Body of research indicates that Bangladeshi folk medicine practitioners used Cannabis sativa Linnaeus as traditional phytomedicine

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis has long been illegal in Bangladesh, but this didn’t stop local folk medicine practitioners from using the plant in traditional phytomedicine!

The ethnomedicinal usage of Cannabis sativa Linnaeus as traditional herbal medicine in Bangladesh was recently reconfirmed by researchers, who pulled information from a number of ethnobotanical articles featured in a variety of online databases. 

According to the findings, the green plant was cultivated as a means of revenue amid the British Empire period. Examples of some online databases that were scoured in order to generate this theory include Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus and Science Direct. 

Specifically, the research claims that folk medicine practitioners (FMPs) from various Bangladeshi districts have been harnessing the Cannabis sativa plant’s therapeutic qualities, 

Numerous studies; such as this one, have already highlighted cannabis’ therapeutic efficacy.

Ethnomedicinal Use of Cannabis in Bangladesh: Techniques and Materials

To glean the above-mentioned conclusion on the ethnomedicinal usage of Cannabis sativa Linnaeus as traditional herbal medicine in Bangladesh, a team of researchers used the following terms in an online search:

  • “Bangladesh cannabaceae and ethnomedicinal survey;”
  • “ganja, bhang and folk medicine Bangladesh;” 
  • “tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinoid and therapeutic, clinical trial;”
  • “cannabis and pharmacological/biological.” 

All information was sought from reputable sources, before the team of researchers carried out an in-depth review into relevant scientific literature. The primary goal of this review was to understand the historical use of cannabis’ bioactive compounds in traditional medicine.

Upon reviewing more than 200 survey articles about ethnomedicinal plants, the team of researchers discovered that Bangladeshi FMP’s from 12 districts previously relied on Cannabis sativa as a treatment for the following ailments:

  • Sleep-associated problems;
  • Neuropsychiatric and CNS problems;
  • Infections and respiratory problems;
  • Rheumatism;
  • Gastrointestinal;
  • Gynecological;
  • Cancer;
  • Sexual problems; 
  • Hypertension;
  • Headache;
  • Itching skin conditions;
  • Bile secretion;
  • Abortifacient
  • Dandruff;
  • Fever;
  • Urinary problems.

The analysis focused on the use of 15 different cannabis formulations: the leaf (53.8 percent,) the root (23 percent) and the seed (7.7 percent,) as well as the flower, resin, inflorescence, and all parts (3.8 percent respectively.)


Although historic documentation proves that Bangladeshi FMP’s used cannabis in traditional medicine, additional research must be carried out to fully understand the plant’s uses from a pharmacological point of view. 

Challenges remain, but the fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently issued a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to a handful of cannabis grower applicants means that more entities could soon become registered to study the plant for research purposes.

If more growers are given the green light to research the plant’s therapeutic potential, it’s likely that we will see more evidence that validates claims pertaining to the ethnomedicinal usage of Cannabis sativa Linnaeus as traditional herbal medicine.