A brief history of cannabis and the basics of using cannabis
by Greg Green
Cannabis plants have been living on this planet for thousands, maybe millions of years, and have been doing so for quite some time before man’s intervention and after. Cannabis can grow nearly everywhere and anywhere as long as the temperature is not too low and there is enough sunlight and food present for the plant to flourish. In Asia, one can travel to the various regions around Mongolia and visit the cannabis plant naturally growing on the hillsides and across the vast plains, sometimes covering entire hill faces and spreading down onto the valley below. The Cannabis plant is a very adaptable plant and can grow both in and outdoors.
The Cannabis plant has managed to travel across the globe without the help of man. The seed has been carried by the wind, in bird droppings and has attached itself to animals that can, and do, trek over long distances. As you can see Mother Nature has distributed this plant in many ways.
The origins of the Cannabis plant are not entirely clear but today it is generally recognized by most biologists and cannabis researchers that it began it’s life somewhere in the Himalayas.
Today, human intervention has caused the Cannabis plant to grow under more controlled conditions and in areas where the plant would not have had a previous history. It is estimated that in most countries there must be at least 2 – 12 different cannabis strains growing wildly. Wild Cannabis plants are rare in countries that have tried to eliminate the plant by burning fields and conditioning woodlands. In certain countries the Cannabis plant has been identified as a dangerous drug and has been killed off by human beings and law enforcement officials. It is treated as a weed and as a plant that causes social, mental and physical problems. None of these reasons for removing the plant are well founded but the cull of cannabis has occurred anyhow.
The Cannabis plant was used for many things other than the extraction of THC (to be discussed later). Our ancestors, up until the late 1800’s early 1900’s, used the Cannabis plant to create clothing and other materials. The Cannabis plant or ‘hemp’ as it is called in the textile industry is a very strong material and will withstand large amounts of stress applied to it. Hemp material is widely regarded as one of the best possible materials for producing fabrics. A pair of trousers made from hemp, or a shirt made from hemp will withstand the test of time. It is a far more superior material than cotton. This should give you some clues as to why the fabrics industry wanted to put a stop to the cultivation of marijuana in the late 1800’s. Hemp fabric products will last longer than cotton fabric products thus the buyer buys less over longer periods of time. This is the first instance of the Cannabis plant being subjected to ridicule for capitalist gain.
The Cannabis plant has been subjected to a number of stereotypical formats. The first one is that the resin produced by the plant is physically addictive. This is not true and I will explain why. In psychiatry there is a list of classifications for addictions of all abusive substances.
Medical doctors are not informed clearly about the use and abuse of cannabis. This is because cannabis research is illegal in most countries or if research is allowed most of the results are suppressed. The only way a medical doctor can help a person with a cannabis problem is by having some experience with people who have had cannabis problems in the past. There are no special books to turn too. There are no references which explain clearly what to do or IF cannabis is physically addictive. There are no pills for cannabis addiction (there are for alcoholism). The only place a doctor can go is to the archives of what other countries have said about the drug and it’s abuse. As a doctor, one would maybe try Holland and read up on some of the material there, or Belgium or Switzerland. There can be found medical research papers that relate to cannabis dependence and all of them say the same thing. (A) Can it be abused? YES. (B) Can it be addictive? YES. (C) Is cannabis abuse or use life threatening? NO, but mental side effects such a depression can be, but only a small percentage of addicts (NOT USERS, BUT ADDICTS) go through this. (D) Has anyone ever died of cannabis use? ONLY 1 PERSON in the history of cannabis has died from its use, but read on. Bruce Lee, the martial arts expert died after taking cannabis, but the death certificate was later changed too ‘death by misadventure’ because of another medical herb that he took which he did not know he was allergic too. So the correct answer is 0 people have died from using cannabis. (E) How do you treat cannabis addiction? Psychotherapy is the only answer. In fact there are absolutely no reasons for the prohibition of cannabis, other than: 1) It is hard to tell if someone is under the influence of cannabis. Driving/working with machinery may be problems here. 2) People might smoke too much and become a little lazy. 3) Many governments have prohibited it for over 70 years and it would seem very stupid if they told everyone that they where wrong about it.
Now let us look at these points for a moment.
1) Yes it is hard to tell and make no mistake – if you drive smoking cannabis then you are just as stupid as if you where driving under the influence of alcohol. It is never advised to use cannabis and then perform a procedure, like driving, which requires your total attention. As of yet there is no on the spot breathalyser test for cannabis use, but there are tests to determine if someone has used cannabis recently, in the last few hours, in the last few days, weeks or months. However, alcohol is not banned in a lot of countries but cannabis is.
2) It happens. Some people do smoke too much pot and they become docile to the point where they just want to watch television and eat. However, if there is no money about, and the person needs to survive or live somehow, you will soon find that person can restore their life back to the way it was before they started their cannabis binge by simply – Not smoking for a few days. A few days of not smoking is all it takes to rid cannabis of any effects it has had on the human body. There may be residual cannabinoids left in the system but this does not pose any problems and will soon wear away. This is not that easy with alcohol or heroin user. They will have to go through a long period of detoxification before they can resume a normal life. A cannabis user does not have to go through the detoxification period because there simply is none. Not only does the because there simply is none. Not only does the it out of his/her system but they will also have to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. This can last for months. With cannabis, it is simply, stop smoking cannabis and resume operations as normal. (Note: Pharmaceutical firms would love to sell a pill to cure cannabis addiction, but as of yet can not. They can not prove that their pill does anything because there are no cannabis withdrawal systems to observe. Thus the pill would be deemed a fraudulent product if put on the market.) Also many homeless people’s living standards in most cases are attributed to alcohol dependence/addiction and rarely, IF ever, is their low living standard attributed to cannabis dependence. Cannabis dependence is psychological. Treatment of cannabis addiction is done by psychiatrists and psychologists and GP’s. Heroin and alcohol is treated by psychiatrists, psychologists, GP’s and doctors of internal medicine for the somatic systems of addiction.
3) This is a major problem because the government may have to set people free from prison and radically change their justice departments stance on cannabis which means that jobs will be lost and revenues will be lost if cannabis was decriminalized. Cannabis prohibition is a booming industry that creates jobs and capital. However if cannabis was decriminalised then these lost profits could be derived from a new cannabis industry.
One other thing to mention is that street cannabis may contain other added drugs. In most clinical cases, a person who complains about cannabis addiction and shows physical signs of addiction is not actually addicted to cannabis. They are addicted to the other drug substances that the supplier has added to his produce to make it stronger. 100% home grown clean cannabis does not contain physical additive properties. People who add other drugs to cannabis are not doing the cannabis community a favour. This is a good reason to grow your own pot.
There are many strains or versions of the Cannabis plant alive today. Most strains are the result of human intervention and these are the types you will most likely come across or even smoke. Breeders try to produce strains that are tasty, smell good and give the user different types of highs. These are the strains that are best looked out for because you can be guaranteed that the plant has got a ‘grow history’ behind it and that the seller of the seeds will know a good bit about the plant and how it ‘works’.
This ends our brief look at the history of Cannabis. There is much more to it than just this and many other books that discuss the legal aspects of Marijuana go into great detail about the history of Marijuana. In fact the history of Marijuana is so interesting and deep that a dozen chapters here would not cover the vastness of this plant’s background.