Cannabis, also known as marijuana (sometimes spelled "marihuana") among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or for medicinal purposes. The word marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word, marihuana. According to the United Nations, cannabis "is the most widely used illicit substance in the world."The typical herbal form of cannabis consists of the flowers and subtending leaves and stalks of mature pistillate of female plants. The resinous form of the drug is known as hashish (or merely as 'hash')
The major psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis is -tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly abbreviated as THC). Cannabis contains more than 400 different chemical compounds, including at least 66other cannabinoids (cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), etc.) which can result in different effects from those of THC alone.
Cannabis use has been found to have occurred as long ago as the 3rd millennium BC In modern times, the drug has been used for recreational, religious or spiritual, and medicinal purposes. The UN estimated that in 2004 about 4% ofthe world's adult population (162 million people) use cannabis annually, and about 0.6% (22.5 million) use it on a daily basis. The possession, use, or sale of cannabis preparations containing psychoactive cannabinoids became illegal in most parts of the world in the early 20th century. Cannabis has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. The minimum amount of THC required to have aperceptible psychoactive effect is about 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. Aside from a subjective change in perception and, most notably, mood, the most common short-term physical and neurological effects include increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, impairment of short-term and working memory, psychomotor coordination, and concentration. Long-term effects are less clear.ClassificationWhile many drugs clearly fall into the category of either stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen, cannabis exhibits a mix of all properties, perhaps leaning the most towards hallucinogenic or psychedelic properties, though with other effects quite pronounced as well. Though THC is typically considered the primary active component of the cannabis plant, various scientific studies havesuggested that certain other cannabinoids like CBD may also play a significant role in its psychoactive effects.
Medical useCannabis used medically does have several well-documented beneficial effects. Among these are: the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure (shown to be effective for treating glaucoma), aswell as general analgesic effects (pain reliever).
Cannabis was manufactured and sold by U.S. pharmaceutical companies from the 1880s through the 1930s, but the lack of documented information on the frequency and effectiveness of its use makes it difficult to evaluate its medicinal value. In 1915, one medical supply house, the Frank S. Betz Co. of Hammond, Indiana, offered "Cannabis Indica(Cannabis sative)" as one of about 70 "Crude Drugs" for $2.25 per lb., and offered a 10 percent discount for the purchase of 5 lbs. The same company advertised "Tincture Cannabis Indica, U.S.P.," for 80 cents per lb Cannabis in the form of a tincture and a fluid extract is documented in a 1929–30 Parke Davis & Co catalog, and is listed as an active ingredient in ten products for cough, colic,neuralgia, cholera mordus and other medical conditions, as well as a "narcotic, analgesic, and sedative". The catalog also lists compound medications containing cannabis that in some cases were apparently formulated by medical doctors, in its Pills and Tablets section.
As cannabis is further legalized for medicinal use, it is possible that some of the foregoing compound medicines, whose formulas have...