Narcotic content

It is its connection with cannabis (otherwise known as marijuana, pot, grass, dope, weed, ganja, hash, kief, skunk, Mary Jane) that makes hemp such a contentious plant or topic.  

The active narcotic component in cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the oldest hallucinogenic drugs known to society. There is evidence that cannabis extracts were used by the Chinese as a herbal remedy in the first century AD.

Every time someone smokes a spliff or joint (a cannabis or marijuana or cigarette), or eats marijuana in the form of a cookie, cannybutter, chocolate brownies, chocolate etc, then the THC and other related chemicals enter the body. The chemicals make their way through the bloodstream to the brain and the rest of the body. It is the THC that is mainly responsible for the "high" associated with the drug.

The most common way of using cannabis is by smoking it. It is also the most direct way of getting the THC into the blood. When the smoke from the spliff is inhaled, the THC goes directly to the lungs, which are lined with millions of tiny air sacs. These air sacs have a large surface so they make it easy for the THC to enter the body and bloodstream. The smoke is absorbed within seconds after inhaling and a few seconds later it hits the brain.

Cannabis or marijuana users often describe the experience of smoking as relaxing, giving a feeling of well being and light-headedness. The eyes may dilate, causing colours to seem more intense, and other senses may be enhanced. In the brain, there are groups of special receptors that take up the THC, and this stimulation can have a beneficial effect on several mental and physical activities, such as:

  • Problem solving
  • Coordination
  • Short-term memory
  • Learning

Strong, hybrid plants, however, may be considerably more powerful, causing hallucinogenic effects, with accompanying disorientation and debilitation. Feelings of a paranoia and panic may also be experienced by some users. 

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