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What is cannabis?
Powerful intoxicant lurks in ancient plant
You’ve no doubt heard slang namesfor cannabis products: marijuana, pot,weed, grass, hash . . . and many more.
The array of colourful terms can bebewildering.
Yet at its core, cannabis is quite simple.Cannabis is a broad term that describesthe various products made from theleaves, flowers and resins of the Cannabissativa and Cannabis indica plants, orhybrids of the two. Cannabis is oneof the world’s oldest domesticated crops.
One strain of cannabis produceshemp for industrial textiles, such asrope and fabrics. Other strains producemarijuana. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)is marijuana’s main active ingredient.THC is a cannabinoid that acts oncannabinoid receptors in the brain andbody. Cannabinoids regulate how cellssend, receive and process messages.They’re like a dimmer switch that slowsdown communication between cells,resulting in a euphoric effect on users.
Canada banned cannabis in 1923,
although it’s not known why. One
theory credits a growing national
anti-drug movement fuelled by suffragist
Emily Murphy. One chapter in her
1922 book The Black Candle was called
Marahuana—A New Menace.
Cannabis use grew in the 1960s, drivenby the “hippie psychedelic ethos,” saida Senate committee report at the time.The 1972 Le Dain Commission reportrecommended removing criminalpenalties for cannabis possession, butnothing changed.
About 20 years ago, public opinion
polls started showing that most
Canadians thought smoking marijuana
didn’t need to be a federal offence. The
Liberal government is legalizing and
regulating non-medical use of cannabis
this year, making good on its 2016
election promise. Canada is the second
nation after Uruguay to legalize non-
medical cannabis. Nine U.S. states have
also done so.
One of the reasons, said a Canadiantask force, is that “the current approachto marijuana prohibition is not working.”
Governments at all levels are workingon rules for growing and sellingcannabis, as well as lowering risk. |a