Bhang, ganja and charas are three different narcotic drugs prepared from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa, var.
Cannabis), an annual herb (Cannabis saliva) having angular rough stems and alternate deeply lobed leaves.
Frequently the leaves powdered together with equal quantities of the powdered leaves of the Cannabis Indica and lobelia mixed with potassium nitrate are burned in an open dish.
The bast fibres of Cannabis are the hemp of commerce, but, unfortunately, the products from many totally different plants are often included under the general name of hemp. In some cases the fibre is obtained from the stem, while in others it comes from the leaf.
In height, whilst a variety (Cannabis saliva, variety gigantea) has produced specimens over 17 ft.
All cultivated hemp belongs to the same species, Cannabis saliva; the special varieties such as Cannabis indica, Cannabis chinensis, &c., owe their differences to climate and soil, and they lose many of their peculiarities when cultivated in temperate regions.
Cannabis indica - as the drug is termed in the pharmacopoeias - may be given as an extract (dose 4-1 gr.) or tincture (dose 5-15 minims) .
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.
Though the fondness of this species for the seeds of flax (Linum) and hemp (Cannabis) has given it its common name in so many European languages,' it feeds largely, if not chiefly in Britain on the seeds of plants of the order Compositae, especially those growing on heaths and commons.