Let’s face it, cannabis has had a bit of a rough time over the last century.
There it was, peacefully existing with the hundreds of thousands of other plants for the entire history of time. The next thing you know, ‘the man’ comes along and declares it against the law.
For a long time, the facts around cannabis have been distorted by its criminal status. But I’m here to straighten all that out.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting and fun facts that you might not know about cannabis.
Humans have used cannabis for millennia
Humans and cannabis go way back. And I’m not talking about high school. I mean tens of thousands of years.
Archeologists have discovered hemp ropes dating back to 10,000 BC. This suggests that humans had already domesticated and farmed hemp by this time, so it’s true history likely stretches back even further.
The first recorded use of hemp comes from ancient China around 2700 BC. It is said that Shen Nong, a legendary demi-god and emperor, wrote the text ‘Pen Ts’ao’ (or “The Herbal”) through divine intervention.
Whoever the real source of The Herbal was, they had their finger on the pulse when it came to cannabis. It documented many uses for hemp and advised that cannabis was effective for treating rheumatism and gout.
The Herbal is credited as being the godfather of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The oldest surviving copies are over 2000 years old, and modified versions of the text are still used by TCM practitioners to this day.
See how deep we’ve gone already?
All animals have an endocannabinoid system
Other than some tiny microscopic organisms, every animal on earth has an endocannabinoid system (ECS).
What’s an endocannabinoid system?
It’s the system that reacts to give you the feeling of being high. In fact, it’s the system that all cannabinoids react with. This includes good old THC and CBD, and lesser-known compounds such as CBG, CBC, and CBT.
Studies are still underway, but we know that the ECS has a role to play in regulating sleep, mood, appetite, fertility, and many other functions of the human body. It is this system that is responsible for the therapeutic and medicinal effects of cannabis.
Not only do all animals have this system, all animals (at least this is science’s current best guess) naturally produce THC, CBD, and all the other cannabinoids found in cannabis. The human body produces these compounds to keep the functions mentioned above running in balance.
Cannabis prohibition was shaped by anti-Mexican propaganda
1910. The Mexican Revolution is kicking off, full swing.
Feeling the violence and upheaval going on around them, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans fled north across the American border. Naturally, the American establishment launched a campaign of demonization to avoid the responsibility of looking after the refugees.
Because there was already an association between cannabis and Mexican culture, cannabis also became heavily demonized by politicians and the press. They switched to the Spanish name ‘marijuana’ and reported that just a few puffs would turn a Mexican into a bloodthirsty murder.
As the Great Depression rolled in, anti-cannabis campaigners gathered momentum. They linked cannabis to violence, crime, and other socially unacceptable behaviors, especially in black, Mexican, and lower class communities.
By 1931 cannabis was banned in 29 states, and the rest would soon follow.
USA vs. the Netherlands
Anyone who has been to Amsterdam knows that cannabis has been legal in the Netherlands for decades. Way before you could grab a pound of herb in the US, Amsterdam was the Mecca of weed smokers.
You would go to a ‘coffee shop,’ pick a strain from the menu, and blaze up while sipping on some fine European coffee.
So, if today’s anti-cannabis activists are correct, you’d think legalization had caused rampant cannabis use in the Netherlands, right?
According to recent research, 42% of American citizens have tried pot at least once, compared to 20% in the Netherlands.
Who knows, maybe lenient laws are more effective at controlling drug abuse than criminalization?
It’s effortless to grow
The law may vary from state to state, but one thing is constant – cannabis is incredibly easy to grow and find at any dispensary.
Maybe you’ve spoken to other growers or checked out some internet forums, and it’s made you think that growing cannabis is a skill you don’t possess. Well, let me tell you – you don’t need a degree in horticulture to grow high-quality ganja.
Seasoned growers take a lot of pride in what they do and often talk about their plants like their own children. They use technical hydroponic equipment, scientific-sounding fertilizers, and specialized soil.
But these things are all add ons. With just water, regular compost, natural sunlight, and a quick bit of research from the University of Google, you can grow excellent marijuana at home.
If you’ve ever been to a country where cannabis grows naturally, you’ll know how easy it is. In Nepal, for example, cannabis grows everywhere. Ditches, cracks in the pavement – it’s everywhere.
It’s not called ‘weed’ for nothing.
US Presidents grew hemp
Yes, you read that correctly.
Before criminalization and the invention of new synthetic materials, the hemp industry was enormous. The plant is easy to grow, and its uses run into the thousands.
In fact, hemp and hemp products were such an essential part of the manufacturing economy that the British crown demanded that the colonies grew hemp to keep the empire ticking over.
It was a vital material for the navy. Hemp was used to cloth sailors and soldiers, but the most critical use for the British was in the ropes for the ships that they used to keep their military grip on the colonies.
Even the Mayflower sailed with ropes and sails from hemp.
Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew hemp on their plantation. The original drafts of the declaration of independence were written on paper made from hemp. Hell, even Bettsy Ross made her first US flag from hemp material.
You wouldn’t be too far from the truth if you said that America was built and founded on the back of the hemp industry.
Cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the US
The cannabis industry continues to grow from strength to strength.
It’s estimated that 6000 people try marijuana every day, so it’s not hard to see where this seemingly endless growth is coming from.
As the stigma around the plant is stripped away month by month, cannabis is increasingly seen as a target for investment, and slowly cannabis companies are creeping onto the stock exchange.
More and more people abandon their street dealers and move towards the safety and extended range of cannabis dispensaries. On top of this, innovators constantly bring new forms of cannabis and consumption accessories to the market.
The cannabis industry is currently providing over 321,000 full-time jobs to the American economy. Farmers, geneticists, researchers, processors, and retailers are just some of the roles the industry is supporting. Not to mention the impact on secondary sectors such as accounting, marketing, and real estate.
Overdosing on weed is impossible
There is a whole load of misinformation out there about cannabis.
One of the most ridiculous and laughable things you’ll ever come across of the idea of a cannabis overdose.
Anyone who has ever smoked or consumed cannabis in any way will tell you this is just not possible. Yeah, maybe you’ll get the sweats, spin out, and get too anxious to leave your sofa, but these are just about the worst symptoms you’ll ever get from marijuana (and they’ll be gone entirely within a few hours.)
Guess how many people have died from a cannabis overdose in recorded history?
That’s right, zero.
Sure, THC could probably kill you if you consumed enough of it, but it’s estimated you’d need to smoke a few ounces within a few hours to reach this level.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that you’re going to order a KFC and fall asleep before you get anywhere near the amount needed to cause severe damage. Other than eating yourself into a coma, there’s really no risk here.
Canada was the first nation to approve medical marijuana
Canada has blazed a trail when it comes to progressive cannabis laws.
They do a lot of sensible things up there. Hospitals are free and publicly funded, guns are few and far between, and of course, cannabis is legal throughout the country.
Marijuana was first prohibited in 1908, and it remained illegal right up until the turn of the millennium. In 2001, cutting-edge medical research combined with growing pressure from medical professionals and cannabis activists forced the Canadian government to be the first in the world to approve medical marijuana.
October 17, 2018, was the first day Canadian citizens were legally allowed to consume cannabis for purely recreational purposes, making it only the second country after Uruguay to legalize cannabis completely.
But it wasn’t a free for all. At the same time as legalization, harsher punishment was brought in for those supplying cannabis without a license, distribution to minors, and driving under the influence.
Since the early days of medical marijuana, the cannabis industry in Canada has grown into a world leader. It has been a shining example of how progressive drug laws can generate millions of tax revenue and effectively combat drug abuse.
Cannabis has over a thousand slang names
They say that Eskimos have a thousand words for snow. Well, cannabis users have even more for cannabis.
Let’s start with the more familiar names – weed, ganja, marijuana, puff, bud, herb, skunk, leaf, green, mary-jane, pot, grass, reefer, dope,, chronic, endo, wacky backy.
Then it becomes a bit more obscure – broccoli, magic dragon, devils lettuce, green goddess, sticky icky, cheeba, dagga, charras, buddha, dank, sensimillia, thai sticks.
And that’s just the raw product. Once you roll it up in a cigarette paper, you can call it a joint, spliff, beagle, pocket rocket, blunt, doobie, bone, jay, torpedo.
Then once you light it up, you can be blazing, toking, blasting, smoking trees, burning one down, torching up, hitting the hay, blasting.
Where I’m from (Cambridge, UK), we’ve got some pretty unique slang names that you won’t hear on this side of the pond.
We still use the imperial system, so weed is sold by the ounce and divided into eighths of an ounce.
One eighth is commonly referred to as a henry (as in Henry the 8th), a quarter ounce we call a daughter, and half oz we call a scarf (I think this is a cockney rhyming slang throwback).
If you bought some really low-grade cannabis, someone will probably call it barnyard weed. If you roll through with some high grade, they’ll say ‘man’s got the piff!’
Cannabis is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol
I mean, this one is a no-brainer.
You can smoke until the early hours of the morning and wake up (maybe a bit later than usual) feeling pretty fine and dandy. Try the same thing with alcohol, and your ability to function as a basic human being is pretty limited. I don’t know about you, but my alcohol hangovers seem to stretch deep into the next week…
According to the CDC, up to 1 in 10 deaths can be linked to alcohol consumption and alcohol poisoning kills over 2000 people every year. But they are yet to attribute a single death to cannabis.
This is ridiculous when you consider that the US government puts cannabis in the same category as crystal meth, crack, and heroin. Yet you can walk up to any corner store in the land, buy as many packs of smokes and 40’s as you like.
Something has to give. It’s almost as if they are completely ignoring scientific findings and making political decisions based solely on their personal biases.