Ayurvedic Cannabis 101

The ancient legend of India is embarking on a modern journey with the increased popularity of ayurvedic cannabis formulations. We are rediscovering the wonders of plant-based medical science through cannabis products with formulations from the Ayurveda.

Ayurveda has been handed down to us from innumerable generations. Yet, our understanding of its workings is rusty. By sticking to the stereotypes, we are breeding our lack of knowledge about the plant.

This article is an introductory guide to Ayurvedic Cannabis. It helps you understand, in simple terms, what Ayurveda is, how it works, what ayurvedic cannabis means, how to use ayurvedic cannabis, and where to buy ayurvedic cannabis in India.

What is Ayurveda?

The roots of Ayurvedic Cannabis exist in the one of the earliest sacred texts of India. The name of this text is Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is, therefore, an ancient Indian system of health and medicine. Ayurveda believes that good health is a result of harmony among the mind, body, and spirit. It proposes several routines for restoring and maintaining this harmony.  Some examples are aromatherapy, massage, exercise, special diets, and the use of herbs.

Ayurveda is both a preventive and a curative medical science. The former aspect deals with maintaining a daily and seasonal regime. And the latter focuses on identifying diseases and their causative factors and curing them through detoxifying treatments.

According to the texts, Ayurveda has 8 branches.

  1. General Medicine
  2. Pediatrics
  3. Demonology (a more familiar term would be psychiatry)
  4. ENT and Ophthalmology
  5. Surgical Techniques
  6. Toxicology
  7. Geriatrics and Rejuvenation
  8. Aphrodisiac Therapy, Fertility, and Conception

How does Ayurveda work?

Ayurveda seeks to diagnose a condition and then treat it with internal preparations, specialized diets, and restricted habits.

Ayurveda believes that every substance in the world can be used as a medicine. Any plant, animal, or mineral substance can be added to the ayurvedic pharmacopeia if its identity, properties, and applications are understood completely.

It is on the lines of this belief that the cannabis plant finds several mentions in the Ayurvedic texts of India.

Ayurveda emphasizes that even poisons can show medicinal properties when used appropriately. In addition to food and spices, medicinal plants hold a significant position in Ayurveda. Almost 90% of the formulations in this medical system are plant-based. Plants are able to reverse the pathophysiological processes and stabilize the balance in the body.

What is a medicinal plant?

A medicinal plant is any plant that we use for medicinal purposes. That is to say, the use of a plant to either prevent or cure a medical condition. In addition, medicinal plants are also being used, on a larger scale, for constantly maintaining good health.

Some of the common medicinal plants include basil, chamomile, garlic, peppermint, marigold etc.

Is Cannabis a medicinal plant?

If used appropriately, cannabis can serve as a novel therapeutic substance. Abundant research shows that cannabis has the potential to alleviate conditions such as gout, arthritis, joint pain, inflammation, skin burns, and fever, to name a few.

Cannabis contains many different active compounds that act on the body to provide relief from ailing symptoms.

Does Ayurveda mention Cannabis?

As we just learned, Ayurveda places significant importance on plant-based formulations for a healthy life. Cannabis is a plant and its medicinal properties find mention in multiple Ayurvedic texts.

The first mention of cannabis as a medicine occurs in Susrata which describes it as anti-phlegmatic. In Rajanurghanta, cannabis is described as an astringent with the power of dissolving phlegm, reducing costiveness, sharpening the memory, and improving digestion and appetite.

The Sarangadhara Samhita defines the plant as a general stimulant. And according to the Dhurtasamagama, it is a soporific which corrects derangements of humours and produces a healthy appetite, sharpens the wit, and acts as an aphrodisiac.

The Bhavaprakash makes a mention of the anti-phlegmatic, pungent, astringent, and digestive properties of cannabis.

To understand the medicinal value of cannabis as mentioned in the sacred Indian texts, we can list them out as below:

  1. Promotes retention and binds the bowels.
  2. Promotes digestion.
  3. Excites the flow of bile.
  4. Promotes talkativeness or releases the volitional restraint of speech.
  5. Promotes happiness.
  6. Stimulates the digestive fire.
  7. Stimulates appetite.
  8. Promotes taste.
  9. Induces hypnotism.

These mentions give us an insight into the traditional use of cannabis (which is essentially just a plant like basil) in treating ailments of various kinds.

What does Ayurvedic Cannabis mean?

The Ayurveda doesn’t just mention the therapeutic properties of cannabis but also the different ways of its preparation and consumption for particular symptoms.

Ayurvedic Cannabis, therefore, means to consume cannabis according to the preventive or curative formulations specified in the Ayurvedic texts of India.

To cite some examples:

  1. Madnanand Modak is a peculiar type of tonic with aphrodisiac action.
  2. Kamashwar Modak is a formulation to cure asthma, cough, piles, indigestion, and debility.
  3. Grahni Shardool aims to cure for diarrhoea, dysentery, and fever.

