Cannabis Facts

Cannabis FaWhen it comes to cannabis facts, you probably hear the same ones tossed about over and over in discussions. Everybody knows nowadays that cannabis has plenty of medicinal uses. Everybody also knows that cannabis has many different strains, and within those, several major families that have their own distinctive characteristics. These types of facts are pedestrian – you can hear them anywhere. However, what about some of the more little known cannabis facts? How long has cannabis been used throughout history? What are some of the notable cannabis users back in the days of yore? Has cannabis ever been at the center of a belief system? There are answers to all of these questions, and the answers themselves might surprise you. For example, yes; cannabis has been used in religious services and ceremonies. There have been thousands of significant cannabis users throughout history, some more vocal than others, but even Barack Obama is known to have used cannabis in the past. Finally, cannabis has been used for thousands of years by people all over the world. The following list is a list of ten facts about cannabis that you will not just find anywhere, and they will certainly make you the local expert on the subject in your circle of friends.

  1. Cannabis has been used since 6000 BCE. The earliest use of cannabis by humans can be traced back to China, where cheap cannabis seeds were used for food. However, use of cannabis and hemp for fabrics and other consumer and industrial products shortly followed this introduction of cannabis into Chinese culture. Shortly after its established cultivation in 1500 BCE in China for both food and industry, cannabis use moved through trade routes and into other countries in Asia, where it was used for a multitude of reasons past just food and industry.
  2. Cannabis appears in the Athavar veda and the Zend-Avesta, two ancient holy texts of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, respectively. In India, cannabis is known as one of the five sacred plants. The name for cannabis within India is “the Sacred Grass”. It is used medicinally and as an offering to the god Shiva the destroyer regularly within the faith in several rituals. In Zoroastrianism, cannabis is mentioned as “the good narcotic” by the author, Zarathustra. In both of these cultures, the dried leaves and stems of the cannabis plant are referred to as “bhang”.
  3. In the early 12th century, cannabis use becomes widespread among the Middle Eastern cultures. The most notable example of this phenomenon is a tie in that you definitely would not think of right off of the bat. In the early days of Islam, there were religious killers who would sneak into palaces or buildings unnoticed, take out a single target, and leave without a trace. They were, you guessed it, the original assassins. What most history textbooks will not tell you, however, is that the very word assassin has ties to cannabis, as it refers to the “Hashishin”, or hash-eaters. These people would eat hash before going on their missions, partially to remain calm in nerve-wracking situations.
  4. Cannabis does not cause brain damage. One of the things that critics of the cannabis plant like to shoot off in debates regarding its legalization is that cannabis has been known to kill brain cells over a long period of habitual use, but that simply is not true. While there have not been any post mortem examinations of a long term cannabis user’s brain on a wide scale or individually, the study that claimed to establish the “fact” that cannabis killed brain cells has long since been proven untrue. In the study, Rhesus monkeys were given cannabis doses that were exponentially larger than the doses that any person would take at any one time, and they were administered via face masks that did not allow the monkeys adequate oxygen. This lack of oxygen has been put forth as a reason for the brain damage that was present in the monkeys after the experiment was over. The lack of oxygen that the monkeys were exposed to is something that a human user would not be exposed to at any point in time. This, coupled with the high dosage, renders the study useless in terms of determining whether or not cannabis causes brain damage in its users.
  5. Cannabis has shown signs of being useful in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Another myth about the cannabis plant that gets thrown out a lot in conversations is that cannabis impairs your memory on a permanent basis. More specifically than that, critics of the cannabis plant love to claim that cannabis impairs your short term memory. While anybody who claimed that your short term memory is not impaired during cannabis use while the effects are still coursing through the body would be a liar, cannabis has actually been found to aid in memory tasks in several studies in the long term. The most recent study on this phenomenon was done in 2014, and it was found that THC with CBD slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s by reducing the amount of inflammation in the brain while protecting the areas of the brain that are degraded by the disease. In fact, the United States government has had a patent on CBD as a neuroprotectant despite having outlawed the drug throughout the country.
  6. Cannabis is a non-addictive drug. There are no physical addiction symptoms that can come with the use of cannabis. While anything can become habit forming, cannabis does not have physical withdrawal symptoms when a user quits using it. Unlike alcohol, which is legal worldwide while cannabis remains in a grey legal zone, cannabis is non-habit forming by any reasonable definition of the term, and when people do use cannabis habitually, they do not tend to consume cannabis in a manner that negatively affects their life in any way. In fact, many people have come forward with stories of how their cannabis use helped them to quit using other substances in their life that were causing them stress via addiction. Even more people have come forward with stories of how switching to cannabis for their medicine versus opiate painkillers or anti-convulsant drugs has been a positive switch in their life that got them off of drugs that they thought they were doomed to take until they died which has dangerous side effects. For those who do believe that their cannabis use is negatively affecting their life, the lack of physical dependency forming mechanisms in cannabis paired with the resources available for individuals to quit using drugs in general make cannabis a habit which can be easy to kick, even if someone does not know where to start.
  7. Consumed cannabis in food products must be bonded with an oil in order to be active. You cannot just mix cannabis into your food products and hope for the best. In order for cannabinoids to be active not in the plant and released via combustion or vaporization, they must be bonded to an oil within a recipe. While butter is the go-to for most cannabis users who want to try their hand at creating a tasty cannabis treat, coconut oil has become very popular among many cannabis users, as it can retain more THC and CBD than butter can, but the process of making it is a bit more involved than the traditional process for creating what is commonly known as “bud butter”. With that being said, once you have your bud butter or other cannabis infused oil on hand, what you make with that is up to you. The world is your oyster and the only limitations are the recipes you can think up – but most people go with something simple like brownies or another dessert since they contain high amounts of the fat and oils that you will be bonding your cannabis with in the process of extraction.
  8. Legalizing cannabis actually makes areas of the world safer. One of the biggest arguments against the legalization of cannabis around the world is that legalizing cannabis will open the doors to other hard drugs or gang activity in their communities. With the kind of fear-mongering that goes on by these critics, you would think that the areas that have legalized cannabis have got to be out of their minds! However, in these areas, you will actually find a reduced rate of overdoses in emergency rooms from other, harder drugs, and the rate of violent crime and arrest plummets. In addition to this, these areas enjoy the benefits that taxing cannabis can bring.
  9. Even long term, heavy cannabis use has not shown to have any significant permanent detrimental effects on the body. Cannabis has been used as a scapegoat to explain lung damage in users, pinned down as the culprit for lowered testosterone levels, and accused of causing fetal alcohol syndrome. The fact of the matter is that cannabis has no statistically significant negative effects on the body, even after years and years of use.
  10. George Washington grew cannabis. While this might not be something you will find out in school or on a tour of his home at Mount Vernon, George Washington was just one of many famous people throughout history that grew cannabis. Also among this venerable list of users is William Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, and Queen Victoria.