Cannabis saliva var. sativa subvar. indica (Lamk. Asch. & Gr.
Annual, 75 cm—1.5 (-2 5) in tall, slender; stem and branches slightly angular with appressed hairs (dense on younger shoots). Leaves palmately 3-9 (-11) foliolate, petiole ( .5) 2-10 (-12), cm pubescent, hairs white, appresed; lobes sessile, narrowly lanceolate, narrowed at base, palmtinerved, serrate, accuminate-caudate, 2-11 (14) cm long, 3-15 ( 20) mm broad; upper surface scabrid with stiff hairs topping the cystoliths; lower surface more or less densely pubescent, covered with sessile glands, stipules 4-6 mm long. Male flowers 4-6 mm across, greenish, pedicel 1-1.5 mm long, filiform. Tepals elliptic or oblong, finely pubescent, 3-4 ( 5) mm long, 1.5-2 mm broad, entire, acute. Stamen 4-5 mm long, Female flower as large as the perigonium; bracts foliaceous (-2) 4-13 mm long, covered with small glandular hairs, bracteole linear, 1.5-2.5 mm long. Perigonium entire, membranous, broadly ovate, beaked at the tip, compressed, much enlarged, contorted and rolled above the upper half in the fruit, up to 5-8 mm long, densely hispid or pilose, prominently ridged. Ovary sessile, sub-globose, C 0.5 mm long, styles 2-3 (-4) mm long, brown, caducous-pubescent. Achene 3-4 mm in diameter, shining, yellowish brown, minutely pilose to glabrous, ovate; seed only with fleshy unilateral endosperm.
Fl. Per. April-September.
Type: India Hb. Linn. 1177. 1 (LINN).
Distribution: Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and cultivated elsewhere.
Indian Hemp is widely cultivated in many countries for its valuable fibres for making ropes, strings etc. A strong narcotic is derived from the resin of stem, leaves, flowers and even the fruits, and the following products are obtained. (1) Ganja is derived from the resinous exudation from the female flowering top and unfertilized female flowers. (2) Charas is obtained by rubbing of the leaves, young twigs, flowers and young fruits (3) Bhang is derived from older leaves and mature fruits. Ganja and charas are smoked and Bhang is either used in the preparation of green intoxicating beverage known as “Hashish” or the manu¬facture of sweetmeet known as Majun. Bhang is much weaker than Charas and Ganja. The seeds are occasionally eaten and much valued for feeding birds. The seed oil is used as luminant and in making of paints, varnishes and soap.
A very adaptable species from plains to 10000 ft., grows abundantly on roadside especially in Northern regions.