Today, cannabis is getting a public-image makeover. Recently, there have been discoveries that the THC in marijuana and CBD from hemp in the form of cannabis oil or extracts have medicinal potential, USA today reports. However, marijuana’s legitimacy is still a topic of hot discussion even as the number of states legalizing it increases and corporations continue investing in cannabinoid research.
Considering the high-profile nature of cannabis, it is important that you do have some facts about it. Here are a few serious (and less serious) facts that may surprise you.
Basic Facts About Marijuana
The symbol of the marijuana leaf is virtually everywhere – on car bumper stickers, keychains, jewelry and clothing. In fact, cannabis is considered the most widely used illegal drug not only in the U.S., but worldwide too. So, what should you know?
- Marijuana legality: Did you know possession of cannabis is legal in Uruguay, North Korea, Netherlands, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and a few states in the U.S.? In some countries, cannabis is decriminalized, meaning that it is prohibited but not considered a criminal offence.
- World’s oldest crop: Records indicate that the cannabis plant has been cultivated for over 6,000 years. Earlier civilizations depended on hemp crops for paper, oil, fiber, and food.
- Marijuana as a prescription drug: Marijuana bought from a licensed supplier can be used for medical purposes in several states. The medical variety is consumed by either smoking, vaporizing, eating or as a cannabis oil. Several THC based pharmaceuticals have been approved as medicines.
- The first ever e-commerce transaction: In 1971 or 1972, students used their university’s Artificial Intelligence Lab to get cannabis from students at another university.
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Industrial Hemp Facts
Hemp is a cannabis sativa variant typically found in the northern region. It is specifically grown for the industrial applications of its derived products. Hemp is genetically different and is distinguished by its chemical makeup and uses. However, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies all C. sativa variants as marijuana. Here are a few more facts about hemp to feed your brain.
- Legal facts: The DEA requires that industrial hemp be grown in a field secured by lights, guards, dogs, razor wire and a fence. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first step towards stopping hemp farming. It placed a high tax on marijuana making it impossible to grow hemp as a cash crop.
- Scientific facts: Hemp has a THC content of between 0.05 and 1 percent and an individual would have to smoke up to 12 hemp cigarettes over a very short period to get even a slight psychoactive effect. If hemp pollinates nearby marijuana, you would get lower-THC marijuana. Most hemp varieties traditionally grown in North America have been lost since no seed banks were maintained.
- Industrial facts: Henry Ford once carried out experiments of making car bodies out hemp, and had a vision of a time cars were built and fueled from farm products. Most of the bird seed in the U.S. contains sterilized version of hemp seed. There are more than 25,000 uses for industrial hemp!
- Health facts: Cannabis oil from hemp is a rich source of essential fatty acids as well essential amino acids like gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which is found in a mother’s milk. The cannabinoid CBD, unlike THC, will not make its users high and is being researched to determine its medical uses. These may be very similar to those of THC without the side effects.
In addition, one acre of industrial hemp can produce as much paper as up to four acres of trees. Despite the benefits of hemp, it is tightly controlled and regulated. The presence of some THC in hemp elicits fears that it could be extracted for illegal purposes. However, the U.K., Chile and Canada are among the countries where hemp plantings on a commercial scale are thriving.