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Ethan Russo GW Pharmaceuticals, 2235 Wylie Avenue, Missoula, MT 59809, USA Introduction: Ayurvedic medicine India is a land steeped in faith and mysticism.Ayurveda, combining the Sanskrit words for life and knowledge, is a system of medicine intertwined inextricably with these traits.That a core of belief combined with empirical experimentation could produce a viable medical regimen still widely practiced after well over 3000 years is astounding to Western physicians.
Merlin recently explained it well , with the powerful tools of modern science andhuman imagination, our understanding of our deep-rooted desire to experience ecstasy in the original sense of the word (to break the mind free from the body and communicate with the gods or the ancestors) will become clear with time.
This chapter will seek to examine the medical claims for cannabis of the past, and place them in a contemporary light given current pharmacological knowledge.
Ayurveda is based on a conceptual medical system that seeks to balance three functional elements, called doshas, that the human body is composed of, and are commonly represented as Va ta or Vayu (ether or air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (phlegm or water and earth).
Nadkarni  has rejected these simple relationships in favor of more abstract assignations : the word Va yu, does not imply Wind in Ayurvedic literature, but comprehends all the phenomena which come under the functions of the Central and Sympathetic Nervous Systems; that the word Pitta does not essentially mean Bile but signifies the functions of Thermogenesis or heat production and metabolism, comprehending in its scope the process of digestion, coloration of blood and formation of various secretions and excretions and that the word Kapha does not mean Phlegm but is used primarily to imply the functions of Thermo-taxis or heat regulation and secondarily formation of the various preservativefluids, e.g., Mucus, Synovia, etc., Good health in Ayurveda is dependent upon attaining an equilibrium state of these factors.
Of this use, Bouquet stated : It is solely to its inebriating properties that hemp owes the signal honour of being sung in the Vedas, and it was probably the peoples of Northern Iran who discovered those properties, for they were already using the leaves (Cheng) and the resin (Cers) as inebriants before the Hindus.