East Indian Cannabis sativa
Hashish. Bhang. Ganja. Marijuana. Indian Hemp N.O. Cannabinaceae.
Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa
It is hardly possible to differentiate between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. There are several reasons for this: the two plants not only belong to the same species (Cannabis sativa and Cannabis Indica are botanically identical; the difference in their properties is due solely to the differences in the soil and climate in which they are grown), but the provings also brought about very similar symptoms (and it is not clear in all the proving reports which plant was taken as the raw substance). Still more important is the fact that clinical experience has given evidence for the possibility to substitute one remedy for each other and to effect a cure. This was tested as early as 1870 when Berridge deliberately prescribed Cannabis sativa in a case that, from its symptoms, seemed to call for Cannabis indica, and could report a complete success in curing the condition (Journal of Homeopathic Clinics, 4, 26). In this way, many Cannabis sativa symptoms have been confirmed as yielding to Cannabis indica, too. I have, for this reason, included some symptoms first observed in Cannabis sativa in my remedy picture of Cannabis indica. For the sake of precision, the symptoms first observed in Cannabis sativa are marked with an asterisk (*). An asterisk after a full stop refers to the whole sentence; in all other cases, it refers to the part after the last semicolon or colon.
The essential features
Cannabis indica is a remedy which is required with increasing frequency today, largely because of the widespread abuse of hashish and marijuana. The injudicious consumption of hashish can, in many instances, provoke a chronic Cannabis state. The idea that cannabis is an innocuous, harmless herb or ‘grass’ is a myth, as we have seen hundreds of cases that are still suffering from its side-effects years after taking it. In those cases where the symptoms correspond to Cannabis, the confirmation that such symptomatology originated with taking the drug is the fact that these people become well after taking the remedy in high potency.
This does not mean, however, that Cannabis is indicated for all people who suffer from the consequences of hashish abuse. The reaction of the organism to the consumption of hashish can also assume other forms and display the symptomatology of other remedies. Moreover, it is not necessary to have a history of exposure to Cannabis for a Cannabis state to develop; Cannabis states can also appear spontaneously as a result of an individual’s predisposition or as a specific reaction to external influences or internal disturbances. It should be noted, however, that an anamnesis of hashish or marijuana abuse should make you consider Cannabis as a remedy.
When we talk about a Cannabis state we always mean a certain degree of mental confusion, which may range from slight confusion (similar to that in a mild state of intoxication) to total psychosis, in which delusions of all kinds predominate. Trying to summarize the central elements of this important remedy in nuce, we could say that Cannabis cases prominently present the following symptoms: confusion, excessive theorising, ethereal ‘floating’ sensations, fear of insanity or of ‘losing control’, and an extreme anxiety about health.
In order to better understand this remedy’s essential features, we must recognize that Cannabis has two main types of mental pathology. In type one, confusion dominates the picture, but the patient does not have actual delusions. He theorizes endlessly and his thoughts are disconnected, but still not totally incoherent. His intellectual faculties are weak, but have not yet yielded to illusions. He has a fear of losing control, a fear of insanity, but does not have the actual insanity that prevails in type two.
The first type of mental pathology is definitely a more agonized and tormented state than the second type because the patient is conscious of the deterioration of his mind. His mind is confused, disorganized and diffused, and out of this condition emerges an overwhelming anxiety about sanity; the patient actually feels that insanity is imminent.
Despite all of the above, this type of pathology is still infinitely better than type two, which appears mostly in acute conditions, such as fever or acute mental derangement, and in chronic states, including chronic cases of mental disturbance and disease. The mind is completely broken down – in total confusion and out of touch with reality – and delusions of different types and in varying degrees prevail.
Cannabis can be called the remedy for delusions. There is no other remedy that has produced and cured such a great variety of delusions, although I do believe that if other hallucinogenic drugs were properly proved, they too would elicit a similar number and diversity of delusions. With regard to Cannabis, we can say that there is virtually no delusion that cannot be experienced in a case caused by this drug or demanding this remedy.* Let us look at the impressive array of delusions that are listed in the provings, many of them elicited by substantial doses of the drug:
The prover often has experiences of unreality: seems to be in a dream, as if things were not real; familiar objects appear strange and unreal, also people, even his own family; his voice sounds strange, as if not his own, alien and unreal, as if it is someone else who spoke; sometimes does not know where he is; thinks he is someone else; doubts his own existence, is preoccupied with the idea that he doesn’t know if he himself exists, if human beings even exist at all, and for what purpose he exists.
Cannabis creates a variety of illusions that affect the senses, hallucinations of great diversity, which often change rapidly and are sometimes synaesthetic: hears the noise of colours; swims in an ocean of sounds; feels a cloud of music and perfume around himself; sees stars in his plate and the firmament in his soup dish; his vomit looks to him like the head of a hippopotamus, then like a bunch of worms; sees a silent army marching by, which is identified as the army of ages going by into eternity; has hallucinations of riding on horseback, of seeing blue water; thinks he is swimming or that he is captain of a vessel; water seems to be delicious nectar, to the taste as well as to sight, gleaming with spiritual fire. He has sublime visions of beautiful landscapes, of magnificent architecture, visions that equal paradise.
He hears voices, someone calling him, hears himself shouting and singing even when he doesn’t do so in reality. His voice seems so loud that it reverberates from every recess of the building like thunder. He hears noise from a waterfall, which turns into the sounds of shouts of men shouting and the rumbling of vehicles, and then into the booming of a cannon. Wind sighing in the chimney transforms into the steady hum of a vast wheel in accelerating motion and then into the reverberating peal of a grand organ. He hears music, music of the spheres, the most sublime melodies and harmonies.
Not only the sublime, but often, at the same time, also the absurd, grotesque and ludicrous elements are strong in the delusions, sometimes making the patient burst out in fits of laughter. Some examples of delusions with these components are: the illusion that he is a pump, through which a stream of hot water is pouring out and threatening his friend with a wetting; his head seems to be an inverted pendulum that has to be kept down because it is attracted to the ceiling. Everything he sees is perceived as ridiculous; all the objects around him assume such a whimsical expression and become in themselves so comical and absurd that he is provoked into a long fit of laughter.
The patient has delusions of greatness, often manifesting as mania of grandeur. He imagines that he possesses all the wealth in the world and with a benevolence equal to his wealth, showers riches on all those who are needy around him. His powers are superhuman, his knowledge encompasses the universe, his range of vision is infinite; he believes there is creative power in his word, and that he has only to speak and it will be done. He thinks he is Christ come to restore the world to peace. He is an emperor or the commander of an army. Often this is accompanied by an impressive eloquence (sometimes considered brilliant only by the patient himself), and the ability of many Cannabis persons to argue eloquently in the midst of confusion is really astounding.
Delusions relating to the size of the body, the expansion of space, and the amplification of time to infinity appear very frequently and will be dealt with in detail in a separate section. He has hallucinations or delusions of being transported in space, in most cases into a huge and sublime environment, e.g. he believes he is transported into heaven; he thinks he is in eternity; he thinks he is being conveyed from a plain to a mountain, then to a steep ascent, then to a naked rock and eventually to the ridge of a mountain with a tremendous abyss before him. He has the sensation the he is flying from an enormous rock into a fearful and dark abyss. He believes he has journeyed to another world whose objects he cannot recognize and whose paths he does not know. It seems to him that he is walking in a vast arena, encircled by tremendous walls.
The delusions are often delightful, but they can change into horrifying experiences. Not only can he feel as if he has been transported to heaven, but also to hell, where, for example, he sees devils thrusting a pitchfork of white-hot iron into his side and hurling him into a fiery cradle. He feels as if he were nothing, sits there awaiting extinction.
