Materia Medica - Cannabis sativa L

In my studies of herbology, one area we focus heavily on is material medicas which is Greek for ‘healing material’. It is the study of the origin and properties of substances used in medicine; more specifically plants for our purposes. 

Utilizing a material medica format for studying plants will provide you with in depth knowledge of where it’s found in the wild, how to harvest it, prepare it and any safety concerns to be aware of. This is immensely important when you want to experience bringing plants into your life for wellness and everyday needs. The number one section to keep in mind is the safety concerns for it covers any interactions a plant may have with pharmaceuticals. Just because a plant is natural doesn’t mean it won’t have any side effects.

Please note that for the sake of sharing materia medicas with you, I will be leaving out the following sections: Geographic Distribution, Chemical Constituents, and Energetics (warming, cooling, drying and moistening).

Botanical (Latin) Name: Cannabis sativa L. – Subspecies: C. Sativa ssp. sativa, C. Sativa ssp. indica, C. Sativa ssp. ruderalis
Common Name: Marijuana
Family: Cannabaceae
Parts Used: Leaves, buds, oil, seeds
Native Region: Central Asia and India
Botanical Description: An annual growing plant that can reach heights of approximately 10’ tall by approximately 3’ wide; it can grow upwards of 20’ in warm climates. The plant flowers greenish buds in July and it relies on wind for pollination in the wild. The plant has many branches and the leaves are long, spread out like a hand with 5-7 leaves which are serrated. 
Uses: Found to relieve the many side effects of cancer treatments, powerful pain reliever, treatment for many nervous diseases, calming/soothing for those with anxiety or stress, also commonly used for its euphoric action.
Actions: Analgesic, Anodyne, Anthelmintic, Antianxiety, Antibacterial, Anticonvulsant, Antiemetic, Antiperiodic, Antirheumatic, Antispasmodic, Cancer, Cholagogue, Demulcent, Emmenagogue, Emollient, Febrifuge, Hypnotic, Laxative, Narcotic, Opthalmic, Sedative, Tonic.
Preparations: Considering this plant is still illegal in many states and countries, it is best to seek out products from a licensed seller. They are knowledgeable in what to recommend for your needs and can give you suggestions based on experience and other customer preferences and feedback. 
Taste: Bitter, astringent, green, pungent, strong (It can taste like it smells).
Dosage: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines as per labeling.
Safety: Use with caution for those with: heart disease, a weakened immune system, lung disease, seizure disorders and for surgery. Unsafe for pregnant women and likely unsafe for breastfeeding
Contraindications (Plant-Medication Combinations): Do not use with any medication that causes sedation or with Theophylline. Use with caution while taking Disulfiram or Fluoxetine. Be careful while taking Warfarin. 

Though Cannabis sativa L. has a colorful history, its benefits are amazing. With the advent of laboratory testing and certifying, you can safely purchase products that are clearly labeled with the respective amounts of THC and CBD included in them. This way you can tailor your needs based on the desired outcome or benefit. 

Until next time, discover the power of welcoming nature’s healing plants into your life.

Cannabis sativa - L. (n.d.). Plants for a Future. Retrieved from
Marijuana. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved from
Reed, Joyce. "Morphology of cannabis sativa L." MS (Master of Science) thesis, State University of Iowa, 1914.

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