7 surprising facts about cannabis you need to know

The year is 2015. And weed remains illegal in most of the places in the world. We can’t do anything other than keep pushing, pleading, voting, and smoking the herb we love.

It sometimes seems like marijuana was simply a rare underground drug until recently, but anyone familiar with it knows that it has had a long history in the planet, not to mention before many countries even exited.

There is nothing in this life more powerful than facts. Against facts, there’s no fight.

So, check here 7 cannafacts that might surprise you: 

# 1. Not all cannabis gets you stoned

cannabis stoned

There are some strains of cannabis that contain very little amounts THC, the chemical compound that gets you high. They instead have high amounts of CBC (cannabidiol) which has amazing medicinal benefits that can treat pain, nausea, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and more.

Some marijuana you get that isn’t really potent might just be low in THC and high in CBC, meaning that you will experience complete nervous system relaxation without getting stoned.

# 2. Marijuana and hemp are not the same

marijuana hemp

Although both marijuana and hemp are weeds, have a similar leaf shape, and are subspecies of the Cannabis sativa plant, they are in fact very different. Marijuana has flowering buds with a high content of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) the stuff that makes you feel “high”.

Hemp, on the other hand, has a very low THC content, can be grown closely together, and it can be used to make a variety of useful products. 

Hemp and marijuana were once considered separate entities. The 1937 Marihuana Tax act was focused on the THC-producing variety. It wasn’t until 1970, when the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act took over lumping hemp and marijuana in the same category, making both illegal, and creating confusion in people’s minds to this day.

# 3. The first known potheads lived in ancient China

cannabis china

In Ancient China, the plant, known as Ma, was used for food, fuel, clothing, and medicine going back to 6,000 B.C. But the oldest existing reference to medical marijuana dates to 2737 B.C. when the Red Emperor Shen Nung is credited with writing The Herbal, a listing of medicinal properties of various herbs, including Ma, to alleviate rheumatism and gout pain. In 2 A.D. Hua T’o is recorded as having used Ma-yo (the female plant) and red wine as an anesthesia while he performed painful surgeries including organ grafts and loin incisions. Yeah, you’d probably want to be high for that.

The Chinese certainly weren’t the only ancient culture to enjoy toking. The Greeks and Romans used marijuana, as did the citizens of the Islamic empires. In 1545, Spanish conquistadors introduced it to the New World when they began planting cannabis seed in Chile to be used for fiber.

# 4. The Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp paper

guttenberg cannabis

In 1456, Johannes Gutenberg came out with the printing press. The first book, the Bible – ironically enough – was printed on hemp. Some believe that original drafts of the Declaration of Independence were also written on hemp.

Adding credibility to this claim is one of Thomas Jefferson’s famous quotes: “Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”

# 5. Cannabis appears in 1001 Tales Of The Arabian Nights

arabian night cannabis

If the only exposure to the Arabian Nights of Scheherezade you’ve ever had is Disney’s Aladdin, prepare to have your eyes opened.

The Disneyfied tale is one of many in the collection of stories supposedly told by Scheherezade to her husband the Persian king in order to distract him from killing her. And cannabis — in the form of bhang — appears in several of the stories, often to sedate or intoxicate characters at key moments.

Sir Richard Burton, the translator of the famous 1885 edition, inserted an entire editor’s note about cannabis and what it was meant to do.

# 6. It used to be ILLEGAL to NOT grow hemp

hemp growers

Weird, right?

In 1619, While America was still just 13 colonies, the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp. Hemp was allowed to be exchanged as legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.

Hemp was used to make rope, clothing, and sails. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned hemp farms, and Jefferson wrote a draft of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. Also, what about the flag Betsy Ross sewed? You guessed it: made of hemp.

# 7. Cannabis has a close connection to beer

cannabis beer

Marijuana is more closely related to beer than you may realize. The cannabis plant is in a genus with just one other plant: humulus — though you likely know it by the name given to its female flowers: hops.

Hops, of course, are what flavors and stabilizes beer — so a toke and a Heineken are actually a feast from the same plant family.