Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant that contains psychoactive compounds with sedative and pain-relieving properties. It is a popular recreational drug and can be smoked, eaten, vaporized or applied topically. Cannabis is the world’s most widely used illicit drug. It is a flowering annual herb that produces buds, resin, and extracts, and can be cultivated in many different ways. Cannabis is a genus of the hemp family and has been domesticated for over 10,000 years. The oldest written record of cannabis use is the Greek historian Herodotus’ mention of central Eurasian Scythians taking a “hemp-seed steam bath.”
Generally speaking, smoking marijuana, whether in dried infructescence form (referred to as flower or Marijuana) or in concentrate form such as shatter and oil, induces effects that vary from person to person. These effects are primarily due to the effects of THC and other phytocannabinoids. THC affects brain areas that control memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, sensory and time perception, and pleasure. It also stimulates creativity and free-associative thought and at high doses can produce delusions and hallucinations.
THC also impacts the body’s metabolism and can result in a decrease in appetite. It can cause dizziness, drowsiness and impaired motor function. Cannabis use can impair driving, and the risk of accident and injury increases with increased levels of THC. Cannabis use can also increase the likelihood of developing a dependency or addiction. As with any drug, there is no safe level of use.