While most people may focus only on smoking, cooking with, or extracting cannabis flower, it’s important to remember the whole plant has merit. The seeds, stalks, leaves, resin, and even the root all have medicinal benefits.
Since ancient times, cannabis root specifically was one of the most highly valued aspects of the cannabis plant. Chinese medicine herbalists incorporated cannabis nearly 5,000 years ago, using the hemp root as a diuretic. They also used it for new mothers to keep them from getting hemorrhages after giving birth.
In Rome around the beginning of the first millennium, historian Pliny the Elder documented the use of hemp root in Natural Histories. In particular, he wrote that it was useful for joint stiffness and burn wounds. In Azerbaijan around the Middle Ages, cannabis root was used to treat wounds, fevers, toothaches, abscesses, and ulcers.
In 1653, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal by English botanist Nicholas Culpeper, listed cannabis root as a treatment for jaundice, colic, heavy bleeding, dry cough, and burns, while in 1696 Germany physician Georg Eberhard Rumpf documented cannabis root as beneficial for gonorrhea. The 1764 edition of The New English Dispensatory also suggested boiling cannabis root to treat tumors, gout, and skin inflammation.
The cannabis root’s medicinal value is found in its chemical profile. For starters, it contains a bit of choline, a nutrient that helps maintain the health of cell membranes and is particularly useful for post-menopausal women, who are often at risk of choline deficiency. It also contains terpenes, or aromatic molecules, like friedelin and epifriedelanol, which have antioxidant, liver protection, and tumor-fighting properties. Other terpenes like pentacyclic triterpene ketones reduce inflammation and bacteria, work as a diuretic, and kill cancer cells, while piperdine and pyrroldine are used by pharmaceutical companies in crafting medications. Cannabis root also contains altopine, which can act as a bronchodilator or an eye muscle relaxant.
If you live in a state that allows for home grow of your own weed plants for medicinal or adult use purposes, consider saving the root once you harvest the bud. You can make cannabis root tea by slow cooking it for half a day in hot water. Add other herbs like mint or cinnamon to improve the taste, as well as oil or butter to improve the solubility in your body. You can also use it in topicals and tinctures to treat cuts and burns, skin conditions, arthritis, inflammation, aches and other pains.