Cannabis (Hou Ma Ren)

Botanical Name: Cannabis sativa

The use of cannabis (a.k.a. marijuana) by many of the world’s cultures to heal the mind and body dates back to ancient times. Here we explore the Eastern and Western history as well as the current usage of this important medicinal herb.

Below is an overview of cannabis, combining and interpreting the best of Western science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shamanism, folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of cannabis.

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Western Name: Cannabis

Also Known As: Marijuana, Mary Jane, Weed, Pot

Organs/Systems: Nervous System, Stomach, Intestines

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Relaxant, Orexigenic, Antidepressant.  Inhibits pain (back, injury, cramps, joint, muscle spasticity). Also treats insomnia, menopause, depression. Improves appetite, calms nerves, reduces nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy .


Pin Yin: Hou Ma Ren (Semen Cannabis sativa)

Also Known As: Fire Hemp Seed

Meridians: Large Intestine, Stomach

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Moist Laxatives. Nourish and Moisten Intestines: constipation in the elderly and weak, aftermath of febrile disease, post partum and cases of blood deficiency. Nourishes the Yin: mildly tonifies yin and primarily used in cases of yin deficiency with constipation. Clear Heat and Promote Healing of Sores: auxiliary herb for sores and ulcerations, taken orally or applied topically.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Eleven species indigenous to Central and South Asia. Genus of flowering plants includes three different species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis. It is an annual, dioecious, flowering herb. Leaves are palmately compound or digitate with serrated leaflets. The Chinese recognized the plant as dioecious around the 3rd Century BC, defining male cannabis as “Fu” and female cannabis as “Ju.” All cannabis are wind-pollinated.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Seeds, Leaves, Buds. Dried flower buds are “marijuana”; resin is “hashish,” with various extracts collectively known as “hashish oil.” Fibers used for hemp production.

Sweet, Neutral

Caution: Generally considered very safe. Extreme usage has been shown to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness of limbs.

History/Folklore: Societies in Euro-Asia and Africa have used cannabis as a hallucinogen since prehistoric times.  In 2007, British researchers used Delphic analysis to determine that cannabis has a lower risk factor for dependence than nicotine or alcohol.

Key Constituents:

Cannabinoids, with the main one being THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive constituent in the cannabis plant), and terpenoids.

Did you know?


The word comes from the Greek, though it has roots in Scythian, Thracian, Persian and Modern Hebrew, the people group that supposedly used cannabis in biblical anointing oil.


Smoke Producer

The Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonians translated this herb’s name as “way to produce smoke.”

Fun fact!

Into The West

In 1545, cannabis spread to the Western Hemisphere when the Spaniards imported it to Chile for use as a fiber.


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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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