SHORT HISTORY OF CANNABIS
The Cannabis plant, also known as marijuana or ganja, has very ancient origins. This floristic species is also a unique case in the world: it is, in fact, used as a fiber, but is also exploited for its psychoactive properties.
Its cultivation seems to date back to about 10,000 years ago, and further confirmation of this comes from the findings found on the island of Taiwan, and in some caves in present-day Romania.
Cannabis has been used since ancient times for various purposes: the Aryans smoked it, the Chinese, as attested by a study on pharmacology signed by the Emperor Shen Nung, used it in medicine, the Greeks marketed it, the Scythians vaporized it, and the Phoenicians made the sails of their ships.
Marijuana seems, however, to have arrived in Europe about five centuries before Christ: in Berlin in an urn, dating back to 2,500 years ago, were found traces of weed seeds and leaves of this plant, its spread was very rapid and in 1484 a papal bull has banned, albeit with little success, the use by the population.
Its consumption became a real fashion among intellectuals and, in fact, in Paris was founded the club of hash eaters which included writers and poets such as Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, and Charles Baudelaire.
Finally, we cannot forget the cannabis paper used to print the Gutenberg Bible and the Declaration of Independence of the United States, the sails of Christopher Columbus’ caravels and the countless plantations scattered throughout America.
A CANNABIS PLANT SEEN FROM OUTSIDE
The plant belongs to the family of Cannabaceae to which only two genera belong: Humulus (hops) and Cannabis; the latter produces some hallucinogenic substances, such as hashish and marijuana, and cannabis, one of the most famous fibers in the world.
The Cannabis, a species of flora with an annual cycle, has a height of between 1.5 and 2 meters, but some specimens can even reach almost 5. It has a taproot (large main element from which depart many small branches) and a fine stem, erect and branched. The leaves, petiolate (the petiole is the part that joins the end of the leaf to the branch) and lobate-palmate, are, instead, made up of a variable number (between 5 and 13) of many small elements and have a toothed-segmented margin.
This plant is also defined as dioecious because the male and female reproductive organs, stamens and pistils, are located on shrubs of different sexes. The masculine flowers (stem cells), organized in panicles, are placed in correspondence to the axils of the leaves, and each of them is formed by 5 tepals, fused at the base, and 5 stamens.
The female ones (pistils) are, on the contrary, grouped in groups of 2-6 at the base of the bracts (transformed leaves accompanying flowers and inflorescences) from which short spikes originate; in each of them we distinguish a membrane, shaped like a calyx, which wraps an ovary surmounted by 2 styles (they are the natural extension of the ovary and culminate in the stigmata) and 2 stigmas (elements involved in the pollination).
Both flowers bloom during the summer, while pollination is anemophilous (thanks to the action of the wind).
The fruits, which look like hard oval-round alkenes, appear during the autumn season, contain a single seed and their colour is a mixture of olive green, dark brown and reddish.
HOW MANY VARIETIES OF CANNABIS ARE THERE?
There is a great deal of controversy on the subject: some scholars talk about three distinct species, while others talk about a single species with several varieties.
The last assertion, in particular, starts from the assumption that all Cannabis plants have the same morphological, chemical and developmental characteristics and that what distinguishes them, one from the other, is the area where they grow, the altitude, the properties of the soil and much more.
Apart from the discussions, three different species can be distinguished:
- Cannabis Sativa: it is certainly the best known, it grows in Asia, America, and Africa and can reach, if it is not pruned, the 5 metres of height. Its appearance is the result of the constant adaptation to atmospheric conditions, in particular to humidity: the plant appears, therefore, less compact and the flowering period can last up to fourteen weeks. The light green leaves are large and have an elongated shape reminiscent of the fingers of the hand.
- Cannabis Indica: it comes from places like Pakistan and India and has, therefore, adapted to drier and drier climates. All this has an impact on its morphology: it is lower and stocky, its leaves are darker and wider, and its flowers form many small clusters.
