Cannabis

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Cannabis (also known as marijuana or ganja in its herbal form and hashish in its resinous form) is a psychoactive product of the plant Cannabis sativa L. subsp. indica (= C. indica Lam.). The herbal form of the drug consists of dried mature inflorescences and subtending leaves of pistillate ("female") plants. The resinous form consists primarily of glandular trichomes collected from the same plant material.

The major biologically active chemical compound in cannabis is ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC. It has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed, usually by smoking or ingestion. The minimum amount of THC required to have a perceptible psychoactive effect is about 5 mg. A related compound, ?9-tetrahydrocannabidivarin, also known as THCV, is produced in appreciable amounts by certain drug strains. This cannabinoid has been described in the popular literature as having shorter-acting, flashier effects than THC, but recent studies suggest that it may actually inhibit the effects of THC. Relatively high levels of THCV are common in African dagga (marijuana), and in hashish from the northwest Himalayas.

Humans have been consuming cannabis since prehistory, although in the 20th century there was a rise in its use for recreational, religious or spiritual, and medicinal purposes. It is estimated that cannabis is now regularly used by four percent of the world's adult population, with estimates of up to 20% or greater of the adult population in the United States having tried the drug, and 10–30% or greater using the herb in many European countries.

The possession, use, or sale of psychoactive cannabis products became illegal in most parts of the world in the early 20th century. Since then, some countries have intensified the enforcement of cannabis prohibition while others have reduced the priority of enforcement, almost to the point of legalization, as is the case in the Netherlands. The production of cannabis for drug use remains illegal throughout most of the world through the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, while simple possession of small quantities is either legal, or treated as an addiction rather than a criminal offense in a few countries. The laws in the United States vary from state to state, some having decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana although it is still a federal crime.

It has been reported that commercial hashish is often no more potent than high quality seedless marijuana. However, carefully produced and screened hashish is up to three times as potent as the highest quality herbal varieties.

Cannabis
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illegal drugs. This article looks at the health risks related to cannabis use.

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