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Marijuana Facts

  • There Are 3 Main Varieties of Cannabis: Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis
  • There Are 100’s of Street Names for Marijuana
  • Scientists Are Unable to Create a Pill that Replicates Marijuana
  • Cannabis Can Be Used as Feed for Livestock
  • France is Europe’s Biggest Producer of Hemp
  • Marijuana Wasn’t Always Illegal in the United States
  • Scientists Have Confirmed That Shakespeare Used Marijuana
  • Marijuana is the Most Widely Used Drug in the World
  • Marijuana Accounts for 48% of Drug Arrest in the United States
  • 10% of People Who Smoke Marijuana Become Addicted

There Are 3 Main Varieties of Cannabis: Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis

Cannabis is the scientific name for marijuana. Marijuana is a street name, or slang name, used to describe the cannabis plant when it is dried for use as a psychoactive drug.

A psychoactive drug is a type of drug that causes changes in perception and sensation by altering the chemistry of the brain. The primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC.

The cannabis plant grows naturally in Central and South Asia. There are three main varieties: cannabis indica, cannabis sativa, and cannabis ruderalis. Since its discovery, the cannabis plant has been grown all over the world, and different hybrids have been made from the three main varieties.

Some types of marijuana have stronger psychoactive effects than others. This difference in psychoactive strength is often due to the amount of THC in the variety of cannabis plant used to prepare the marijuana.

There Are 100’s of Street Names for Marijuana

Marijuana, or the preparation of the cannabis plant that is used as a drug, has many street – or slang – names. This is one of the longest marijuana facts! Some of the names for marijuana sound plant-based: weed, grass, pot, and ganja. Others sound like the name of a friend: Mary Jane, herb, bud, cheeba, and buddha.

The list doesn’t end there. Some names of marijuana sound like distinctly scientific: hydro, chronic, and Frankenstein. Other names for marijuana are based on the names of cannabis plant varieties: Northern Lights, Purple Haze, and Maui Wowie.

Knowing some of these funny marijuana facts can help teens be aware when drugs are being discussed. Marijuana is now used publicly to discuss the subject and may not be used when discussions of marijuana use occur between teens.

Scientists Are Unable to Create a Pill that Replicates Marijuana

Beyond its use as a recreational drug, marijuana is also used for medical purposes. Marijuana is used to provide comfort to, and aid the digestive process of, terminally and chronically ill patients. This includes people who have AIDs, cancer patients, and others who suffer from chronic illnesses.

Medical marijuana facts are a topic of controversy among people who are critics of marijuana use. One thing is clear: there are other cannabinoids, or compounds, in the cannabis plant that have additional psychological and physical effects. These additional compounds, some of which are unknown, provide part of the medicinal effect of marijuana that provides relief to sick people.

Because many marijuana facts are unknown, a pharmacological replacement for marijuana has not been found. There is no marijuana pill. Scientists need to conduct further research to understand which compounds in the cannabis plant cause specific isolated effects. When scientists have established more marijuana facts, marijuana may become available in pill form. This pill could offer comfort to terminally ill people and others who might benefit from marijuana use but don’t want the psychoactive effects.

Cannabis Can Be Used as Feed for Livestock

One name we didn’t mention in the list of marijuana facts above is hemp. Hemp is often referred to as the industrial form of marijuana. This is because hemp has long been used as a source material for products used in industry, such as paper, fabric and rope.

Hemp provides another area of controversy when discussing marijuana facts. As with medicinal marijuana, critics of marijuana use are often critical of hemp use. Hemp has been used throughout history as a fiber for clothing and rope-making due to its fibrous nature.

Hemp plants are cannabis plants that contain little or none of the psychoactive compounds found in the cannabis plants used for producing marijuana. In addition to the fibers of the plant, hemp seeds are used for feedstock and are eaten directly as a good source of fat from vegetables. Hemp seeds contain a lot of oil and hemp oil is often used as a food product and a source of energy.

France is Europe’s Biggest Producer of Hemp

China produces more industrial hemp than any other country in the world. In Australia, individual states are licensing farmers to grow hemp for industrial purposes. Canada has permitted industrial hemp growing since 1998.

