What is Cannabis
Family: Cannabaceae
Genus: Cannabis
Species: sativa, indica, ruderalis
COMMON NAMES: Marijuana, Marihuana, Pot, Weed, Grass, Mary Jane, and Bud
EFFECTS CLASSIFICATION: Intoxicant, Stimulant, Psychedelic, Depressant
DESCRIPTION: Cannabis, a fast-growing bushy annual with dense sticky flowers, produces the psychoactive THC. It is the most widely used illegal psychoactive and has a long history of medicinal, recreational, and industrial use. The fibrous stalks of the plant are used to produce clothing and rope but that is usually in reference to hemp.

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What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is the scientific name for a herb that produces a physcotropic cannabinoid called THC along with an array of cannabinoids. It is unique in that is in the only plant in the world to produce these chemicals, usually produced in humans and animals.

There are three different sub-species of Cannabis:

  • Cannabis Sativa
  • Cannabis Indica
  • Cannabis RuderalisMarijuana grows like trees with enough light and water

Cannabis Sativa-Cannabis Sativa is the biggest plant, growing to around 4.5 metres with laxly spaced branches, narrow leaflets, and grows in warm lowland regions. Cannabis Indica is bushier and shorter, with wide leaflets, growing to up to 2 metres, and adapted to cooler climates. Cannabis Ruderalis is short branchless, grows wild and is of no phsycotropic value.

Cannabis Sativa is also known as hemp when it is cultivated for fibre. There is less than 1% THC present in fibre-cultivated plants which makes the plant useless for “getting high”. This is partly due to the fact that female and male plants are grown together, pollination stunting the THC producing process.

When Cannabis is grown to be consumed as a drug, it is the female plant that is used. The flower buds of the plant must remain unpollinated to ensure good THC production. It is these unpollinated flower buds that are then consumed by a user. Either by smoking, vapourizing, extracting the oil/resin, cooking in butter to be used in food and many other uses. Other parts of the plant may be used to take full advantage of the phsycotropic and therapeutic content.

The effects of cannabis are bought on by naturally occuring chemicals, known as a [phyto-]cannabinoids. [Endo-]cannabinoids are produced naturally in the bodies of humans and most animals, and so far scientists have identified four cannabinoid receptors in the human body. Cannabis contains over 60 different [phyto-]cannabinoids and is the only plant found so far to produce these chemicals.

There are two most abundant cannabinoids present in Cannabis. They are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which creates the “high”, and cannabidiol (CDB) which does not make one “high” but is found to have many therapuetic effects. In plants cultivated for drug use, there is more THC than CBD whereas the opposite is true for plants cultivated for fibre use. It is estimated that 50% of medicines in the last half of the 19th century were made from Cannabis hemp extract, high in CBD. Scientists believe that it is CBD that regulates the “high” produced by THC.

There is a stigma around medical marijuanaThere are many different types of Cannabis, called strains. Each can produce a high differring slightly in intensity and effects. This is thought to be due to the ratio of THC to CBD. A strain called “Skunkweed” common in the United Kingdom, for instance has a high THC to CBD ratio, and is known to produce paranoia and ill effects in some users. Similarly, the pharmacuetical “Marinol,” a synthesized version of THC sold legally as a medicine, contains only THC, producing the same ill effects in some of its users. Problems with first time users having panic attacks or “freaking out” can probably be attributed to a high THC to CBD ratio.

In contrast a strain with a 60:40 ratio of THC to CBD can produce quite a euphoric high.

There are two medicines for public use made from cannabis. Marinol, is not actually made from cannabis but is synthesized THC made in a lab. Sativex, a mouth spray, is THC and Cannabidiol extracted from Cannabis. Please see medicate for more information on medicinal use of cannabis.

I hope this explains to you the answer to….
What is Cannabis

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