Scientific Name(S): Cannabis sativa More than a dozen other species names have been used to describe marijuana. Family: Cannabaceae
Common Name(S): A variety of common names have been attributed to the plant. There are, however, specific terms for the various plant parts and extracts. These include: anascha and kif(resinous material and flowering tops mixed with the leaves); banji, hemp, cannabis, shesha, dimba, dagga, suma, vingory and machona (entire plant); bhang and sawi (dried mature leaves); charas (resinous material); ganga (flowering tops); hashish and esrar (resinous material with flowering tops); and marijuana or marihuana (leaves and flowering tops). Names vary with local customs.
Botany: More than 100 species of cannabis grow wild throughout most temperate climates, although several species have adapted to harsher climactic conditions. Cannabis is a leafy annual, some species of which attain heights of more than 10 feet.The stalk may grow 3 to 4 inches thick, is square and hollow and has ridges running along its length. Each leaf has 5 to 11 leaflets radiating from the top of the stalk. These are soft-textured, 7 to 10 inches long, narrow and lance-shaped with regular dentation like the sawblade. The plant is dioecious, showing male or female flowers. The female plants have a heavy foliage, while the male plants are sparse. The resin mixture is found in the glandular hairs of the leaflets and floral bracts and is called hashish. Hashish is made up of numerous tetrahydrocannabinol compounds. Cannabis is cultivated worldwide for fiber, seed oil and hashish. The controversy over legitimate and illegal use of cannabis persists.
History: The use of cannabis dates back more than 4,000 years. It has been used for the treatment of catarrh, leprosy, fever, dandruff, hemorrhoids, obesity, asthma, urinary tract infections, loss of appetite, inflammatory conditions and cough. It has been used as a source of fiber for ropes and clothing. The plant's sedative effects were recognized by the ancient Chinese, but the widespread use of the plant for its psychoactive effects most likely began only in the past century.The history and details of the health hazards of cannabis have been reviewed.
Uses of Marijuana
Marijuana appears to be medicinally useful as an antiemetic, but its potential for abuse has so far outweighed proposals for its use as a therapeutic agent.
Side Effects of Marijuana
Marijuana can be harmful to the heart, lungs, brain, endocrine system and eyes. It also has a strong potential for abuse and is classified as a schedule I drug.
Summary: Marijuana has been used in traditional medicine for more than 4,000 years. Today it is most widely known as a psychoactive drug. Marijuana's many effects include cardiovascular, pulmonary, neoplastic, CNS, endocrine, ocular and antiemetic. Although more than 400 compounds have been identified in the plant, none of these have been found to have sufficient therapeutic efficacy to warrant a major role in modern therapy. Continued controversy on this point may change its status in the future.
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