France is Europe’s biggest producer of hemp. The United Kingdom has also recently begun licensing farmers to grow hemp. In both countries hemp is used as a bedding for farm animals amongst other things.

In the United States, growing hemp is illegal. The ban on hemp growing in the United States is part of the set of marijuana facts because it is the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, that enforces the ban. The DEA is involved due to the close relation between hemp cannabis plants and marijuana cannabis plants.

Individual states have passed laws allowing the farming of industrial hemp, but the federal government did not address the issue directly until recently. In 2014, Congress passed a law allowing farmers in some states to begin harvesting industrial hemp.

Marijuana Wasn’t Always Illegal in the United States

It’s one of the surprising marijuana facts that marijuana wasn’t always illegal in the United States. There were regulations and restrictions on marijuana, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that marijuana became an illegal drug in many places.

Marijuana was originally classified as a poison, before being classified as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. This effectively made marijuana illegal in the United States. However, individual states had their own laws and different approaches to marijuana use.

Despite many attempts to remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances, the Supreme Court has upheld the law even for cases of medical marijuana use. Currently, some states, such as Colorado and California, have more lenient laws regarding marijuana use.

Scientists Have Confirmed That Shakespeare Used Marijuana

One frequent claim by people who use marijuana is that it enhances their creativity. This doesn’t exactly qualify as one of our marijuana facts! However, many artists and musicians throughout history have spoken about their own marijuana use.

Shakespeare, considered by many to be one of the greatest writers of all time, mentioned a noted weed in one of his writings. A study of pipes dug up from the grounds of one of Shakespeare’s homes showed trace elements of cannabis.

One of the most popular songs by Jimi Hendrix is Purple Haze. Many rock and roll artists used marijuana during the 1960s and 70s. Using marijuana and other drugs was part of the hippy culture that characterized the lives of many teens and young adults at the time.

In more recent times, popular artists such as Snoop Dogg have blatantly used marijuana in videos and television shows. It’s one of the puzzling marijuana facts that popular culture in the United States seems to condone marijuana use, even though marijuana is illegal.

Marijuana is the Most Widely Used Drug in the World

According to the United Nations, or UN, marijuana is the most widely used drug in the world. The UN is the source of one of the most astonishing marijuana facts, namely that over 100 million adults worldwide use marijuana.

Almost one half (47%) of Americans have tried marijuana, including more than 10% who have tried it in the past year. A United States government survey showed that more than 18 million Americans who were 12 years or older had used marijuana in the previous month.

Marijuana Accounts for 48% of Drug Arrest in the United States

This is another of the more astonishing marijuana facts. The FBI reports that roughly 750,000 people were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2012. This accounted for nearly one half, or 48%, of the drug arrests in the United States that year. Of those arrests, the vast majority – more than 87% percent – were for possession and not for the selling or growing of marijuana.

There are more arrests for marijuana offenses each year than all the arrests for violent crime combined. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, Black people are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana-related offenses than White people. Studies have shown the use of marijuana is comparable between White and Black Americans, so the rate of use does not explain the difference in arrests. This is another one of the puzzling marijuana facts and helps explain why marijuana facts are such a controversial subject.

10% of People Who Smoke Marijuana Become Addicted

Recent studies have shown that marijuana is addictive and that there are long-term effects on the brain. About 10% of people who smoke marijuana become addicted.

The long-term effects from marijuana use include a lower IQ. This is one of the important marijuana facts it might be beneficial for teens to learn — starting marijuana use at a young age can permanently lower your IQ. A recent long-term study in New Zealand regarding this was the first of its kind and further studies are needed to learn more marijuana facts.

While our laws and our culture are changing, and despite Peter Tosh’s song Legalize It, marijuana is still illegal in most places in the United States and in most countries in the Western World.

Interesting Facts about Marijuana Summary

Marijuana facts leave us feeling bewildered and a little bit hazy. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of marijuana, particularly the use of medical marijuana. People for and against the use of marijuana quote a lot of interesting marijuana facts.

