Marijuana, ganja, the devil’s plant, kush, weed, whatever one chooses to call it, they can’t deny that this plant has become a huge part of humanity. Marijuana is one of the rare plants that has a convoluted history and everyone has a different opinion about it. Presently, it is one of the most abundantly used recreational drugs, which doesn’t come as a surprise because it has been used by humanity for thousands of years. Moreover, it might be the only plant in the world that has split the world into two: people who love it and people who loathe it. Whatever side you are on, it’s always good to learn more about it, and here are some interesting facts about marijuana:
1. The Origins
The true origins of marijuana are unknown; however, the earliest records of marijuana usage come from China. 2727 B.C. marks the era from which the first records of Sativa, a type of cannabis, have been found in China, and it was used by emperor Shen Nung. Interestingly, widespread usage of marijuana was observed around 500 B.C. and during this time, it was used in the entirety of Asia along with the Greeks and Romans. Like most recreational drugs, it was first used for its medicinal properties to treat inflammations, malaria, gout, depression, and to suppress sexual desires.
2. Jamaica and Marijuana
Regardless of its origins, one cannot talk about marijuana and not mention Jamaica. Presently, it is the only country where this substance is completely legal. Even restaurants and hotels offer marijuana to their customers. Interestingly, cannabis is not native to Jamaica, and it wasn’t even available in this country before the 1800s. It was brought by Indian laborers as a means to relax, and inevitably, it was implemented by the native Jamaicans. Cannabis had such a vivid effect on Jamaicans that they created a religion around it called Rastafarianism. It states that smoking weed can link an individual to higher wisdom, and a Rastafarian must refrain from cutting their hair.
3. Bob Marley Burial
A Jamaican artist that is known for his love of weed. While other musicians also wrote songs and promoted marijuana, none were able to create a spark for weed in the hearts of millions, like Bob Marley. Upon his death, he was buried with a bible as he was a strong believer of Jesus Christ, his guitar because of his love for music, and a bud of marijuana, as it was his life.
4. Not Just One Type
Although there are endless strains of marijuana available in the market today, there are fundamentally three types of cannabis:
- Sativa: Considered as the original form of cannabis by some, its leaves are slender and light green. It is mostly used during working hours for enhanced productivity.
- Indica: Mostly used during the nighttime for relaxation, and it has broader, darker leaves.
- Hybrid: These plants don’t exist on their own in nature. Hybrid marijuana plants are specifically created to produce an increased amount of THC by combining both Sativa and Indica.
5. High, I am Weed
Every cannabis plant has five molecules, which are THC, CBD, CBN, THC-A, and CBG. Whereas compounds like CBD, CBN, and CBG are strictly used for medicinal purposes such as to treat depression, epilepsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive compound that, upon smoking or ingesting, results in the high. Interestingly, THC resembles Anandamide, a neurotransmitter responsible for carrying out the signals for the reward system within our brain, resulting in the brain secreting more dopamine that leads to euphoria and enhanced sensory experience. Moreover, each neuron has a refractory period that stops the brain from making a single thought dominant. THC forces the neurons to continue sending signals without having a refractory period, this results in single-minded contemplation of one thought. This entire experience under the influence of marijuana is known as being high.
6. Chew it to Not Get High
Even if a person ends up eating copious amounts of the most potent weed, they wouldn’t experience any psychoactive effects. This is because, in the raw form, our bodies can’t metabolize marijuana. The compound, THC-A or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid locks the psychoactive compound of this plant (THC), and the carboxylic acid (A) is only detached from THC-A once it is heated at a temperature of 121°c for an hour or burnt at 180°c during smoking. This process is known as decarboxylation. Despite not achieving the high, a person can still receive medicinal benefits like relief from nausea, inhibiting tumor necrosis, and even protecting brain cells by ingesting raw cannabis.
7. The Munchies
If you happen to come across a marijuana user, chances are you will hear the term munchies. Curiously, there have been many well-documented studies on the munchies. According to the experts, THC promotes the release of a hormone called ghrelin, which is responsible for hunger, and excess of this hormone results in the brain going haywire, and signaling the body to eat more. Unsurprisingly, dopamine is also released with each bite of the food. A very few studies state that marijuana shuts ghrelin altogether, which leads people to eat more; however, these studies are not well accepted.
8. Smoking vs Eating
Every marijuana smoker gets asked this question because both methods have different effects on the body. Upon smoking, the THC is absorbed by the lungs and it instantly spreads in the bloodstream, resulting in an almost instant high; however, this also lasts for a short duration, as a typical smoking high roughly lasts for 45 minutes. When it comes to edibles, the process of decarboxylation is essential, as mentioned previously. Upon ingesting decarboxylated weed, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects, depending on the rate of digestion; however, the high induced by edibles also last longer, anywhere from 4 hours to six hours. Also, it is felt more in the body compared to the smoking high.