- Cannabis Ruderalis: its lands of origin are Siberia and Kazakhstan, where the hours of light are very few, and the flowering does not depend, therefore, on them. It looks like a small bush that grows very quickly in all possible directions but does not reach high stature (maximum 90 cm), the leaves are very narrow, and the flowers are tiny.
THE MAIN ACTIVE INGREDIENTS OF CANNABIS
Cannabis or cannabis has 80 cannabinoids among its components and among these are Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is, without a doubt, the most popular and sought after by cannabis lovers.
THC is also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and is concentrated in the leaves and flower of the plant; it is associated with the countless psychoactive effects that make cannabis illegal in many countries.
The latter, in its raw state, does not contain THC, but rather a non-psychoactive substance better known as THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) which is transformed into THC during the drying process, during which heat acts as a sort of catalyst because it accelerates this change.
Tetrahydrocannabinol binds to the receptors of nerve cells in the body, thus causing the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter produced by the brain and better known as the euphoria hormone).
The effects that are recorded depend on the concentration of the cannabinoid, are revealed within thirty minutes of its intake and can last even more than two hours; the main ones include a feeling of euphoria, increased appetite, prostration, relaxation, altered auditory perceptions and disorientation in space and time.
Several studies have also shown the effectiveness of this substance in the medical field: it can, in fact, be successfully used to treat diseases of a different nature and soothe the pain associated with them. The THC content in Cannabis Sativa is around 1-2% (in optimal conditions it can reach peaks of 5%), in Indica it can reach peaks of over 25%, while in Ruderalis very low percentages are recorded. In legal cannabis, the THC percentage cannot exceed 0.2%, like the CBD weed you can buy online on our site.
CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid of cannabis, has a dual function: it prolongs the analgesic action of THC and, at the same time, combats its undesirable effects on heartbeats, breathing, and body temperature.
BRIEF COMPARISON ON THE EFFECTS INDUCED BY THE CONSUMPTION OF THC AND CBD
THC includes anxiety and paranoia among its many side effects, while these are not associated, as confirmed by several studies, with CBD.
THC consumers also suffer from clear signs of psychosis, and these can be combated by CBD, which has antipsychotic powers.
High concentrations of THC can also promote sleep, while this does not happen if you consume products with high percentages of CBD because the latter acts, in fact, diametrically opposed to stimulating the wakefulness.
WHAT IS CBD CANNABIS?
CBD cannabis, better known as light, is the product of the female inflorescences of Sativa cannabis: in fact, those that contain minimum concentrations of THC (below 0.2) and high concentrations of CBD are selected. It is, therefore, a non-narcotic substance that differs from all those that have, instead, high levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol and are, therefore, used for therapeutic purposes, pleasant and illegal.
At first sight, it has the same aspect as marijuana, and only a chemical analysis allows, therefore, to discern the legal cannabis from the non-legal one sold on the black market. CBD weed is smoked even if this remains for all intents and purposes an offence, while it can be used in the kitchen for the preparation of drinks and food of various kinds.
Finally, its consumption with vaporizers allows to contain the risks associated with combustion.
CANNABIS: WHAT THE LEGISLATION SAYS IN DETAIL
The European laws regarding the cultivation of hemp include:
- The European Delegated Regulation n. 639/2014 concerning the production of hemp that shall be subject to the use of cannabis seed of the varieties listed in the “Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species.”
- The European Regulation n. 1307/2013 states that certain measures should be kept to ensure that illegal crops cannot be hidden among the crops eligible for basic payment. Hence, payments should continue to be granted only for areas sown with varieties of hemp offering certain guarantees with regard to psychotropic substance content.
- The Hemp Law of 2 December 2016, n. 242, published in the Italian Official Journal no. 304 of 30-12-2016. In the case of Italy, until the Second World War, it was one of the countries where the most cannabis was produced.
This reality has been totally shattered because there has been the overlapping of two different branches: the legal one associated with the agricultural sector and the illegal one connected, instead, to the traffic of narcotics.
