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3 Facts About Cannabis You Didn't Know

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July 14, 2014 1:34 PM

3-facts-about-cannabis-you-didnt-knowCannabis has an amazing history that is just beginning to be explored by mainstream America. Many people have already learned in recent years how vital cannabis was to the development of the United States and how it was used to make many different products thru the early twentieth century. The following facts about cannabis may lead to further exploration on the benefits of this medicine. 

1. Hemp at one time played a huge role in economics.

Prior to the formation of the United States, the New World was a haven for hemp farmers. Hemp was used as a backup product for farmers when demand for tobacco fell off. In 1619, the Virginia Company ordered its colonists to each cultivate one hundred hemp plants. In 1682, hemp became legal tender in Virginia and could be used to repay a fourth of farmer debt.

Hemp production grew in Virginia and Maryland. Both colonies sold a lot of hemp to New England merchants. By 1630, hemp was widely used to make clothing. As demand for hemp grew, Connecticut and Massachusetts passed laws ordering families to plant hemp seeds on their farms. In 1735, Massachusetts began to accept hemp as tax payments. In 1781, Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson used hemp as currency. In 1815, Jefferson received a patent for his hemp-breaking device, which sped up production by doing the work of ten people. 

2.  Until marijuana was made illegal in 1937, it was used in over 25 prescription medicines.

Marijuana was part of the U.S. pharmacopeia from 1850 through 1942. At the beginning of the twentieth century, several countries began to ban cannabis with the emergence of big pharma companies offering synthetic drugs. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act required labeling on all cannabis products. Cannabis drugs were produced by pharma companies that are still in business, such as Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb. 

By 1918 about 60,000 pounds of marijuana was grown annually on American pharmaceutical farms. In 1925, the League of Nations signed a treaty that cannabis would only be used for scientific and medical purposes. Pot was made illegal under U.S. federal law in 1937. One of the most overlooked facts about cannabis is throughout its history as a legal medicine in the U.S., it was used to treat over 100 different illnesses and diseases. 

3. States that have legalized marijuana have lower traffic fatalities.

A 2011 research study by the Department of Economics at the University of Colorado, Denver found that in states that had legalized marijuana by that point, there was a 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities. The study found that pot smokers, especially in the 20 to 29 age group, consume fewer drinks, which may partly explain the reduction in fatalities. This suggestion is reasonable because it coincides with the fact that beer sales have dropped in states where medical cannabis has been legalized.  

At the same time, research has shown that cannabis can affect distance perception, reaction time and hand-eye coordination. On the other hand, researchers have been unable to conclude that cannabis use increases the risk of collision. They have observed, however, that cannabis users are likely to drive slower and avoid risky moves. Another observation that has been obscured by opponents is that experienced cannabis users are less likely impaired than infrequent users. 

One of the most interesting facts about cannabis from the study was that legalizing marijuana did not necessarily lead to an increase in marijuana consumption in that state, although pot use increased after legalization in Montana and Rhode Island. The study found no corresponding increase in teen use.

Topics: Cannabis

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