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September 20, 1971

Cannabis Roots

Author Affiliations

Bellaire, Mich

JAMA. 1971;217(12):1705-1706. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190120071025

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To the Editor.—  In all the current discussion about cannabis (marihuana), there is one effect I have never seen mentioned, ie, the digitalis-like effect of an extract of the root upon heart muscle.As a sophomore medical student at Ann Arbor, Mich, in 1931, I remembered stories an old uncle of mine in northern Michigan had told about the way Indians had used "Indian hemp" (the North American Cannabis) for treatment of persons afflicted with "dropsy." He had personally observed the profuse diuresis which occurred after the patient drank whiskey in which Cannabis roots had been soaked for some hours. I checked with one of the aging physicians in the area, who remembered how an Indian squaw had treated her husband with a watery extract of the hemp. "My patient died, and hers lived!"My uncle identified some roots for me to take to Ann Arbor. Dr. Edmunds, professor of