The Wonderful World of Cannabis
Since the dawn of human civilisation, cannabis has been an indispensable component of human culture. Decriminalisation and full legalisation of cannabis and cannabis-based products are slowly but surely making their way into today’s legal landscape. Businesses that can legally sell cannabis or cannabis products are already significantly affecting the world’s economy. In this article CannaBloom delve into the world of cannabis…
The use of cannabis is becoming a significant cultural, social, and political force once again. However, CBD consumers in general still don’t really know enough about the plant, and what they do know is often confusing, or contradictory. Because of this, there is more interest than ever in getting accurate and up-to-date information about cannabis, and of course CBD (cannabidiol) and the other cannabinoids.
Anyone interested in learning more about the wonderful world of cannabis and where CBD comes from, might use this introduction as a starting point. It includes fundamental knowledge about the cannabis plant, the essential components of cannabis science and plant anatomy, and the demonisation and resurgence of cannabis in mainstream culture.
The History of Cannabis Consumption
Cannabis has a long history of use across the world, especially in India, China, and the Middle East, going back thousands of years. According to fossil records from what is now Central Russia, the relationship between cannabis and humans began approximately 150,000 years ago. There are some researchers who also believe that cannabis makes an appearance in The Bible.
In 1843, a study of how cannabis was used in the UK . Because of this study, cannabis extracts were sold in pharmacies and doctors’ offices all over the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States in the late 1800s. Cannabis was even recommended to Queen Victoria!
The Botany of the Cannabis Plant
Cannabis plants can be female, male, or hermaphrodite. The dried flowers that are generally consumed recreationally come from the female plant. This is because the females produce flowers that secrete resin and are rich in cannabinoids and of course seeds. The flowers of the female plants grow in large clusters, which we call cola.
These parts are wrapped in green structures called bracts that look like leaves and are shaped like tears. The bracts are covered in a thick layer of resin-producing glands and have the greatest cannabinoid content of any part of the plant.
Last but not least, the entire structure of the cannabis flower is covered in crystals of sticky resin called trichomes. Trichomes are glands that grow all over the flowering part of the cannabis plant, including on the stems.
Terpenes, or “terps,” are the compounds in all types of cannabis and are the parts of the plant in charge of the flavours and scents. It can sometimes be floral, sweet, earthy, and almost cheesy.
Cannabis plants are chemical heavyweights, capable of producing more than 400 unique compounds. But, of these 400 compounds, more than 100 are unique to the plant genus Cannabis sativa – cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are a class of substances that can communicate with cell receptors throughout the human central nervous system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a specialised network of receptors that reacts to the presence of cannabinoids to produce a variety of effects.
Scientists have done the research and found that cannabis contains more than 100 different cannabinoids that come from plants. But only a small number of them able to interact with our endocannabinoid system and its receptors. These are the ones that give users good and enjoyable results.
THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC has been the bane of cannabis’ existence for the last century. This is because this one compound interacts with the human body to produce a multifaceted profile of effects – the ‘high’ that we have all come to associate with cannabis. The primary psychoactive component of cannabis is THC.
Humans have been using these reactions for their delight for millennia. THC is a powerful compound in more ways than one, yet, the recreational use of cannabis is unquestionably the source of its reputation and demonisation.
CBD: Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is not intoxicating like other cannabis components like THC. CBD is generally legal world wide and is legal in the UK. CBD can be bought and consumed in various forms, including as edibles, extracts, and topical applications.
The Demonisation of Cannabis
The beginning of the demonisation of cannabis can be traced back to when Western imperial powers first realised the plant’s relationship to the native civilisations they controlled. Then, at the turn of the century, British politicians started to stigmatise the use of cannabis in the colonies. One MP even said, “lunatic asylums of India are filled with ganja smokers.“
The social control that led to the international prohibition of cannabis in 1928 was the source of the moral panic surrounding cannabis. It was at that time that cannabis prohibition then began in the UK – as a result of pressures from other countries.
The “Misuse of Drugs Act” was created by policymakers in 1971. Cannabis was included in the same category as ketamine, speed, and MCAT; it was given the class B designation. The penalty for possession is an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison, while the maximum sentence for distribution is fourteen years in prison.
In 2004, cannabis was demoted from its previous classification of Class B to Class C. Nevertheless, in 2009, it was reinstated to its prior classification of Class B. Former Labour MP David Blunkett, who indicated support for its benefits, including notably as a therapy for multiple sclerosis, was responsible for lowering it while Tony Blair was in power as Prime Minister.
The government released a statement in 2018 stating that there are “no plans to legalise or decriminalise the drug.”. However, around 50% of individuals in the UK are in favour of making cannabis usage legal for recreational purposes, while nearly 75% are in favour of using it for therapeutic purposes.
The Resurgence in Cannabis Use
Currently in the UK, only the use of cannabis for medical purposes is sanctioned, and only a tiny percentage of people in England are likely to be given a prescription for medical cannabis by the NHS. Furthermore, it is only recommended for severe forms of epilepsy, vomiting or nausea produced by chemotherapy, and muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. Other conditions may not qualify for its use. This is not to say that significant change is impossible.
According to the results of a recent study on the United Kingdom performed by Prohibition Partners, the legal medical cannabis industry in the United Kingdom may be about to grow a lot in the near future.
According to the results of a study undertaken by YouGov and released in October 2019, 11% of adults in the UK had tried at least one CBD product. This would translate to around 6 million people, and the CBD industry in the UK was worth £300 million in 2019. By the year 2025, this number is anticipated to have reached one billion.
While we have a long way to go towards removing the stigma and taboo surrounding cannabis, we are learning more and more about the wonderful world of cannabis and how it can help us. Slowly but surely, it is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, and we can only see this continuing to grow as we understand more. CannaBloom fully supports this monumental shift in the perception and use of all cannabis products.