He is firmly convinced that he is about to die and will presently be dissected, so much so that he says good-bye to the people around him. He can also feel that he has already died. The walls of the room seem to glide together; the ceiling comes down; the floor ascends. Finally, he feels that he is being crushed and that all of his senses are being blotted out in the ensuing darkness. In one proving a crisis of some catastrophe by water appeared at the end of every vision, with the regularly recurring feeling of drowning or being in imminent peril of doing so.
Suspicious imaginings, resembling paranoid states, are also frequent: he thinks some men have been bribed to kill him; the sound of people whispering in a room makes him think that they are plotting something.
Sometimes sensations of immobility and stony hardness come over the patient. He suddenly feels as if he were a marble statue, cold all over and, unable to move. His brain seems to have been changed into marble, as have his eyes. More frequent, however, is the sense of levitation. He thinks he is weightless, that his body is transparent and the light can shine through it, that he can look inside his body. He has the sensation that the body or some part of it is elevated in the air and that he is starting to float or fly; that he can fly like a bird. He loses the sense of existence of his own body; he feels as if he were suspended in the air; he believes he is transformed into a cylinder or a sphere. He has the sensation of leaving the body, often accompanied by a ‘double consciousness‘. It is as if the soul is separate from the body and looking down upon it, as if the body is too small for the soul and has to be expanded to suitable proportions, or as if he is split in two from head to foot and has become two people. The out-of-body experiences of Cannabis may be pleasant, especially in the beginning stages of the condition (the notion of ‘beginning stages’ used here and later on should not be confused with the two types of mental pathology mentioned earlier; it refers to the development of the condition and the drug’s stages of action rather than the fundamental types of mental pathology). The drug produces a state of euphoria, often along with the sublime visions mentioned above and is accompanied by great delight and mirth. A strange feeling of ecstasy may pervade the body and senses, a thrill of delight flows through the limbs, and the limbs may even tremble from it. These sensual and mental distortions and the experiences of diffusion and lightness reflect a deeper dissociation taking place between the ethereal and the physical body. A dream-like state results. The person becomes conscious of another level of existence, perhaps akin to what has been termed the ethereal level or astral level. This disconnected state, however, must be understood for what it is; the beginning of psychosis.
The ecstatic state that Cannabis can produce is the reason that a whole generation of hashish users were misled into believing that ‘grass’ or ‘dope’ could provide them with a new dimension of understanding, more openness of the mind, an expanded awareness, and more spirituality. However, what it really created was a ‘spaced-out’ condition of the mind that could no longer discern the real from the unreal. The drug seems to promise its users that it would open them up to more freedom, but in reality it imprisons them in their own subconscious minds. It seemed to promise to speed up the evolution of the mind, but it actually broke the mind down and left it prey to its subconscious fears and incidental impressions from the environment, all mixed up in a confusing manner. Even many years after an individual has stopped taking the drug, it is still evident to us homeopaths how deeply this ‘wonderful’ drug continues to affect their health.
I remember a dramatic case that I encountered in Gstaad, Switzerland. An Italian camera man had thrown a party during which he and his friends consumed huge doses of cannabis and, in addition, engaged in a lot of sexual intercourse, in an uninhibited orgy. The next day he came out of the orgy a total wreck. His eyes could not focus on the camera. His mind was totally confused. He could not retain his urine, which was dribbling all the time. He had lost his willpower and sexual energy. He felt unbelievably weak; in short, he had become a zombie. The moment he tried to look through his camera he would become dizzy and was absolutely incapable of continuing. He lost his job. I saw him one year after this incident, and all these symptoms were still present. It is interesting that the remedy prescribed was not Cannabis but Phosphoricum acidum, proving once again that the organism does not always produce the symptomatology of the intoxicating substance but can take on other symptoms and remedy states.
The consequences of hashish abuse are, of course, not always so dramatic, but a constitutional weakness which renders the organism vulnerable to the action of the drug or to the partaking of too large a dose, possibly combined with other influences, can actually lead to a disturbance as severe as in the above case. This is especially true for chronic conditions, such as those described in the following section.
Fear of insanity and losing control
In the early stages of development of the Cannabis state, in addition to the out-of-body or ethereal experiences, more localized and dissociated symptoms can be observed. Sensations as if any or all of the limbs are floating or rising upwards are common. They lie on their bed, and suddenly an arm or a leg seems to ‘float’ up into the air. The extremity feels as if it possesses no finger, no bone; it is not really ‘here’, not solid. Beat Spring reports that one of his Cannabis patients had to grab onto to her chair in such states, because she felt she might otherwise fly away. Such sensations are often experienced in a decidedly unpleasant way and can eventually become quite frightening. They are the reason for the development of a great fear of insanity and also of death.
This fear of insanity is listed prominently for Cannabis, but seldom is it described by a patient in these terms. It is more readily called a fear of losing control. The levitation and floating sensations make the patients feel that their whole being is becoming diffused and that they are losing control over themselves. As stated above, this terrifying state is the origin of the overwhelming fear of insanity, which is experienced as the fear of losing control.
The patients are reluctant to reveal their intense fear. They often won’t admit that they even experience ‘floating’ sensations and may often be afraid that the physician will refer to them using the word ‘insanity’. There is a marked desire for control, emerging from their feeling of diffusion; they employ all their strength to hold themselves together, which is very difficult and requires constant effort. They may feel that they should control everything. For example, if you give them a lift in your car they might feel the urge to tell you how to drive: “Please stop, please go on, don’t drive so fast,” etc.
One doesn’t see the same anxiety and panic in the Pulsatilla fear of insanity; it is altogether different from that of Cannabis. Puls. patients will say amidst much weeping, “I’m going crazy,”; they cry interminably. Cannabis patients don’t make such an emotional display; instead they exhibit a great intensity behind which resides tremendous anxiety. Their questions are asked with great intensity: “Am I crazy? What remedy will you give me? Will it be the right one?”
This fear of insanity, in the form of fear of losing control, is so overwhelming and disturbing that the person feels as if they’re living permanently in hell (instead of the paradise which the drug seems to promise). Other symptoms, such as indifference, confusion of the mind, endless theorising, confusion with regard to time, and so on are nothing in comparison to the turmoil that is brought about by the fear of insanity. We have been treating cases of hashish abuse dating back ten or fifteen years, who are still suffering from the consequences.
An overwhelming general anxiety about health is often connected with this fear of insanity, but it also won’t be admitted. Further on, we shall see the ways in which this anxiety is usually displayed by patients.
Various other fears can also be present, along with the fear of insanity, especially a horror of darkness. The student homeopath must be aware, however, that the more prominent the fear of insanity the less intense the other fears. Other examples noted in the provings are: fear of fainting; ‘dread of congestion, apoplexy, haemorrhage and a multiplicity of deaths’; wakes before midnight overcome with the dreadful sensation of choking (compare Lachesis); fear that he will have a fit; fear of spectres, of anyone approaching, of bright objects and water (hydrophobia), of drowning.
Dilation of time, space and body
A very characteristic feature of the Cannabis state is the experience of a distorted and confused sense of time. Time is expanded in this state; it is almost as if time has stopped altogether. ‘Time passes too slowly‘ is the way the repertory expresses this peculiar trait, with Cannabis in the highest degree. This dilation of time may assume very impressive, even tremendous proportions: five minutes may have passed, yet it seems to the individual as if hours, days, years, or ages have elapsed. As is stated in the provings: ‘A seeming extraordinary slowness of time, which struck the observers in so
singular a manner, and made them so impatient of delay that they were continually recurring to their watches and observing, with a kind of awe, how minutes were transformed into epochs.’
