As a society, we are way past illegal consumption of marijuana. While cannabis is still the most commonly used illegal drug in America and in the world, the progress in the field of legalization is huge. As of 2015, several countries in the world, including some states in the US have legalized marijuana usage for medical purposes. Usage of marijuana in small doses is decriminalized in some European Countries as well. In the United States, four states allow legal usage of marijuana for recreational purposes. Those are Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. And then there are 24 states where medical usage of marijuana is legal. That being said, let’s dig deep into the world of marijuana with some strange and interesting facts about the most commonly used illegal drug in the world.
Disclaimer: we are not advocating for usage of marijuana.
Cannabis is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world, and as such, marijuana is subject to street naming. Some of the interesting names for marijuana include Mary Jane, bud, Buddha, cheeba, hydro, Purple Haze, Maui Wowie, herb and so on. And that is on top of some of the common names such as grass, weed, ganja and pot. Knowing the street names for marijuana helps teenagers and adults to stay away from drugs, and raise awareness for marijuana discussion.
First and foremost, we must make a distinction between hemp and cannabis. In simplest terms, hemp is cannabis that contains little to none psychoactive compounds that are regularly found in cannabis plants. Hemp plants have long been used in the industry, especially for products such as fabric, rope, and paper. In the latest years, we also see the medical usage of hemp oil for treating diseases. Due to the fibrous nature of the hemp plants, the compound has been used as fiber for clothing for many years. But there are still controversies, similar in the way as the medical use of marijuana.
A common misconception is that the hippie generation discovered marijuana. The reality, as you might think is quite different. The origins of marijuana are a bit murky, but some believe that the oldest reference dates back to 2727 B.C., in a time Shen Nung, a Chinese Emperor used it for medical purposes.
The one problem with that theory is that Shen Nung, was not actually the first emperor of China. Evidence shows that the first Emperor of China was Qin Shi Huang, who unified the country in 260 B.C., much later than the existence of Shen Nung. However, Chinese history deserves some recognition, as hemp was used in ancient Taiwan for pottery decoration.
There was a time when marijuana was not recognized as a drug in the United States, and as such, was actually legal. There were restrictions, as marijuana was considered poison prior to the 1930s. It was then when the first restrictions on marijuana as a drug happened. In 1970, with the voting of the Controlled Substance Act, marijuana became completely illegal drug. Some states had their own laws to make it legal.
We mentioned previously that there is a slight difference between hemp and cannabis. However, speaking of hemp, in the early years of America, when the country had just 13 colonies, growing hemp was considered a patriotic duty. In fact, there was even a law in 1619 that DEMANDED farmers to grow hemp. Back then, hemp was used for clothing, making sails, ropes and much more. Even founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and George Washington owned hemp farms. The flag that Betsy Ross sewed, that first American flag was also made of hemp. And one of the drafts of the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper by Jefferson.
Without getting much into biology and family relationships, beer and marijuana are somewhat of cousins. Marijuana is made from hemp, while beer is made from hops. And the plants come from the same family of flowering.
In 2013, the United States were under huge pressure to legalize marijuana on a federal level. That didn’t happen, but the study regarding benefits of marijuana remained. According to a study from Cato conducted in 2010, America would generate as much as $8.7 billion in federal and state tax revenue per year. The researchers based their numbers on the same tax numbers as alcohol and tobacco.
For quite some time, one of the claims by supporters of marijuana is that smoking cannabis enhances creativity. We must say that it was never confirmed as a fact, but scientists managed to confirm that Shakespeare, one of the best writers of our time enjoyed an occasional smoke. In one of his writings, Shakespeare mentioned a “noted weed”, and a study of pipes dug up from his home showed a trace of cannabis.
We don’t have recent data, but in 2012, the FBI released a statement that 750,000 people were arrested for offenses linked to marijuana. That number is half of the drug arrests in the US, or 48% of the total arrests. What is even more interesting is that almost all of the arrests came due to possession of marijuana, not because of growing or selling. A huge number, 87% of the arrests were due to possession. And then there is the race card, with American Civil Liberties Union claiming that black people are four times more likely to get arrested because of possession of marijuana than white people.
A study conducted in 2014 found out that women are actually more sensitive to the qualities of cannabis. The study was conducted on rats, but nevertheless, the results were interesting. Scientists believe that it all comes down to the hormone estrogen, which plays a huge role in the effects of marijuana.
There have been many efforts to create a synthetic version of Marijuana. And while many have tried, many have also failed. The best version came in 1949, and it was courtesy of the U.S. Military. The Military created a version called “dimethylheptylpyran”, and was as potent as ever. Just one mg of the synthetic version had effects lasting for more than three days.
Dr. James C. Munch was an official expert, hired by the U.S. Government in matters regarding marijuana. He worked as an expert from 1938 to 1962. During one court session, Dr. Munch testified under oath that he had tried marijuana. But here comes the fun part: he claimed smoking pot turned him into a bat.
Before the advent of TV, things were strange in countries around the world. Take Bhutan for example, where cannabis plants were used as food for pigs.
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