9. The Festival
Although marijuana is illegal in India, its usage is allowed on two occasions: Shivratri and Holi. The former festival is celebrated to honor the marriage of Lord Shiva with goddess Parvati, and the latter is known as the festival of colors. On both occasions, Bhang is prepared in huge batches for the devotees. This drink is prepared by grinding the marijuana into a thick paste, and then, mixing it with milk infused with almonds, cardamom powder, and rose petals. To say that devotees are euphoric after ingesting bhang would be an understatement.
10. Military Grade Weed
Since this project involved the military, the true intentions of the authorities behind it are unknown, but they were definitely not good. Dr. Edward Domino was leading the project, and he was experimenting with EA 1476 or Red Oil, a potent hash oil. Dr. Domino began experimenting with dogs in the 1950s. After administering Red Oil to dogs, he soon found that they were becoming paranoid and alarmingly still under the influence. During this, Dr. Domino also cruelly stepped on their paws, but the dogs didn’t react whatsoever, and shortly afterward, this project was brought to a halt. Following this, Dr. James Ketchum altered this compound and produced EA 2233 in 1961, still potent but a more euphoric version of the Red Oil. This compound was tested on humans, and unsurprisingly, all the participants were high, but for 30 hours straight. This entire project was ultimately abandoned; however, Dr. Ketchum also mentioned a super strength LSD formula, but authorities claimed that they had lost the entire batch. It is safe to say that extremely potent substances were manufactured by the government frequently, but their purpose was and still is unknown.
11. Modern Weed is Stronger
The United States and a majority of the world became familiarized with marijuana during the 60s hippie movement. During those times, marijuana was imported from other parts of the world to meet the increased demand, and it was generally less potent compared to the plants that are presently cultivated in the United States. Nowadays, farmers alter the plants so that they yield a crop of extremely potent buds. Present-day weed on average has over 20% of THC compared to 8% of the plants in the 60s.
12. Yes, We Can-nabis
Barack Obama, the former president of the United States is associated with many things, but none relate him to marijuana. Interestingly, Barack Obama used to be a member of the Choom Gang during his college years, a group that solely focused on playing basketball and smoking weed. Funnily enough, there is also a strain of cannabis that is produced by crossing OG Kush with Afghani Strain, and it is called the Obama strain.
13. Presidency of Marijuana
Continuing with the presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, and Franklin Pierce, all smoked marijuana. Moreover, George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson even grew marijuana in their fields. George Washington often used to promote the benefits of smoking weed and even used to add it to some of his drinks for health benefits. Plus, James Monroe smoked till the age of 73, and it is said that he first smoked marijuana in France.
14. A Popular Drug
Presently, there are 159 million people that regularly use marijuana, according to the United Nations. Another report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 49 million Americans, or roughly 18% of the country’s population, used weed in 2019.
15. Shaggy is Stoner
This comes as a surprise to most people; however, Shaggy from the popular cartoon series, The Scooby-Doo, is a marijuana user. The stoner jokes flew right over the target audience, i.e., children, but adults were able to pick up the hints in the early 2000s. Plus, nothing else explains why he was always hungry and in love with dog biscuits.
16. Canada is the New Green
Seeing the rising popularity of marijuana among the citizens, the government decided to legalize weed, and in 2018, Canada went green. This decision was proven immensely profitable because, according to Deloitte Canada and The Ontario Cannabis Store, from the moment of legalization in October 2018 to December 2021, this industry has yielded $43.5 billion. Moreover, this has unlocked a new set of jobs, 151,000 jobs to be exact.
17. California Love
California became the first state in the US to legalize marijuana under prescription in 1996. This was a huge leap forward for advocates of weed because, at the time, marijuana was not tested by the Food and Drug Administration.
18. Tupac was Smoked
Tupac was shot, and he was declared dead at the hospital in 1996. After Tupac’s cremation, as his family was saying their final goodbyes, one of the members of his crew, The Outlawz, suggested that they should smoke Tupac’s ashes. Interestingly, they all agreed, they mixed Tupac’s ashes with marijuana and smoked it.
19. Spiders acted like teenagers
In a controlled study of 1948, conducted by NASA, scientists administered different compounds in spiders to study how these affected their web-building skills. On marijuana, spiders were easily distracted and simply gave up building a web after a short while. Other chemicals were caffeine and LSD, which resulted in spiders creating webs quickly but also poorly and shockingly, creating some of the most geometrically accurate webs, respectively.
20. The Dangers
Although marijuana is deemed the safest drug in the world, it is only in accordance with other substances. Long-term use of cannabis is linked with bronchitis and other respiratory disorders. Additionally, if women smoke marijuana during pregnancy, it can result in many birth defects. Marijuana is known to spike the heart rate, therefore, people suffering from high blood pressure can experience a heart attack. Lastly, mental diseases like bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation, and anxiety disorder are often reported in long-term marijuana users.