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Where Does Marijuana Come From?

Marijuana is derived from a hemp plant that is called "Cannabis Sativa".  This plant is being grown indoors and outdoors all over the world. Marijuana looks like a flowery, leafy, or bud-like substance which can appear similar to tobacco, with the exception of the greenish color. Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, but the most potent ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol, which is often called THC for short. Marijuana is most often smoked, but it can be consumed in a variety of other ways. The history concerning the use of marijuana has been documented to be as early as 2737 B.C.

Marijuana was described in a Chinese medical compendium that is thought to be dated from the year 2737 B.C., as an agent that is used to achieve euphoria.  At this time, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung made a direct reference to the use of a cannabis product as a psychoactive agent. The main focus of its use during these times was as a medication for gout, malaria, rheumatism and absent -mindedness. There was a slight mention of the intoxicating properties of cannabis, but the medicinal value of the medicine at that time was clearly considered to be more important. The use of marijuana quickly spread from China to India, and then to northern Africa. The use of marijuana reached the continent of Europe as early as A.D. 500. In India, marijuana was quite clearly being used recreationally, even in these early times. Because the Koran banned alcohol consumption, Muslims used cannabis instead for recreational use. Muslims introduced one of the most potent forms of cannabis in the 12th century, which was known as hashish.

As early as the mid 1500's, the Spanish brought marijuana to America. The English introduced marijuana use in Jamistown by the year 1611, where it became a popular commercial crop alongside tobacco and was grown as a source of fiber. By the late 1890's cotton had replaced hemp as the major crop in the southern states. Some medications contained marijuana during this time, but it was a small percentage compared to the number that contained opium or cocaine. Marijuana really began to catch on in the early 1920's. Most historians have noted that the emergence of marijuana was more than likely brought about due to Prohibition. The recreational use of marijuana was restricted to jazz musicians and individuals that were in show business. Clubs where people could use marijuana were located in every major city. These establishments were allowed because marijuana was not illegal at the time, and there did not appear to be disturbances in the community due to the use of the drug, and it was not considered a social threat.

Marijuana was prescribed in the United States from 1850 to the mid 1900's for various conditions that included nausea, labor pains and rheumatism. The use of marijuana as an intoxicant was common for the mid 1850's to the 1930's. During this time, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics portrayed marijuana as an addicting drug that would eventually lead its users to a narcotic dependency. This is what led to marijuana being described as a "gateway" drug. College aged students who became known as "hippies" used marijuana in the 1960's as a way to symbolize their rebellion against the authority figures of that time.

In 1970, marijuana was classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it had the highest abuse potential and was not acceptable for medical use. At this time most marijuana came mainly from Mexico. By 1975, the Mexican government agreed to eradicate the marijuana crop by spraying it with toxic herbicides in the hopes that this would raise the fears concerning toxic side effects. The United States government passed strict laws and mandatory prison sentences for individuals that were in possession of marijuana, and heightened security near the borders of Mexico where most of the drug smuggling took place. In the 1980's, the Drug Enforcement Administration turned an increased amount of attention to the marijuana farms in the U.S. It was at this time that there was a shift to the indoor growth of marijuana plants that were specially developed for small size and high yield. The use of marijuana began to trend upward in the 1990's, and the use of the drug, especially among teenagers, continues to be on the rise.