What we don’t know about medicinal marijuana could fill a book. Contradictory studies and widespread misconceptions about the drug have clouded the public’s judgment. As a result, many of the beneficial aspects of the substance have yet to be discovered.
However, general knowledge about cannabis increases with every passing year. As more regions decriminalize or legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational purposes, further research can be done. These pioneering areas act as blueprints for policy concerning marijuana sale, consumption and laws. In turn, this shows the benefits of the drug and influences other areas to adopt similar measures.
Still, everyone has plenty to learn when it comes to cannabis. If you’re still a layman when it comes to lids, read on. This article will fill you in on a few little-known facts about the drug sensation that’s sweeping the nation.
1. People Have Used Marijuana Since Prehistory
Marijuana is a drug enjoyed around the world, and evidence suggests that it’s been that way for a long time. Signs of the plant’s use has been found throughout Chinese, Roman and Egyptian histories, whether as a type of medicine or as a recreational tool.
Some even believe that Homer was referring to the drug when he described the mythical substance “nepenthe” mentioned in the Odyssey. While this isn’t verifiable, it would be fitting, as nepenthe was a drug designed as a medicine that alleviated sorrow.
2. Estrogen Can Increase Sensitivity to Cannabis
It’s easy to think of marijuana as a drug that affects everyone equally, but that simply isn’t the case. Different strains produce different results, and an individual’s own characteristics can influence the drug’s effect. For example, women have traditionally suffered from greater risk of addiction to cannabis, and now researchers may know why.
A study from Washington State University found that female rats experienced greater tolerance and sensitivity to cannabis compared to their male counterparts. This may have major implications on the way marijuana is researched, since tolerance studies are usually performed on men. While human patients may react differently to the drug, these findings still represent a sobering development in medicinal marijuana research.
3. THC Levels Have Increased by Eight Percent Over the Past Two Decades
The notion that modern marijuana plants are more potent than their predecessors has been common for years. But is there any scientific backing for this idea? In fact, there is.
A 2016 study published in Biological Psychiatry found that samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1995 contained an average of four percent THC. However, marijuana confiscated in 2014 contained an average of 12 percent. Over this same period, cannabidiol levels decreased by more than 0.13 percent. Thus, there’s at least a little truth to the idea that weed isn’t quite what it used to be.
4. Marijuana Doesn’t Necessarily Get You Stoned
If you’ve turned on a television in the last 50 years, you’ve probably seen depictions of marijuana users. Despite what television producers would like you to believe, though, the drug doesn’t necessarily make you giggly or hungry. In fact, certain strains have much different effects.
Strains like Cannatonic de-emphasize THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Instead, they feature heavier doses of cannabidiol, which produces a more relaxed effect than other variants. These types of cannabis are ideal for medicinal marijuana users who don’t want to live through a fog of impairment.
5. It’s Believed to Aid in Brain Cell Growth
Marijuana is commonly believed to impair function, but it may also have a much different benefit. Results from a 2005 study suggest that marijuana can actually help regenerate brain cells in the hippocampus, improving both mood and memory over time. Many see cannabis as a miracle drug, but this information gives that idea new meaning.