stalk they are very frequently alternate, simple or trifoliolate. On either side of a long petiole there is a straight pointed stipule.

The plant is dioescious: the male plants, smaller and more slender, wither and dry up fairly rapidly after flowering. This greater frailty formerly caused them to be referred to as female hemp. This confusion is found in Lémery (Traité universel des Drogues Simples, 1733) and in many earlier writers (Matthiole, Dodoens, Tragus, the Bauhins etc.), who give the name Cannabis foemina to C. sterilis, the male hemp. In German-speaking countries the male hemp, which is shorter, is popularly known as Fimmel(from the Latin foemina, female), and the female hemp, which is thicker in appearance and grows to a greater height, as maschel (from the Latin masculus).

All parts of the plant, when rubbed between the fingers, give off a characteristic minty odour, which is particularly strong in the case of the female tops at the time of flowering. They are slightly sticky to the touch, and this stickiness is very marked in the highly-resinous hemps of hot, dry regions.

Male inflorescences

The male flowers are grouped in loose panicles: they comprise five greenish sepals and five episepal stamens with introrse anthers: in the centre of the androecium, a rudimentary ovary is sometimes to be found.

Female inflorescences

The floriferous branches of the female plant bear leaves and secondary branches, and the inflorescences form very contracted racemes of cymes intermingled with foliaceous bracts. The whole gives a robust, bushy, compact appearance to the female plant.

The female flower is topped by two long stigmas which are sometimes pink in colour; the calyx is urceolate; the ovary sessile, bicarpellary and unilocular, containing a campylotropous ovule which on maturity develops into a smooth globular achene, decorated with webbing of varying fineness and colour; it is surrounded by a bract, which is very rich in resin-secreting glands and is thought to be formed by the connexion of two stipules. The seed is almost completely lacking in albumen; the fleshy, curved embryo, with an incumbent radicle folded back on the cotyledons, contains oil and aleurone.


The fruits of the hemp constitute the hemp-seed (chènevis), which can furnish 20 to 30 per cent of a siccative oil, formerly used chiefly for lighting and soap-making, and now in the manufacture of varnish and paint. Hemp-seed oil-cake finds little favour as foodstuff for cattle; but it is used as bait for fish, and also as a fertilizer.

Origin of hemp

Botanists now agree to regard hemp as having originated in temperate Asia, probably in the Irtysh region

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, N. Y

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A plant of cannabis

(Dzungaria) and the Transbaikal territories. It must be supposed that it was merely naturalized, in very early times, in the Himalayan region, the Trans-Caspian provinces, the districts of Dahuria and Bokhara, the Lower Ural, the Volga Basin, and the Russian Caucasus, although it is commonly found in those areas. It was acclimatized in the Alta? and in Iran, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, and it is now grown in many parts of India and over a wide area of continental Europe. It has been imported and grows admirably in Lebanon, the Peloponnese and Mexico.


Hemp is to be found in countries with extremely different climates, altitudes, and conditions of sunshine and rainfall, and it is natural enough that the influence of environment should be reflected in very clear and marked changes in its external morphology, as well as in its physiological action.

The influences of light, drought and heat have a profound effect on its growth. Seeds from the same stock will produce, in the North of France, plants two metres high; in the alluvial plains of Piedmont, or in Virginia, the plants will grow to from three and a half to four metres; while in Northern Africa they are barely one and a half metres in height. Equally marked differences will be found in the formation of textile fibres and the production of resin. Mr. Schaffer ( Botanical Gazette, Chicago, 1921, vol. 71, pp. 197-219) has even noted that hemp sown in the winter and exposed to a weak light has its sexual characteristics disordered, many flowers becoming hermaphoditic. As early as 1855, Muller reported that hemp grown by him at Patna had, in certain unfavourable conditions, become monoecious.

Rumphius had already noticed, in 1660, that Indian hemp cultivated at a certain altitude differed from that of Europe. Lamarck[20] and Sonnerat[16] were convinced that the genus Cannabis included several species. Lamarck even claimed that Indian hemp possessed opposite leaves while European hemp had alternate ones. There is no truth in that statement, and it will be seen that the phyllotaxic arrangement of the hemp plant varies according to whether the lower or upper portion is considered ( J. Bouquet, 1912).

Different varieties

The changes, some of them considerable, which Cannabis undergoes in order to adapt itself to the very varying conditions of the districts into which it has been introduced, led to the mistaken belief that different species existed. Attempts were made to differentiate between the varieties known as C. erratica (Silv:), C. Foetens (Gilibert), C. lupulus (Scop:), C. macrosperma (Stock), C. gigantea (Lapin), C. excelsa, C. compressa (Husson), C. sinensis (Delille) etc.

Today, after the work of Forskall, Delille, Figari, Christison,[22] Baillon and others, botanists admit only a single species, Cannabis sativa L., including the two (or three) following varieties (see League of Nations document 1542 r, p. 2):

  1. The vulgaris variety (or Cannabis sativa, var. typica): annual herbaceous plant; five to seven folioles; female inflorescences not very thick and not much contracted. Greyish achene with tegument having a very fine white webbing, height not more than 1.70 metres to 2 metres in temperate climates.

  2. The indica variety: annual suffrutescent plant with five, seven, nine or sometimes eleven folioles; female inflorescences very thick, condensed and contracted. Achene small, the tegument having black spots and discs, on a yellowish ground. Very high stalk (up to approximately 4 metres) in plants grown in the plains or in hot, damp climates, but not over 1.50 metres in wild plants or those grown in high cold districts or hot but dry regions.