This sense of expansion is most marked in time, but it also applies to space. ‘Extreme exaggerations of the duration of time and extent of space – a few seconds seem ages – the utterance of a word seems as long as a drama, and a few rods are a distance which can never be passed.’ [1 rod = 5 metres] A walk in the street seems to be an infinite journey. The room seems to expand, with ceiling and walls running upward with a gliding motion, as if vivified by a sudden force of irresistible growth. External objects look enlarged and vivid. When these impressions become even more intense and dramatic, the delusion comes on that he has been transported through space, transferred to another world, and so on. Then the drug may make its user exist alternately in different places and various states of being: now he is a gondolier in Venice, now the Alps are towering before him; this prover called hashish the ‘drug of travel.’ These exaggerations of time and space can take on a sublime and solemn character- it may seem as if ‘the soul’s own time’ has been revealed by such experiences – but they can also be terrifying and frightening.
In fact, the theme of ‘expansion’ reflects much of this Cannabis state in general but it also refers to the body of the patient. The whole body or parts of it seem to swell, to expand, sometimes to infinite dimensions: he feels that he covers the whole earth. The head seems to swell to giant dimensions; the lower lip feels as if it were so thick that it reaches the nose; the eyelashes seem to be prolonged; all the limbs feel enlarged, or just the hands assume a monstrous size; one leg seems to extend in length so that he has to hop on it, or one side of the body seems so enlarged that he feels he must bend over to the other side if it continues to grow; finger-nails may assume the size and form of plates… these sensations of ‘inflation’ and greatness are often accompanied by the levitation and out-of-the-body experiences described above. All expansion illusions and delusions can be experienced as passing fancies together with the fear of insanity (type one), or they may be constant delusions in a real psychotic case where the agonising fear of insanity is no longer felt (type two). Their extent, duration, and intensity is thus a matter of the degree of mental disturbance. If the sensations and delusions experienced are joyous and pleasant, spells of nervous laughter can come on. This is in keeping with the propensity to the absurd, grotesque, and ludicrous experienced in the provings: laughs immoderately at serious remarks; laughs indiscriminately at everything said to him, or at the merest trifle, or without any apparent reason. There may be spasmodic fits of absolutely uncontrollable laughter, till the face becomes purple and the back and loins ache. Mirthful jesting about himself and others is observed, as are foolish behaviour like shouting, leaping in the air, clasping hands for joy. There may be, however, a part inside the consciousness that tries to control this behaviour and to prevent the individual from ‘doing something foolish’.
The mirthful behaviour may alternate with depressive states and weeping without cause. Sighing, moaning, laughing and weeping may occur in turn. In the states of depression and fear, a feeling of isolation from all those around them can come on, a great sense of loneliness (even while in the midst of all their friends), a sensation of being forsaken (compare Pulsatilla). The intensity of the states of fear may also be expressed by a restless and nervous sensation and behaviour and by moaning, a symptom under which Cannabis is listed in the third degree.
The symptoms of the type two mental pathology, especially the delusions but also the capricious mood, have led to the use of Cannabis in some delirious states: delirium tremens with hallucinations, with trembling and, especially, with misapprehension of time and space. Sometimes erotic delirium. Puerperal mania has also been given as an indication of the remedy. While most of the delirium states are of a rather passive character, occasionally raging and destructive delirium has been observed.
It is interesting to see in this remedy’s provings that the symptomatology that develops in each case is quite different, according to the disposition of the individual who took the remedy. The state that develops corresponds especially to the subconscious loading of the person. If the subconscious of the individual is full of fears, the prominent symptomatology that emerges is centred on fear, but if guilt dominates the subconscious, the symptomatology takes another form, for instance that of dual consciousness (compare the delusions of this kind described above).
As Boericke describes the state: ‘Subconscious or dual nature state. Apparently under the control of the second self, but the original self prevents the performance of acts which are under the domination of the second self. Apparently the two natures cannot act independently, one acting as a check upon the other.’
This kind of duality can exist in various manifestations: seems to have two existences, or to be conscious of two states, or to exist in two spheres. In the provings we find symptoms such as: ‘Had a feeling of duality. One of his minds would be thinking of something, while the other would laugh about it.’ Or: ‘My will or spiritual existence was separate from my bodily existence, and spurring it onward, pushing it forward and using it as much as an artificer uses a tool.’ Or: ‘One part of me awoke, while the other continued in perfect hallucination. The awakened portion felt the necessity of keeping in side streets on my way home, lest some untimely burst of ecstasy should startle more frequented thoroughfares.’
This is similar to a schizophrenic state, which is the consequence of such a dissociation between the physical and etheric bodies. In the schizophrenic, the vital or etheric body is not able to fully integrate with the physical body, and consequently, the consciousness wanders uncontrollably about the astral plane, a realm of mental projections. Of course, at times an awareness of this level of being can lead to valid insights; thus, one can actually detect clairvoyance and prophetic dreams in the Cannabis patient. Vivid, ecstatic dreams occur, but also very impressive nightmares.
This dissociation may also be responsible for a dream state the Cannabis patient may experience in which he feels as if he is falling into a dark abyss, into empty space. We might explain it like this: As the etheric body re-enters the physical, this falling sensation occurs and is concluded by a sudden shock as the two bodies coalesce. An expression of this idea is seen in some proving symptoms: ‘On regaining consciousness, violent shocks pass through his brain.’ Or: ‘I was troubled by a crisping sensation in the brain, just when I fell asleep or awoke from sleep.’ It may even be a noise like a crash or explosion and the sensation may pass through the whole body.
The student of homeopathy, on confronting these conditions, should try to understand and evaluate them correctly. What may look like a schizophrenic state may be but a passing dissociation of the physical with the etheric bodies. It is in the nature of this remedy to produce such symptoms and states easily, but they are often temporary and self-correcting, though they might be repeated in another situation. There is also the possibility, of course, that such states remain permanent, in which case we have a serious mental condition.
A general characteristic of this remedy, in all its stages, is the tendency of the patient to go in for theoretical discussions and explanations. The mind produces thoughts and ideas with great speed and the patient seems to have no control over the process. Having abundant ideas and theorising are key-notes of this remedy.
To illustrate this characteristic feature: you meet an individual who looks perfectly normal and sane, who can hold a job in the bank; yet the moment a discussion touches upon a philosophical issue, the man produces so many arguments and with such speed that you cannot really follow his thinking. The same thing happens to him if his emotions are touched when flirting with a woman. He starts with all kinds of theoretical arguments, of course with the aim of impressing her, but then constantly brings new ideas into the discussion, so that the woman is soon confused as to the purpose or meaning of the discussion. This ‘discussion’ or theorising is continuous and even though he knows that he is talking inappropriately or even talking nonsense, he cannot help nor stop it.
This is the kind of mental behaviour that justifies the repertorial description of Cannabis indica as ‘theorising’. It is a restless activity of the mind that cannot be controlled. The mind works so fast that speech cannot follow it. As Kent remarks ‘Wonderful theories constantly form in the mind’, one idea arising after the other. They drive him on but these ideas also crowd upon each other and bring on confusion. Often they have an improbable, unbelievable character to them, being far from rational reasoning. He passes back and forth from the rational to the irrational in rapid succession. As Kent puts it: ‘Any effort to reason is interrupted by flights of wild imagination and theory.’ These persons engage in discussions, drifting from one subject to another, continually spinning new theories as they go. Or else there are persistent thoughts, fixed ideas that the patient simply cannot let go.
The ideas of Cannabis cases are weak, not clear or strong enough to be followed or executed. Great plans are made, but the patients lack the strength of mind and mental discipline to organize their concepts and to act upon them. They never leave the realm of discussion. When a Cannabis patient is before you, you may be momentarily impressed by the wonderful ideas he expresses, the velocity of his thinking and his theorising, but you soon realise that there is something wrong with the patient, as he has no limits and stops at nothing.
Excessive loquacity, as if he is constantly being urged on by his mind, is the consequence (it has also been called ‘logorrhoea’ in literature). It is a loquacity that is quite different from that of Lachesis. A Lach. patient talks to you with great passion about things or situations that touch upon his or her emotions. Lach. is all about passion and jealousy. It is about human emotions and how these people relate to others. In contrast, Cannabis cases talk theory; these patients talk about abstract ideas rather than personal emotions; it is the mind that is stimulated, not the emotions or the erotic or sexual passions. To summarize their condition in a word: they are mentalised.
