In former times large quantities of it were imported in a dry state into Europe for officinal purposes, the drug having the reputation of being efficacious in diseases of the skin and lungs; and even now it may be found in apothecaries' shops in the south of Europe, country people regarding it as a powerful aphrodisiac for cattle.
The drug often has a marked aphrodisiac action, producing priapism, or in the female sex the onset of the catamenia or abortion.
The causes which first led to the increase of the drug were disease, example and a belief in its aphrodisiac powers.
Following on a decided lowering of the pain and touch senses, which may even lead to complete loss of cutaneous sensation, there comes a sleep which is often accompanied by pleasant dreams. There appears to be no evidence in the case of either the lower animals or the human subject that the drug is an aphrodisiac. Excessive indulgence in cannabis indica is very rare, but may lead to general ill-health and occasionally to insanity.