  3. The sinensis variety, created by Delille and still accepted by certain botanists, should be rejected. Its characteristics make it akin to the sativa variety from which it only differs by its height: 4-6 metres (??). Introduced into France in 1827, it there rapidly acquired the characteristics of the typica variety.

It is true that, on the ground of slight morphological differences, a considerable number of varieties of Cannabis could easily be distinguished; but it should be remembered that the characteristics of hemp are very readily modified in cultivation, or by removal to different surroundings. The experiments of Christison and Hope in England (1847), and of J. Bouquet in France (1912), have shown that plants grown from seed brought from India become, after two or three generations, completely similar to indigenous plants. The converse also holds good (experiments of Gastinel, of Husson in Cairo, and of Bouquet in Tunis):*

In Egypt, when the Viceroy Mehemet Ali wished to create a navy, he got Cannabis seeds from Europe in order to obtain suitable fibre for cordage. New seed had to be brought periodically, because the hemp-plants obtained soon became incapable of producing good textile fibres. On the other hand, they began to secrete abundant quantities of the inebriating resin.

Thus hemp tends to be similar or different from the characteristic type, according to the conditions in which it is grown.

Aberrant variety

In exceptional cases these changes may appear suddenly, although the causes are difficult to determine. That, for instance, is an explanation of the appearance in the Tunis plantations, in 1936, of the late aberrant variety reported by Dr. J. Bouquet.*

See League of Nations document O.C. 1542 o.19

Whereas the Cannabis cultivated for the Tunis monopolies for the manufacture of hemp for smoking, which is sown in March, is harvested on reaching complete maturity in July, a number of plants grown from seed of the same origin, and sown at the same time, do not flower and reach maturity till September. These latter plants yield less resin and more fibre.

Seeds from this aberrant variety, carefully collected in 1937, gave a crop, in Tunis in 1938, which retained all the same characteristics. Tests have been made by the United States Bureau of Narcotics with the same seeds: the plants flowered in August, when they were only 1.20 metres in height, but they did not mature until November, i.e., much later than the other varieties, which ripen about September.


In any case, all varieties of Cannabis have textile fibres of varying industrial value, and all produce physiologically active resin in varying quantities.

The cultivation of hemp requires special care. The following is the method recommended by Professor Goris and J. Demilly for hemp intended for the pharmaceutical industry ( Les remèdes galéniques, Paris, 1925, p. 926):

"The choice of ground is important: hemp-plants strike out many tap-roots; the soil must therefore be light, loose and at the same time full of substance. The only preparation necessary is tilling and manuring. At least three tillings are necessary; the first takes place before the winter, the second in the spring when weeds are beginning to grow, and the third a day or two before the sowing, about the beginning of May or June (in North Africa there are only two tillings, and sowing takes place at the end of March).

"The choice of fertilizers depends on the nature of the soil: horse-manure, well mixed with other fertilizers, is suitable for heavy land; cow- or sheep manure is better for light soils. (In Tunis a mixture of farmyard manure and superphosphates is used.) The sowing is in lines 20 cm. apart (in North Africa, 60 cm.). The arrangement in lines makes hoeing and thinning easier. The latter operation should be effected as soon as the hemp has its first two leaves; care should be taken, when superfluous plants are being pulled up, not to lay bare the roots of those near by.

"Once the hemp has reached a certain height, it grows rapidly. The male and female plants come up at the same time; but the former, though thinner, are taller until they have almost reached maturity. Their growth then stops. They blossom and spread their pollen on the female flowers, thus ensuring fertilization. They soon turn yellow,and their vegetation is practically at an end. (In the Tunis plantations they are then pulled up and destroyed, as their resin content is too weak.) The vegetative period of the female plants is longer: they are harvested about a month after the others. In Europe, harvesting takes place at the end of September, and in North Africa in July.)

*And in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, the Indian uplands, Mexico, etc.

"Drying in the open air takes five or six days in fine weather. If hot-air dryers are used, the plants can be dried within twenty-four hours."


To sum up: there is only one species of hemp (Cannabis sativa), of which Cannabis indica is only a variety. Both varieties have textile fibres and oleaginous seeds, and are capable of providing inebriant resin if the circumstances of habitat and climate provide the necessary conditions.


Appearance of the resinous glands

It is during the period of flowering and fruiting that the Indian hemp plant should be examined in order to study the process of resin formation.

  1. Until it is on the point of flowering, the plant only shows

  1. Unicellular covering hairs-long, thin and ending in a sharp point. Rare up to the age of one month (in North Africa) or two months (in temperate climates), they subsequently increase progressively, and are particularly abundant on the floriferous axes, where they form a silky down (see "Marihuana: Its Identification");[40]

  2. Short hairs, swollen at the base, and set in the surrounding epidermic cells: their extremities are blunt: they generally contain calcium carbonate cystoliths. They are to be found for the most part on the upper surface of the bracts and leaves, and sometimes also on the lower surface of the limb.

  1. When the female plant is about to flower, its tops, which already have large quantities of covering hairs, become covered with a multitude of pluricellular glandulose hairs. They appear to the eye as minute, shiny points. Their number is so great (in North Africa)* that the tops appear to be shining with dew: they are then so sticky that they have only to be pressed between the fingers for their various parts to stick together in a single mass: the fingers are left sticky and with a strong smell.

When the male plants flower, identical glandulose hairs appear, but in smaller numbers, on the leaves near the top, the bracts and the inflorescence axes ( Dr. J. Bouquet, 1912[21] ).

Morphology of the secretive hairs

If examined at the moment when the female flower is fully developed, these organs (which are reminiscent of the glandulose hairs of the Labiates) are found to have a globular head formed by four cells with voluminous kernels, with abundant protoplasm. They do not contain any chlorophyll pigments, but secrete an oleoresin which, seen through the microscope, is of a light amber colour. The base is constituted by two cubical cells, which likewise contain no chlorophyll and are themselves supported by two wedge-shaped epidermic cells.

