The Origins of Cannabis
The oldest known written record on cannabis use comes from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 B.C. Ancient Greeks and Romans were also familiar with cannabis, while in the Middle East, use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa. In 1545 cannabis spread to the western hemisphere where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber. In North America cannabis, in the form of hemp, was grown on many plantations for use in rope, clothing and paper.
The Use of Cannabis
Cannabis sativa grows wild throughout many tropical and humid parts of the world. Its seeds have been used for animal feed, its fiber for hemp rope, and its oil as a vehicle for paint.
The Cannabis Plant
Cannabis is dioecious, meaning it comes as separate male and female plants. Male plants are taller and thinner and have flower like pods which contain the fertilizing, pollen-generating anthers. The female plant is darker and shorter and has short hairs protruding at the end of the bracteole pods.
Most users smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints. Other popular methods of smoking marijuana include using bowls, pipes, and bongs.
The topic of legalizing marijuana for medical use is a controversial issue since the therapeutic properties of marijuana are presently at question when claiming medicinal purpose. The impairment of cognitive abilities when under the influence of cannabis or THC and the short term effects of marijuana use can include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, coordination and increased heart rate.
Cannabis: A Schedule I Substance
Having no current accepted medical use in the United States and a high potential for abuse, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance.
Marketable Cannabis Items
Marijuana and hemp have been and are used in a variety of products. Some of the most common foods and drinks include cereal, candy, coffees and teas. Hemp is also found in body lotions, make up and shampoo.
With a variety of cannabis strains the potency of marijuana varies greatly. The highest concentration of cannabinoids is found in the flowers of the female marijuana plant. Marijuana is much more powerful today than it was 30 years ago. The average THC levels rose from less than 1 percent in the mid-1970’s to more than 6 percent in 2002 to 8.5 percent in 2008.
As cannabis strains are continually discovered and grown the potency changes as well. The differences in marijuana potency are what make various strains popular. One of the most potent early strains is sinsemillas, which is seedless marijuana from the inflorescences of the female cannabis plants. Other more current strains known for their potency include: Purple Haze, Early Girl, Big Bud and Hindu Kush.
Marijuana Candy Products
In Oakland and Emeryville, California four individuals pleaded guilty for their role to manufacture and distribute marijuana plants and marijuana products that mimicked well known candy and soft-drink products. Some of the products include “Munchy Ways,” “Pot Tarts,” “Twixed” and “Allmy Joy,”