An Ayurvedic perspective on Marijuana

What is Marijuana?


Marijuana is derived from Cannabis or hemp. Flowering tops of dried leaves of the female cannabis plant are called marijuana. Marijuana may be a trouble word in the general sense, as it is associated with addiction. You could be considered an addict even if you talk about it!!!


However, the negative aura around Marijuana has eclipsed the excellent medicinal benefits it offers. It is a highly praised medicine in Ayurveda. Even the ancient deity - Shiva (the auspicious one) is linked to the use of marijuana. Marijuana is one of the recommended Prasadam or the offering for Shiva!


Ayurvedic Description of Marijuana: Ancient Ayurvedic Texts on Marijuana


Ayurvedic Materia medica or Nighantus are full of medicinal information and therapeutic uses of marijuana.

  • Bhav Prakash Nighantu mentions the use of marijuana for diarrhea treatment and nasal congestion.

  • Chakradatta mentions the successful use of the anti-microbial property of marijuana in leprosy.

  • Nighantus also advises marijuana for relief in pain, inflammation, nausea, congestion, respiratory disorders, glaucoma, and many more.


Sanskrit Names of Marijuana


Ayurvedic synonyms for marijuana underline the healing impact of the herb. Some of the Sanskrit names for marijuana are -

  • Vijaya - the victorious one

  • Siddhi - the one that bestows accomplishment

  • Madani/Matulani - the one that creates intoxication

  • Pachani - enhances digestive power

  • Kamda - improves libido

  • Nindrakara - improves sleep

There are multiple other names of marijuana that indicate different health effects.


Ayurvedic Properties of Marijuana


According to Ayurvedic Materia medica, marijuana is -

  • Pungent

  • Light

  • Sharp

  • Penetrating (swiftly spreads throughout the body)

  • Produces bitterness after digestion (digests to form amino acids primarily)

  • Heat-producing

Due to its properties, marijuana may cause an increase in the pitta dosha but helps to balance both Kapha and vata dosha.


How Ayurveda uses Marijuana: In preventive care


Ayurvedic preventive health using marijuana is ingrained in religious rituals to protect the general population from substance abuse.

  • Marijuana is the central ingredient for Thandai, an herbal drink prepared for the Indian color festival in the spring - Holi. And yes, there is Ayurvedic significance to it. Spring is the season when the Kapha dosha gets vitiated. And marijuana helps to balance this excess Kapha. It can help to prevent seasonal cough, cold, and congestion.

  • Another festival with substantial health significance called Shiv Ratri occurs during the spring. The primary deity for this festival is Shiva. The devotees observe a full day fast that ensures removal of excess Kapha and consume marijuana after the fast, which enhances the Kapha balance in the body.

In Ayurvedic Treatment


Ayurveda uses Marijuana for -

  • Immediate pain relief

  • Kapha disorders like congestion, cough, cold, breathing problems, asthma, etc.

  • Insomnia

  • Digestive disorders like indigestion, anorexia, diarrhea, IBS, etc.

  • Fever control

  • Obesity treatment

  • Glaucoma

  • Epilepsy and schizophrenia

  • Skin disorders like leprosy

  • Convulsions

This is an indicative list of Ayurvedic uses of marijuana. There are multiple other ways to use marijuana in Ayurveda.


Scientific Research on Marijuana