Some jurisdictions use free voluntary treatment programs and/or mandatory treatment programs for frequent known users. Simple possession can carry long prison terms in some countries, particularly in East Asia, where the sale of cannabis may lead to a sentence of life in prison or even execution. Political parties, non-profit organizations, and causes based on the legalization of medical cannabis and/or legalizing the plant entirely (with some restrictions) have emerged in such countries as China and Thailand.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among other names,[n 1] is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of 483 known compounds in the plant, including at least 65 other cannabinoids. Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract.
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It has been contended that hemp is notably superior to most crops in terms of biomass production, but van der Werf (1994b) noted that the annual dry matter yield of hemp (rarely approaching 20 t/ha) is not exceptional compared to maize, beet, or potato. Nevertheless, hemp has been rated on a variety of criteria as one of the best crops available to produce energy in Europe (Biewinga and van der Bijl 1996). Hemp, especially the hurds, can be burned as is or processed into charcoal, methanol, methane, or gasoline through pyrolysis (destructive distillation). As with maize, hemp can also be used to create ethanol. However, hemp for such biomass purposes is a doubtful venture in North America. Conversion of hemp biomass into fuel or alcohol is impractical on this continent, where there are abundant supplies of wood, and energy can be produced relatively cheaply from a variety of sources. Mallik et al. (1990) studied the possibility of using hemp for “biogas” (i.e. methane) production, and concluded that it was unsuitable for this purpose. Pinfold Consulting (1998) concluded that while there may be some potential for hemp biomass fuel near areas where hemp is cultivated, “a fuel ethanol industry is not expected to develop based on hemp.”