When this happens, the mind becomes hazy, vague, scattered. These people become inefficient in their tasks. They cannot focus on reality for any length of time, cannot control the mind enough to reason rationally on any subject. Typically, these people drift from one job to another due to dissatisfaction. They leave a job simply because they have lost interest; they prefer to do something else. They do not feel any bitterness about this.
Indeed, they are, in general, mild, sweet people and are very easy-going.
In many cases the fact that Cannabis speeds up the mind stimulates it, but in other cases this breaks it down. Where the mental faculties of young people are not very strong, they sometimes cannot support such speed and the mind breaks down with devastating experiences. This is the point where the tremendous fear of losing control and of insanity develops in its chronic state, as described above.
Dullness of mind and weakness of memory
Just as the mind can be speeded up, so can it be slowed down and develop a weakness of memory. Examples of this are: forgets what he just said in conversation; answers questions incoherently and immediately forgets what they were about and what he has answered; forgets proper names; has a constant succession of new ideas, but almost instantly forgets each of them; forgets what he has just read, what he has just written. Often, we observe that the patient forgets what he is about to do. In one of Berridge’s cases we find the description: ‘Memory bad; forgets when speaking what she is going to say; forgets what she has to do if she does not make a note of it.’ Especially in speaking or writing, there is this tendency to forget what one intended to speak or write, which not only leads to incoherent speech, but also to the strange symptom that patients are unable to finish a sentence.
From this proving symptom Nash derived a successful prescription in the case of a woman with dropsy resulting from valvular heart disease, who, after being relieved of the bloating, suddenly became unable to speak. To quote Nash: ‘In answer to a question she could begin a sentence, but could not finish it, because she could not remember what she intended to say. She was very impatient about it and would cry, but could not finish the sentence, but could signify her assent if it was finished by someone else for her.’ Cannabis helped her rapidly recover the power to express herself.
Another description of the serious deterioration of memory is: ‘Absolute forgetfulness of the thought, or speech, or act of the previous moment. I would, for example, be startled by hearing, as it were, the echo of the last words of a sentence I had spoken without knowing what it was about…’.
According to Clarke, speaking may also be ’embarrassed’: ‘At one time the words are wanting, at another the voice fails.’ Similar problems may come on while reading: ‘Could not read, partly on account of dreamy spells, and partly because he had not full power of vision’ (Hering).
Concentration may become difficult; the patient cannot focus his thoughts. An excessive sensitivity to noises may be present; he can even hear a whisper in an adjoining room and be irritated thereby. These people become unable to follow what is said to them for long; they are confused as if in a dream; they make mistakes in writing, such as repeating or omitting words. Their thoughts suddenly begin to wander, especially when performing mental activities such as reading or writing. A disinclination to mental work prevails.
States of absent-mindedness and dreaminess frequently occur: ‘is absorbed in his own thoughts and fantasies, wants to remain perfectly quiet, without speaking, even without moving’. In this state there is also a marked taciturn tendency, exactly the opposite of the logorrhoea described above. Eventually it is also possible that the thoughts seem to stand still.* Is able to remember one thing or another, but the ideas remain stationary, as if standing still, while looking for a long time at the object he was going to work upon.* The powers of reflection and imagination seem lost.* The patient is spiritless, apathetic and indifferent.
Overwhelming anxiety about health
The Cannabis patients that belong to type one, those who have not totally lost contact with reality, eventually develop a tremendous anxiety about health. It is not related as such, and the patients may not even recognise that they are suffering with from such an anxiety. In fact, they tell the practitioner that they have no anxiety whatsoever about their health. However, the manner in which they present their symptoms and talk to the physician readily convey the impression of substantial anxiety.
I recall a Nitricum acidum case that vividly illustrates the anxiety about health that these two remedies have in common. A man wrote to me from France complaining of lumbago. He had seen a chiropractor whose adjustments had only worsened the pain. He had seen many doctors and subsequently a homeopath whose prescriptions had had no effect. The man was bedridden and could not work. The letter he sent to me consisted of twelve pages -twelve pages! – I read and read, noting one symptom after another. He wrote that he was surely going to die or retire to a monastery, that his life was no longer worthwhile. It became apparent from reading his letter that he was suffering from a profound anxiety about health – the only symptom he failed to mention! I sent him a dose of Nitricum Acidum 10M, and he made a full recovery within a week. Similar states can be seen in Cannabis.
In Cannabis patients, the marked desire for control described in the section on ‘fear of insanity’ utilizes a great deal of effort. With any little stress, they feel that they are breaking down; they feel exhausted and take to their bed. When they visit the homeopath, they complain of a vast number of symptoms – exhaustion, constipation, headaches, pains, etc. The litany of symptoms and sufferings can be fantastic. If they have not read a materia medica, the list of complaints is lengthy and difficult enough to deal with; but should they have studied homeopathy, the list will be exhaustive. They can produce twenty pages of symptoms – there is no symptom they do not have – and they will tell the physician to be certain to underline one symptom twice and another three times because it is very important, and so on. In addition, they admit to having whatever symptoms the physician suggests. If their symptoms alone are focused upon, the case will be hopelessly confusing; one blind alley after another will be followed.
A frequent observation in Cannabis cases is that when on the telephone to their physician, they will, because of their anxiety, complain of their multiple problems in a panicky way and with great intensity. They call their physician frequently, even daily. Other remedies, such as Agaricus, Arsenicum, and Nitricum acidum manifest similar behaviour. Cannabis patients keep the physician on the telephone for a long time complaining; their anxiety cannot be explained away easily despite the physician’s strenuous efforts to do so. They demand explanations, but are not readily reassured. Phosphorus patients, on the other hand, also frequently telephone their physician with anxiety about health, but they can be easily reassured within a few minutes and their concern evaporates.
Cannabis patients may check up on their doctor by visiting another physician to see if he gives them the same answers as the first; a behaviour that exhibits also the suspicious element of the remedy. (Cannabis is in the third degree in this rubric.) The desire for control is also seen in their inquiries about the treatment plan. They continuously ask, “What are you giving me?” and want to know far in advance what is going to happen in the course of the treatment.
The theoretical mentalisation of Cannabis is also strong with regard to the anxiety about health. They abound with theories and have a strong urge to explain things (themselves, their condition, the conditions of others, of the society, of the planet, etc.) in detail. The doctor must listen to the patient so as to ensure that they feel satisfied with having said all they have to say. Quite often, though, they may send or telephone in an extra two pages of symptoms that they forgot to relay; this pattern is quite typical.
Another important feature should also trigger thinking of Cannabis: they always feel that their remedy has been antidoted. They provides veral reasons, many theories, as to why they have antidoted their remedy. This characteristic is another manifestation of the panic that aggravates any crisis they have; theirs symptoms are magnified several times over by this panic. For example, a patient may feel a little dizzy, but the panic magnifies the complaint to the degree that he feels that his head is floating or that his arms are dissociated from his body (floating away). These panic states are terrible.
This characteristic can be seen in Cannabis patients and reminds one of Thuja. It might present itself as follows: you wish to confirm a symptom, let’s say, by asking, “Are you really thirsty?” and the initial reply may be “Yes”. You inquire again “Very thirsty?” – “Yes,” is the answer. Then you say that you are going to base your prescription on this thirst. The moment you make such a statement, the patient becomes anxious that you will make a mistake by using that symptom, and he develops a theory to discredit it. “But yesterday I took a lot of salt, and the day before I ate sardines. Perhaps my thirst is only a result of that!” “But aren’t you thirsty all the time?” you ask. “Yes. Yes, but it is only so strong recently; that is why I stressed it. I don’t know. Do I really have thirst?” Should you then choose another symptom, the same hedging will occur. The extent of the explanations can be truly fantastic. Of course, there are other patients, who are not Cannabis, who also try to explain their symptoms away. In Cannabis’ case the important thing to remember is the intensity with which the symptoms are given, the underlying anxiety about health, and the exaggerated degree to which they attempt to sabotage symptom validity by providing discrediting theories.
