Marijuana originates from flowering buds which stem off of “cannabis sativa”, or the cannabis plant. This plant is particularly unique and was even given the notorious yet common street name of “weed” due to the plant’s uncanny ability to grow in a multitude of environments and circumstances. The crop has been found to grow wildly without human interaction in various demographics around the globe. Despite this, many growers cultivate the plant indoors to produce more potent flowering buds due to utilizing the manufactured ideal environment; this is called hydroponic agriculture and is a common technique among botanists.
The prominent chemical substance in the marijuana, a crystal/powder-like material found on the flower’s buds, is known universally as THC or tetrahydro-cannabinol. This is the actual aspect of marijuana that makes people feel “high” and can be found in many forms such as edibles, teas, waxes, vapor, oils, sublingual strips, butter, patches, injections and obviously smoke as well.
For the majority of the globe, excluding legalized states with legitimate resources for cannabis such as California or in Canadian provinces, marijuana is utilized in three basic forms; hash in oil form, hashish in wax form and marijuana in plant form. The most common in the United States is cannabis in the plant form; this is literally just dried up flowers, buds and leaves of the actual marijuana crop. In fact, many people would not even recognize cannabis plants if they were standing right by them as they are very unassuming. Marijuana is the least intense of the three most common forms mentioned above. The main way marijuana is consumed or used is via smoking it through a pipe or rolling it up with paper. The most common form of using cannabis in third world countries is hashish; hashish is a resonate from the plant form of cannabis, marijuana. This material is easily discernible when observing a pipe which has been smoked from; resin presents itself as dark brown or black gunk and smells more earthy than marijuana leafs/buds. It is sold in cubes or blocks of what appears to be brown wax, it is commonly broken up into hookah pipes, cigarettes, or added as a filler to compliment the plant from in pipes and joints in order to enhance the high. The resin is compressed and dried into concentrated cubes, which is why it is more potent than plant marijuana. Both the plant form of marijuana and this hash wax are smoked primarily, which is why they are typical choices of drugs in poorer counties. Cannabis is very easy to grow and even easier to smoke, smoking already being prevalent in underdeveloped countries. Hash wax has the ability to additionally be cooked into certain foods. Hash oil is last but not least on this list; oil is by far the most potent cannabis product of the three. Hash oil is known throughout the world as dense oil taken from the actual hashish’s resin. This is usually seen being literally dripped into tobacco cigarettes and also used to cook with as any other oil would. THC is fat soluble and is activated by heat, which is why many people bake with marijuana utilizing the oils and butters. This is possible as the oils/fats/butter extracts THC from plants, oils or waxes when experiencing high heat from a stove or oven inducing transfer of the THC to cakes, cookies and brownies.
Cannabis is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (known as “joints”) or in special waterpipes (“bongs”). These pipes or bongs can be bought or made from things such as orange juice containers, soft drink cans or even toilet rolls.
How many people use cannabis?
Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia. According to the 2007 National Drug Household Survey, of the Australian population reported using cannabis at some time, with 9.1% having used it in the l33.5%ast 12 months. More than 600,000 Australians used cannabis in the previous week.
- 20% of 14-19 year olds reported ever using cannabis;
- 49.5% of 20-29 year olds reported ever using the drug.
The average age at first use was 18.8 years.
The proportion of secondary school students reporting using cannabis has decreased in recent years. However, the 2008 Secondary School Survey still found that cannabis was the most commonly used illicit substance by this group, with 14% of all secondary school students aged between 12 and 17 years reporting using the drug at some time in their life.
Cannabis use increased with age from 3% of 12-year-olds who had ever used cannabis to 26% of 17-year-olds.
- 28% of 17 year old males reported ever using cannabis;
- 24% of 17 year old females reported ever using cannabis;
- 4% of 12 year old males reported ever using cannabis;
- 2% of 12 year old females reported ever using cannabis.
Other names for cannabis
Cannabis is also known as marijuana, grass, pot, dope, Mary Jane, hooch, weed, hash, joints, brew, reefers, cones, smoke, mull, buddha, ganga, hydro, yarndi, heads and green.
Why do people use cannabis?
Most people who use cannabis do so to experience a sense of mild euphoria and relaxation, often referred to as a ‘high’. Cannabis causes changes in the user’s mood and also affects how they think and perceive the environment, e.g. everyday activities such as watching the television and listening to music can become altered and more intense.
What are the short-term effects of cannabis?
The short-term effects of using cannabis may include:
- Feeling of well-being
- Loss of inhibitions
- Decreased nausea
- Increased appetite
- Loss of co-ordination
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dryness of the eyes, mouth, and throat
- Anxiety and paranoia
What are the long-term effects of cannabis?
There is limited research on the long-term effects of cannabis. On the available evidence, the major probable adverse effects are:
- Increased risk of respiratory diseases associated with smoking, including cancer;
- Decreased memory and learning abilities;
- Decreased motivation in areas such as study, work or concentration.