Marijuana, pot, weed, mary jane, cannabis, and ganja are some of the names given to one of the oldest psychoactive substance. Commonly referred to as marijuana, it is derived from Cannabis specifically three species:
- Cannabis indica
- Cannabis sativa
- Cannabis ruderalis
Marijuana is believed to have been first cultivated in China and India where it was used as a recreational drug and also for medicinal purposes. Users would chew, brew tea or prepare a tincture from the leaves, flower buds, extracts, and stems of the Cannabis plant.
Archaeologists discovered a 10,000 year old site in Taiwan where pottery fragments with a twisted strand were imprinted on the edge. It is believed that hemp was used to make rope. In China, hemp fabric was widely used to make clothing. According to a Chinese medicinal textbook written by Pen Ts’ao around 2800 BC, “Ma” or marijuana was a powerful medicinal plant able to cure certain ailments.
Want to learn more facts about marijuana?
Here are the top 7 basic cannabis facts you should know.
1. Marijuana gets its taxonomic identification from Carl Linnaeus
In 1753, Carl Linnaeus gave the Cannabis plant its taxonomic identification. Also known as Carl von Linne or the Father of Taxonomy, Carl is a renowned Swedish botanist who invented the system of naming, classifying and ranking organisms. Thanks to his taxonomy system, biologists today have been able to expand on his work thus improving how organisms are classified.
Carl was born on May 23rd, 1707 at Stenbrohult in southern Sweden. His father was an avid gardener and a Lutheran pastor. Carl loved nature deeply and always felt a sense of wonder when he was interacting with the world of living things. The description of marijuana was further expounded by William O’Shaughnessy when he presented a report to the Medical Physical Society in India in 1839. During his presentation, he used the term “gunjah”, the Indian name of Cannabis.
2. Marijuana is sourced from the Cannabis plant
As said earlier, Marijuana is sourced from the Cannabis plant. The plant grows to about 8 to 12 feet high. It can be grown indoors or outdoors. Cannabis contains THC, the active ingredient that makes users feel “high.” THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol attaches itself to cannabinoid receptors mostly found in the brain.
Marijuana itself is made from dried leaves, shredded flowers and buds sourced from different species of Cannabis. The product is either green or gray in color. Another product derived from Cannabis is hashish which is made from the plant’s resin while hash oil is a sticky black liquid.
I’ve mentioned that, there are different strains of marijuana both pure and hybrid varieties. These are sourced from two species: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.
3. Legality of cannabis in the US and the world
As of September 2017, twenty nine US states and the District of Columbia had formulated laws that broadly legalize the use of marijuana. Seven US states and the District of Columbia have also adopted expansive laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. By November 2017, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada had all passed laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
The California Prop. 64 law or measure was formulated to allow adults aged 21 years and older to possess marijuana (up to an ounce) or grow less than six plants in their homes. Here is the up to date map of US states that have legalized the use of marijuana.
Around the globe, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Netherlands, Spain, Uruguay and North Korea have legalized the use of marijuana.
4. One of the world’s oldest plants
Marijuana is believed to have originated in China and India. According to a Chinese medicinal textbook written by Pen Ts’ao around 2800 BC, marijuana had several medicinal uses. It helped to treat malaria, female disorders, constipation and rheumatic pain among others.
The use of marijuana spread from China and India to the Middle East before finding its way in Europe and the United States. This happened in 500 BC. According to history, Muslims used marijuana to prepare hashish.
As one of the oldest plant in the world, marijuana has been used to make fabric. The fabric was used to make clothing over 6,000 years ago. Other uses of hemp include food, oil, and paper among others.
5. Marijuana vs. hemp
Marijuana is derived from different strains both pure and hybrids. Common species are Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Hemp or industrial hemp is a nonpsychoactive variety of Cannabis sativa grown as a renewable source for raw materials. The raw materials can be used in thousands of different products. For example seeds and flowers can be used in the preparation of organic body care and health foods.
What is the main difference between marijuana and hemp? Well, the secret lies in the concentration of THC. Marijuana has higher concentration levels of THC than hemp making it more suitable for medicinal purposes. On the other hand, hemp is able to produce cannabidiolic acid which is nonpsychoactive.
6. Marijuana is the first product to be sold over the internet
Over 40 years ago, a bag of marijuana became the first item to be sold over the internet. This happened after Stanford students used ARPANET, an early packet switching network that preceded the World Wide Web. Using the network, Stanford students bought a bag of marijuana from MIT students.
Although this marked an important step in online retail, at the time, marijuana was still illegal in the US.
7. Morocco is the largest producer of marijuana
According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime World Drug Report 2017, Morocco is the largest producer of marijuana. Currently, 47,000 hectares are believed to be under cultivation. Morocco is followed by Mexico which has 15,000 hectares under cultivation. Nigeria is a newcomer with over 4,500 hectares while Lebanon is number four with 3,500 hectares. The fifth spot is taken by Paraguay with just over 2,780 hectares.