GENERAL CANNABIS INFORMATION
Marijuana, cannabis and hemp are all names that refer to this highly unique and incredibly medicinal plant.
Marijuana is derived from the Cannabis plant.
The cannabis plant, also known as hemp, usually grows about 8 to 12 feet high and can be grown indoors or outdoors.
The main active ingredient in cannabis is called THC, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is what gives the “high” feeling.
THC acts on specific molecules in the body known as cannabinoid receptors, which are mostly found in the brain.
Different products have different levels of THC.
The term “cannabis” can also refer to any drug that is derived from the plant. The three major forms are: marijuana, hashish, and oil (which can be extracted using a variety of different mechanisms).
Marijuana is the dried flower itself. It is typically smoked or vaporized in a joint, pipe or water pipe.
Hash is a thick brown sticky substance made from the resin produced by cannabis flowers. Cannabis oil comes in a variety of forms and can be extracted with ethanol, butane, or a variety of solvent-less extractions.
MARIJUANA HAS DIFFERENT STRAINS
Marijuana strains consist of indica, sativa or hybrid.
Indica strains are known for providing a strong relaxing “body high.” They are highly anti-inflammatory and are excellent for pain-relief. Indicas affect the body in waves of sedation and calmness; these often make their users feel tired and very relaxed.
Sativa strains are known for their cerebral “head high.” They have very little effect on the body, which makes them excellent for being active. The “head high” experienced can be anywhere from a literal vibrating sensation, to simply changing the mood of the user completely. Sativas are also known to be mood-enhancers, gifting the smoker with a sense of happiness—and often the giggles.
Marijuana can be consumed in a number of ways
In addition to smoking marijuana, it can also be consumed by vaporizing, eaten in the form of an “edible,” applied topically as an oil, lotion or balm, or as a tincture consumed orally. Different forms of ingesting medicine are preferred for different medical conditions.
Marijuana has physical and psychological effects
When smoked or vaporized, the effects of marijuana begin within a few minutes after inhalation and lasts between 2-4 hours.
When eaten, THC is absorbed more slowly into the blood stream and takes significantly longer to be felt; anywhere between 1-3 hours before onset.
The physical effects of marijuana include increased heart rate, dry mouth, bloodshot/glazed eyes and an increase in appetite.
When a user is high, they most commonly feel euphoria and calm tranquility. Effects may also include lowered inhibitions, drowsiness and silliness. Some users also report anxiety or paranoia.
Marijuana is one of the world’s oldest crops
The cannabis plant is believed to be one of the oldest crops cultivated by humans. Records of its use date back over 6000 years. Early civilizations relied on hemp crops as a source of food, fiber, oil and paper.
A Chinese medical reference as old as 2700 BC is usually cited as the first mention of medical use of marijuana. The Ancient Chinese used cannabis to treat constipation, malaria, rheumatic pain, etc.
Marijuana is safer than alcohol
Cannabis has never caused a death, while alcohol claims millions of lives each year.
Long-term effects of alcohol, such as chronic illness, cause the most deaths. Another argument is that marijuana has a number of proven medical uses, whereas no doctor would ever recommend alcohol to a sick patient
CBD is the non-psychoactive counterpart of THC. This means it does not cause a high. CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. These pathways, called CB1 receptors, are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC.
A 2011 review published in Current Drug Safety concludes that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions.” The authors add that several studies suggest that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.
CBD has a wide range of medical benefits.
Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:
CBD has proven to be incredibly healing for those who suffer from epilepsy. CBD has also been regarded as safe for children to use due to its non-psychoactive component.
CBD reduces the negative effects of THC. One incredible story about the life-saving abilities of CBD is the story of Charlotte.
CBD seems to offer natural protection against the marijuana high. Numerous studies suggest that CBD acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as memory impairment and paranoia.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary ingredient in marijuana responsible for the high.
THC is one of more than 60 active ingredients in cannabis.
Contrary to popular belief, THC has been proven to have a number of positive effects on brain cells. Whereas most recreational drugs are neurotoxic, THC is considered a “neuroprotectant,” meaning it can protect brain cells from damage caused by things like inflammation and oxidative stress.
What’s more, scientists have even shown that THC can promote the growth of new brain cells through a process known as neurogenesis. This effect was first discovered in 2005 by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Xia Zhang, noted in an interview with Science Daily: “Most ‘drugs of abuse’ suppress neurogenesis. Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis.”