Cannabis has been around for centuries and has been used in various ways. The plant is believed to have originated in Central Asia, and it was used as early as 2727 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung. He is said to have discovered the therapeutic properties of Cannabis after he observed his laborers using the plant to treat their injuries.
Cannabis was also used in India for medical purposes and was introduced to the Western world in the 1800s. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that Cannabis began to be studied scientifically. In 1930, the United States Pharmacopoeia listed Cannabis as a medicine, and it remained in use until 1942.
Because of its popularity, the medical use of Cannabis has remained controversial over the years. Many argue that there is nothing wrong with using it to help treat illness and disease, especially if other medications cannot treat them. However, others argue that there just isn’t enough scientific evidence to support its use or safety.
Today, Cannabis is used for recreational and medical purposes around the world. The plant is made into various products, including oils, edibles, and concentrates. Cannabis is also available as dried flowers and smoked or vaped. While the use of Cannabis is legal in some countries, it is still illegal in others.
What is Cannabis?
Marijuana, weed, pot, hash, and other terms are all used to describe Cannabis. Cannabis is the greenish or brownish material derived from the dried flowering tops/buds and leaves of Cannabis sativa or Cannabis Indica plants.
Cannabis contains more than 140 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, which are molecules that affect how our brain works and our mental state and physical activities.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the two most prevalent cannabinoids in Cannabis (cannabidiol).
Types of Cannabis
Cannabis comes in three varieties: Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis.
- The most commonly used type of Cannabis is Cannabis Sativa. It is a tall plant with thin leaves. Cannabis Sativa is known for its psychoactive effects.
- Cannabis Indica is a short, stocky plant with wide leaves. Cannabis Indica is known for its sedative properties.
- Cannabis Ruderalis is a small, bushy plant with short leaves. Cannabis Ruderalis is the rarest type of Cannabis. It is not psychoactive and is mainly used for its CBD content.
How Do People Use Cannabis?
People smoke Cannabis in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or pipes or water pipes (bongs). They may also smoke it in blunts – cigars that have been partly or completely emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of Cannabis and tobacco. Some people use vaporizers to avoid inhaling smoke. These devices pull hot air over the Cannabis, which heats it to a temperature that releases the active ingredients as a vapor. The person then inhales the vapor instead of smoke. People can mix Cannabis with food or brew it as tea. A newer way to use Cannabis is to eat it in baked products, such as cookies, brownies, or space cakes.
What are the Effects of Cannabis?
The main active chemical in Cannabis is (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) THC. When Cannabis is smoked, THC goes from the lungs into the bloodstream. It is carried to the brain and other organs throughout the body. When a person eats or drinks THC, the body slowly absorbs it. They usually feel the effects after 30 minutes to an hour in this situation.
THC affects the brain by attaching to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in areas of the brain that control pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. When THC attaches to these receptors, it alters how the brain works. This can result in a “high” feeling, along with changes in mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning.
People who have taken large doses of THC can experience unpleasant effects such as anxiety or paranoia (fear), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), feelings of panic or confusion, nausea, vomiting, chills, sweats, racing heart, and loss of control. They may also become dependent on Cannabis; they cannot stop using it even though it interferes with many aspects of their lives.
What are the Other Health Effects of Cannabis?
Research suggests that smoking cannabis can have several adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular system). These include an increased heart rate, a decrease in blood pressure when the person stands up after sitting or lying down, and an increase in the risk of a heart attack. Cannabis can also cause problems with learning and memory, and it may increase the risk of mental illness, such as schizophrenia.
Cannabis is not known to cause cancer, but it can worsen the symptoms of some mental illnesses. It can also increase the risk for accidents if it affects the person’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time.
What are the Risks of Using Cannabis?
The risks of using Cannabis depend on many factors, including the dose, the potency of the Cannabis, how it is used, and a person’s sensitivity to THC. Some people who use Cannabis may experience adverse effects such as anxiety or paranoia, impaired coordination, and cardiovascular problems.
A person who experiences anxiety or paranoia after using Cannabis may have a heightened risk of abusing other drugs. Some people had reported that they experienced suicidal thoughts after smoking Cannabis, especially when the marijuana had been purchased from street dealers. These reports underscore what researchers call a “complex association” between substance abuse and mental health problems.
Pregnant women should avoid using Cannabis because it may harm the developing baby. Cannabis use by breastfeeding mothers can also affect the baby.
Cannabis is not safe for those who are suffering from heart conditions, and it can increase the risk of accidents if it affects the person’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time.
What is the Legal Status of Cannabis?
In the United States, Marijuana is a controlled substance. That means that it is illegal to possess, use, or sell it without a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, the federal government has announced that it will not prosecute people who use or possess Cannabis for personal use in states where it is legal. As of November 2018, 10 states and Washington, D.C. have laws legalizing marijuana for personal use. In addition, 33 states have passed laws allowing the use of Cannabis for medical purposes.
Cannabis is a flowering plant that contains one or more cannabinoids. It’s been used for thousands of years, and it has a variety of different purposes. Some people use it recreationally, while others treat it as medicine. Either way, you should know the facts before taking Cannabis to make an informed decision about how to proceed with your treatment plan.