In addition, in follow-up visits they find it difficult to report whether or not they are better, which is partly due to the confusion that prevails in their minds. Consequently, the evaluating physician must be very circumspect in analyzing the patient’s response.
An interesting case might help to illustrate the way that the Cannabis anxiety about health manifests. There was a patient at our clinic who over a period of time had been treated with no success. Though he had been given Arsenicum and Nitricum acidum, etc. without effect, he continued to come back for treatment because he had studied some homeopathy and felt there was something to it. As he helped us with our public relations, in the course of this work he would come to discuss matters with me. He could talk and talk to the point where I would grow tired of the discussions. Between his discourses he would, of course, bring up the subject of his health and could be quite nagging about his health care. In his primary job he also was known to talk and talk and speculate considerably.
All the while, several doctors at the clinic were trying to treat him. He would go from one doctor to another complaining, “He did not pay the right attention to my case.” I would be given the case reports and would prescribe on the basis of the symptomatology without result. Finally I saw the disconnection in his thinking and the anxiety about his health. At that point I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is a case of Cannabis indica.’ I asked him if he had ever used cannabis as a drug. After several denials he admitted that he had taken it once. Perhaps his symptomatology wasn’t connected to this drug experience, or perhaps he had a special predisposition to the drug, being severely affected by one single exposure, or maybe he had lied to me and had taken it more often; at any rate, his mind was running out of control.
Emotional diffusion and yielding
The emotions of Cannabis patients can suffer from the same tendencies as the mental state: both can be scattered and diffused. Actually the emotions are explained away, they are not experienced as real feelings but rather as states of the mind states of mind. Often these patients recognise their ‘weak point’ in the emotional sphere and attempt, for that reason, to avoid emotional entanglements. If they do get involved emotionally, they are prone to express themselves in silly, foolish ways.
For example, a man goes out with a woman for the first time. As they talk he gets increasingly emotional and excited. He wants to say, “Would you like to go to bed with me?” but cannot. Consequently he says irrelevant things. He wanders from one subject to another. He starts to realise that he is flustered and confused and becomes afraid. In the midst of this emotional upheaval he suddenly loses control and hysterically grabs the woman while saying, “I love you!” Subsequently, when he recalls the event, he may feel humiliated at the way he acted.
The Cannabis state can be constituted by many loving feelings, but these are uncontrolled. There is no power or discipline behind the love to permit it to manifest itself in action. The love exists in the imaginative realm; it seems more fanciful than real. These people can appear quite soft, much like the ‘flower children’ of times past, and in most cases they are very nice to others.
I have observed a trait in Cannabis users that is interesting (it is a strong impression of mine though I am not sure if the observation is entirely correct): the individuals who have taken this drug repeatedly seem to become softer, more gullible, easily persuaded, especially on spiritual matters. They easily follow gurus who are obviously false, but these persons find nothing wrong with them and explain away any of the guru’s strange behaviour. It seems as if the mind has become more receptive, more compassionate, in a word: more human. It has lost its selfish driving force and can become easily obedient, subdued – in general, a follower. If these people make a revolution it is always with an avoidance of violence; they are followers of the ecological movements and whatever is mild and non-violent. It is not accidental that the generation of the sixties who smoked a lot of hashish was called the ‘flower children’, that they sought out peace and a nice life full of pleasures. They ought to have been called the ‘grass children’. I therefore believe that paradoxically, Cannabis has done a great deal of good for the planet (as it tames the hardness inside us which is a defence mechanism), but has perpetrated a great deal of evil for the individuals that used it by weakening their logical capacities, their faculties of judgment, and by diminishing their sanity.
As their driving forces are diminished, these individuals are disinclined to work, feeling incapable of performing their duties. Their pattern is to do a little work, perhaps potter about the house, then to go and lie in bed for a while, then to get up and do a little more, and so on. They are reluctant to go out, but, if coerced, they feel better in the open air.
Cannabis also produces an excess of sexual passion (however, with all of the problems of ‘realisation’ mentioned above), but it can also have the opposite effect, creating indifference and even aversion. In the mentalised or ‘type one’ Cannabis patients we usually see a very strong desire for sex. In maintaining control it seems that their energy shifts and becomes concentrated in the sexual sphere. The desire is so strong that if they do not have a partner available at the time, they resort to masturbation. They are not particularly choosy about their partners; they just want quick satisfaction. Consequently, they are quite susceptible to gonorrhoea.
Cannabis is one of the remedies that has been used in acute gonorrhoea, although its discharge which is yellow or yellowish-white and slimy, sometimes thick, sometimes watery*, is of no value in the prescription, because it is common in gonorrhoea. To prescribe Cannabis, the characteristic mental picture would have to be present. I think that it will seldom be effective in acute cases, but might be of greater use in complaints after contracting gonorrhoea.
A frequent symptom in men is painful erections at night (Cantharis, Staphysagria); in Cannabis these erections are of a mechanical type, without an urge to masturbate or to perform coitus, a sort of erection without arousal.
The two types of Cannabis state can overlap to varying degrees. For instance, the first type of patient who is more ‘mentalised’ and controlling may experience quite joyful ethereal states, somewhat similar to states of heightened spiritual awareness. He may actually feel transported into another sphere, a little world of his own, surrounded by an ethereal flux that seems less dense than water but not as thin as air, which resists movement and passage and has to be overcome by willpower. This sort of sensation frequently occurs when the person is in a hypnagogic state, very close to falling asleep, and it is experienced in a pleasant way and readily tolerated. However, when this tendency becomes truly pathological, disturbing visions begin to occur. Unwanted clairvoyant visions occur as the person closes his eyes to sleep; they may even come on by day with the eyes open. Then states of excitement occur which precipitate nervous and immoderate laughter. Such states are seen in deeply mentally ill adults and children. As these people increasingly lose touch with actuality, with reality, and everything seems strikingly unreal to them, they are drifting into the second type of mental pathology. A similar sense of unreality also appears in Alumina and Medorrhinum. It is also interesting to note the similarities in the mental state between Cannabis and Med. They share a disorientation of the time sense with time seeming to ‘pass too slowly’.
As alluded to earlier, the chronic Cannabis state may be induced by excessive use of recreational drugs including, but not limited to, hashish and marijuana. There is also a special type of person with a history of Cannabis abuse who, after having indulged in much hashish, becomes extremely sensitive to it, to the point of being almost allergic. The least amount taken will produce a state much like a waking nightmare; they cannot touch it any more. In addition, these persons show chronic symptoms of Cannabis, great depression and anguish coupled with the fear and anxiety dealt with above. Cannabis is a specific for such situations.
In summary, in a Cannabis case one’s attention should be primarily focused upon the mental level and the diffusion and confusion so characteristic of that level.
Sometimes Cannabis has induced spasms and convulsions, in a couple of cases of a clonic nature with violent muscular action, but mostly tonic spasms, even cataleptic states or flexibilitas cerea. It has been prescribed for epilepsy when all powers of body and mind were exalted before a fit.
Excitement, especially from something ludicrous or mental exertion, may trigger or intensify spasms of different kinds.
Trembling is frequent; there can be: trembling motions of hands and feet, unpleasant shuddering through all the limbs, with a painful feeling of weight in occiput, and a tetanic intermittent contraction of the muscles at the nape of the neck. There can be strange sensations of thrills or jerking moving through the body; sudden and violent shocks shoot through the entire frame, piercing the brain; shocks, jerks, and quivering in different parts of the body.
