What is cannabis?Cannabis is a drug that comes from Indian hemp plants such as Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The main active chemical in cannabis is THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol).Cannabis is a depressant drug. Depressant drugs do not necessarily make you feel depressed. Rather, they slow down the activity of the central nervous system and the messages going between the brain and the body. When large doses of cannabis are taken it may also produce hallucinogenic effects.For information on synthetic cannabinoids, see our "Legal high" facts page.Other namesCannabis is also known as grass, pot, hash, weed, reefer, dope, herb, mull, buddha, ganja, joint, stick, buckets, cones, skunk, hydro, yarndi, smoke and hooch.What does cannabis look like?Leaves from the cannabis plant are bright green and have a distinctive shape with five or seven leaflets. The flowering tops and upper leaves are covered in a sticky resin.Cannabis is used for the psychoactive (mind and mood-altering) effects of THC and other active ingredients. THC is the chemical in cannabis that makes you feel “high”.There are three main forms of psychoactive cannabis: marijuana, hashish and hash oil.Marijuana is the most common and least potent form of cannabis. Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the plant.Hashish (“hash”) is dried cannabis resin, usually in the form of a small block. The concentration of THC in hashish is higher than in marijuana, producing stronger effects.Hash oil is a thick, oily liquid, golden brown to black in colour, which is extracted from cannabis. Hash oil is the strongest form of cannabis.How and why is it used?The different forms of cannabis are used in different ways:Marijuana is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), or in a pipe (a bong).Hashish is usually added to tobacco and smoked, or baked and eaten in foods such as hash cookies.Hash oil is usually spread on the tip or paper of a cigarette and then smoked.Cannabis and hash can also be smoked in a vaporiser. Vaporisers heat cannabis to temperatures that release its active ingredients while minimising the toxins associated with burning.The THC in cannabis is absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the lungs (if smoked), or through the walls of the stomach and intestines (if eaten). The bloodstream carries the THC to the brain, producing the “high” effects. Drugs inhaled get into the bloodstream quicker than those eaten. This means that the effects of cannabis when smoked occur more rapidly than when eaten.Paper and textilesSome species of cannabis have few psychoactive effects. These plants are used to produce hemp fibre for use in paper, textiles and clothing.Medical usesCannabis has been used for medical purposes for many centuries. It has been reported that cannabis may be useful to help conditions such as:nausea and vomiting, particularly when associated with chemotherapywasting and severe weight loss, in people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or anorexia nervosa, as it may be used as an appetite stimulantpain relief, for example in people with cancer and arthritisrelief from symptoms of some neurological disorders that involve muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuryglaucomaepilepsyasthma.For more information, please click on the Australian Drug Foundation's DrugInfo Clearinghouse web site link below.

In the 1950s, the Narcotics Control Act and the Boggs Act stiffened penalties for marijuana possession, with first-time offenses requiring two to 10 year sentences and a minimum $20,000 fine, according to PBS.org. Penalties were relaxed in the 1970s, but President Ronald Reagan increased federal penalties for marijuana possession in the 1980s. On the federal level, marijuana is now regulated under the Controlled Substances Act as a schedule 1 drug, meaning the government considers it to have a high potential for abuse with no legitimate medical or therapeutic uses.


Given its name, you might assume THCV shares psychoactive powers with its potent counterpart, THC. In reality, this cannabinoid is more like a cross between CBD and THC. From the former, it takes its modulating powers. Acting like THC “lite,” THCV like CBD can dampen the effects of a strong high. Yet at higher doses, THCV kicks into a psychoactive stimulant in its own right.
In the 1950s, the Narcotics Control Act and the Boggs Act stiffened penalties for marijuana possession, with first-time offenses requiring two to 10 year sentences and a minimum $20,000 fine, according to PBS.org. Penalties were relaxed in the 1970s, but President Ronald Reagan increased federal penalties for marijuana possession in the 1980s. On the federal level, marijuana is now regulated under the Controlled Substances Act as a schedule 1 drug, meaning the government considers it to have a high potential for abuse with no legitimate medical or therapeutic uses.
Although hemp can be successfully grown continuously for several years on the same land, rotation with other crops is desirable. A 3- or preferably 4-year rotation may involve cereals, clover or alfalfa for green manure, maize, and hemp. In Ontario it has been recommended that hemp not follow canola, edible beans, soybeans or sunflowers. However, according to Bócsa and Karus (1998), “it matters little what crops are grown prior to hemp.”
In September 2005, New Scientist reported that researchers at the Canberra Institute of Technology had identified a new type of Cannabis based on analysis of mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA.[80] The New Scientist story, which was picked up by many news agencies and web sites, indicated that the research was to be published in the journal Forensic Science International.[81]
In the United States, the public's perception of hemp as marijuana has blocked hemp from becoming a useful crop and product,"[52] in spite of its vital importance prior to World War II.[53] Ideally, according to Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the herb should be desiccated and harvested towards the end of flowering. This early cropping reduces the seed yield but improves the fiber yield and quality.[54] In these strains of industrial hemp* the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content would have been very low.[52]
In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington state passed initiatives legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and older under state law. In November 2014, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C also approved recreational use of marijuana. In November 2016, four more states - California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada - voted in recreational marijuana. It is important to note that the federal government still considers cannabis a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug. Cultivation and distribution of marijuana are felonies; possession for personal use is a misdemeanor; possession of “paraphernalia” is also illegal. Cultivating 100 plants or more carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years according to federal statutes.
Prescription medicine (Schedule 4) for therapeutic use containing 2 per cent (2.0%) or less of other cannabinoids commonly found in cannabis (such as ∆9-THC). A schedule 4 drug under the SUSMP is Prescription Only Medicine, or Prescription Animal Remedy – Substances, the use or supply of which should be by or on the order of persons permitted by State or Territory legislation to prescribe and should be available from a pharmacist on prescription.[74]

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