Cannabis Drug For the last few years, there has been much media hype about Cannabis. There have been talks about medical Marijuana, allowing farmers to use low THC types of marijuana for hemp, and completely legalizing Marijuana. The fiery debates have been brought to my attention by the media just recently. Being a teenager myself, I have become quite interested in Marijuana. Although most of my friends have tried Marijuana, and Marijuana is quite easily available where I lived in California, I have never tried it myself. I remember the time when my friend, Jeremy, was selling Marijuana right out of his locker. It was last year during PE, and I distinctly remember it. When I realized what he was doing, I asked if I could look at the Marijuana because I had never seen any before.
When he showed it to me, it was not what I had expected. It was in a little plastic bag, called a “dime” (10 dollars worth), and was a sticky darkish brown with little red hairs. The street name for this sub-specie of Cannabis was “Skunk”. Being as interested in Anarchy, bombs, and basically anything thats illegal, I know quite a lot about marijuana. I know that there are male and female marijuana plants and that the female marijuana plants are more prized for their higher THC content.
I also know that there is a different species of Cannabis other then Cannabis Sativa. One popular one is Cannabis Indica. I also know of the street name of the many sub species of Marijuana: Northern Lights, Super Skunk, Orange Bud, Durban, and literally 20 more. I know the physical dangers of using Marijuana (unfortunately from a biased point of view a teenagers), and I know that Marijuana is prohibited. Ever since then, I have wanted to learn more about Cannabis.
I have many questions about it. What is the classification for Cannabis? What are they different types of Cannabis? Where does Cannabis grow and what is the history of Cannabis? What type of plant is Cannabis? What are the uses of Cannabis? Although I have many questions, I will attempt to accurately answers all of them as well as I can in this I-search Physical Aspects Before I can research about the uses, benefits, harms, or any other aspects of Cannabis, I have to research the physical aspects of the plant. In order to find out specific information knowing only the name Cannabis sativa, I looked in Chinese herb books, botanical books and in encyclopedias. I found out quite a lot of good information, but unfortunately, not as through as I was hoping for. Cannabis is botanically classified as a member of the family Cannabaceae and the genus Cannabis.
There are 3 known species of Cannabis: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. I had never heard of Cannabis ruderalis before, and it was sort of a shock when I discovered it. I went ahead and found specific information about each species. Cannabis sativa is a tall plant, generally between 8 and 12 feet. The leaves have long thin fingers and are light green.
The more equatorial varieties have more yellow pigments to protect the plant from intense light. Sativa seed pods are long and thin and turn red as they mature in a warm environment. In cooler environments the buds may be slightly purple. Sativa plants smell sweet and fruity and the smoke is generally quite mild. It is a source of fiber for rope and other products and it contains THC, which gives smokers the psychic effects they seek.
The leaves of this plant are smoked but the most highly prized part of the plant is the top. Cannabis indica is plentiful in the Mid east, India, and Central Asia especially Afghanistan, Kashmire, and Pakistan. It is a short plant, generally between 3 and 6 feet, and its leaves have short broad fingers. The leaves are generally dark green sometimes tinged with purple. As they near maturity, the leaves may become significantly more purple.
It is a strong smelling plant with a “stinky” or “skunky” smell. The smoke of indicas is generally thick and more prone to cause coughing when inhaled. Indicas are the traditional source of hashish. Cannabis ruderalis is a debated third variety of cannabis found in Russia, Poland, and other eastern European countries. Schultes classified cannabis as having three species: sativa, indica, and ruderalis based on the formation of the seedpods. There is some debate as to whether there is justification for this third category. Some features of ruderalis are large seeds, short weedy plants (4-6 feet tall) and a lower level of THC than sativas or indicas.
