Grimault's Cigarettes of Cannabis Indica

Grimault's Cigarettes of Cannabis Indica

In the late nineteenth century, cannabis was included in dozens of remedies available by prescription or over the counter....The company of Grimault and Sons marketed cannabis cigarettes as a remedy for asthma.

-p. 47. The Great Book of Hemp. Robinson, R. (1996).

Pharmaceutical companies...tried to make use of cannabis as a medicine and it was included in dozens of proprietary medicines, which were available over the counter in the nineteenth century and the early years of this century [20th Century]....The company Grimault and Sons marketed cannabis cigarettes as a remedy for asthma. By 1937, when cannabis was removed from medical use in the United States, some 28 different medicines contained it as an ingredient-many of them with no indication of its presence.

-p. 122. The Science of Marijuana. Iversen, L. L. (2008).

Grimault's Indian Cigarettes Advertisement:

Asthma, Bronchitis, Loss of Voice, and other infections of the respiratory organs, are promptly cured or relieved by the use of these cigarettes.

-p. 260. Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Volume 83, July 1870, to January 1871

Because of our present day disgust for the tobacco industry, one is tempted to dismiss the idea of a medical (life saving) cigarette altogether. But that would be a mistake: Cannabis, in its smokable form, has been known to quickly stop full-scale asthma attacks. A medical fact that, while only scientifically proven in the late 20th Century, did not go unnoticed by 19th Century medical practitioners. To quote a major medical journal of its day:

Medical Times and Gazette. Medical News; Oct 1870; 28, 334;
"The cigarettes of Cannabis Indica, made by Gremault, of Paris, have been found most efficient in the treatment of affections of the organs of respiration and circulation, no less than in affections of the central and peripheral nervous system. The unpleasant effects which so often follow the internal and subcutaneous use of opium and of Cannabis Indica are not produced by the cigarette. There use is recommended (1) in spinal neuroses, and epilepsy; (2) in neurosis of the sensory nerves, neuralgia of the teeth, branches of the fifth pair, the sciatic nerves; (3) neuroses of the motor nerves, spasm of the throat air passages; (4) affections of the sympathetic nerves, hysteria, and other diseases not attended with plethora, and congestion of the head, heart, or lungs. They are especially useful in asthma, peruses, spasm of the stomach and intestinal canal, nervous palpitation of the heart, and exert a quieting influence over the whole nervous system."

INDIAN CIGARETTES by Grimault & Co.:
This particular brand "Indian Cigarettes" [1] manufactured by the Grimault Corporation, is of special interest to us. This is due mainly to the fact that it seems to have been the ONLY established brand name of Cannabis Cigarettes offered for sale in this country. Also, remembering that medical marihuana cigarettes were quite legal back then, it is one of the most highly documented brand names available.

According to the United Nations [Bulletin on Narcotics 1951],[2] Under the subtitle: "Preparations exempted from the control measures of the Narcotics Conventions: The following formula is given:
Preparation # 5: Indian Cigarettes of Grimault (Dr. Ph. Chapelle)
Government: Siam
Notification: C.L.302.1930.III. Annex I

  • Belladonna leaves - 0.962 gm
  • Cannabis indica extract - 0.0005 gm.
  • Nitrate of potash - 0.033 gm

Which brings up an interesting subject; Again, according to the United Nations [Bulletin on Narcotics 1962],[3] the following is stated:
"Preparations made from extract or tincture of cannabis were not mentioned in the 1925 Convention, but in 1935 were brought within the control of the Convention by a decision of the Health Committee of the League of Nations under article 10 of the Convention. Such preparations are in some respects under a stricter control than the extract and tinctures themselves. Preparations made from the extract and tincture which are capable only of external use, and a medicinal cigarette called "Indian Cigarettes of Grimault" (Dr. P. H. Chapelle) are exempted from control. [League of Nations document C.136.M.87. 1939. III ]

[1] With reference to Indians from India.

[2] UNODC Bulletin 1951 Subsection: Preparations exempted from the control measures of the Narcotics Conventions

[3] Bulletin on Narcotics - 1962 Issue 4

-"ANTI-ASTHMA CIGARETTES" and onward from: Grimault's Asthma Cannabis Cigarettes

To see examples of small advertisements placed in various newspapers see Grimault's Cigarettes of Cannabis Indica Advertisements

To see an example of a full sales brochure, see Grimault's Cigarettes of Cannabis Indica Sales Brochure

image from Antique Cannabis Book