These hairs grow and vary in appearance, for, at a more advanced stage, their heads include eight, and sometimes as many as twelve to sixteen, cells arranged radially.

They also vary in shape according to their position on the plant: for instance, on the outer surface of the bracts of the female inflorescence and on the axes of those inflorescences, the hairs attain a considerable development and have a distinctive appearance: they take the form of an elongated stem of homogeneous parenchyma, surmounted (like a mushroom) by an almost hemispherical top, consisting of eight to sixteen cells full of resin. Sometimes, on the other hand (especially on the lower surface of the leaves at the top of the plant), the stem does not develop, and the gland is reduced to a flat round head of eight to ten cells, which appears to be stuck on to the surface of the epidermis.

When the fresh plant is examined under the microscope, it is easily seen that the content of these secretive hairs is a liquid. In dry samples there is no longer any liquid, but a solid resinous mass.

These pluricellular glandulose hairs are the external secretive organs which perform the function of preparing the resin.

Location of the resin

The oleoresin secreted is stored between the cuticle, which it dilates, and the central part of the cell. It is easy to understand that, if the temperature is very high or the secretion very abundant, turgescence increases, the cuticle tears, and the oleoresin spreads over the surface of the bract, leaf or branch, where it dries. That explains the method of harvesting still in use today in certain parts of Asia, where the cultivators, dressed in leather, go about in the plantations at the hottest time of the day, in order that the resin may sick to their clothes or to the leather thongs which they draw over the tops of the plants.


Besides these glands the hemp plant also possesses other secretive organs, less important it is true, but none the less deserving of mention, namely, the laticifers, to which attention was first drawn by Meurisse (in his thesis "Le Hachich", Paris, 1891) as existing in the liber of the terminal portion of the adult stalks. J. Bouquet,[21] in 1912, showed that laticifers were present in all the vegetative parts of the plant (on both sides of the cambium at the level of the inflorescences, and lower down in the pericyclic region of the stalks, and also in the neighbourhood of the veins of the leaves).

These inarticulate laticifers have a homogeneous content of the same appearance and colour as the content of the glandulose hairs, and it is therefore possible that they assist in the preparation of the resinous element of Cannabis. However, the researches of J. Bouquet, confirmed by MM. Fahmy and A. El Keiy,[26] have shown that the laticifers secrete only an extremely small proportion of the resin in comparison with the glandulose hairs, and that there is no evidence that this substance is of a similar composition to that of the resin from the external glands.*

However, although it has hitherto been impossible to establish that the content of the laticifers has a similar composition to that of the resin secreted by the glands and consequently an inebriating property, and although it is obvious that the content can only be extracted by a solvent, it might nevertheless one day perhaps be possible to use the stalks as raw materials for extracting a substance which in its original state, or transformed, or modified, could be used by drug-addicts. It would therefore be wise to plan measures of restriction and control in the case of trade in Indian hemp stalks when hemp is grown in districts where the resin yield is at all considerable.

Duration of the resinous secretion

The production of resin, it will be seen, is most intense between the time when the flowers begin to appear and the time when the seeds are completely mature: it ceases when the seeds are ripe.

Variation and function of the resinous secretion

This secretion of resin does not vary in different varieties of hemp, but depends largely on climatic conditions. Non-existent or negligible in Northern Europe, it becomes considerable in the same variety of hemp when grown in hot, dry climates.

Mr. H. Burkill, Director of the Botanical Control Office in Calcutta, has noted, in connexion with hemp grown on the high plateaux of Chinese Turkestan, that permanent lack of moisture and low barometric pressure promote an excessive secretion of resin in that part of the world.*

It may be the content of these laticifers which is responsible for the fact that very young male or female plants sometimes give positive Beam, Bouquet, Ghamrawy and Duquénois reactions, even when they are still too young to have developed the glandulose resin-secretive hairs on their surface.

The fact is that the production of resin is primarily a defensive reaction of the plant against high temperature and lack of moisture in the atmosphere.** When the female flowers are blossoming, and at the time when the ripened and enlarged ovaries are about to provide shelter for the formation and development of the seeds, it is a vital necessity for the plant that the particular part in which those processes are going to take place should be protected from the danger of desiccation. Therefore it is at this period that the activity of the resin glands becomes intense: owing to the exudation of resin, the female tops are, as it were, smeared over with a protective coating, under which the life-giving sap of the plant can bring to the fertilized ovules those elements which are essential to their development. An insulating "protective varnish" is necessary, so the plant secretes it.

Where the drought is not so severe (whether the necessary water comes from the subsoil or the atmosphere), the plant does not need to devote its activity to the production of resin. The vegetative apparatus (leaves) and maintenance apparatus (fibres and stalks) develop to an increased extent; the plants are thicker and higher: but they produce less resin. In 1938, at Sedjenane (Tunis) hemp plants from the same lot of seeds were grown, some of them on a dry plateau, and some in a hollow where the subsoil had retained a certain amount of moisture. The climatic conditions were of course the same, as the two crops were only a few hundred yards apart. But the plants sown on the plateau did not grow higher than 1.50 metres; the others grew to 2 metres.

