Cannabis and Ayurveda

The global Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the growing vulnerability of our health. Changing food habits, skyrocketing stress, sedentary lifestyle and extreme climate conditions are playing havoc on our natural immunity against common diseases and ailments. Medical science is making rapid improvements, but, at the same time, the incidences of novel diseases and conditions are also increasing. The situation warrants a more holistic approach to maintaining health and hygiene than simple symptomatic treatments of diseases.

Globally, scientists, medical researchers and policymakers are becoming attracted to traditional medicinal practices like Ayurveda. The principal reason behind the growing popularity of Ayurveda is the perfect blend of modernity and conventional wisdom. It shows the path to happy, stress-free living, preventive healthcare and healing properties of natural substances, herbs. 

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an over 1500 years old traditional system of medicine. But, that’s not all.

Widely used in different parts of Asia, Ayurveda offers both preventive and curative treatments. It literally means the science of life. Ayurvedic medicines aim to keep health in good form by balancing the body, mind, and soul. In 1978, the World Health Organization (WHO) had accepted Ayurvedic medicines for their role in maintaining health and treating illnesses. Ayurvedic medications, proper exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes promote curing diseases completely instead of suppressing symptoms for a shorter span, only to reemerge later.

The whole concept around organic, sustainable living emerges from and is deeply rooted in Ayurvedic medicinal philosophy. The Ayurvedic scriptures came into existence from the basic societal need of staying healthy, fit and active throughout life. The core philosophy behind Ayurvedic medicinal practice remains unchanged to date despite regular updates and up-gradation of knowledge throughout the last thousand years. Modern medical science is reinventing many usages of herbal medicines, naturally occurring substances and concoctions that have elaborate mention in Ayurvedic texts.

Take the example of Cannabis. In the last few decades, medical science has started accepting Cannabis from a completely different perspective for its healing and curative properties. However, to Ayurvedic medicinal practitioners, this knowledge was already evident and established, let alone well-practised. 

Cannabis in Ayurveda

We often come across queries like what Ayurvedic scriptures in India tell us about the benefits of Cannabis. Let’s have a quick understanding.

The cannabis plant, also known as Vijaya (means ‘the one who conquers’) and Sidhhi in Sanskrit, has been mentioned as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda. The other names of Cannabis in Ayurveda are Madani, Bhangigida, Ganjagida, Bangi, Pang, Kanchavu, Ganja and Ganjei. According to scriptures, this plant remarkably serves hundreds of purposes and is a renewable resource that can quickly grow.

For thousands of years, it was completely normal to use Cannabis-derived medicines in Ayurvedic treatments. Take the example of Bhang which is nothing but leaves of Cannabis plants. Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Part-I, Volume-I includes mentions about Ayurvedic medicinal formulations using Bhang. The two most common formulations are Madanananda modak and Jatiphaladi churna.

Some of the therapeutic benefits of Bhang as per Ayurvedic scriptures are,

  • Agnimandya (indigestion)
  • Atisara (acute diarrhoea)
  • Grahani-roga (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Klaibya (erectile dysfunction)
  • Anidra (sleeplessness)

Many of these benefits are being tested and substantiated by medical researchers, scientists in India and abroad.

In Ayurveda, the medicinal use of Cannabis mainly involves ingestion orally and not by smoking. The commonly used parts of the plant are leaves and fruits. Sometimes, unpollinated flowers, seeds and resin are utilized for producing different Ayurveda medicines.

The recognized health benefits of Cannabis

Cannabis extracts, like full-spectrum CBD oil, include various naturally occurring compounds. The most powerful and beneficial are CBD and THC. CBD improves brain function, and on the other hand, THC comes with pain-relieving properties. Along with CBD, THC and other compounds, Cannabis is widely used for various common ailments.

Chronic Pain Relief

Medicinal cannabis extract has been in regular usage for its pain-relieving properties. In moderate use, Cannabis soothes the nervous system and triggers the Endocannabinoid System in our bodies. Even in allopathic medicines, cannabis by-products are used as active compounds for manufacturing chronic pain relief drugs.

Cures irritable bowel movement

Those who have inflammatory bowel diseases can find relief with the medicinal use of Cannabis. CBD and other cannabinoids help to increase the immune response to bowel-related conditions, improving gut health and regularising bowel movement.

Reduce anxiety

Moderate and monitored use of CBD oil helps fight anxiety, calms down nerves, and significantly reduces mental uneasiness.

Finally

Globally, universities, medical institutes and pharmaceutical companies are researching the usage of Cannabis plants for various therapeutic uses. So, we can safely claim that the list of cannabis benefits will only increase in the coming days. It is encouraging that Indian law allows doctors to prescribe cannabis-derived modern and traditional medicines in consultation with Ayurvedic practitioners. So, consult or discuss with your professional medical practitioners to learn more about the Ayurvedic medicinal benefits of Cannabis or Hemp.