Ayurvedic Cannabis simply refers to using the cannabis plant to relieve the symptoms of one or more medical condition in the formulations mentioned in the Ayurveda—the ancient Indian medical science.

What diseases can Ayurvedic Cannabis help cure?

Cannabis has a presence in more than 80 traditional Ayurvedic formulas, that are effective for diseases such as pain, digestive disorders, and dysentery. Different parts of the cannabis plant act as analgesics, nervous system stimulants, sedatives, diuretics, spasmolytics, and aphrodisiacs.

Ayurvedic Cannabis, therefore, helps with:

  1. Pain & Inflammation
  2. High Blood Pressure
  3. Glaucoma
  4. Mental Illnesses
  5. Digestive Disorders
  6. Gout and Arthritis
  7. Fever & Infections
  8. Hard Tumours
  9. Sexual Dysfunction
  10. Kidney & Bladder Problems
  11. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  12. Cough, Bronchitis, and Asthma
  13. Piles, Diarrhoea, and Indigestion
  14. Excessive Gastrointestinal Activity
  15. Skin Burns and Infections (e.g. Eczema, Chickenpox)

These are just some of the many, many health problems that Ayurvedic Cannabis can help cure or manage. According to the formulas in the text, cannabis can be used in combination with other ayurvedic herbs for the desired effect.

For instance, cannabis provides a better relief from indigestion when used in combination with digestive herbs such as cumin and fennel. Aphrodisiac herbs and foods such as almonds, saffron, and sesame seeds enhance its aphrodisiac properties. On the other hand, when mixed with tobacco, cannabis diminishes appetite and acts as an anti-aphrodisiac.

What are Ayurvedic herbs?

Ayurvedic herbs cleanse the body and promote absolute harmony among the mind, body, and spirit. These are essentially herbs that are considered to be therapeutic for the human body according to the ancient Indian medical text—Ayurveda.

Ashwagandha is one of the most famous ayurvedic herb that is believed to reduce cortisol levels thus reducing stress in the body.

Brahmi is another ayurvedic herb that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and helps in reducing inflammation, improving brain function, and reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Ayurvedic herbs are also used in different combinations to target specific medical conditions. An example would be Triphala, a combination of amla, bibhitaki, and haritaki that helps in reducing inflammation caused by arthritis and limits the growth of certain types of cancer. The same herb also improves digestion and promotes oral health.

How to use Ayurvedic Cannabis—Dosage & Preparation

There are no universal guidelines that dictate the appropriate use of ayurvedic cannabis. Typically, one needs to rely on the experience of a certified Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner. Ayurvedic cannabis is a folk medicine that has been handed down from one generation to the next evolving regionally and idiosyncratically.

Some Ayurvedic cannabis formulations are made into tonics or teas whereas some are found in the form of capsules, tablets, or oral tinctures. Topical products with the ayurvedic formulation of cannabis are also fairly common.

Ayurvedic cannabis, as well as other ayurvedic herbs, tend to have their respective side-effects on the body. The most cautious way to use ayurvedic cannabis is to start with the minimum possible dosage and always after the consultation of a qualified physician.

It is also advised to avoid the long-term use of ayurvedic cannabis unless prescribed by a certified doctor.

Where to buy Ayurvedic Cannabis in India?

Ideally, there are verified stores that hold the license to sell, distribute, or recommend ayurvedic cannabis as a medicine. But if you have a valid prescription, you can buy ayurvedic cannabis from online platforms that provide such a service.

In India, itshemp.in is a certified platform that helps you discover, understand, and adopt cannabis-based products including ayurvedic cannabis medicines.

Why do some Ayurvedic Cannabis medicines require a prescription?

While Ayurveda describes the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, it also warns against the side-effects and misuse of the plant. Ayurveda says that even poisons, when used appropriately can become medicine. But it also says that medicine used inappropriately can turn into poison.

Ayurveda is a balance-based tradition and therefore requires that the benefits of a remedy must be supported by proper use. The stronger the medicine, the more drastically it can affect the body. Cannabis is a very strong medicinal plant and that is why needs to be managed carefully.

Even though cannabis is not approved as a drug by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), it is used regularly in Ayurveda.

Cannabis is included in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia (Part 1, Volume 1, National Institute of Drug Abuse) and can be used for medicinal purposes with a valid ayurvedic prescription for conditions such as:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Indigestion
  3. Erectile Dysfunction
  4. Acute Diarrhoea
  5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Where can I get an Ayurvedic Cannabis prescription in India?

It is always best to have a practicing and certified Ayurvedic doctor to sign off a prescription for Ayurvedic Cannabis. Ideally, India has abundant capable Ayurvedic doctors. However, if you’re still unable to find an ayurvedic doctor in your vicinity, you can use online medical consultations such as CannabisDoctors to schedule an audio or video medical consultation with a certified Ayurvedic doctor from India and receive a valid prescription.

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