Production of fibres

The fibres only develop well when the plant suffers neither from excessive heat nor, more particularly, from drought. This leads to the following conclusions:

  1. If Cannabis is to be cultivated for the production of resin, plantations should be in hot, dry districts (especially those where there is no rain at the time of flowering and fruiting). The fibre produced is practically useless industrially, being hard, short and brittle. These are the conditions prevailing in Tunis, Morocco, Lebanon, certain parts of Iran, etc.;

  2. If the object is to obtain textile fibre with a high industrial value, hot, damp climates must be chosen for the plantations (as in the case with the hemp grown in the plains of India). In temperate climates valuable fibre is also obtained, but the crops are always better in hot rainy years;

In her study on the Cannabis of Lebanon, Miss E. Safi[27] notes that hemp cultivated in the plains gradually loses the property of supplying active resin. Generally speaking, a certain altitude is required for resin production (hashish).

See League of Nations document O.C. 1542 o.

  1. It is essential, particularly in the case of hemp grown in hot, damp districts, to remember that if the object is to obtain textile fibre the crop should be cut when the male plants start flowering. At the time of flowering, the hemp (like all plants) devotes its whole energy to the perpetuation of the species. The fibres do not then develop any more, and the yield of textile fibre will not increase. It is therefore better to harvest at that period, when the production of resin-if it takes place-is still slight.

This method has, of course, the disadvantage of sacrificing the seed, the market value of which is far from negligible. There is only one solution for the problem-to allow cultivation with a view to obtaining seed for industrial purposes in temperate districts only, where scarcely any resin is produced.

II. Drugs obtained from Indian Hemp

Drug-addicts use three kinds of hemp product:

  1. The flowering tops (containing a portion of the leaves);

  2. The resin secreted by the tops;

  3. Complex mixtures in which Cannabis or its resin are associated with synergic substances, spices, aromatic substances and various excipients.


( leaves and flowering tops)


Bhang, Ganja, (India)

Kif, (Algeria, Morocco)

Takrouri, (Tunis)

Kabak, (Turkey)

Hashish el Keif, (Syria, Lebanon)

Djamba, Liamba, Riamba, (Central Africa, Brazil)

Dagga, (Southern Africa)

Marihuana, (North America)

Suruma, (Mozambique) Rongony (Madagascar)

Maconha, (Brazil) etc.

All these names are used to designate the tops and leaves of the female Cannabis which have not undergone any form of treatment except drying and sometimes chopping.


Bhang is the product obtained in India by drying leaves plucked while still green. Some kinds are made of leaves only, while others are mixed with male and female inflorescences. The whole substance is often reduced to a coarse powder. Bhang contains about 15 per22 cent of water, and does not keep well; protected from the sunlight and the action of moist air it may keep for three to four years.

Bhang is regarded as an inferior-quality drug, and is seldom smoked.* Watery ( buengh or poust) and alcoholic ( lutki) macerations are prepared from it. Lutki with an addition of opium and datura to strengthen its effect is called mudra. A kind of electuary is prepared from it with rice flour of Salep obtained from the bulbs of Eulophia ( Orchidaceae) and the addition of spices and aromatic substances. Bhang is sometimes used in the preparation of native remedies.


Ganja consists of the flowering and fertilized tops of the wild or cultivated female plants.

There are three kinds of ganja:

  1. Flat ganja. The cut stalks are tied together in bundles, the large leaves are eliminated, and only the inflorescences, which are stuck together by the exuded resin, are kept. The bundles of inflorescences are placed on the ground and trampled underfoot to flatten them. The bundles are then untied, and the product sorted and packed under the name of Large flat or Ewig-flat, according to the length and breadth of the stems.

  2. Round ganja. Instead of being trampled underfoot, the tops are rolled·in the hands until they have become rounded and tapered in shape. This kind of ganja is always packed in bundles (generally of twentyfour pieces).

  3. Chur-ganja, or Rora. The tops, detached intentionally from the plants, or accidentally from the flat or round ganja, constitute what is known as Rora. This is generally delivered to the consumer in the form of a coarse powder.

Some people consider Guaza to be synonymous with Ganja; others hold that it indicates an inferior quality coming from Bombay.

Ganja has a pronounced fetid smell, much appreciated by addicts. The only variety that reaches Europe is the Flat ganja. The other two kinds are consumed in the regions where they are produced. For the most part, they are smoked.

Kif, Takrouri, etc.

Kif, Takrouri, Kabak, Hashish-el-Ke?j, Djamba, Dagga, and Marihuana are synonymous terms. They are used to designate the female tops of wild and cultivated hemp, reduced to some form of coarse powder. They are smoked in pipes or in cigarettes, mixed with tobacco or alone.*

In India it is used by beggars and poor fakirs for chewing, and plays an important part in the rituals of many Hindu temples, being regarded as a sacred plant.

In certain countries (e.g., Tunis and Morocco), the drug is a State monopoly.

If the consumer prepares his drug himself, he merely removes the seeds, large leaves and large inflorescence axes from the tops, and crushes the remainder in the palm of his hand. In the case of a State monopoly (as in Tunis), after the leaves and seeds have been eliminated, the tops are ground in a mortar and sifted.

In America, the tops are also coarsely pulverized before being mixed with tobacco (see: Marihuana:,Its Identification-plate 31).[40]


The crude resin of Indian hemp is known in Asia by the name of Charas (more rarely, Churrus); in the Levant as Hashish; in French North Africa as Chira; and in the Egyptian Sudan as Kamonga.

The resin is a product which exudes spontaneously in minute drops-which become solid on exposure to the air-on the tops of Indian hemp plants (especially the female plants) growing in hot, dry districts. It is generally sold compressed into lumps of various shapes.

Central Asia, India

Although Cannabis (both wild and cultivated) grows abundantly in Hindustan, there is very little production of charas. Until recent years most of the latter came from Central Asia (Chinese Turkestan), and the principal market was at Yarkand.

