Investigation of Marijuana
Marijuana is the dried buds and leaves of the Cannabis sativa
plant. This plant contains more than 400 chemicals, including
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant's main psychoactive
chemical. THC is known to affect our brain's short-term memory.
Additionally, marijuana affects motor coordination, increases your
heart rate and raises levels of anxiety. Studies also show that
marijuana contains cancer-causing chemicals typically associated with
cigarettes. Although banned by the U.S. federal government in 1937,
there were 11 million current users of the drug in 1999, according to
the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, "current"
meaning that they had used the drug within 30 days of the survey. In
this article you will learn about marijuana, why this drug is so
popular and what effects it has on your mind and body.
[IMAGE]The Plant Cultivation of the Cannabis sativa plant dates back
thousands of years. The first written account of cannabis cultivation
is found in Chinese records dating from 28 B.C., according to the book
"Buzzed: The Straight Facts about the Most Used and Abused Drugs from
Alcohol to Ecstasy." However, the book's authors point out that the
plant was likely cultivated long before then. They recount the
discovery of a nearly 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy containing traces
of THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana. It could be that
cannabis was used as some type of medicinal herb during this time.
Cannabis sativa is perhaps the most recognizable plant in the world.
Pictures of the ubiquitous green cannabis leaf show up in the news
media, textbooks and drug-prevention literature, and the leaf's shape
is made into jewelry, put on bumper stickers and clothing and
spray-painted on walls. The leaves are arranged palmately, radiating
from a common center like the fingers of a hand spreading apart.
Although most people know what the cannabis plant looks like, they may
know very little about its horticulture.
Cannabis sativa is believed to be a native plant of India, where it
possibly originated in a region just north of the Himalayan mountains.
It is a herbaceous annual that can grow to a height of between 13 and
18 feet (4 to 5.4 meters). The plant has flowers that bloom from
late-summer to mid-fall. Cannabis plants usually have one of two types
of flowers, male or female, and some plants have both. Male flowers
grow in elongated clusters along the leaves and turn yellow and die
after blossoming. Female flowers grow in spike-like clusters and
remain dark green for a month after blossoming, until the seed ripens.
Hashish, which is more powerful than marijuana, is made from the resin
of the cannabis flowers.
[IMAGE]Marijuana plants contain more than 400 chemicals, 60 of which
fit into a category called...