The idea of overcoming worldly pain and miseries has kept engaged the philosophers and scientists of all the age. Psychotropic were in use throughout the history in almost every culture. Cannabis is one of the widely known psychotropic which is natural product and not a drug. Indian government scientists are looking into ways to tap into medical uses of cannabis to help in management of cancer, epilepsy and sickle cell anaemia. Currently clinical trials are being carried out at Tata Memorial Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and a Raipur-based hospital.

Cannabis has first been mentioned a couple of thousand years ago in the Atharva Veda, whereas Ayurveda traditional texts do not mention this plant until the Middle Ages. The ayurvedic names of cannabis are “Vijaya” – ‘the one who conquers’ and “Siddhi” – ‘subtle power’, ‘achievement’. Ayurveda differentiates between three therapeutic parts of the plant. They have somewhat different actions on the body and mind.

Ayurveda prescribes the use of cannabis for the healthy and patients in six forms viz: powder (Churna), round Pills (Modaka), tablets (Vati), linctus (Leha), boiled with milk (Dugdhapaka) and decoctions (Kada). In addition, it is prescribed and traditionally used in various food forms viz, sweet drink (Sarbat), burfee, and laddoo. Cannabis is also used for chewing and it is added to the betel leaves (Pan). Some people used it as smoke (Dhomrapanam).

Ayurveda recommend the use of Cannabis after processing (boiling with milk etc.). In Ayurvedic works, about 51 important formulations containing Cannabis have been described:

In some of these formulations, the part of the Cannabis plant to be used is clearly specified. In some of them the seeds of the plant are used. In some formulations, ayurvedic herbs, metallic and mineral ingredients (Bhasma) are added for synergistic effect. Cannabis is indicated both for the healthy individuals and patients. By the former is used as an aphrodisiac and also as a rejuvenating agent.

Cannabis is indicated in Ayurveda for following conditions:-
(1) Sprue syndrome (Grahani)
(2) Male and female sterility (Bandhyatva)
(3) Impotency (Napunisakatva)
(4) Diarrhoea (Atisar)
(5) Indigestion (Ajirna)
(6) Epilepsy (Apasmar)
(7) Insanity (Unmada)
(8) Colic pain (Shula)

The toxicity of Cannabis is also described in Ayurveda along with management of the toxic effects using therapies and remedies.
Current Research

Cannabis leaves have been found effective in alleviating pain and other symptoms in cancer patients post chemotherapy and radiotherapy, according to a study conducted by an autonomous body under the ministry of AYUSH. The pilot study was carried out by the Central Council For Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) in collaboration with the Gujarat Ayurvedic University, Jamnagar, on patients undergoing treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai.

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