It’s good to get some basic marijuana facts established in order to make an objective judgment of marijuana use. Fun facts about marijuana are a good way to teach teens. By not using an overly authoritative tone, we can help teens and young adults learn about marijuana use and the effects it can have on both individuals and society as a whole.

Interesting facts about marijuana leave us feeling a little bit hazy. Medical marijuana fun facts for teens can educate them without being authoritative

25 Odd Facts About Marijuana

Going mainstream

Marijuana, the most commonly used illegal drug in America, is going mainstream. It’s now legal to use marijuana recreationally in eight states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington — and the District of Columbia. Pot seems poised for wider use, too: There are 21 states that now allow the possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

But just how much do you know about the wacky weed and its odd effects? How exactly does marijuana provide its high, and who discovered the effects of smoking the plant in the first place? Read on for some of the stranger facts about cannabis consumption.

Mythical origins

The hippie generation did not discover pot. But the drug’s true origins remain a bit murky.

For example, one source, the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum in Arlington, Virginia, states that the oldest written references to cannabis date back to 2727 B.C., when the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung supposedly discovered the substance and used it medicinally.

But there’s one problem with this putative fact: Shen Nung, if he existed, was not the emperor of China. The first emperor of a unified China was Qin Shi Huang, who was born around 260 B.C. — significantly later than the supposed Shen Nung. Nor is it entirely clear where or how this Shen Nung recorded his medicinal marijuana experiments. The earliest examples of written Chinese characters date to the Shang dynasty, between 1200 B.C. and 1050 B.C., when oracles carved symbols on bones and turtle shells. Though the story of Shen Nung permeates pot histories online, his existence seems to be more marijuana myth than fact.

Still, the Chinese deserve some credit. The ancient Taiwanese were using hemp fibers to decorate pottery about 10,000 years ago, according to “The Archaeology of Ancient China” (Yale University Press, 1968).

But the identity of the first person to discover pot’s intoxicating effects is lost to prehistory.

Weird ways to use hemp

The marijuana plant isn’t used only for smoking; its fibers can also be made into rope or fabric. Perhaps the oddest use of hemp rope on record is as a method for transporting giant stone statues. In 2012, archaeologists created reproductions of Easter Island’s statues, trying to figure out how ancient people may have moved the iconic 9,600-lb. (4.35 metric tons) heads from their quarry. Theorists have suggested everything from log rollers to extraterrestrial help for the task, but in 2012, California State University Long Beach archaeologist Carl Lipo proved that all that was needed is hemp rope.

By attaching three hemp ropes to the statue and having a team of 18 people rock it back and forth until it “walked,” Lipo and his team were able to move the hunk of stone 328 feet (100 meters) in less than an hour, they reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Easter Islanders would have had woody shrubs similar to marijuana plants to use in making rope, the researchers argued.

Hemp versus pot

What’s the difference between hemp and pot, anyway? A single genetic switch. In 2011, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan announced that they’d discovered the genetic alteration that allows psychoactive cannabis plants (Cannabis sativa) to give users a high (as compared to industrial hemp plants, which are no fun for smoking).

Industrial hemp plants are the same species as marijuana plants, but they don’t produce a substance called tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). This is the precursor to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in pot. Hemp plants fail to produce this substance because they lack a gene that makes an enzyme to produce THCA, according to University of Saskatchewan biochemist Jon Page.

In contrast, marijuana plants do produce THCA but don’t create much of a substance called cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which occurs in abundance in hemp but competes with THCA for raw materials. Thus, hemp is rich in nonpsychoactive CBDA, while marijuana is chock full of mind-bending THC.

Gender-bender

Smoking up could be a very different experience for men and women, according to a 2014 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. In research on rats, Washington State University psychologist Rebecca Craft found that females were more sensitive to cannabis’ painkilling qualities, but they were also more likely to develop a tolerance for the drug, which could contribute to negative side effects and dependence on marijuana.

The female rats’ higher levels of the hormone estrogen seem to play a role in these sex-specific effects. Female rats are more sensitive to the effects of cannabis at ovulation, when estrogen levels are highest, Craft said in a statement.

