Cannabis: A Neurological Remedy or a Drug of Abuse in India

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2017;16(5):576-584. doi: 10.2174/1871527316666170424115008.


Background: Since ancient times, the use of cannabis as a medicine is well documented due to its potential therapeutic activity while subsequently its use as drug of abuse spread increasingly.

Objective: The present review sought to give an insight in the history of medical and recreational use of cannabis in India.

Conclusion: Indian use of cannabis dates back to Vedic time, mostly for the ritualistic and religious purposes, as documented in the ancient literature. It was India that introduced the medical use of cannabis to neighboring countries. Nevertheless, in the same India, medical use did not propagate due to religious and social stigma related to the plant itself. The pharmacoactive constituents of cannabis and their therapeutic values in Ayurvetic medicine have been here described together with the adverse effects they can cause with special reference to neurological ones, including withdrawal symptoms. Finally, how cannabis made its route to the Indian society has also been discussed.

Keywords: Cannabis; abuse; medical use; medicine; neurological effect; therapeutic use.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Cannabis* / chemistry
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • India
  • Marijuana Abuse*
  • Medical Marijuana / adverse effects
  • Medical Marijuana / history
  • Medical Marijuana / therapeutic use*
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic*
  • Phytotherapy* / history


  • Medical Marijuana