Cannabis is a flowering plant used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Three main types (species, subspecies, or varieties) of the cannabis genus have been recognized: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Δ(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive/addictive ingredient of cannabis; the effects of this compound are most commonly associated with binding to the cannabinoid receptor 1 (Hoffman & Lupica, 2013).
A 2012 review found that the THC content in marijuana had increased worldwide from 1970 to 2009. It is unclear, however, whether the increase in THC content has caused people to consume more THC or if users adjust based on the potency of the cannabis. It is likely that the higher THC content allows people to ingest less tar. At the same time, CBD levels in seized samples have lowered, in part because of the desire to produce higher THC levels and because more illegal growers cultivate indoors using artificial lights. This helps avoid detection but reduces the CBD production of the plant.
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Exactly how and when hemp originated in the New World is still highly debated. Though long thought to be introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus, hemp has been discovered in Native American civilizations that predate Columbus’ arrival. William Henry Holmes’ “Prehistoric Textile Art of Eastern United States” report from 1896 notes hemp from Native American tribes of the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley. Hemp products from pre-Columbian native civilizations were also found in Virginia. Vikings, who depended on hemp for making rope and sails, may also have brought hemp seeds with them when they attempted to colonize the New World.
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Hemp crops are tall, have thick foliage, and can be planted densely, and thus can be grown as a smother crop to kill tough weeds. Using hemp this way can help farmers avoid the use of herbicides, gain organic certification, and gain the benefits of crop rotation. However, due to the plant's rapid and dense growth characteristics, some jurisdictions consider hemp a prohibited and noxious weed, much like Scotch Broom.
“Skepticism comes from lack of understanding. I have treated many patients with chronic conditions with full spectrum CBD and attained great results,” Dr. Amin says. “I also believe the public needs to understand that CBD works in conjunction with THC. Usually this requires at least 3–5% THC to work for serious forms of pain and more chronic medical conditions. I have patients come in with chronic and severe pain expecting to have their pain alleviated with just CBD. Although CBD works well for pain, in many situations patients with severe pain need to have some THC. [The cannabinoids ] work synergistically to help ease severe pain.”
The genus Cannabis was formerly placed in the nettle (Urticaceae) or mulberry (Moraceae) family, and later, along with the genus Humulus (hops), in a separate family, the hemp family (Cannabaceae sensu stricto). Recent phylogenetic studies based on cpDNA restriction site analysis and gene sequencing strongly suggest that the Cannabaceae sensu stricto arose from within the former family Celtidaceae, and that the two families should be merged to form a single monophyletic family, the Cannabaceae sensu lato.