Pot for your pets?

People have used medicinal marijuana to ease everything from glaucoma to the side effects of chemotherapy. So why shouldn’t man’s best friend give medicinal pot a shot?

Pet owners are already using marijuana medicinally to help their suffering cats and dogs, according to a 2013 article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Most of the time, animals that ingest pot get over the effects within a few hours, veterinarians say. But in large quantities, pot can be deadly to animals.

Does your heart hate pot?

Most of the debate about the health effects of marijuana centers on the brain changes that may come with using the drug, such as the drug’s association with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. But could smoking a bowl mess with your heart, too?

In an April 2014 study, researchers combed through 2,000 cases of medical complications from marijuana in France and found that 2 percent involved heart problems, including nine fatal heart attacks. The study wasn’t designed to determine why pot use might occasionally lead to heart problems, but previous research has found that marijuana can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which could tip a vulnerable individual over into heart attack territory.

“The perception is that marijuana is a magical drug, that it’s totally safe, and we can use it in medical treatment. What we don’t know about are the negative effects, the potential harms,” Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York who was not involved in the study, told Live Science at the time.

Naming traditions

A wine lover might choose between a pinot noir, a sangiovese and a viognier to go with dinner. A pot connoisseur, on the other hand, could choose between strains with names like “purple haze,” “chocolope” and “green crack.”

Bizarre names are a time-honored tradition among pot growers, going back at least to the 1970s, when strains such as “Maui Waui” (from Hawaii, naturally) came onto the scene. Why such goofy names? Well, one reason might be the process behind the naming decisions.

“So many times, we’ve finally got to the end of a strain, and we have it right there and it’s done, and we’re like, ‘What do we call it?'” one of the co-owners of Amsterdam’s DNA Genetics, a cannabis seed bank, told the LA Times in July 2014. “And we sit there, and we call all our friends and smoke. That’s a brainstorm session.”

It’s in the air

There are certain places where a haze of pot smoke is to be expected: Grateful Dead concerts, for example, or marijuana legalization rallies. But on the streets of Rome?

Yes, according to a 2012 study done in Italy, trace amounts of marijuana are wafting through the air around the Colosseum and the Pantheon, as well as in seven other Italian cities. Researchers examined the air of Rome, Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Turin and Verona for psychotropic substances, including cocaine, marijuana, nicotine and caffeine. The scientists found all of these substances in all eight cities, with Turin having the highest total concentrations and Florence and Bologna having the highest concentrations of pot.

But even in Florence and Bologna, tourists don’t need to worry about a contact high while taking in the sights. The levels of marijuana and other substances were far too low to affect human health — but researchers said they hope the findings can inform drug policy by helping to estimate drug consumption in each city.

Baby soap oops

In an unusual case, a hospital in North Carolina noticed an uptick in the number of newborns who were testing positive for marijuana in their urine, a finding that can suggest that mom has been smoking and can lead to social services getting involved. But it turns out that these babies weren’t suffering from pot exposure. They were just soapy.

An investigation of the positive tests found that ingredients in several common baby soaps can cause a false positive on marijuana urine tests, researchers reported in 2012. The soaps, including formulas from Johnson & Johnson, CVS and Aveeno, don’t contain pot, nor do the get infants high. A more sensitive test can show that the initial screening results were false positives, researchers reported in the journal Clinical Biochemistry.

Pot isn’t necessarily green

Here’s a bummer for the eco-conscious: Pot isn’t all that “green.” The energy needed to produce 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of marijuana indoors is equivalent to that needed to drive across the country five times in a car that gets 44 miles to the gallon, according to a 2011 report by a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. All those grow lights suck up a lot of electricity.

Growing plants outdoors could lessen marijuana’s carbon footprint, but year-round demand for the drug means that industrial growers keep their plants in warehouses and greenhouses. Innovations such as greenhouses equipped with low-energy LED lights could help make pot greener, but like any large-scale agriculture, marijuana growing will require large-scale energy.

Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States. Here are some of the stranger bits of trivia about pot. ]]>