Cannabis plants, native to Central Asia have been cultivated since approximately 4650 BC. The stalk has been used, for centuries, to make hemp for ropes, clothes, and canvas. The seed oil has been used for soap, lotion, paints, varnish, and lamp fuel. It arrived in America with the Jamestown settlers, and was an important cash crop for the colonies. Cannabis is a Mexican term that means good feeling. It was first outlawed in California in 1915, by 1937 most states had outlawed cannabis. These laws were prompted by newspapers reporting sensational crime stories with a high perpetrator. Law enforcement was strict against it until the 1940s, and in the 1950’s it was part of the underground movement in the 1950s (beat generation). By the 1960’s it became part of the counterculture in the 1960s. It is important to note the US Narcotics Control Act passed in 1957. In the 1970s, the government cracked down on the sale of drug paraphernalia. Cannabis is the most widely consumed illegal drug in America
Science of evidence/rational explanations
The narcotic effect is from delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the dried resin form(hash) it is 5 to 8 times more potent. THC bonds with the neurotransmitter anandamide to enduce the effects. Which are: euphoria, reduced anxiety, sense of enhanced well-being, increased sensory perception, increased sociability, heightened sexual experience, heightened creativity, unsteady gait, muscle relaxation, weakness, slurred speech, slowed reaction, impaired short-term memory, distortion of time, altered depth perception, fatigue, sedation, dysphoria, anxiety, hallucinations, depersonalization, and disturbed sleep (dose amount importation low doses tend to cause good feelings, high doses tend to cause bad feelings). Inhibits release of serotonin (regulator of mood, emotion, and appetite). Some chemicals in cannabis can increase pulse rate and cause anxiety and panic attacks. Marinol (synthetic THC) is used to treat nausea from chemotherapy. Researchers at University of Mississippi are testing cannabis’ more the 460 chemical compounds for antimicrobial activity, pain relief, anti-nausea/vomiting, cancer-fighting, allergies and infection. Researchers are interested in its association with seizures, schizophrenia, and psychosis. Heavy use can damage brain tissue and impair mental health, but it has beneficial effects for glaucoma, autoimmunity, and neurodegenerative diseases
History of the science
It has been used for medicine and divination. 4,000 years ago, Chinese physicians used cannabis to treat gout. In nineteenth century it was used to to treat rheumatism, tetanus, cholera, and depression.
Marijuana by Hal Marcovitz
Understanding Drugs: Marijuana by Brigid M. Kane
Special thanks to IGOR member Erin for her wonderful research this week.