Cannabis, in all its forms, is more prevalent and accessible than ever before in this country. Still, it often seems that much of its story is mysteriously unknown. Health studies are still very new, and it sometimes may seem that the plant had no relevant history before the 1900s.
As cannabis becomes more prevalent, perhaps it’s time to discover the lesser-known facts about this iconic plant to help understand what exactly makes cannabis so interesting and important. Here are eight fun facts you may not have known about this elusive organism we call weed.
Cannabis Dates Back Thousands of Years
It is easy to assume marijuana cultivation began in fairly modern times. However, the first recorded use of cannabis dates back thousands of years before The United States was even an idea.
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Cannabis was mentioned in the sacred Hindu texts known as The Vedas, estimated to have been produced around 2000 to 1400 B.C. Woven hemp fibers were even discovered at a burial site in Taiwan that date back 10,000 years.
Dispensaries Are Becoming More Popular Than Starbucks And McDonalds
As marijuana becomes legal for recreational use, its retail popularity is skyrocketing. In the last few years, marijuana dispensaries have become more plentiful than Starbucks and even McDonalds in some areas.
“In Denver and Portland, Oregon, for example, marijuana retailers outnumber Starbucks by close to double,” according to MJBizDaily. Some states have a cap on the number of dispensaries they allow, but this statistic is certainly telling.
Beer And Weed are Cousins
If you have ever taken a whiff of a particularly hoppy craft beer and thought you smelled weed, your nose wasn’t far off. Beer hops (or humulus), it turns out, are in the same family of flowering plants as cannabis.
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“They confirmed that Humulus and Cannabis were very closely related and belonged in a single family, Cannabinaceae,” according to Popular Science. The two plant species may inspire two very different final products, but sometimes the smell is practically indistinguishable.
Weed Affects Men and Women Differently
It may sound strange, but recent studies have concluded marijuana affects women differently than it affects men. The entire THC experience may be different for men and women, from the amount needed to get high to tolerance levels. The main way that cannabis acts differently in women as opposed to men is its interaction with the female production of estrogen.
‘Canvas’ Comes From ‘Cannabis’
Canvases have been the landing place for some of the most important artwork throughout time. Historically canvases were often made with the assistance of cannabis. In fact, cannabis was so important to canvas production that it inspired the name.
“The word ‘canvas’ is related to the word ‘cannabis.’ Historically, canvases were made of hemp,” according to Vocabulary.com.
The Birth Of E-commerce Was A Marijuana Sale
There exists great debate when it comes to who exactly started e-commerce. Still, there was a day in the early 1970s that is often regarded as the first internet transaction, and it involved marijuana.
“In 1971 or 1972, Stanford students using Arpanet accounts at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory engaged in a commercial transaction with their counterparts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” wrote John Markoff in his 2005 novel What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry. “Before Amazon, before eBay, the seminal act of e-commerce was a drug deal.”
Marijuana Affects Your Heart
Although marijuana is now frequently regarded as “safe,” it does come with some potential health side effects that are not always known. One potential health side effect of marijuana is an added strain on your cardiovascular system.
Marijuana can can affect your heart in several ways, “including raising resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and making the heart pump harder,” according to Harvard Medical School.
Hemp Is Woven Into American History
Hemp has a long history in the United states. Not only did Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both have it on their properties, but the famous Mayflower had sails and ropes made of hemp.
The first two drafts of the United States Declaration of Independence were written on paper made from hemp. The cherry on top of all this history woven with hemp lies within the first manufactured symbol of this nation.
The first American flag made by Betsy Ross was made from industrial hemp.
“Many of the very first American flags were made from hemp cloths. So there’s a real tie in to our country’s history and the important rule industrial hemp played in agriculture in our country,” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo, who authored an amendment to the Farm Bill which allows industrial hemp research in states where it is legal.
From the Mayflower to the American flag, and even the first internet purchase, cannabis has hid in plain sight. The plant has woven a sometimes hidden, but always interesting path over time.