This law has radically changed things and has sanctioned; in fact, the lawfulness of the cultivation and sale of cannabis.
Other laws in Italy include the Presidential Decree Italian of 9 October 1990, n. 309 T.U. drugs and the Circular Del MIPAAF 22 May 2018, “Circular on the methods of cultivation and rules of nursery gardening.”
In general, smoking CBD cannabis constitutes an offence, and this is punishable by an administrative sanction; in case of recidivism, the withdrawal of the driving licence and the passport is finally provided for.
PROPERTIES AND BENEFITS OF CBD CANNABIS
It is obtained, as already mentioned, from Cannabis Sativa, which has been the subject, over time, of several botanical studies and subsequent experiments in order to obtain a product with practically no effect on the psyche.
In fact, there are two types of CBD cannabis which differ from each other for the content, respectively, lower and higher than CBD.
Legal marijuana with a high level of Cannabidiol produces, in particular, muscle relaxant, antiepileptic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects; the sensation of tranquillity that the subject can feel is, instead, the result of the negligible level of THC. Moreover, its consumption does not induce the much feared psychotropic effects, does not cause intoxication or any kind of paranoia.
CBD, contained in high percentages (like in CBD hash for example), also makes the product a valid ally against migraine, menstrual pain and discomfort to the joints, the low concentrations of THC also promotes the state of wakefulness and the subject remains, therefore, vigilant.
According to experts, however, the link between the substance, the intrinsic characteristics of the consumer, and the way in which it is taken should not be underestimated. It is also necessary to consider that cannabinoids are present in the plant in carboxylated (or non-active) form and as such cannot, therefore, cause any effect on the nervous system.
However, the consumption of CBD bud very often requires the heating of the substance, which therefore involves the activation of cannabinoids: in the light of this, it would, therefore, be desirable to re-evaluate, during use, the concentrations of THC in order to establish more precisely the response of the brain.
The effects, in general, are revealed within a few minutes if the product is smoked, while if swallowed the time is longer. In addition, they have a variable duration: in the first case, they regress within four hours, while in the second case, they are indispensable up to fourteen hours.
RISKS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
Due to its composition, legal weed does not have any particular side effects. However, the risks associated with combustion cannot be overlooked, and these include malignant neoplasms and disorders of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
The abuse of large amounts of legal marijuana is not, however, recommended for pregnant women because it seems to affect negatively on the placenta, affecting its function. CBD cannabis associated with tobacco can also induce in the subject a form of addiction known as smoking.
Finally, particular attention must be paid to the driving of vehicles: Cannabidiol (CBD) has negligible effects on driving ability, but in legal marijuana there are, however, some traces of THC that can be detected during a control; the individual can, therefore, be positive to the test and be declared unfit to drive.
The intake of CBD cannabis is, however, to be avoided in case of heart and/or respiratory disorders.
CANNABIS VS OPIATES AND HALLUCINOGENS
Finally, it is necessary to make a brief digression to underline the fact that cannabis does not belong to the family of opiates and hallucinogens.
The former derives, in fact, from the alkaloids of opium which are, in turn, contained in the resin (opium) that is extracted from the sleeping poppy. This category includes codeine, morphine, semi-synthetic alkaloids, such as the well-known heroin, and opioids (synthetic products of laboratory processing).
The origin of the two substances is, therefore, completely different, and the same can be said for the effects caused.
The hallucinations are, instead, triggered by psychedelic drugs (LSD, magic mushrooms, etc. …) that cloud the mind because they release the so-called serotonergic agents.
These substances bind to the receptors of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that sends signals to the brain) thus favouring or inhibiting the transmission of messages to the brain.
Cannabis does not include among its components any serotonergic substance and therefore does not cause any hallucination; instead, it acts on the optic nerve, and this can cause visual fogging and the appearance of flashes of light that can be, erroneously, considered visual illusions.