What is Cannabis?
As defined by the DEA, cannabis is a schedule 1 controlled drug derived from one of two plants- Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. Cannabis plants naturally produce 400 chemicals, including THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of consumption and cannabidiolic acid, which is non-psychoactive and similar to penicillin. Cannabidiolic acid has a multitude of medical application including treatment for epileptic conditions, cancer, and as a safer alternative to pain medication. The plant is also used to create hemp, which has multiple non-psychoactive applications such as clothing, paper, plastics, and fuel.
Despite their many uses, hemp and cannabidiolic acid have not been accepted as a viable option in most industries due to its association with marijuana- another derivative of cannabis and perhaps the most popular.
Where Does Cannabis Come From?
The cannabis plant is quite durable, able to grow in most environments and indoors. Surprisingly, though Jamaica is associated with both consumption and recreational use of cannabis, India is often credited as the original home of cannabis. India, South Africa, Mexico, Paraguay, and Afghanistan are the top suppliers for cannabis around the world.
What is the Difference Between Cannabis and Marijuana?
On the biological level, cannabis and marijuana are one and the same. The drug marijuana comes in buds of cannabis leaves and seeds and is often smoked through a variety of implements or added to edibles for ingestion. Cannabis has a variety of other street names such as:
- Mary Jane
Is Cannabis Dangerous?
Marijuana is sometimes enhanced by the addition of other illicit drugs- heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine- to intensify or prolong the high. Such mixtures are also extremely dangerous as often the user does not know of the presence of additional drugs, the quantity, or the biological effects the mixture may have. Even pure, unadulterated marijuana has its dangers, including allergic reactions which can be deadly in some people. Altered awareness, lowered reaction time, and lack of concentration heightens the risk of motor vehicle accidents though some falsely believe driving while high to safe. The effects of cannabis are long lasting and create permanent anxiety disorders with continued use.
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Where is Cannabis Legal?
Recent years have seen legislation changes on a federal level throughout the United States and other countries concerning the legality of cannabis and its byproducts. These new regulations restrict the quantity of cannabis allowed in one’s possession and growth and sales, but offer hope to activist groups such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
States that have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana:
- District of Columbia
Countries that have legalized possession of marijuana:
- North Korea
States that have legalized medical marijuana use:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- The US territory of Puerto Rico
States with restricted use of Cannabidiol for medical use:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina