Cannabis and Marijuana Plants

Topics: Cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Hashish Pages: 6 (2570 words) Published: April 18, 2013

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug, and is the most controversial of these types of drugs. The reason being is that there are so many myths and misconceptions that surround marijuana. It is not clear about the addiction potential, physical and psychological problems of marijuana. . Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America behind only alcohol and tobacco, and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans (marijuana). Marijuana is widely used and it is estimated that nearly 25% of Americans have used marijuana once in their lives and that 2-5 million people use it daily despite it being illegal. Marijuana is a mixture of crushed leaves, flowers, small branches, stems, and seed of the hemp plant. This plant grows best in tropical climates and can be found throughout the world. Most countries cultivate this plant on purpose. Cannabis Indica species can withstand colder climates (“Marijuana, history of,”) If marijuana were to become a cash crop it would be the largest grown in the United States. It is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world, following caffeine, nicotine, and alcoholic beverages in the popularity. In the United States, where the route of admission is usually smoking, it also has been called weed, grass, pot, or reefer (“Marijuana, history of,”). Marijuana is a depressant. The effects of marijuana may vary with its strength and dosage and with the state of mind of the user. High doses can cause tachycardia, paranoia, and delusions (“Marijuana, history of,”). Marijuana can also have a psychedelic effect in high doses. With this being said, marijuana is classified as both a depressant and a psychedelic. Marijuana does produce some of the same effects as hallucinogens like a LSD or mescaline, but it differs chemically and pharmacologically. Marijuana is made up of many chemicals. There are currently 426 known compounds in the plant. When marijuana is burned there are 1500 additional compounds that are formed. The chemical compounds that are found in marijuana only are called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are the most active and mind-altering ingredients in marijuana. The primary active component of marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), although other cannabin derivatives are also thought to be intoxicating. In 1988 scientists discovered receptors that bind THC on the membranes of nerve cells. They reasoned that the body must make its own THC-like substance. The substance, named anandamide, was isolated from pig brains in 1992 by an American pharmacologist, William A. Devane (“Marijuana, history of,”). The potency of marijuana is determined by the amount of THC present. All the parts of the plant have different concentrations of THC. So the mixture of the plant material used and the conditions of how the plant was grown determines the potency of this drug sold on the street. The root of this plant has no THC value, the stalk have very little value, there is some THC found in the branches, there is a moderate amount of THC found in the leaves(male has 5 leaves and female has 7 leaves), and the highest amount of THC concentration will be found in the buds, flowers and seeds. The concentration of THC has increased over the past 30 years. Marijuana is 25 to 40 times more potent than it was in the 1960’s, it’s up from .2% to 5-8% pure today. Marijuana dates back to 2700 B.C. in ancient China. The plant was used to make rope, cloth, and paper from its fiber. It was during this time that the resins, flowers, and leaves from the plant could also be used for medical use. It was used to treat gout, malaria, and gas pains. It was by 500 B.C. that the Chinese put a ban of the use of the plant because of it unpredictable intoxicating effects. Marijuana was introduced into ancient India mainly for the mind altering effects. Marijuana was used in religious ceremonies the euphoria producing ability. It didn’t take long for the plant to be recognized for its intoxicating...
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