Cannabis: History & Types of Cannabinoids

Cannabis: History & Types of Cannabinoids
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  • 0:01 Cannabis and Cannabinoids
  • 0:33 History of Medicinal Use
  • 3:07 History of Recreational Use
  • 4:45 Types of Cannabinoids
  • 6:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Williams

Jennifer has taught various courses in U.S. Government, Criminal Law, Business, Public Administration and Ethics and has an MPA and a JD.

In this lesson, we will learn about the history of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, the various types of cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant, and how the cannabinoids affect the human body.

Cannabis and Cannabinoids

Cannabis, or 'marijuana', is a plant frequently used for several purposes around the world. Two of these reasons include medical purposes and use to achieve a high, or sense of euphoria. Cannabinoids are the chemicals in the plant that react with the brain in order to achieve these goals.

History of Medicinal Use

The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to 2900 BC. The Chinese use of cannabis predates written books. At this time, it was considered to have healing powers and would be used to treat various ailments.

Around 1000 BC, the Egyptians used cannabis to treat issues with the eyes and to treat inflammation. Interestingly, it was also used as an anesthetic when mixed with other liquids. It was highly regarded in respected written works of the time, including the Bible.

In the 1600s, the settlers brought the cannabis plant to North America. At the time, it was being used to treat depression and other mental health issues in England. It was considered widespread, mainstream medicine in the West to use cannabis to treat inflammation, headaches, insomnia, and menstrual cramps.

In the early 1900s, the era of Prohibition, or the period of time when alcoholic beverage sale was illegal in the United States, began. This era brought about changes in the mentality about the regulation of alcohol as well as drugs. Ten states created marijuana prohibition laws in this time period.

Over the next few decades, cannabis was still cultivated for medicinal use in other regions of the United States. It was included in pharmaceutical publications and manuals as a treatment option.

It wasn't until the mid-1950s that cannabis medicinal use began to be generally considered illegal. Finally, in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act criminalized marijuana use and classified it as having no accepted medical purpose.

Toward the end of the 1970s, several medical organizations began experimental use of cannabis to treat patients who were experiencing nausea as a side effect of chemotherapy. This experimental treatment was generally regarded as successful and by the early 1990s, the first states began approving cannabis for medical uses. The first state to legalize medical marijuana was California in 1996.

History of Recreational Use

Cannabis, when used recreationally, has psychoactive effects, or large effects on mental processes of the brain. The effects on the brain after recreational use include a sense of relaxation and a high. It also creates a physical reaction of the eyes becoming reddened, impaired motor skills, and lowered blood pressure.

The physical and mental effects of the drug begin within thirty minutes if ingested by smoking or eating and will last up to 6 hours.

The history of cannabis use for recreational purposes can be dated back to about 2700 BC. It was used in Muslim countries, China, and India recreationally due to cannabis possessing intoxicating qualities.

When cannabis was introduced to North America in the 1600s, it was mainly grown as a crop. It wasn't until the Prohibition era that its recreational use by individuals and those attending social clubs became widespread - even within states that banned its use.

During the 1960s, recreational use was considered an act of rebellion toward authority, and its use continued to be widespread across multiple generations. However, after passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, its recreational use dropped - especially after Mexico, a big supplier to the United States, agreed to kill the majority of its cannabis crop.

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