There the charas grown on the northern spurs of the Chung-Kyr mountains and bought in Khotan, Zanju, Kugiar and Karghalik was collected. Kashgar was the main depot for the crops bought at Yangi-hissar and Rabat Kupriuk and grown on the last shoulders of the Pamir and the southern slopes of the Tianshan mountains.

From Yarkand, caravans brought the charas into the upper Indus valley, following the famous Black Jade road (Kara-Kash), which crosses the formidable Kara-koram pass at a height of 5,562 metres and goes on to Leh. (This trade was conducted under licence from the Government of the Punjab, issued by the British Commissioner in Leh).

Charas likewise came from Central Asia through the Chitral pass. A certain amount also came through Peshawar. There was a large illicit market in Bajaur; the drug was brought there by caravans across Afghan territory.

It has been pointed out[50] that at Laghouat (Southern Algeria) a variety of the drug used for sniffing is so1d. In addition to Cannabis this contains a certain proportion of the following mixture: powdered Souf tobacco, leaves of Araar ( Juniperus oxycedrus) pulverized into ashes of Remt ( Haloxylum articulum, chenopodiaceae).

Exportation to Russian Turkestan (market at Samarkand), Afghanistan and Iran used to take place from Yarkand and Kashgar by the old "Silk Road", passing through the upper valleys of the two rivers Kizil-su (Red Waters), which open up like broad trenches between the Ala? and the Trans-Ala? at a height of over 3,000 metres.


  1. From uncut plants: at the time when the seeds are formed, the cultivators, dressed in leather, move about through the plantations. The resin sticks to their clothes, which are scraped from time to time with a blunt curved knife. This method of collection shows clearly that in those regions the plant does not grow to any great height.

In other parts of the world, all that is done is to drag strips of leather, attached to a handle like a cat o'nine tails, over the plants; or to roll the resinous female tops between the palms of the hand, the charas being collected by scraping the fingers on the edge of some receptacle.

These methods produce a superior quality of charas.

  1. From cut plants: a second crop is obtained by threshing the plants, which, after being pulled up, are placed to dry on hurdles. The charas falls in the form of dust which is collected on pieces of cloth.

A similar method is employed in the Levant for the preparation of Hashish ( Chira) .In other parts of the world, the cut tops are pressed between coarse cloths, to which the resin sticks. The first process produces the quality known as Sighirma.By repeating the treatment with more energetic rubbing, a less valuable product called Hurdais obtained.

In Chinese Turkestan, the newly-dried tops are given three successive rubbings between fine matting. The produce of the first rubbing constitutes the superior quality known as Rup.The second gives Tahgalim,which is less highly valued; and the third produces Ganja,which is of very little commercial value.


The impure crude resin obtained by these different processes undergoes various forms of treatment before being offered for consumption. (See D. Hooper [32] .)

Sometimes the resin, after sifting, is kneaded with a little water into a lump, which is left to dry in some dark but well-aired place. It is then cut up into sheets, 3-6 cm. thick. These are dark brown outside and a lighter brown inside. If the resin is that collected from uncut plants (i.e., the very best quality), the paste, while still sticky, is kneaded by hand in copper pans, dirt and impurities are eliminated, and the substance is divided up into little lumps ( guabza),which are often given the form of sticks, sometimes flat and sometimes tapering, weighing from 30 to 40 grammes. This variety is rare, and is greatly valued in the illicit traffic in the East.

In Chinese Turkestan, when charas is collected from the cut plants, it takes the form of a greenish-yellow powder, which is sifted so as to get rid of waste vegetable tissues and impurities. It is generally packed in cloth, and sometimes in skin bags, which are steamed above a pan of water. When cooled and compressed, the substance gradually agglutinates and forms a compact and resonant block. The same method of preparation is used in Asia Minor, Syria and the Lebanon.


Traders and addicts can easily tell whether charas has been collected from uncut plants or from those which have been cut and dried; in any case, the first kind is always more expensive.

First quality (obtained from uncut plants). Small sticks or cakes weighing not more than 150 to 200 grammes. The colour is brown and becomes deeper with age. The consistency is slightly granular. On the surface there are often lines and fingerprints owing to the fact that the cakes have been kneaded by hand.

The fresh product has a heady and agreeable smell, reminiscent of Calamus aromaticus ( E. Lépinois[31] ),or of mint ( D. Hooper[32] , J Bouquet) .When the drug becomes old, this scent gradually grows weaker, until it changes to a slight sweetish odour which becomes offensive in very old samples. However, even in the case of stale samples, the characteristic smell of Cannabis is clearly perceptible on exposure to heat.

Second quality (obtained from cut plants). Is generally found in fairly large lumps of a brownish-grey or sometimes greenish colour, which do not crumble easily, but can be cut without difficulty, showing a smooth and shiny section. The smell is little different from that of the first variety.

This quality of charas is generally sold in cloth or skin bags weighing from 1 to 1? kg. When the bags have been filled with powder, they are exposed for a few moments to steam from boiling water, then stacked one on top of another and subjected to strong pressure, which turns them into flattened packets (the Turbahsof the Levant) with rounded edges, about 25 cm. long by 15 to 16 cm. wide and 4 to 5 cm. thick.

Whatever its origin, charas deteriorates if it is not kept away from damp.

The Levant and Northern Africa

The Cannabis resin which constitutes the charas of India is known by the names of Hashish(in Egypt, Asia Minor and Syria) and Chira(in Northern Africa). Chira (hashish) has the same qualities as those of the Indian charas (second quality). The method of preparing it is rather like that employed in Sin Kiang.*

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Hashish (Chira) is found in the illicit traffic in the form of flattened bags (Turbahs),the weight of which varies from half a kilogramme to two kilogrammes, and in the form of "soles" weighing not more than 250 grammes. When packed in the form of thin soles, Chira could be brought in by smugglers who hid it in their shoes. The "Turbahs" and "soles" often bore an inscription mentioning the name of the manufacturer and the place of origin. At the present time, distinctive marks (aeroplane, lion, etc.) are sometimes found, together with short particulars of origin.