This information I found regarding the different species of Cannabis does not surprise me in any way, for I already had the basic idea of what a Cannabis plant looked like. History After learning about the physical aspects, I went on to reaserch about the history of the plant. I went and looked through internet site and through books to find information. I found some interesting information after minimal searching. A native of central Asia, cannabis may have been cultivated as long as ten thousand years ago. It was certainly cultivated in China by 4000 B.C.
and in Turkestan by 3000 B.C. It has long been used as a medicine in India, China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and South America. The earliest known reference to cannabis is in Assyrian tablets of the seventh century BC. It has thus been in use for at least 2600 years. Like very many other herbs, it has been used medically for a wide variety of ailments, especially throughout Asia and the Middle East. The mild euphoria that it induces led to its use as an intoxicant, perhaps most notably in countries where Islam prohibited the use of alcohol.
After thousands of years of acceptance and widespread use, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 undermined it all. This law was the culmination of a campaign organized by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in which the public was led to believe that marihuana was addictive and caused violent crimes, psychosis, and mental deterioration. Under the Marihuana Tax Act, anyone using the hemp plant for certain defined industrial or medical purposes was required to register and pay a tax of a dollar an ounce. A person using marihuana for any other purpose had to pay a tax of $100 an ounce on unregistered transactions. Those failing to comply were subject to large fines or prison terms for tax evasion.
The law was not aimed at medical use of marihuana – its purpose was to discourage recreational marihuana smoking. It was put in the form of a revenue measure to evade the effect of Supreme Court decisions that reserved to the states the right to regulate most commercial transactions. By forcing some marihuana transactions to be registered and others to be taxed heavily, the government could make it prohibitively expensive to obtain the drug legally for any other than medical purposes. Almost incidentally, the law made medical use of cannabis difficult because of the extensive paperwork required of doctors who wished to use it. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics followed up with “anti-diversion” regulations that contributed to physicians’ disenchantment.
Cannabis was removed from the United States Pharmacopoeia and National Formulary in 1941. Uses I already know about the uses of Cannabis. As most people know, Cannabis has many uses other then just for recreation. Cannabis can be used as hemp to make rope, cloth, and other products, and Cannabis also has medicinal purposes. Many parts of Cannabis can be used to make textiles and other products: 1. The fiber of its stem, 2.
The resinous secretion which is developed in hot countries upon its leaves, and 3. Its oily seeds. The fiber of its stem is mostly used to make rope, but it can also be mashed into a pulp and made into paper. This surprised me because if Hemp can be made into paper, and hemp takes less time to grow then tress, Hemp could become very beneficial in the future. After more research, I realized that what I had thought is true.
We are going to have to grow our bio mass in the future. Plants used for bio mass sources must be densely foliaged and fast growing, yet not tropical. It me not destroy topsoil or require expensive fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. The leading contender in the race to find a alternative bio mass source is Hemp. Cannabis sativa produces 10 times more bio mass per acre then corn weighing in at 10 tons per acre after only 90-120 days of growing. Hemp is a potential source of fiber, textiles, paper pulp, oil, and medicine.
I think that it is very unfortunate that such a useful plant had to have been iligalized just because of its THC content. Another use of Cannabis is for medical purposes. Marijuana has many possible medical uses. Positive effects are claimed for ailments such as cancer, aids, and glaucoma. Aids can cause a loss of appetite known as the “wasting syndrome” which can lead to drastic weight loss and weakness.
Chemotherapy used in the treatment of cancer causes nausea resulting in an inability to keep down food. Marijuana’s healing nature for these two illnesses is a result of it’s ability to increase a person’s appetite as well as relieving nausea allowing a patient to regain weight. Marijuana reportedly helps glaucoma patients by reducing occular pressure, which can cause damage to the eye. Bibliography 1. Samuels, Tanyanika, The Pot Prescription, Nesdya, Oct 1997. 2. Martin, Amy, Petro-chemical Alternatives, Garbage Dec 1991 Pg 44-49.
3. Hemp, http://www.ocean.icnd/doc/pol/hemp, Feb 20, 1999. 4. Erriods Cannabis Vault, http://www.erowid.org/entheogens/cannabis/, March 2nd 1999. 5. Marijuana as Medicine, http://mojo.calyx.com/~olsen/MEDICAL/medical.html, March 2nd 1999.