There is insensibility or anaesthesia of the whole body, or of one side. The patient is paralysed, unable to move the affected parts. They seem petrified and have a sensation of marble-like hardness, e.g. in the brain or eyes; with tingling or pricking in the affected parts, sometimes transforming into involuntary twitching. Cannabis is also indicated in certain early neurological cases characterised by weakness and numbness of the extremities, prior to the stage of true paralysis or precise clinical diagnosis Alternately, a peculiar sensation of airiness and lightness of movements has also been observed.
A characteristic sensation is a cold feeling like a trickling, as if drops of cold water were falling onto the skin or from a part or several parts of the body, especially on the head, on the heart region and in the region of the anus.* There is also a sensation as if hot water were repeatedly poured over the patient*, or else as if warm water were flowing up the back.
Dreamy attacks, returning periodically in the daytime. Every few moments he loses himself, and then wakes up, as it were, to the others. He has sudden, transient attacks of unconsciousness, which may be triggered by impressions like candle-light or hearing music. He awakes before midnight in a state of semi-consciousness, is unable to move, has palpitations, slow, deep and laboured breathing and a feeling as if he were dying. Fainting feelings may recur every day, or he may sometimes suddenly faint.*
There are not only visual and auditory hallucinations, but also an increased sensitivity to light and noise, sometimes amounting to states of clairvoyance and clairaudience. ‘Visual clairvoyance’ has frequently been experienced in the provings. Two descriptions: ‘Apparent clairvoyance, that is, I saw or fancied I saw, articles in another room, but the sensation was of short duration.’ ‘At midnight precisely, awoke suddenly and fully; the room was dark, still the location of every article around him seemed perfectly plain; he could read the titles of books upon a table 12 or 15 feet [4 or 5 metres] off.’ Or concerning clairaudience: ‘His sense of hearing had become extremely acute; he very distinctly heard what was said far off and in a low voice.’ Such experiences may be quite disturbing.
Characteristically, Cannabis patients are extremely thirsty, especially in acute situations. This, coupled with the fear of death, can lead to confusion with Arsenicum. However, there is one important differential point: Cannabis patients always want to rest and tell you they feel better from it, but from what I have observed, this is really an intellectualised symptom. Though they have a great desire to lie down in the daytime, they arrive at the conclusion in their minds that they are better from lying down, and so this is what they do. Actually, if you force them to take a brisk walk, especially in fresh air, they feel better. Mental symptoms (for example a feeling of anguish, which is accompanied by great oppression) are especially better in the open air.
You must be careful, however, not to overexert them as over-exertion makes all Cannabis symptoms worse. The provings also give the symptoms:
‘Thoroughly exhausted from a short walk’; and ‘Great weariness after moderate movement’*, as, for example, climbing stairs.
Thirst may be accompanied by a dread of drinking. The individual may be unable to swallow a single draught in spite of the intense thirst.
The pulse is unusually slow, and it may be feeble, sometimes hardly perceptible, and irregularly intermittent, but this may alternate with a rapid pulse, bounding, fluttering, full, etc. Kent aptly calls it ‘a nervous pulse.’ Sometimes stentorian breathing is observed (Cheyne-Stokes).
Aside from the mind, the head and the urinary organs are the most affected.
Some modalities: worse from urinating (pain in urinary passages), darkness, overexertion, liquor, tobacco, tight clothing. Better from fresh air, deep breathing, washing with cold water, rest, coffee (vertigo and headaches).
Lying down may ameliorate or aggravate, as well as moderate exertion.
With regard to time, aggravation in the morning and morning are most frequently observed.
Chronic vertigo as if floating off, as if elevated.
Vertigo on rising, with a stunning pain in the back part of the head and he falls.
Giddiness when walking, with a sensation of falling or actually falling forward, at the same time feeling as if losing his senses.*
Violent vertigo; Clarke reports a case where the patient felt as if the house were falling in ruins about her and Cannabis removed it.
The peculiar sensation of giddiness produced by this remedy is increased by walking about, and subsides during rest. Strong coffee may also relieve it.
A peculiar symptom is an opening and shutting sensation of the skull. It seems to expand as if parting at the sutures, with a feeling that cold air blows into the brain, and then collapse again with a shuffling sound. Or there is a sensation as if the brain were boiling over and lifting the cranial arch like the lid of a tea-kettle.
Headache with an opening and shutting sensation in the right temple and vertex; begins on waking and lasts all day, off and on; worse from noise; the head feels as if it would fall in any direction.
There is a violent congestion in the head with a feeling as if the blood was were boiling. Fullness in the forehead as if it would burst. Or: congestion in the head with agreeable warmth in the brain, but pressive pain in the temples.* Heat of the head with coldness of the extremities.
Tension first in the occiput, then also in the sinciput, lastly in the temples.*
Strange feelings in the head: violent shocks through the brain on regaining consciousness; noise like a crash or explosion during sleep; crisping or crackling sensation, especially on falling asleep and waking; pendulum-like oscillations. Feeling of something surging up from the posterior part of the head toward the forehead. Jerking in the right side of the forehead and towards the interior and back part of the head.
Great constriction in the head, as if from an iron skull-cap.
The sinciput is compressed from the borders of the orbits to the temples; not relieved by stooping.*
Dull, heavy, throbbing pain through the head, with the sensation of a heavy blow on the back of the head and neck. Throbbing of the occiput.
Throbbing, aching pain in the forehead.
Heavy weight at the back of the head. It may be experienced as a crushing weight on the cerebellum, neck and shoulders, with a thumping in the head, making him unable to rise from a stooping position. (This was observed during a shaking chill.) The heavy feeling at the occiput can also be accompanied by pains shooting from it up the sides of head to the temples and vertex, the pain being so intense that it makes the patient cry.
Heavy insurmountable pressure on the brain, forcing him to stoop.
Pain in the entire right side of the head. Cannabis has helped hemicrania states, e.g. with the opening and shutting sensation of the skull or when the attack was preceded by unusual excitement with loquacity.
Dull drawing pain in the forehead, especially over the eyes.
Pressive headache with excessive sensitivity to light.* Violent headache with hallucinations.
Headache with flatulence, continuing until he can pass wind upward or downward; with throbbing in the occiput. Coffee may almost instantly relieve headaches.
A frequent involuntary shaking of the head is a characteristic symptom.
Head feels as if floating in the air; as if separated from the body.
The scalp is sore to the touch, and it may be felt may feel tightly stretched over the skull, ‘as a bladder is stretched over a jar’. Crawling in the scalp on top of the head.
On a small spot of the os parietalis (later also on other parts of the head) a cold feeling as if a drop of cold water had fallen upon it.*
Eyes become red and small. Blood vessels of the conjunctivae are often seen.
Fixed gaze; eyes brilliant, very bright and shiny; sometimes also strikingly dull.
Feeling of distension in the eyeballs, as if starting out of the head; they ache when he tries to read. Pupils dilate and contract alternately in the same light.*
Sensation of spasmodic drawing in the eyes.* Outward pressure at the back of the eyes.* Jerking in the external canthus and lid.
Inflammation of the caruncula lachrymalis of both eyes.
Weak feeling of the eyes and poor vision*; objects seem indistinct and, dim, hazy sight. After looking for a long time, he cannot see well; he sees mist before his eyes. While reading, the letters run together. Vision is confused. He experiences transient blindness, with the exception of a small point on which he is fixing his gaze (experienced during a shaking chill).
Photopsia. Twinkling, trembling, and glimmering before the eyes.
Distortions of sight, objects enlarged or more distant; visual hallucinations; sensitivity to light; visual clairvoyance.
Throbbing and fullness in both ears.
Boring pain immediately above and in the back of the right ear. Stuffed feeling in the right ear.
Noises in the ears: buzzing; ringing; like boiling water. Periodical singing during dreamy spells, or during dozing while lying down; always ceasing when he came to himself or gets up, but are renewed with the next dreamy spell.