Microscopic examination

If a small quantity of charas (chira or hashish) is observed under the microscope, it appears to be almost entirely formed of hairs, whole or broken, stuck in yellowish or brown shapeless lumps and mixed with fragments of vegetable tissue (bracts, bits of inflorescence axes and leaves); crystalline substances (fragments of cystoliths of calcium carbonate, and isolated or twinned crystals of oxalate of calcium) are also found to be present.


Charas (chira, hashish) is chiefly used for smoking. It is also used in the preparation of mixtures and electuaries for ingestion (these will be studied later on).


Charas (chira, hashish) is infinitely more dangerous than natural hemp. There is nothing surprising in this. Whereas the female hemp tops contain at the most 8 to 12 per cent of crude resin, the content of charas (chira, hashish) is about 40 per cent, if not adulterated.


Cf. Annual Reports of the Cairo Narcotics Intelligence Bureau, passim, and League of Nations documents 1542 d and 1542 o.


It is very difficult to catalogue the innumerable preparations that have been devised by hashish-addicts, for although they are often very similar they are called by quite different names in different districts.

According to P. Lys55,Cannabis is grown clandestinely in the Lebanon, particularly in the areas of Zahla, Ras-Balbeck and even Homs. The Western exposure of the Lebanese mountain chain is less favourable because of the humid winds from the sea. Four varieties of hashish (chira) are prepared in the Lebanon:

First quality; Hashish Zahra (or Zahret el Kolch), brown: second quality; Zahret el Assa, light brown: third and fourth qualities; greenish-yellow or green, not so coherent, and much more crumbly.


(North Africa)

( R’guila Gargara)


Polished Coconut (Nargil: hence "narghile" applied to all varieties of water smoking-pipes).

Lateral Reed Tube

Jabbad, through which smoke is inhaled by the smoker.

Vertical Tube

S?ri, made of carved wood.

Bowl of clay

Hajar, at top of S?ri: a little chopped tobacco is put in, then with the metal pincers a few bits of red-hot charcoal and fragments of Chira (Charas, Hachich). The smoke gets through the layer of orange blossom water (Mazar), or rosewater (M? Ouard) or simply water (M?) in the container; one inhales slowly and deeply through the jabbad.

The Chira itself was enclosed in a small linen bag bearing the mark "Stamboul extra". This bag was given the shape of a sole which traffickers used to place inside their shoes to evade customs and police search.

They can be divided into three categories:

  1. Complex drugs for smoking;

  2. Preparations for drinking;

  3. Sweetmeats and electuaries for eating.

These products are not used in the illicit export trade. They are prepared as and when required by local customers in the various countries where they are consumed, the reason being that such mixtures generally only keep for a short time, and the tastes of consumers vary from district to district.

When one of these products is referred to as "Egyptian ma'agun", for instance, it would be more accurate to say "electuary of the ma'agun type", because out of every ten samples no two will be found with exactly the same resin content, taste, colour, or consistency. The Tunisian majun and the Turkish or Syrian majun are of the ma'agun type, but do not contain the same spices and condiments. The same applies in the case of the "Dawamesk type" and "Helwa type" of mixtures and the small sticks for smoking of the "Hashish Kafur type".

It is therefore impossible to draw up a complete list of such products. A summary classification is adequate.

For the manufacture of all these drugs, the substance preferred is charas (chira, hashish); but if that cannot be obtained, the natural tops are used, although they are less rich in resin.

  1. Preparations for smoking

The commonest preparation of this kind used to be called "Hashish Kafur". This type consists of small thin sticks from 5 to 10 cm. long, made from powdered charas (chira, hashish) with the addition of opium and sweet-smelling substances.

Some of them contain, in addition to, or instead of, opium, the leaves of various Solanaceae (such as henbane and datura.

When the sticks are to be used, they are broken into small pieces, which are introduced into cigarettes.

The Anassaor Nassain Russia, mentioned by Dr. Stringaris[33] was probably a product of this type34, 35

  1. Preparations for drinking

There are two classes of such preparations:

  1. The Assis type. A maceration of leaves or tops in cold or tepid water. As Cannabis resin is insoluble in water, these mixtures can only have an effect if they contain a high proportion of the plant. For that reason, the plant is generally crushed in a mortar and the necessary quantity of water added to obtain a fluid paste. The whole is then swallowed.

  2. Esrar type. These are alcoholic macerations (the resin is soluble in alcohol) which are mixed in various proportions with perfumed syrups or jams diluted in distilled water of roses, jasmine, or orange-blossom.

Bers (or berch), chastig, and chats-raki(with a basis of alcohol scented with anise) are of the Esrar type. Each manufacturer has his own secret formulae. These products are not exported.

League of Nations document 1724 b, quotes Sinka renko[36] as stating that a drink of the Esrar type appears already to be doing great harm in Asiatic Russia.

  1. Preparations for eating

It is to the preparation of this variety of product that the clandestine manufacturers have devoted the greatest ingenuity. There is a considerable number of such prod-ducts and full use has been made of sweet-making recipes.

  1. Manzul type. About 10 per cent of charas (hashish) is mixed with oil of sesame, to which cocoa-butter is often added. The mixture is then worked into a thick paste with powdered chocolate and a mixture of crushed spices and condiments.

