What is marijuana? Marijuana, also know as Cannabis, has medicinal and psychoactive effects when ingested, usually by smoking. It has been used for medicinal and psychoactive purposes for years. Cannabis is illegal in most areas of the world. Ancient History Cannabis was well known to the Scythians, as well as by the Thracians/Dacians, whose shamans (the kapnobatai - "those who walk on smoke/clouds") used to burn cannabis flowers in order to induce trances. The cult of Dionysus, which is believed to have been originated in Thrace, has also been linked to the effects of cannabis smoke. The most famous users of cannabis though were the ancient Hindus. According to legend, Shiva, the destructive aspect of the Hindu trinity, told his disciples to use the hemp plant in all ways possible. Cannabis is also thought by some to be the ancient drug soma, mentioned in the Vedas as a sacred intoxicating hallucinogen, although a number of advocates for different psychoactive substances such as Amanita muscaria and Salvia divinorum make this claim as well. Recent History Under the name cannabis 19th-century medical practitioners helped to introduce the herb's drug potential (usually as a tincture) to modern English-speaking consciousness. It was famously used to treat Queen Victoria's menstrual pains, and was available from shops in the US. By the end of the 19th century its medicinal use began to fall as other drugs such as aspirin took over. The name marijuana (Mexican Spanish marihuana, mariguana) is associated almost exclusively with the herb’s drug potential. That marijuana is now well known in English as a name for drug material is due largely to the efforts of US drug prohibitionists during the 1920s and 30s, who deliberately used a Mexican name for cannabis in order to turn the populace against the idea that it should be legal. Although cannabis has been used for its psychoactive effects since ancient times, it first became well known in the United States during the jazz music scene of the late 1920s and 30s. Louis Armstrong became one of its most prominent and life-long devotees. Cannabis use was also a prominent part of 1960s counterculture. Today in America, there are 10 states that provide some legal protection for patients who use marijuana with the consent or recommendation of a doctor. Most recently, Vermont became the 10th state to pass medical marijuana legislation. On November 1st, 2005, the city of Denver Colorado passed in a 53%-46% vote to legalise the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults over 21. Effects [*] Introspective or meditative states of mind [*] Mild euphoria, feelings of general well-being [*] Relaxation or stress reduction [*] Induced sense of novelty [*] Increased sexual pleasure [*] Anti-emetic properties [*] Hallucinations in some users though the vast majority do not experience them [*] Increased mental activity, like metacognition [*] Increased appetite [*] Increased awareness of sensation [*] Initial wakefulness followed by drowsiness and lassitude [*] Disruption of linear memory [*]Increased awareness of patterns and color [*] Loss or gain of inhibitions [*] Loss of coordination [*] Enhancement of many other drugs (including alcohol and ecstasy) [*]Apparent difficulty with short-term memory in some, though enhanced in others (see above) [*] Dizziness, headaches (this is not caused by cannabis itself, rather by impurities in some of the product sold in the black market) [*] Paranoia, agitation, and anxiety [*] Tachycardia (Increased heart rate) [*] Nausea in certain individuals [*] Irritability in certain individuals [*] Dry mouth (sometimes referred to as cottonmouth) Therapeutic effects [*] Pain relief (especially headaches and cramps). [*] Increased appetite, food subjectively tastes better. [*] Reduced nausea, (especially from chemotherapy), though may cause or exacerbate nausea for some. [*] Dilation of alveoli (air sacs) in lungs, resulting in deeper respiration. [*] Increase in productive coughs [*] Dilation of blood vessels (vasodilation), resulting in increased blood flow and heart rate and reddening of the conjunctivae (red eye) [*] Lower intra-ocular pressure (beneficial to glaucoma patients). [*] Lower blood pressure while standing. Higher blood pressure while sitting (note that this can lead to instances of orthostatic hypotension). [*] Increased metabolism of glucose, reducing blood sugar levels. Lethal Dose It is generaly considered to be impossible to achieve a lethal overdose by smoking cannabis. According to the Merck Index, 12th edition, the LD50, the lethal dose for 50% of tested rats, is 42 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That is equivalent, for a 75 kg (≈165 lb). male, to ingest all of the THC in 21 one-gram cigarettes of maximum-potency (15% THC) cannabis buds, assuming no THC was lost through burning or exhalation. For oral consumption, the LD50 for rats is 1270 mg/kg and 730 mg/kg for males and females, respectively, equivalent to the THC in about a pound of 15% THC cannabis. Only with intravenous administration— an unheard of method of use by humans— may such a level be even theoretically possible. There has only ever been one recorded verdict of fatal overdose due to cannabis, however this finding was found on multiple professional reviews to be "not legitimate". In January 2004, Lee Maisey of the United Kingdom was found dead. The coroner's report stated "Death due to probable cannabis toxicity". It had been reported that Maisey smoked about six joints a day. Mr. Maisey's blood contained 130 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of the THC metabolite THC-COOH. The validity of the finding did not stand up well under review. As reported on January 28, 2004, in the Neue Züricher Zeitung, the Federal Health Ministry of Switzerland asked Dr. Rudolf Brenneisen, a professor at the department for clinical research at the University of Bern, to review the data of this case. Dr. Brenneisen said that the data of the toxicological analysis and collected by autopsy were "scanty and not conclusive" and that the conclusion "death by cannabis intoxication" was "not legitimate". Additionally, Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen of the nova-Institute in Cologne, Germany said: "A concentration of 130 ng/ml THC-COOH in blood is a moderate concentration, which may be observed some hours after the use of one or two joints. Heavy regular use of cannabis easily results in THC-COOH concentrations of above 500 ng/ml. Many people use much more cannabis than Mr. Maisey did, without any negative consequences." Long Term Phsyical Effects The combustion of any organic material creates irritants and carcinogens, and cannabis is no different. The long-term effects of smoking any substance depends on frequency of use, duration of inhalation, and composition of the smoke. This leads many to assume that the effects of cannabis can be directly compared to other well-known smoking materials such as tobacco. However, direct, volume-for-volume comparisons of the two are probably invalid because the chemical composition and methods of usage are not the same. Studies on the subject are inconclusive and have not isolated all the possible factors exacerbating or ameliorating the effects of cannabis user. Here are some of these factors: Possibly exacerbating factors: [*] Studies have pointed out that cannabis produces more tar and burns at a higher temperature than tobacco. [*] Many cannabis smokers inhale the smoke more deeply and hold it in their lungs for a longer period of time. Possibly ameliorating factors: [*] Generally, even a chronic cannabis user does not inhale a daily volume of smoke equal to even a significant fraction of that of a tobacco smoker. [*] Cannabis smoke does not tend to penetrate to the smaller, peripheral passageways of the lungs, concentrating rather on the larger, central passageways. [*] Industrialized cultivation and preparation of tobacco introduces a variety of toxic and carcinogenic additives and congeners such as nitrosamines, arsenic, radium-226, and polonium-210. This problem does not pertain to cannabis, the vast majority of which is grown in wild, organic, or hydroponic conditions. [*] There is evidence to suggest that cannabinoids present in cannabis may actually serve to protect against cancer. While some studies have claimed a positive correlation between cannabis use and lung cancer, this might primarily indicate only that cannabis use may correlate with tobacco use, and more objective scientific attention is needed to separate these and other factors in order to better understand the potential long-term physiological effects of cannabis use itself. Updated reports seem to suggest that when the data is properly analyzed, the correlation may in fact be negative. Slang There are many words used to refer to Marijuana such as spliff, Cannabis, dope, weed, hash, skunk, blueberry yum yum, ganja, puff, blow, herb, pot, grass, Acapulco gold, Acapulco red, ace, fatty, blunt, etc. Useful Links http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana http://www.marijuana.com http://www.urban75.com/Drugs/drugdope.html http://www.marijuananews.com/ http://www.marijuanaworld.com/ http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=4516 Sources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marijuana http://www.marijuana.com ---------------------- Okay, now that we're all educated, do you think Marijuana should be legalized or should it remain illegal? I'll give everyone my input once a few people post their views.