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BOONS OF CANNABIS

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Cannabis is reportedly one of the oldest plants to be cultivated by humans. Evidences of Cannabis use dates back to as early as third millennium BCE. There have been countless discoveries clarifying the inclination of early humans towards this plant. 

Believed to have originated in the mountains of Central Asia, the species is now spread throughout the planet successfully adapting itself in all environmental conditions. Three different species of Cannabis have evolved, namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis (hemp), all belong to the Family Cannabaceae. The latter two are believed to have originated from the former Sativa species. Crossing and selected breeding has produced many hybrids of the plant.

Cannabis and hemp are known to be hyper-accumulators of contaminants in the soil, which is why they’ve been used to clean up toxic waste sites where other kinds of remediation attempts have failed. In the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in the Ukraine in 1986, industrial hemp was planted to clean up the radioactive isotopes that had leaked into the soil and ground waters. [1] 

The plant is mainly famous for its psychoactive properties caused by phytocannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Canabidiol (CBD). The endocannabiniod system of the human body reacts to these cannabinoids catalyzing chemical changes in the brain and inducing altered sates of consciousness.  The Sativa and Indica species have considerable amount of THC and CBD content and are used for medicinal and recreational purposes whereas the Ruderalis (hemp) has minimal amount of these cannabinoids and is used for extracting fiber. The fiber extracted from the hemp plant is an excellent raw material for producing paper, textiles, building materials that can be used to produce bio-friendly items of daily use which will aid to the economy of a nation. Hemp can also be used to make biodegradable plastics that degrade in nature and doesn’t pollute the environment.

Cannabis is effective in the treatment of several medical conditions some of whom are listed below:

Besides the health benefits, the plant can also be used for the following purposes:

Animal Food and Human Food

Food oil

Making Paint and Varnish

Despite the numerous benefits, the plant is illegal.  Its use for recreational and medicinal purposes have been decriminalized in more than fifty countries including many states of the United States of America. More than half century long prohibition has impaired research activities on the species that is why its chemical properties largely remain unknown to this day.  Further researches and studies would reveal plethora of information about its properties and its ability in curing diseases.  

References:

  1. https://www.drugs.com/illicit/cannabis.html
  2. https://www.analyticalcannabis.com/articles/regulating-heavy-metal-contaminants-in-cannabis-what-can-be-learned-from-the-pharmaceutical-312401
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