Molecular analytical techniques developed in the late 20th century are being applied to questions of taxonomic classification. This has resulted in many reclassifications based on evolutionary systematics. Several studies of Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and other types of genetic markers have been conducted on drug and fiber strains of Cannabis, primarily for plant breeding and forensic purposes.[73][74][24][75][76] Dutch Cannabis researcher E.P.M. de Meijer and coworkers described some of their RAPD studies as showing an "extremely high" degree of genetic polymorphism between and within populations, suggesting a high degree of potential variation for selection, even in heavily selected hemp cultivars.[36] They also commented that these analyses confirm the continuity of the Cannabis gene pool throughout the studied accessions, and provide further confirmation that the genus consists of a single species, although theirs was not a systematic study per se.
Recreational cannabis use centers around one chemical: the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Consuming this chemical induces euphoric and stimulating sensations commonly referred to as a “high.” For most marijuana users, these sensations are pleasurable and enjoyable. For some, however, THC can induce feelings of anxiety and paranoia, especially in large doses.
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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Over the past two years, 17 states have passed laws legalizing CBD so that patients can obtain the drug without fear of prosecution from local authorities. For intractable childhood epilepsies—the sorts of seizure disorders that for centuries have ruined lives and shattered families, the ones even specialists like Hernandez dread—CBD could be a miracle cure.

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In the United States, the legality of medical marijuana varies in substantial ways from state to state. There are currently 29 US states with legal medical cannabis laws, as well as the District of Columbia. That leaves 21 states where medical marijuana is entirely prohibited. Marijuana cultivation, possession, and use in any form is illegal at the federal level.

Hemp production has been legalized in North Carolina, but only as part of the state's pilot program as allowed under federal law. As such, it will still be awhile before the first fields are planted. The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 in 2015, allowing the Industrial Hemp Commission to develop the rules and licensing structure necessary to stay within federal laws. The law was modified in 2016 in House Bill 992. The Industrial Hemp Commission adopted temporary rules for review in February 2017. The Rules Review Commission of the Office of Administrative Hearings voted to approve these rules Feb. 16.
Cannabis is believed to be an aggravating factor in rare cases of arteritis, a serious condition that in some cases leads to amputation. Because 97% of case-reports also smoked tobacco, a formal association with cannabis could not be made. If cannabis arteritis turns out to be a distinct clinical entity, it might be the consequence of vasoconstrictor activity observed from delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC.[100] Other serious cardiovascular events including myocardial infarction, stroke,[101] sudden cardiac death, and cardiomyopathy have been reported to be temporally associated with cannabis use. Research in these events is complicated because cannabis is often used in conjunction with tobacco, and drugs such as alcohol and cocaine.[102] These putative effects can be taken in context of a wide range of cardiovascular phenomena regulated by the endocannabinoid system and an overall role of cannabis in causing decreased peripheral resistance and increased cardiac output, which potentially could pose a threat to those with cardiovascular disease.[103] There is some evidence from case reports that cannabis use may provoke fatal cardiovascular events in young people who have not been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.[78] Smoking cannabis has also been shown to increase the risk of myocardial infarction by 4.8 times for the 60 minutes after consumption.[104]
Based on world production of fibers in 1999, about 54.5% was synthetic (of which 60.3% was polyester), 42.9% was plant fiber (of which 78.5% was cotton), and 2.6% was wool (Karus 2000). In addition to cotton, flax is the only other significant plant fiber crop grown in temperate regions of the world (kenaf has received some enthusiastic backing in the southern US in recent years, but is most cheaply produced in India, Bangladesh, and China). Flax held 2.7% of the world plant fiber market in 1999, while hemp had only 0.3% (Karus 2000). Hemp fiber can potentially replace other biological fibers in many applications, but also, as noted below, can sometimes compete with minerals such as glass fiber and steel. As forests diminish, cultivation of annual plants as fiber sources is likely to increase. While crop residues like cereal straw will probably supply much of the need, specialty fiber plants such as hemp also have potential. The four conditions that will need to be met are (after Bolton 1995): (1) the material should be produced at a large enough scale; (2) the price should be low enough; (3) the fiber characteristics should be adequate for the end use; and (4) proven technology should be available for the processing of the new raw material. Of these criteria only point 3 is adequately met at this time for hemp in North America, but this is to be expected in a crop that has only begun to be cultivated after an absence of many years.
Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in the world, for no reason other than the fact that it produces a psychoactive chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol. Still, recreational marijuana use, which involves pursuing the euphoric sensations produced by cannabis consumption, is steadily becoming more and more legal, both in the United States and abroad.
CBD has also been demonstrated to exert a chemopreventive effect in a mouse model of colon cancer.[21] In this experimental system, azoxymethane increased premalignant and malignant lesions in the mouse colon. Animals treated with azoxymethane and CBD concurrently were protected from developing premalignant and malignant lesions. In in vitro experiments involving colorectal cancer cell lines, the investigators found that CBD protected DNA from oxidative damage, increased endocannabinoid levels, and reduced cell proliferation. In a subsequent study, the investigators found that the antiproliferative effect of CBD was counteracted by selective CB1 but not CB2 receptor antagonists, suggesting an involvement of CB1 receptors.[22]
From 1982 to 2002 the EU provided the equivalent of about 50 million dollars to develop new flax and hemp harvesting and fiber processing technologies (Karus et al. 2000). Because of the similarities of flax and hemp, the technologies developed for one usually are adaptable to the other. In addition, various European nations and private firms contributed to the development of hemp technologies. Accordingly, Europe is far more advanced in hemp development with respect to all fiber-based applications than other parts of the world. The EU currently dedicates about 30,000 ha to hemp production. France is the leading country in hemp cultivation in the EU, and 95% of the non-seed production is used for “specialty pulp” as described below. Harvesting and processing machinery for fiber hemp is highly advanced in Europe, and some has been imported into Canada. However, there is insufficient fiber processing capacity to handle hemp produced in Canada.
The etymology is uncertain but there appears to be no common Proto-Indo-European source for the various forms of the word; the Greek term kánnabis is the oldest attested form, which may have been borrowed from an earlier Scythian or Thracian word.[9][10] Then it appears to have been borrowed into Latin, and separately into Slavic and from there into Baltic, Finnish, and Germanic languages.[11] Following Grimm's law, the "k" would have changed to "h" with the first Germanic sound shift,[9][12] after which it may have been adapted into the Old English form, hænep. However, this theory assumes that hemp was not widely spread among different societies until after it was already being used as a psychoactive drug, which Adams and Mallory (1997) believe to be unlikely based on archaeological evidence.[9] Barber (1991) however, argued that the spread of the name "kannabis" was due to its historically more recent drug use, starting from the south, around Iran, whereas non-THC varieties of hemp are older and prehistoric.[11] Another possible source of origin is Assyrian qunnabu, which was the name for a source of oil, fiber, and medicine in the 1st millennium BC.[11]