All sounds, especially voices (including his own), seem far off, as if obscured by a veil or gauze; even his own voice seems distant. Great sensitivity to noise, easily irritated by it; acoustic hallucinations; clairaudience.
Dryness in the nose, objectively as well as subjectively; with heat inside.* Fullness and aching at the root of the nose.
Coryza after eating.
Expression wearied weary, exhausted, dejected, careworn, drowsy and stupid, anxious and pale.
Face pale, as in fainting, ameliorated by fresh air. But also: heat only of the face*.
Slight palpitation at on many parts of the face, especially in the muscles of the left cheek.* Skin of the face, especially the forehead and chin, feels as if it were drawn tight.
Sensation as though the muscles of the face were drawn tightly about jaw. Lower jaw very stiff and immovable before falling asleep. Tetanic spasms about the jaws. Or: the lower lip hangs down when asleep.
Lips are glued together; very dry.
Trembling of the lips.
Mouth and throat
Mouth, throat, and lips are extremely dry, parched, with intense thirst for cold water, or else without any thirst. The saliva is white, thick, frothy and sticky.
Every article of food is extremely palatable; simple bread is declared to be delicious and is eaten in huge quantities.
Nasty taste in the mouth in the morning on upon waking, which disappears after cleaning the teeth, but returns after meals.* Gritting and grinding the teeth while sleeping. Also when awake, it seems to him as if he must forcibly compress the jaws. Toothache tends to move downwards.
Sensation of a plug rising in the throat, causing him to choke. Pressure in the tonsils.
Voice, respiration, chest and heart
Cannot control voice; speaks uncontrollably loudly and then corrects himself, or in a low tone with a thick voice, or the pitch of the voice is much higher than usual. Sudden failiure of voice. Stammering and stuttering. Burning in the throat on inspiring air.
It requires great effort to take a deep inspiration.
Oppression of the breath with palpitation; with anxiety in the throat.*
Asthma with dyspnoea and extreme agitation; suffocating spells; can only breathe when sitting or standing up, especially when standing at an open window and leaning forward.*
Oppression of the chest, with deep, laboured breathing; he feels as if he is suffocating, and wants to be fanned. Oppression with great anguish, better in the open air. Oppression especially upon waking at night, before midnight; dread of choking with the feeling as if dying, or slow, deep, laboured, intermittent breathing. Pressing pain in the heart, with dyspnoea the entire night.
Stitches in the heart, accompanied by great oppression; the latter relieved by deep breathing.
Rough cough, scratching the breast immediately under the sternum.
Sharp, cutting pain behind the sternum, aggravated by swallowing.
Stitches extending from both nipples to the whole chest.
Palpitation, waking him from sleep.
Stitches in the heart when lying on the left side.
Sensation as if drops were falling from the heart.*
In most cases the appetite is increased, often to an enormous degree. ‘Ravenous hunger, which is not decreased by eating enormously; ceases eating only from fear of injuring himself.’ Sweets are especially desired; everything seems to taste delicious, and also seems to be well digested. Bulimia is also mentioned in the provings. Sometimes, however, there may be a poor appetite, with a dislike of meat of which the patient used to be fond.* Extreme thirst is frequent, but it may be combined with a dread of liquids (like hydrophobia). Thirst also at night in bed, all night, or on waking around midnight.
Eructations: when moving; of nothing but air*; of tasteless fluid which rises into the trachea, causing choking*; of a bitter-sour fluid, scraping the throat*.
Nausea and efforts to vomit after eating. Vomiting of slimy fluid, tasting somewhat bitter, or of a tenacious, sour mucus.* Coffee may cause vomiting but may also ameliorate the nausea.*
Pain in the cardiac orifice, relieved by pressure.
Sensation of warmth in the pit of the stomach.
Pyloric spasms; pyloric syndrome with ulcus duodeni (pain better by eating); pain attacks go along with perspiration and fainting. While eating, stomach feels so swollen and chest so oppressed that he feels he will suffocate, has to loosen clothes.
Sensation of extreme tension in the abdominal vessels; they feel distended to bursting. Throbbing here and there.
Painful jerkings in the abdomen moving from one spot to another, as if something alive was in it.* Shaking in the abdomen on vehement motion of the arms, as if the intestines were loose.* Or: a bearing-down sensation as if all the intestines were going to be pushed out, felt in the rectum and the small of the back.*
Stitches in the right hypochondrium, when breathing.
Flatulence upon rising in the morning, swollen feeling of the abdomen, relieved by belching a considerable quantity of wind.
Disagreeable rumbling, with flatulence, or feels as if diarrhoea were coming on, immediately on lying down, or at night when lying down.
Sensation in the anus as if he were sitting on a ball; as if the anus and part of the urethra were filled up by a hard round body. Sensation in the anus as if something cold trickled out and onto the skin.* During a hard evacuation, at night, excessive discharge of prostatic fluid.
Cannabis has a variety of urinary symptoms, and is often indicated in infections of the bladder, urethra, and kidneys.
Urination is often difficult, as if from paralysis of the bladder, from sphincter spasms, or from an urethral stricture. Has to wait some time before the urine flows, but even then it remains incomplete; has to apply much straining, has to force the last drops out with his hands. The urine dribbles out after the stream ceases.
There is much and obstinate urging to urinate, which often continues after voiding urine, and may be coupled with much straining; great strangury on passing water; sometimes hardly able to retain urine, sometimes unable to pass a drop in spite of violent urging.
Frequent micturition, especially in the evening and at night, but usually only in small quantities. Frequent urination, with burning pain, in the evening. There may also be an alternation between copious passing of clear, light-coloured urine and frequent voiding of small quantities with pain. It may also be loaded with much mucus, especially after exposure to damp cold, or else as a consequence of gonorrhoea.
Scanty urine, passed drop by drop with burning, sometimes mixed with blood, with continuous, unbearable urging.*
Stinging, biting and burning in the urethra before, during, and especially after urination is a characteristic and well-confirmed symptom. The pain often goes backward towards the bladder.* Uneasiness, with a burning sensation in the penis and urethra and frequent calls to urinate. Examples of pathological conditions that could be cured by Cannabis: urethritis with burning biting or scalding pain extending backwards to the bladder when urinating, but worse after, with frequent urging to urinate (every 15 or 20 minutes); very painful spasmodic closure of the sphincter of the bladder, at the same time severe stricture and drawing up of the anus with the urging for stool, but the inability to pass it.*
A peculiar symptom is sharp pricking, like needles, in the urethra, so severe as to send a thrill to the cheeks and hands.
Kidney pains are also frequent. Aching in the kidneys, keeping him awake at night. Pain in kidneys when laughing (or soreness from other jarring influences). Burning kidney pains. Nephritic colic.* Nephritis with constant dull pain in the region of the kidneys, with violent colic-like pains along the ureters; also dull pain in the glans penis. Drawing pain from the kidneys to the inguinal glands, with an anxious, nauseous sensation in the pit of the stomach.*
Genitalia and sexuality
As mentioned above, Cannabis may be indicated in gonorrhoea, though rather quite seldom. It has been used successfully in acute states of gonorrhoea where the urethra was is very sensitive to touch and pressure and the patient was is forced to walk with legs apart.* The discharge was is white-yellow, slimy and profuse, or thin and watery; watery and often painless often painless.* In men, an important indication was is an extensive swelling of prepuce.*
More often Cannabis might be useful in complaints from contracting gonorrhoea, as Cannabis people are quite inclined to catch gonorrhoea and often suffer for a long time from the consequences.
Sexual desire is often increased in both sexes, sometimes excessively, with nymphomania or satyriasis; but we also find aversion or indifference toward sex.
Painful erections at night, mostly ‘mechanical’, without desire for the sex act. Erections while riding, walking, also while sitting still, not caused by amorous thoughts. Swelling of the penis but no actual erection.* Chordee.
