WHAT IS
CANNABIS?

The Cannabis plant

Cannabis growing in the wild

Cannabis is an annual (it lives and dies within one season), dioecious (there’s males and females) flowering herb. Cannabis plants are easy to identify by the many-fingered leaves and the (often) strong and distinctive smell when the plants reaches the flowering stage. The smell of flowering Cannabis is often described as pungent, musky, earthy and strangely intoxicating.

Cannabis is a strong and hardy plant. It grows vigorously and is considered a wild weed in certain parts of the world. The stem of the Cannabis plant is valued for its strength and flexibility, whilst the seed of the plant is highly nutritious. Cannabis grown for food and materials is often called hemp and it has been cultivated as such for thousands of years.

There are three main types of Cannabis plants. Cannabis Indica is short stacked and bushy, Cannabis Sativa is taller and stretchy, whereas Cannabis Ruderalis is short and has the ability to flower regardless of the season.

Cannabis grown for food and materials is often called hemp and it has been cultivated as such for thousands of years.

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Cannabis as a substance

1When flowering, female Cannabis plants deposit small resinous glands called ‘trichomes’. These trichomes contain a range of over 80 unique substances called Cannabinoids that, when consumed, interact with the human nervous system. The result is that the user feels ‘high’. Being high is often described as a deeply relaxing, introspective and euphoric experience that causes the user to experience temporary relief from anxiety, pain and stress. Other side effects of being high include increased appetite (‘munchies’), dry mouth (‘cotton mouth’), droopy eyelids and red eyes.

Different cannabinoid profiles result in different effects on the user. C. Indica strains generally giving a deeper, more ‘couch lock’ stoned effect, whereas C. Sativa strains tend to give the user a more creative, uplifting ‘high’ feeling.

Overall, Cannabis as a substance is non-toxic and mildly addictive (less than alcohol and far less than tobacco). Frequent use however can lead to tolerance, which requires the user to use more to achieve the same effect. Even though physical addiction is impossible, this can lead to psychological addiction.

Being high is often described as a deeply relaxing, introspective and euphoric experience that causes the user to experience temporary relief from anxiety, pain and stress.

Cannabis as medicine

In recent years, scientific studies have been carried out on the medicinal effects of various cannabinoids. And whilst many cannabinoids remain understudied, show that Cannabis has significant benefits for sufferers of neurological ailments such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), . The acute effects of Cannabis use also make it an excellent choice for people undergoing treatment for cancer. Studies on the curative effects of Cannabis on certain types of cancer are ongoing.

 

 

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