Some recipes use crushed almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazel-nuts, and pine-seeds; others use nutmeg, ginger, pepper, cloves and cinnamon; others again use the seeds of celery, onion, garden cress and quince. It all depends on the social status of the prospective purchaser. It should be noted that most of these substances have a reputation as aphrodisiacs in Arab medicine.

The mixture is kneaded by hand into a thick paste, which is flattened and cut up into small discs 1 cm. thick and 3 cm. in diameter.

These discs are intended to be slowly chewed.

The Helwa(Haloua, Heloua) have a composition similar to that of Manzul. They are harmless sweetmeats, and have a large sale in the Mediterranean Basin. Sometimes chira (hashish), opium, nux vomica, cantharides etc., are added to them extemporaneously.

  1. Ma'agun type. Synonyms: Magoon (India), Majun (Turkey), Madjun (North Africa). This type is fairly similar to Manzul in preparation. Honey is added to a mixture of chira (hashish), spices and aphrodisiacs. Then gum-arabic powder is added, until a hard paste is obtained, which is divided into pellets for swallowing.

  2. Dawamesk type. The Cannabis tops or chira (hashish) powder are put to simmer in butter at a moderate heat. The butter is very often replaced by sweet almond or sesame oil. The mixture is then strained. The fatty extract thus obtained is flavoured with mace, cinna mon, cloves, musk or various essences. Aphrodisiacs (nux vomica, cantharides, etc.) are often added. *

Mapushari is a compound of the same kind, generally with an addition of powder and essence of roses.

The products known in various regions as Mosmok, Mosjuk, Teriaki, Banghia, Malak, Assyuni and Teridka belong to the same category.

  1. Garawish type. This is a paste, which cracks between the teeth. Chira (hashish) powder is mixed with well-cooked syrup, opium and Datura Stramonium being sometimes added. It is scented with various essences and spices (vanilla, cloves, cardamoms cinnamon etc.). It is thickened over a gentle fire and then emptied onto an oiled marble slab. The mixture solidifies on cooling and is then cut up.

Formerly, kinds of barley sugar prepared in a similar way could be obtained in Tunis.

Other sweetmeats which are commonly sold in the Levant and North Africa serve on occasion as vehicles for the drug, e.g.:

  1. Stuffed dates. The confectioner splits the date, takes out the stone, and replaces it by a paste which is coloured green and made of almonds, pistachios and sugar. In the illicit traffic, dates have been found in which the paste used for filling contained chira powder.

  2. Rahat Lokum (Turkish Delight): a very common sweetmeat made of starch, sugar and water and flavoured with essences (orange, lemon, rose, banana etc.). Pistachios and almonds are added. The product is semi-soft, and is sold in the form of parallelepipedal pieces rolled in a mixture of sugar and starch.

J. Bouquet has had the opportunity of analysing three samples of Turkish Delight, one of which contained chira powder, and the other two very finely-powdered Cannabis tops.

  1. Kiste Kibarfi, Misari, Kulfi (India and occasionally Egypt), Briji, Capsh, Ikinji and Zahra (Syria, Palestine) are forms of sweets containing Cannabis.

The above are the best known preparations. They are however, only typical recipes. No short list would be comprehensive. The makers and sellers of the drugs spend their time in thinking out recipes that will attract and keep their customers.

A. CHARNOT[29] ( La Toxicologie au Maroc, 1945) gives the formula of a Majoun-Dawamesk type electuary well known in Morocco:

Shelled almonds
Shelled walnuts
Malaguetta pepper
Datura seeds
Belladonna berries
Cannabis tips

The fruits, seeds and tips are pulverized and mixed with butter and honey.

The average dose would be about two coffee spoonfuls after meals.


Hemp resin is not used in medicine, any more than in industry, except occasionally in the native medicines of the countries where it is collected and those where it is consumed.

Pharmaceutical preparations

On the other hand, the female tops of Cannabis (indica variety) still appear in the official Pharmacopoeias of various States, as do Alcoholic tincture of Indian hemp and alcoholic extract ( firm or soft) of Indian hemp. (Cannabis and its preparations, which are included in the XIth edition of the Pharmacopoeia of the United States, have been removed from the XIIth edition.)

Besides the above preparations, the following forms are found in trade:

Hydro-alcoholic extract of Cannabis,

Ethereal extract of Cannabis,

Pure, washed resin (Hashishin, Cannabine),

Fatty extract of hashish,

Alcoholic fluid extract of Cannabis,

Ethereal tincture of Cannabis.

In medical practice, Cannabis and its preparations at one time enjoyed a vogue which was not perhaps very justifiable. The results obtained from their use in therapeutics do not seem to show that they are indispensable. *

Use in phytotherapy

In 1922, the Chemiker Zeitung (10-12, p. 29) mentioned the use of preparations with a basis of Cannabis leaves as insecticides. The leaves and stalks are dried at as low a temperature as possible, and the desiccated product is reduced to a very fine powder.

The powder thus obtained, when spread on pieces of material, woollen cloths, etc., or sprayed over plants, was said to protect them from the attacks of insects.

An alcoholic or ethereal extract may also be prepared from dried hemp leaves. Such extracts, diluted in a vaporisable solvent, are used in sprays.

There is also a reference, on page 50 of League of Nations document O.C. 1542, to the use of Cannabis for the destruction of caterpillars in the Netherlands Indies.

The medical systems of India (Ayurvedic and Unani) make much use of Cannabis as a sedative, hypnotic, analgesic, anti-spasmodic and anti-hemorrhoidal. It is also a popular medicant reputed to be beneficial against rheumatisms, blennorrhagia, malaria, diarrhoea and mental disorders.[66]


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  1. Fragment of bract with pointed unicellular covering hairs and hairs with cystoliths of calcium carbonate.

