Does Cannabis Hold Value in the Modern Practice of Chinese Herbal Medicine? A Literature Review
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The use of cannabis in Chinese herbal medicine is documented in the various Ben Cao (materia medica) from the last 1800 years. Only the seeds (ma zi ren/hou ma ren) tend to be used in the modern clinic. The last mention of using cannabis flower (ma hua) for medicinal purposes is in the Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica) written by Li Shizhen in 1593 CE. It is unclear why cannabis flower was dropped from the materia medica, whether for political reasons, agricultural preferences for more fibrous varieties of the plant, lack of effectiveness as a medicine, or other reason. Due to the recent resurgence of cannabis as a medicine, this systematic review of the literature aimed to find out if ma hua holds value as a herb that should be incorporated into the modern practice of Chinese herbal medicine. The Chinese herbal medicine classification of cannabis was also explored to identify any contraindications to the use of ma hua.
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