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Smoking Marijuana - Essay Example

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Smoking Marijuana

Marijuana can be consumed either by smoking or oral administration. The drug can be smoked in the form of a simple paper wrapped joint or through different devices like bongs and chillums. The contents of Cannabis can also be vaporized, wherein a gas is produced without actually burning the drug. This method of consumption is considered less harmful than direct smoking as the vaporized gas contains lesser concentration of toxic substances. Studies conducted have revealed that subjects were "only 40% as likely to report respiratory symptoms as users who do not vaporize, even when age, sex, cigarette use, and amount of cannabis consumed are controlled" (Abrams et al 572). The alternate way is to consume marijuana orally in its dehydrated or heated form. Occasionally, it might be taken in combination with other drugs or with alcohol or tobacco. This coupling increases the toxicity and potency of marijuana.
Studies have revealed that nearly four percent of the world's adult population (162 million) use cannabis annually and 0.6 percent (22.5 million) daily (UNODC). There has been a rampant increase in the use of marijuana ever since the 20th century. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is not extensively used by teenagers. A study conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse proved that aforesaid fact. The results demonstrate that fewer than one in five high school going teenagers were marijuana users (NIDA)

Marijuana- Brief History

Marijuana has been used since ancient times. Its history dates back to the third millennium BC. Seeds of the plant Cannabis have been excavated from sites of several ancient civilizations. The drug was used commonly in ancient India and Nepal, where it was known as ganjika or ganja. It is mentioned in the Vedas as a sacred hallucinogenic, and was one of the five spiritual plants in Indian mythology (Rudgley 102). The Chinese used to cultivate cannabis to obtain hemp fibres and also for food.

The use of Cannabis is also found among ancient Aryans, Assyrians, Scythians and Thracians. It is also believed that shamans burnt the leaves of the plant cannabis to induce a state of trance (Cunliffe 405). Besides these medicinal purposes, marijuana was also used for spiritual and religious practices. Scythians observed religious ceremonies where marijuana was consumed. The Scythians also used marijuana as offering in royal tombs. It was, in fact, the Scythians who introduced hemp into northern Europe around 500 BC. Historians also believe that it was used by ancient Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Thus, through the course of history, marijuana has been used for multiple purposes. The long period from the third millennium BC to the present times has experienced the spread of marijuana around the globe. With the widespread popularity also came the discovery of its possible side effects. It was largely used by many musicians especially jazz artists, for they believed that smoking marijuana gave them transcendence and the inspiration to create music. Its use was glamorised and it was sold in the black market. As its abuse increased greatly, many countries were forced to declare it an illicit drug. Marijuana was made federally illegal in the United States America in 1937 by the Marihuana Tax Act. It was classified as a Schedule I drug, which implies that it was classified a ...Show more

Summary

Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana or ganja is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States of America (NIDA). It is a psychoactive drug obtained from the plant Cannabis sativa. Various parts of the plants like seeds, flowers, hemp, and even leaves are used in dried and shredded form…
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