  2. Fragment of epidermis with a broken cystolithic hair and twin crystals of calcium oxalate.

  3. Four resin-secreting hairs seen from the front: one is still swollen with resin, two are empty and the fourth (beside figure 3) still has its cuticle.

  4. Fragment of pedicel of a secretory hair.

  5. Three secretory hairs: two pedicellate, one sessile: the oleo-resin is swelling and dilating the cuticle.

  6. Fragment of upper epidermis of leafstalk with cystolithic hair.

  7. Two detached cystolithic hairs: one intact, the other broken.

  8. Fragment of lower epidermis of leaf or bract with two covering hairs and two reniform stomata.

  9. Fragment of fruit bract with a covering hair and two secretory hairs in different stages of development; two twin crystals of calcium oxalate in the parenchyma; stoma on left extremity.

  10. Fragment of lower epidermis of inflorescent bract: three reni-form stomata, one young sessile secretory hair with cuticle (seen from the front).

  11. Two broken unicellular covering hairs; three small pieces of solidified resin.

  12. Fragment of floral peduncle with two spiral vessels and one pitted vessel; twin crystals of calcium oxalate and a group of three sclerified cells. On the right, broken spiral vessels such as are frequently found in the preparations.

  13. Isolated and twin crystals of calcium oxalate.

  14. A pedicellate secretory hair; the cuticle is broken and has released its oleoresin.

Note: The same elements are found in the chira, charas and hashish preparations. However, the fragments of tissues are much less numerous; on the other hand, there is a large number of the various types of hairs and of pieces of solidified resin (II). There are also numerous amber-coloured droplets of emulsified resin.


The most complete bibliographical indexes appear in: E. PASCAL, "Contribution à l'étude du chanvre indien", Pharmacy Thesis, Toulouse, 1934 (400 references). R. P. WALTON, "Marihuana, America's New Drug Problem", J. B. Lippincott Co., New York, 1938 (438 references). The most recent index (83 references) appears at the end of Dr. P.O. WOLFF'S: "Marihuana in Latin America: the Threat it Constitutes", The Linacre Press, Washington, 1949.

References to documents of the:

League of Nations 2nd International Opium Conference, Geneva, 17 November 1924, 19 February 1925;

Records of the 2nd Opium Conference: 16th, 27th, 31st, 34th meetings, 2 volumes, C.760.M.260. 1924.XI;

Second International Opium Conference, ODC 55 (memorandum submitted by Dr. A. Mahfooz Bey);

Report ODC 72 (1), submitted by Prof. E. Perrot;

League of Nations: Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs:

May 1934 to March 1938-document O.C. 1542 to 1542 Z;

March 1938 to July 1938-document 1724 and addenda-1724 A, 1724 B,1746 (1);

January 1939 to July 1939-document O.C./Cannabis/1 to O.C./Cannabis/12; alinea and to United Nations documents E/CN.7/W.37, 11 May 1948: Study on Cannabis sativa: item 14 of the agenda, 3rd session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs; WHO/APO/21 27 April 1950. (Report by Drs. Cordeiro de Farias and Filho de Paneiras, on Cannabis Smokers. Text in Portuguese and English.)


E. BRETSCHNEIDER, "Botanicum sinicum", Journal North China Branch, Shanghai; Royal Asiatic Society, 1890-1891, 25-66.


DR. J. CONTENAU, "La divination chez les Assyriens et les Babyloniens", Payot, Paris, 1940, page 49 et seq.


F. HESSLER, "Ayurvedas", Erlangen, 1844, vol. III.


STA: JULIEN, "Substance anésthésique employée en Chine dans le commencement du IIIème sièle pour paralyser momentanément la sensibilité", Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris, 1849, p. 195-198.


DIODORUS SICULUS, Eng. trans., Heinemann, London, 1933.


GALEN, "Die alimentorum facultatibus" (book I. ch. 34) and "De Simplicium médica: temperamentis ac facultatibus" (book VII. ch. 10), Kahn, Leipzig, 1823-1826.


ANQUETIL DUPERRON, "Avesta, Vendidad", 1758.


R. GRIFFITH, "The Hymns of the Atharvavedas", translated with a popular commentary, Benares, 1895.


E. KAEMPFER, "Amoenitatum exoticarum . . . fasciculi quinque", 1712.


D' HERBELOT, "Bibliothèque orientale", Paris, 1697.


R. MEUNIER, "Le Hachich", Blond et Cie, Paris, 1909.


CHARDIN, "Voyages de M. le Chevalier Chardin en Perse et autres lieux de I'Orient", J. L. de Lorme, Amsterdam, 1711.


SILVESTRE DE SACY, "Des préparations enivrantes faites avec le Chanvre", Bulletin des Sciences médicales, Paris, 1809, vol. IV, p. 204.


P. C. ROUYER, "Description de l'Egypte et notice sur les médicaments usuels des Egyptiens", Paris, 1809.


J. J. VIREY, "Remède exhilarant . . . selon Homère", Bulletin de Pharmacie, Paris, 1813.


SONNERAT, "Voyage aux Indes et en Chine", Paris, 1802.


O'SHAUGHNESSY, "On the Preparation of the Indian Hemp or Gunjah". Transactions of the Medical and Physical Society, Bengal, 1838.


J. MOREAU DE TOURS, "Du haschich et de l'aliénation mentale", Masson, Paris, 1845.


MÜLLER, "Préparations extraites du Cannabis Sativa dans l'Inde", Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie, 1855, p. 296-298.


J. B. DE LAMARCK, "Encyclopédie méthodique botanique"

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