2015-11-05 01:55:06

With the legalization of marijuana in four states and the District of Columbia, marijuana has become less and less taboo. You'll hear it being discussed openly between users and people who are curious about trying it in many places these days, but still, there is a lot about cannabis that the average person doesn't know. How many of these things did you already know about marijuana?

1. We Don't Know Who Discovered Marijuana.

The folklore surrounding pot has it that the Chinese Emperor ShenNung discovered the intoxicating benefits of marijuana and that his discovery dates back to 2727 BC; however, the earliest forms of writing in China were not developed until much later, between 1200 BC and 1050 BC, and there is no record of a man by that name ever having been the Emperor of China. Anthropologists have established that hemp was used to make handicrafts by the Taiwanese 10 millennia ago, but so far, no texts have been discovered that reveal who first thought to use marijuana medicinally or recreationally.

2. Only One Gene Separates Cannabis from Industrial Hemp.

Industrial hemp that is used to produce ropes and other products is closely related to cannabis sativa, the plant from which marijuana often comes. Cannabis sativa is capable of intoxicating the body because it contains a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Scientists have discovered that industrial hemp plants fail to produce THC because they are missing just one gene that is needed to manufacture the natural chemical.

3. Marijuana Affects Men and Women Differently.

Studies have shown that women are more likely to experience greater reductions in pain from medicinal marijuana use, and that the female body builds up a tolerance to cannabis more quickly. Scientists credit the hormone estrogen for the differences between how pot affects men and women.

4. Hemp May Have Helped Build a Famous Wonder of the World.

Have you ever seen the huge figurative statues that are set along the hillsides of the Easter Islands? For years, researchers were stumped as to how the ancient residents of the islands were able to move the 9600-pound blocks of stone out of the quarry and into place. Researchers at California State University Long Beach discovered that one of the gigantic statues could be moved simply by tying hemp ropes to them and simply moving them back and forth. This caused the statues to move like they were walking. With the help of the ropes, the team moved a statue across a 100-meter distance in under an hour. Because hemp grows on the Easter Islands, the team posited that the fibers from the plants were likely used to assist with transporting the stones.

5. Cannabis May Help Animals.

Some pet owners swear that giving their dogs and cats marijuana helps them deal with chronic pain and other medical conditions; however, veterinarians aren't fully on board with the idea of feeding pets pot. In small doses, cannabis doesn't seem to harm pets. In fact, they usually get over its intoxicating effects in a few hours. Still, too much cannabis could easily kill a pet, so it's probably not a good idea to try and medicate your pooch or kitty with weed.

6. Marijuana Might Be Hard on the Heart.

While many doctors are now prescribing medical marijuana for the treatment of diseases and chronic conditions, pot does have side effects like all drugs. One troubling side effect seems to be a potential to contribute to heart problems. A 2014 study found that 2 percent of 2000 medical cases involving pot use involved the heart. All in all, the study found that nine people actually died from heart attacks after using cannabis. Researchers state that pot accelerates the heart rate and raises blood pressure. This seems to be unlikely to cause problems for someone with a healthy heart, but it could be enough to trigger a heart attack in someone with heart disease.

7. Strains Are Named Arbitrarily.

When you go into a dispensary, you'll see marijuana being sold under a wide variety of comical and downright odd names like "purple haze," "Maui waui", and "chocolope." There really isn't a standard for naming marijuana strains at all. Typically, names are decided upon by growers who are free to call their varieties whatever they wish.

8. Italian Cities Have Pot in the Air.

Samples of air gathered from eight Italian cities were analyzed by scientists and were found to contain very small amounts of cannabis as well as other drugs like cocaine, nicotine, and caffeine. Of the cities studied, Turin has the highest concentration of the drugs overall, but there was more pot in the air in Florence and Bologna. The other cities studied were Rome, Milan, Verona, Palermo, and Naples. The drugs are naturally present in the air due to drug use in the cities, but they are not found in high enough concentrations to intoxicate anyone. It's likely that many other cities in developed nations have similar substances in their air.

9. Baby Soap Once Caused a Cannabis Panic.

Back in 2012, a number of babies were testing positive for marijuana at a hospital in North Carolina, leading to a frantic inquiry into what was causing the odd test results. After much searching, it was determined that baby soaps from a number of popular brands, including Johnson & Johnson, contained ingredients that were giving false positives. None of the products in question contained THC or marijuana and were not intoxicating the babies.

10. Pot Farming Uses Up Resources.

Yes, pot is all natural but it's usually not grown with eco-friendly methods. Often, marijuana plants are grown indoors under specially designed grow lights and fed with hydroponic systems that include exhaust fans, water pumps, and other machinery. Studies have found that these types of set-ups consume a large amount of energy. To grow just 1 kilogram, the amount of energy used is equal to what is needed to power a car with an MPG of 44 across the United States five whole times. Eco-conscious growers can find ways to reduce energy consumption. For example, they can invest in LED grow lights that use less energy. As the marijuana industry grows, it's likely that greener farming methods will also be developed.

11. Pot.

In Mendocino, Northern California, two endangered spotted owls were killed by rat poison that was being used to protect illegal pot plants. Small rodent-like mammals called fishers were also killed by the poison.

12. Pot Picking Can Lead to Illness.

In 2013, 700 people were treated in an Albanian hospital with illnesses like vomiting, heart arrhythmia, and stomach cramps that were related to overexposure to marijuana. The people in the village had helped to harvest marijuana without wearing any gloves, causing excessive amounts of THC to enter their bodies through their skin.

Reference: LiveScience