The British Pharmaceutical Codex
- Synonyms - Cannabis Indica; Indian Hemp; Ganjah; Guaza.
Cannabis consists of the dried flowering and fruiting tops of the pistillate plant
of Cannabis sativa Linn. (Fam. Cannabinaceę), an annual dioecious herb indigenous
to Central Asia and the Northern and Western Himalayas, and cultivated mainly in tropical
districts of India, Africa, and North America.
Cannabis occurs in flattened, dull green masses which remain more or less compacted
together by the adhesive resinous secretion. The tops vary in length from about 3 to 30
centimetres, the smaller tops being preferred; they consist of the upper part of the stem
with ascending branches, which are longitudinally furrowed and bear numerous covering and
glandular trichomes. The leaves are alternate and consist of simple or palmately compound
bracts, each having two linear stipules and bearing in its axil two bracteoles, each of
which subtends a single pistillate flower or a more or less developed fruit occasionally
containing an oily seed. The taste is very slight and the odour somewhat heavy and
The diagnostic microscopical characters are the conical, curved, unicellular
cystolith-trichomes with enlarged bases; the similar but more slender trichomes without
cystoliths; the numerous, usually 8-celled, rosette-shaped, glandular trichomes with
either unicellular or multiseriate pedicels; the bracteoles with very numerous small
cluster-crystals of calcium oxalate; the red stigmas with long cylindrical papillę
laticiferous tubes with brown contents; occasional, more or less lignified, phloem fibres
from the stem, and brown, thick-walled, pitted cells from the palisade layer of the
Cannabis contains a soft, brown resin (cannabinone), the chief constituent of which
is cannabinol, C21H26O2,
a viscid, reddish oil, possessing a powerful narcotic action, but resinifying and becoming
less active on exposure to air; choline, and traces of volatile oil, fat, and wax are also
present. Cannabis yields to alcohol (90 per cent) from 10 to 22 per cent of extractive.
The ash is about 15 per cent. The following test has been used for the identification of
cannabis: Shake 0.1 gramme in powder with 5 millilitres of light petroleum for three
minutes and filter; to 1 millilitre of the filtrate add 2 millilitres of a 15 per cent w/v
solution of hydrogen chloride in dehydrated alcohol; at the junction of the two liquids a
red colouration appears, and, after shaking, the upper layer becomes colourless and the
lower layer acquires an orange-pink colouration which disappears on the addition of one
millilitre of water.
Varieties: Tinctures of cannabis, prepared from African, American,
German, and Indian varieties of the drug, when examined by oral administration to cats
appear to possess about the same degree of activity, and this activity is not destroyed by
long storage of the drug in a dry condition.
Standard: Cannabis contains not more than 10 per cent of fruits, large
foliage leaves, and stems over 3 millimetres in diameter, and not more than 2 per cent of
other foreign organic matter. Acid-insoluble ash, not more than 5 per cent. When a mixture
of 10 grammes of finely powdered cannabis and 100 millilitres of alcohol (90 per cent) is
shaken occasionally during twenty-four hours and then filtered, 20 millilitres of the
filtrate, evaporated in a flat-bottomed dish, yields a residue weighing, when dried at 100
degrees, not less than 0.20 gramme. Cannabis indicę herba I.A. consists of the tops, in
flower and in fruit, of the female plant cultivated in the East Indies.
Cannabis, in powder (Pulvis Cannabis : Pulv. Cannab.), contains the constituents and
possesses the diagnostic microscopical characters of Cannabis, and complies with the
limits for acid-insoluble ash and residue on extraction with alcohol (90 per cent) of the
Action and Uses: Cannabis acts chiefly on the central nervous system. It first
produces excitement with hallucinations, a feeling of happiness and indifference to
surroundings, this stage being followed by deep sleep. The hallucinations include
inability to estimate time and space. In the East the hemp is smoked and almost
immediately produces symptoms of pleasurable excitement, followed by depression and
lethargy. Cannabis is used as an anodyne sedative or hypnotic in mania, spasmodic coughs,
phthisis, asthma, and dysmenorrhoea. It has been used in the treatment of chorea and
paralysis agitans. It does not produce constipation or loss of appetite. Cannabis is
usually administered as the extract in pills, or as tincture. In cases of poisoning
the stomach should be evacuated and the usual methods adopted to prevent collapse and
CANNABINĘ TANNAS: Cannabine tannate is a brownish powder which may be obtained
from an aqueous extract of cannabis by precipitation with tannic acid. It has been used as
a hypnotic in nervous insomnia, in dysmenorrhoea and in menorrhagia. Dose - 0.25 to 0.5
gramme (4 to 8 grains).
CANNABINONUM: Cannabinone, the brown resin obtained from cannabis, has been used as
a hypnotic in hysteria and insomnia. Dose - 0.016 to 0.06 gramme (1/4 to 1 grain).
Extract of Cannabis
|Cannabis, in coarse powder
|Alcohol (90 per cent)
Exhaust the cannabis by percolation with the alcohol and evaporate to a soft extract.
Dose: 0.016 to 0.06 gramme (1/4 to 1 grain).
In making this preparation the alcohol (90 per cent) may be replaced by industrial
methylated spirit diluted so as to be of equivalent alcoholic strength, provided that the
law and the statutory regulations governing the use of undustrial methylated spirit are
This extract replaces the Extractum Cannabis Indicę of the British Pharmacopoeia,
1914, which was prepared in the same way from Indian cannabis (Cannabis Indica).
Tincture of Cannabis
|Extract of Cannabis
|Alcohol (90 per cent)
||to 1000 ml
||to 20 fl oz
Dose: 0.3 to 1 millilitre (5 to 15 minims).
Alcohol content, 83 to 87 per cent v/v of ethyl alcohol.
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