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
thatís 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 Ė a
teenagerís), 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 itís stem, 2. The
resinous secretion which is developed in hot countries upon itís leaves, and

3. Itís 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 itís 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. Erriodís 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.