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Health & Medicine

7 Fun Facts about Cannabis

— November 18, 2019

This long history, the way the plant can be used in so many fashions, and the ample medical applications that are still being uncovered today make cannabis a topic of great conversation.

You might think you know all about cannabis, how it works, how you grow it, and how to consume it. But there are some pretty interesting things about cannabis you might not know. Cannabis is still showing us all that it can do, and researchers are still learning how it impacts the body.

1. It’s been around for thousands of years 

Cannabis has been documented in use for thousands of years. Literally. Most people equate pot with the 1960’s, but cannabis plants have been used throughout history. Ancient China used it for the seeds, as a source of food. They also used the plant to make oil and rope. Soon, it was used to make textiles. As the Chinese traded with nearby cultures, cannabis and its many growing uses including medical use and that of paper, it reached other parts of the Middle East, the top of Africa, Europe, and eventually the Americas. Throughout most of the world it was used to make paper, clothes, provide food, and oil. The medical applications were studied officially during the 1800’s and 1900’s by British doctors who uncovered many uses that recent scientists have confirmed today. The popularity of cannabis plants was so widespread that it became a commercial industry for all of these reasons and more. In fact, it was commercially grown, mandated by the government in America for decades. And not just in America but in Asia in places like the Philippines. It wasn’t until moderately recently that cannabis plants stopped being used commercially in America (the last hemp farm being done away with right after World War II in America) and people started focusing heavily on the medical and smoking side.

2. Men and women react differently to it

Cannabis causes different responses in men versus women. A female and male couple can start smoking the same pot, with all other factors being the same, and experience different outcomes—short term and long term. One study found that women build up a tolerance to pot faster than men. There are also fluctuations in the individual responses women have to cannabis based on changes in hormone levels and menstrual cycles. When women are ovulating, for example, they are more sensitive to the THC in cannabis. Even if given a low dose during that time of the month, women still developed a fast tolerance within 10 days. Basically this means women will outpace men in terms of sensitivity.

3. Cannabis smoke is everywhere

Recently, atmospheric scientists studied the air in Italy and found that marijuana smoke is everywhere. There are specific parts of the country, like Florence, Naples, Milan, and Rome where marijuana smoke is just wafting through the air. The amounts are not enough that the population and any tourists breathing it in will get a contact high, but it’s still pretty striking that cannabis is found in the air all across Italy. Who knows where else it might be. To be fair, those same cities have evidence of nicotine, caffeine, and cocaine in the air, too.

4. Want some grass?

Italy is also home to some slang terms for cannabis, but it isn’t the only place. In fact, there are over 200 slang terms for cannabis. You probably know your own slang terms like, “marijuana”, “pot”, “weed”, or “grass,” but every group around the world has had their own. GI’s serving in the Vietnam War called it “dinkie dow cigarette” a term they took from the local description of how wacky they would get when they smoked it. In England, the phrase is “gasper stick”, but in Latin cultures around the world, you can get your hands on a “joint” by asking for “caracas”. The plant itself isn’t the only thing generating slang terminology. The act of consuming (usually smoking) pot brings with it phrases like “mowing the grass”, “smoking trees”, or “going loco”.

5. To be or not to be?

Two people reaching hands toward each other, one holding a joint; image by Louis Hansel, via
Two people reaching hands toward each other, one holding a joint; image by Louis Hansel, via

Evidence shows that William Shakespeare grew it and smoked it. Said evidence comes in the form of marijuana residue unearthed from the pipes he left behind in his garden. Four clay tobacco pipes were found in his garden inside of which were traces of marijuana.

6. It boosts your mood the same way chocolate does

Now, chocolate is not nearly as powerful, but they both achieve the same outcome. If you are feeling blue, and you want a quick pick me up, unwrap a chocolate bar or smoke a blunt because cannabis binds to the receptors in your brain that promote anandamide, making it a great antidepressant. You don’t even need to smoke pot to get the benefits. You can use CBD oil without the high and slow the breakdown of anandamide in the brain. So, the THC and the CBD play their part in turning your frown upside down. And, again, if you don’t have any pot handy you can eat chocolate, which will produce higher levels of anandamide too!

7. Cannabis & cancer

Not all the facts about cannabis are fun and games, but they are certainly interesting. For example: cannabis kills cancer. It has been shown to treat not just the symptoms of chemotherapy that most people think of, like vomiting or loss of appetite, but it actually treats the cancer symptoms. It can control pain, not just of cancer, but of cancer meds. It can kill the cancer cells themselves. It’s not yet on the market as an FDA approved or internationally approved medication, but cannabis can kill one of the biggest health concerns in the world and soon enough, it just might be a simple prescription.

In short, the use of cannabis has been everywhere, for quite some time. Ancient Chinese probably didn’t know that it killed cancer, or that it worked the same as chocolate, but they still reaped the benefits of it. This long history, the way the plant can be used in so many fashions, and the ample medical applications that are still being uncovered today make cannabis a topic of great conversation. So, whichever part of this silly and lighthearted trivia, remember that cannabis brings with it many powerful benefits that can make lives bearable, remove pain, and fight cancer. (Oh, and you can easily grow cannabis at home!)

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