Cannabis - a little summary

The plant, history of cannabis, usage of hemp, effects, Medical use, Usage as drug, Marihuana, Hashish, Risks, Legality, Referat, Hausaufgabe, Cannabis - a little summary
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Cannabis - a little summary

The plant
Cannabis is a type of annual flowering plant. It is dioecious, that means that you have male and female plants. There are three different species:

  • Cannabis sativa (sativa => useful), which is used for medicine, drugs and as a resource. It grows up to 5 meters and you can find it all over the world. (left)
  • Cannabis indica, which you can mainly find in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the area of the Himalaya. It’s drugs are more soothing compared to cannabis sativa. It grows up to 1 meter. (middle)
  • Cannabis ruderalis is a very little plant, it’s only growing up to 0.6 meters and the percentage of psychoactive ingredients is very low. (right)

The leaves are palmately aligned and they are looking like they have little saw teeth. Normally a leaf has seven or nine fingers, depending on the species and the growing conditions. Cannabis plants produce a group of chemicals called cannabinoids which produce mental and physical effects when consumed. These cannabinoids are mainly in the florescences and the bracts of female plants. "Cannabis” is the botanical name for hemp, but it’s commonly the name for the intoxicants of hemp, like marihuana and hashish. Normally the word hemp is used for industrial hemp, which has a very low percentage of THC (=Thetrahydrocannabinol, one of the psychoactive substances in cannabis) (lower than 0.3%).

The history of cannabis
The first known usage of cannabis was before 5000 years in China, they used it for the production of fibre. First reports about the medical or ritual practice were written in Indian literature before 2400 years. The Germans, Franks and Vikings produced paper consisting of cannabis approximately 400 years before Christ. In the 17th century, the drug became famous in Europe, so they used it as tabacco surrogate and as therapeutical and spasm alleviating medicine. Cannabis was an easy available medicament in form of an alcoholic extract until the first third of the 20th century, which was prescribed very often in the 19th century. During the prohibition of cannabis in the USA, they called it a danger for the society. But the background was that the cotton farmer organisations and tabacco producers were afraid of losing market share due to hemp, so they claimed the prohibition of cannabis because of the intoxicative effect. Hemp was used in Europe and America as resource for uniforms, aircraft construction and other things in time of World War II, but at the end of it, they destroyed all the hemp fields. Now the US Government told in propaganda movies, that “Marihuana” was a drug for perverse people, subhuman beings, spiritless “Negros” and mexican immigrants. This caused a successful prohibition of useful hemp in the whole western civilisation. They didn’t know any negative consequences of cannabis consum in Europe, but through the pressure of Egypt, they banned cannabis in Europe. Otherwise, Egypt had stopped the import of cocain and heroin and at this time, Heroin was legally produced by Bayer.

Now the price on the street for Marihuana rose up for 8000% in the last 50 years. First you had to pay 60 US$ / kg and now it’s about 5000 US$ / kg. The multisided usability of hemp is playing a big role in his prohibition. It’s a too large competition for the paper-, textile-, food oil-, tabacco- and medicine industry, a supporter of the cannabis legalisation said.

The usage of hemp
Hemp is very popular because of it’s unproblematic breeding and it’s total usability. It doesn’t need much water, it’s long-living and environmental compatibility. The plants are growing so fast, that the light can’t reach the ground after a few days, so you don’t need any herbicide. It produces more biomass than every native plant. So it’s most variable useful in the economy. You can use hemp for many different purposes:
At first, the fibre of hemp is very useful, you can produce textiles, paper and insulating material out of it. The fibres are long-lasting, it represents no health hazard and it’s pest-restistant.
Otherwise, you can use the seeds and the oil as food, as animal food and you can produce cosmetics. Last but not least, you can use it for the engery production. A field of hemp offers about 15 tons of biomass per hectare, which is about 3000 to 4000 liters of fuel. In the European Union are 20 million hectares of disused agricultural area, that means, they could produce 60 billion liters of fuel in this area. It would be in form of biodiesel or btl-fuel (biomass-to-liquid). The medical usage is described later.

The resin of hemp contains more than 70 different cannabinoids, which are the psychoactive substances in cannabis. The cannabinoids are composed of hydrogen, oxygen and normally 21 carbon atoms. THC (Delta-9-Thetrahydrocannabinol) is most responsible for the psychoactiv effect of cannabis, which evolves during the heating of the resin. That’s why you have to smoke or cook your drugs.

Medical use
Cannabis is a multisided medicine and it’s used all over the world. It’s good against sickness, because it has a nausea alleviating effect. It also has a appetizing effect, so you don’t lose your weight.
This is very useful for people who have AIDS or cancer, because the patiens are eating more and it lifts up their spirits. You can use it also for the treatment of graucoma, because the active ingredient in cannabis is reducing the intraocular pressure. When you smoke cannabis, this pressure can be reduced to normal values, without any surgery. A very important point is the relaxative effect, so they can treat palsys and algospasms, which you have with the disease MS (multiple sclerosis). It doesn’t heal the disease, but the patient can live much better without the symptoms of it. Asthma seizures could be treated with one breath of a joint, but this harms the lungth of the patient.

Usage as drug
Cannabis is often used as a drug. It’s used in three different forms:

  • Marihuana: The dried female blooms with a THC percentage of 0.6 to 18%.
  • Hashish: The pressed resin (0.6 – 18% THC)
  • Hempoil: The psychoactive ingredients are concentrated in this oil, it has a THC percentage up to 80%, it’s illegal all over the world.

Normally cannabis is smoked with tabacco in a joint or bong, sometimes it’s cooked or baked in different foods. The effects of cannabis are: hallucinogen, anti-epileptic, analgetic, ralaxing, antidepressive, soothing, drowsing and a little bit anti-inflammatory. When you smoke it, the effects start after a few minutes and lasts for two or three hours. When you eat it, it takes a longer time until it starts, about an hour, but therefor the effects are lasting for about eight hours. It’s smoked mostly because of the relaxing and mind expanding effect. Your mood will be intensified and you’ll be very creative.

People with a labile personality can get a mental illness (at a one-time use!). The lungth will be harmed when you smoke cannabis, because it’s percentage of tar is very high. Your short-term memory will suffer of your consume. Cannabis causes no addiction, but it’s extremly hard to kick the habit to take it, because you get used to it very fast. So only full-grown people should use it!

Cannabis is illegal in most parts of the world, but you can have a little bit of it, depending on the country. It’s very bad that it’s forbidden in most countrys, because you’re are not allowed to use it even when you have diseases which you can treat with cannabis. Here is a map about the legality of cannabis in the world:

dioecious - zweihäusig
palmately - handförmig
florescence - Blütezeit
intoxicant - Rauschmittel
spasm alleviating - krampflindernd
surrogate - Ersatz
market share - Marktanteile
subhuman being - Untermensch
insulating material - Dämmmaterial
pest-resistant - schädlingsresistent

List of references