History and Uses of Marijuana


Whether you call it Hemp, Mary Jane, Pot, Weed; it doesn\'t
matter. It is still Cannabis Sativa, or cannabis for short. And it is
still illegal. The use of marijuana as an intoxicant in the United
States became a problem of public concern in the 1930s. Regulatory
laws were passed in 1937, and criminal penalties were instituted for
possession and sale of the drug. "Marijuana" refers to the dried
leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant, which contains the
non-narcotic chemical THC at various potencies. It is smoked or eaten
to produce the feeling of being "high." The different strains of this
herb produce different sensual effects, ranging from a sedative to a
stimulant.

The term "marijuana" is a word with indistinct origins. Some
believe it is derived from the Mexican words for "Mary Jane"; others
hold that the name comes from the Portuguese word marigu-ano, which
means "intoxicant". The use of marijuana in the 1960\'s might lead one
to surmise that marihuana use spread explosively. The chronicle of its
3,000 year history, however, shows that this "explosion" has been
characteristic only of the contemporary scene. The plant has been
grown for fiber and as a source of medicine for several thousand
years, but until 500 AD its use as a mind-altering drug was almost
solely confined in India. The drug and its uses reached the Middle and
Near East during the next several centuries, and then moved across
North Africa, appeared in Latin America and the Caribbean, and finally
entered the United States in the early decades of this century.
Marijuana can even be used as "Biomass" fuel, where the pulp (hurd) of
the hemp plant can be burned as is or processed into charcoal,
methanol, methane, or gasoline. This process is called destructive
distillation, or \'pyrolysis.\' Fuels made out of plants like this are
called \'biomass\' fuels. This charcoal may be burned in today\'s
coal-powered electric generators. Methanol makes a good automobile
fuel, in fact it is used in professional automobile races. It may
someday replace gasoline.

Marijuana has many medical purposes also. The cannabis extract
was available as a medicine legally in this country until 1937, and
was sold as a nerve tonic-but mankind has been using cannabis
medicines much longer than that. Marijuana appears in almost every
known book of medicine written by ancient scholars and wise men. It is
usually ranked among the top medicines, called \'panaceas\', a word
which means \'cure-all\'. The list of diseases which cannabis can be
used for includes: multiple sclerosis, cancer treatment, AIDS (and
AIDS treatment), glaucoma, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches,
asthma, pruritis, sclerodoma, severe pain, and dystonia. This list
does not even consider the other medicines which can be made out of
marijuana-these are just some of the illnesses for which people smoke
or eat whole marijuana today. There are over 60 chemicals in marijuana
which may have medical uses. It is relatively easy to extract these
into food or beverage, or into some sort of lotion, using butter, fat,
oil, or alcohol. One chemical, cannabinol, may be useful to help
people who cannot sleep. Another is taken from premature buds and is
called cannabidiolic acid. It is a powerful disinfectant. Marijuana
dissolved in rubbing alcohol helps people with the skin disease herpes
control their sores, and a salve like this was one of the earliest
medical uses for cannabis. The leaves were once used in bandages and a
relaxing non-psychoactive herbal tea can be made from small cannabis
stems. Also cannabis, as any other biomass fuels, are clean burning
and do not increase the amount of CO2 the atmosphere, therefore making
breathing easier for may people.

Attempts at legalizing marijuana in the US going on for a long
time. But just recently two states, California and Arizona, voted to
legalize it for medical purposes only, but the US government still
enforces the federal law, stating that federal law overrules state
law. As said by Dr Cliff Schaffer: "In all my study and review of the
information regarding this issue, one question keeps coming back to
me. Let\'s assume - for the sake of argument - that marijuana has no
medical value whatsoever, despite the fact that it has a several
thousand year history of medical use and