Botanical name: Cannabis Sativa
Flavor: bitter, pungent, sweet
Cannabis is a dioecious annual that legends dictate the origin as somewhere within the constellation Canis Minor, the companion to Canis Major. The genus name, Cannabis, is thought to originate from the Hebrew Kaneh-Bosm, which translates to aromatic reed, & the Greek name for the cultivar, Kannabis, or Two Dog, the region of the Celestial sphere from which ancient African & Egyptian people relayed the plant was brought. The species name Sativa comes from the Latin Satus, or planting, referring to the plant's long history of cultivation.
The species Cannabis Sativa debatably includes Cannabis Indica & Cannabis Ruderalis, although Cannabis Sativa appears to have been long cultivated for fiber, while Cannabis Indica may have been cultivated for medicinal production & sacrament in particular ritual ceremonies. Cannabis Sativa generally grow into tall, laxly-branched flowering plants, while Cannabis Indica grow compact, bushy, & with broader leaf margins. Cannabis Ruderalis is a less appreciated species, naturally found growing wild in central Asia.
Native to the mountainous regions west of the Himalayas, but widely cultivated, Cannabis Sativa in the wild can reach a height in excess of 12 feet. The leaves are distinct & palmate, usually composed of an odd number of leaflets, from 1 to 13 or so. Initially, branches are thrown in an opposing pattern but become alternate as the plant ages. Male plants are generally taller than females, although female plants tend to be more robust, & have less-lengthy branches than their male counterparts. Female plants produce the highly-resinous imperfect flower clusters capable of producing seed & the males produce the necessary pollen within their flower masses for survival.
As the essential oils within the range of Cannabis vary, so do the effects for each person. Most noted are the dilation of blood vessels & alveoli sacs in the lungs, allowing deeper respiration & an increased heart rate. Lower doses promote a sense of relaxation & are ideal prior to meditation. The flower mass increases levels of phenylethylamine, a monoaminergic neuromodulator & a neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system. It has been used in treatment for AIDS, anorexia, asthma, cerebral palsy, chemotherapy nausea, coughs, depression, epilepsy, glaucoma, insomnia, menstrual cramps, migraines, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, pains, pruritis, & spastic paralysis.
The seeds of Cannabis are rich in protein & omega-3 fatty acids. They lubricate & nourish the colon, & are an essential part of patented Asian formulas for constipation due to dryness. As a laxative, it is considered gentle enough for the elderly & postpartum women. It has also been recommended for menstrual irregularities, postpartum recovery, & recovery from fever, severe vomiting, wasting syndrome, & blood deficiencies such as anemia. The seed oils can be used internally & topically.
Many medical texts have published recommendations on the use of Cannabis to aid sleep, calm the nerves, relieve pain & nausea, & stimulate the appetite. It is most often smoked or vaporized to activate its euphoric effect, however therapeutic effects can be achieved through the ingestion of Cannabis-infused capsules, cuisine, extracts, & tinctures.
Cannabis contains alkaloids, calcium, cannabinoids, essential oils, & flavonoids.