There are, however, also erections with erotic sensations and desires; with voluptuous dreams and profuse seminal emissions; with priapism. Excessive desire with frequent erections during the day. Potency may be increased; as the provings say: ‘The sexual thrill is very much prolonged, with more than a dozen ejaculations of semen.’ The erection may continue long after ejaculation and be so painful that cold water has to be applied to the penis. Besides this annoying problem, there may be other disturbances of sexual function and sensation occurring in Cannabis men: no ejaculation of semen, though orgasm is present, but it consists merely of an intense burning. Or: little or no sensation during coition, but soon after a rather acute pain in the loins or in the back. The penis may also be unusually relaxed and even shrunken.
Nocturnal emissions mixed with blood.*
Great swelling of the prepuce, approaching phimosis.*
Sticking, burning soreness in the glans penis. Itching (agreeable or disagreeable) of the glans penis, of or under the prepuce, at the frenulum*; itching and burning of the scrotum.
On squeezing the glans penis, a white glairy mucus oozes out.
The prostate may be affected: with emission of transparent fluid, sometimes during stool; the ‘ball feeling’ (described under ‘Rectum’) may also occur in connection with prostate trouble.
Cannabis is said to have brought about sterility, and it has been used for this condition, especially when the sterility coincides with an increase in sexual desire.
Dysmenorrhoea is also an indication. According to Hale, it ‘appears to control the neuralgic and spasmodic varieties, but is more particularly indicated when…the menses are preceded, attended, or followed by unusual sexual desires.’ In dysmenorrhoea the menses are generally very profuse, dark, but without clots; the flow may be prolonged (Hering relates a case where it lasted 18 days). Menorrhagia with violent spasmodic uterine colic; pains returning like labour-pains; great agitation and sleeplessness. The profuse menses may also be attended by dysuria and a sensation of soreness in the whole urethral tract.*
The remedy has also been used in scanty but too frequent menstruation (every two weeks), with aggravation of backache during menses.
Threatened miscarriage with haemorrhage from the vagina as late as the eighth month of pregnancy; in gonorrhoeic patients, with burning during urination and purulent discharge.
Metrorrhagia and post-partum haemorrhage have been helped with Cannabis; when accompanied by violent uterine colic, with cramps in the extremities.
Fluor in young girls, with dysuria and soreness to touch of the vulva.*
The remedy causes an inflammation and swelling of the vagina, as if sore, with biting fluor.*
Tetanic intermittent contraction of the muscles of at the nape of the neck; cataleptic spasms. Drawing from the nape of the neck to the ear, rather spasmodic and felt externally.*
Chin suddenly drawn down to the sternum, lasting several days until it relaxes.
Peculiar feeling as if a stream of warm water is gradually stealing up the back and making its way up to the brain.
Pain across the shoulders and spine, forcing the person to stoop and preventing him from walking erect; or crushing weight on the cerebellum, neck and shoulders, cannot rise from a stooping position.
Cold feeling in the small of the back and between the shoulders. Pressure on the coccyx, as if from a blunt point.*
Backache: may be caused by coition in men; aggravated from laughing; backache aggravated during menses, which come every 14 days. Backache may be coupled with extraordinary anxiety and anguish, making the voice rise or arresting the breath.* Reflex movements of the spinal column in a wave-like motion.
As previously mentioned, Cannabis may be indicated in states of extreme weakness and weariness of the limbs, even amounting to paralysis, often with numbness and tingling of the affected parts. The tired feeling in the limbs may be coupled with aching in the joints, sometimes with a shaking chill.
One-sided paralysis. The provings also give partial paralytic symptoms such as: paralysis of the lower extremities and the right arm; entire paralysis of the lower extremities. Leaden feeling in the limbs, as though he could not move them, for some time.
Spasmodic motions of the limbs have also been observed; there may be a kind of gesticulatory convulsions in the arms and legs, or an automaton-like and rapid movement of the hands, one hand being pressed on the chest and rubbed actively with the palm of the other hand; knocking together of the knees; choreatic movements. Tonic spasms, rigidity of the limbs. Unpleasant shuddering through all the limbs.
Contractions of muscles and tendons are also seen: violent pain with contraction in the tendo Achillis and left foot*; contraction of fingers after a sprain*.
Thrilling sensations: agreeable thrilling through arms and hands; agreeable thrilling in both lower limbs from the knees down, with a sensation as if a bird’s claws were clasping the knees.
An interesting modality reported by Boger in his Synoptic Key: ‘Pain in limbs worse from a deep breath’.
Pain as from fatigue in the bend of the right elbow.
Heaviness of the forearm, as if a weight was upon it; is unable to raise his hands.
Cold hands (objectively as well as subjectively).
Aching in the finger joints.
Weariness of the lower limbs; knees give way, and feel as if there were a dull aching in them.* Unable to walk upstairs, legs nearly paralyzed, with stiffness and tired aching in both knees. The legs hardly seem able to support the body, the person may even actually fall. Great heaviness of the feet. Cramps in the calves may also have a paralyzing effect. Dislocation of the patella on ascending stairs.*
On attempting to walk, he experiences intensely violent pain, as if he trod on a number of spikes, which penetrated the soles and ran upward through his limbs to the hips; worse in the right side, and accompanied by drawing pain in both calves; is forced to limp and to cry out.
Numb feeling of the left sole, then of the foot, increasing to a numbness of the whole limb.
Shooting pains in the joints of toes, worse in the big toe; aching and stitching pain in the ball of the left big toe.
Sleepiness in the day, but often disturbed sleep at night, from pain or sexual excitement.
Excessive, irresistible sleepiness; especially in the afternoon, with alternate dozing and waking; the waking time can also be described as a ‘dreamy state.’ Dreamy attacks in the daytime, which recur periodically. Sometimes the desire for sleep may be extremely prolonged, can sleep three days straight through.
Sleepiness, but cannot sleep. Great agitation and sleeplessness with painful menorrhagia. Fear of going to bed (lectophobia).* During sleep: starting of the limbs, which awakes him; talking; grinding teeth.
Nightmares every night immediately after falling asleep. Vexatious dreams; dreams of danger, and of perils encountered; of dead bodies; voluptuous dreams with erections and profuse emissions; prophetic dreams; melancholy dreams.
Chill, fever, perspiration
Has a lack of vital heat and feels a general chilliness.
Much shivering and shuddering or experiences creeping chills all over. Experiences a strong shaking chill with accompanied by the earnest belief that he is dying.
Coldness of the hands, feet, and especially of the nose after dinner, with shivering, shaking, and the inability to get warm. Coldness and shivering, with external heat.
Profuse sticky sweat, standing out in drops on his forehead.
Anaesthesia of the skin has often been impressively described in the provings. Numbness and pricking over the whole body or parts of it, often pleasurable; sometimes alternating with twitching. Formication and itching on various parts, or all over the body. The skin feels as if it were drawn tight, especially over the head and face.
Catalepsy. Chordee. Clairvoyance. Delirium tremens. Delusions. Epilepsy. Gonorrhoea. Headache. Mania. Menorrhagia. Paralysis. Prostatitis. Satyriasis. Stammering. Uraemia. Urinary disorders.
Cann-s. In extreme sensitiveness to noise: Nit-ac. (to jarring and rumbling of cars in the street); Coff. (to all sounds); Bor. (slightest noise, fall of the door latch, rumpling of paper, rustling of silk); Asar. (to the scratching of linen or silk, or even the thought of it).
Levitation (Asar., Calc., Cocc., Ph-ac., Sil., Stict., Sulph., Thuj.). As if in a dream (Ambr., Anac., Calc., Con., Cupr., Med., Rheum., Stram., Valer., Verat., Zinc.; the sensation of time being interminable distinguishes Cann-i. from the others). Horror of darkness (Am-m., Bar-c., Calc., Carb-an., Phos., Stram., Valer.). Noise like a crash or explosion in the head (Aloe.).