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What is Cannabis?

Ah, cannabis! Loved and feared in equal measure, there are few plants in the world which are so divisive. Whether you’re a cannabis newbie or a cannabis connoisseur, this article will give you a broad overview of the cannabis plant.

Cannabis (frequently misspelled as “canabis”, “cannabis”, “cannibus” or “cannibas”) is the most accurate name for the broad species of plant known as Cannabis sativa, a variety of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family.

This sometimes causes confusion for people. A good way to think about is that it’s exactly the same as how an oak, a palm or a willow all come under the name “tree” – every type of substance from hemp to weed to marijuana comes under the name “cannabis”, as this is the plant they all come from.

The Cannabis Plant

Use of the plant dates back 12,000 years to the Stone Age. It is considered to be indigenous to Central Asia and South Asia, having originated in China before spreading throughout the region, then finding its way to Europe and eventually North America. During that time is has been used for everything from food, to medicine to industry. It has also been a key part of many religious and spiritual traditions.

Cannabis became illegal less than 100 years ago, prior to which it was one of the most widely utilised materials in the world – learn more about that here. Since the 1960s, there has been a growing movement to embrace the cannabis plant for all of its myriad uses.

The Effects

Cannabis effects different people in different ways. It is generally consumed for either medical and health reasons, or for creative and recreational purposes. The reason it was banned and made illegal in the first place was because of its psychoactive effects, which you can learn about here. This meant that all of its uses – medical, industrial, dietary and otherwise – were demonised as part of the “Reefer Madness” campaigns of the 1930s. However, the plant has many different effects, depending on its use. This website will teach about all of those uses.

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