We’re all heard of it – cannabis, pot, marijuana, Mary Jane – but what do you really know about it?
1. It’s been around for thousands of years. Cannabis, in its digestible form, was discovered in tombs in the Turpan District of Xinjiang, China, in the early 2000s and carbon-dated to 2500BP (or “before present”, the most commonly used dating convention in carbon dating). Its use may go back as far as 12,000 years ago, probably as a multi-use crop for rope, clothing, fiber and nutritious seeds.
2. Cannabis is one member of the flowering plant family cannabaceae, which also includes hops, used as the main flavor in beer.
3. Cannabis produces one of the strongest, natural fibers – hemp – which has been around for 10-12,000 years. You can make paper, twine, fuel, varnish, paint, a food ingredient, a grain crop, or bow strings. In China, it was used as a “war crop” in ancient times.
4. The main species is cannabis Sativa, the psychoactive variety, while the hemp crop is the non-psychoactive cannabis sativa linnaaeus. Then there are two more psychoactive types, cannabis Indica, and an uncommon subspecies, cannabis ruderalis (and there’s some debate about whether it’s even a separate species).
5. Male and female plants do different things – the male is better for making fiber and hemp; the female is better for seeds and the psychoactive product (the dried flowers of the female plant).
6. It was only recently made illegal. In the United States, and many western countries, cannabis use was curtailed and criminalized in the early 20th century, although hemp production was allowed and encouraged during World War II.
7. The chemical in cannabis that causes you to get ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ is called THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). When cannabis is smoked or eaten, THC enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain. When in the brain, THC binds to tiny parts of the brain called brain receptors. If enough THC binds with these brain receptors, your behavior will be affected and you become ‘stoned’.
8. Shakespeare was a stoner. Allegedly. South African researchers have claimed there was marijuana residue on the fragments of a pipe found in Shakespeare’s garden in England. The claim was backed up with the “fact” that in Sonnet 76, he wrote about “invention in a noted weed”, a hint – it was claimed that he lit up while writing.
News Moderator: Ron Strider 420 MAGAZINE ®
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