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Cannabis Roots: The Forgotten Part of the Cannabis Plant.

Updated: Feb 17

In the plant of cannabis there is a part of its anatomy which seems to be forgotten, perhaps because it is not seen so much: the roots.

The roots of cannabis have not yet had a proper impact on western medicines because the set of investigations on its effects remains very limited. However, the studies that have been carried out are very promising: it is possible that these roots have a place in the world of well-being and modern medicine.

Nowadays, it is not very common to hear about the use of cannabis roots for any purpose. Usually, they are discarded as residues after the harvest, but it has not always been the case: since the XVII century, several herbalists recommended the root of cannabis to treat the inflammation, the pain of the joints, gout and other conditions.

The use of roots in medicine is common: the use of root of Valeriana (Valeriana officinalis) in infusion to help to the relaxation is enough known, the root of Ipecacuana (Cephaelis ipecacuana) is a very effective emetic, the root of Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is used like immune stimulant and antibacterial, and so we could name several botanical species whose use of the root is beneficial, such as Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Harpagophytum procumbens, Gentian (Gentiana lutea), Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Turmeric (Curcuma longa) etc.

Currently available data on the pharmacology of cannabis root components provide important support for historical and ethnobotanical claims of clinical efficacy. This certainly indicates the need to re-examine whole root preparations for inflammatory or malignant disorders using modern scientific techniques.

Among the active compounds identified in cannabis roots are triterpenoids: friedelin and epifriedelanol; alkaloids: cannabisativin and anhydrocannabisativin, carvone and dihydrocarbon, N-(p-hydroxy-b-phenylethyl)-p-hydroxy-trans-cinamide; various sterols such as sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol and other minor compounds, including choline. It is possible to indicate that the roots of cannabis are not an important source of D-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol or other known fitocannabinoides.

Marijuana roots are much less popular than inflorescences (buds), but they are also making inroads into the modern market. Cannabis root extract is an ingredient in topical products such as ointments, lotions, balms or massage oils, and is also consumed as an infusion after 12 hours of cooking.


Jin, D., Dai, K., Xie, Z., & Chen, J. (2020). Secondary Metabolites Profiled in Cannabis Inflorescences, Leaves, Stem Barks, and Roots for Medicinal Purposes. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1–14.

Ryz, N. R., Remillard, D. J., & Russo, E. B. (2017). Cannabis Roots: A Traditional Therapy with Future Potential for Treating Inflammation and Pain. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), 210–216.

Slatkin, D. J., Doorenbos, N. J., Harris, L. S., Masoud, A. N., Quimby, M. W., & Schiff, P. L. (1971). Chemical constituents of cannabis sativa L. Root. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 60(12), 1891–1892.

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