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Cannabis (marijuana), a fast-growing bushy annual with dense sticky flowers. The resinous form of the drug is known as hashish (or merely as 'hash'). The majorpsychoactive chemical compound in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol
(commonly abbreviated as THC). Cannabis contains more than 400 different
chemical compounds, including at least 66 other cannabinoids (cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol(CBN) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), etc.) which can result in different effects from those of THC alone. Cannabis is the most widely used illegal psychoactive and has a long history of medicinal, recreational, and industrial use.
Cannabis has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. The minimum amount of THC required to have a perceptible psychoactive effect is about 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. Aside from a subjective change in perception and, most notably, mood, the most common short-term physical and neurological effects include increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, impairment of short-term and working memory, psychomotor coordination, and concentration. Long-term effects are less clear.
The smoking of cannabis is the most harmful method of consumption, as the inhalation of smoke from organic materials can cause various health problems.
Forms of Cannabis (Marijuana)
- The terms cannabis or marijuana generally refer to the dried flowers and subtending leaves and stems of the female cannabis plant. This is the most widely consumed form, containing 3% to 22% THC. In contrast, cannabis
- strains used to produce industrial hemp contain less than 1% THC and are thus not valued for recreational use.
- a powder, rich in trichomes, which can be sifted from the leaves and flowers of cannabis plants and either consumed in powder form or compressed to produce cakes of hashish.
- Hashish (also spelled hasheesh, hashisha, or simply hash)
- a concentrated resin produced from the flowers of the female cannabis plant. Hash can often be more potent than marijuana and can be smoked or chewed. It varies in color from black to golden brown depending upon purity.
- Hash Oil
- Or "butane honey oil" (BHO), is a mix of essential oils and resins extracted from mature cannabis foliage through the use of various solvents. It has a high proportion of cannabinoids (ranging from 40 to 90%). and is used in a variety of cannabis foods.
- Residue (resin)
- Because of THC's adhesive properties, a sticky residue, most commonly known as "resin", builds up inside utensils used to smoke cannabis. It has tar-like properties but still contains THC as well as other cannabinoids. This buildup has some of the psychoactive properties of cannabis but is more difficult to smoke without discomfort caused to the throat and lungs. This tar may also contain CBN, which is a breakdown product of THC. Cannabis users typically only smoke residue when cannabis is unavailable. Glass pipes may be water-steamed at a low temperature prior to scraping in order to make the residue easier to remove. Alcohol is an effective solvent for cleaning residue from paraphernalia.
THC and its major (inactive) metabolite, THC-COOH, can be quantitated in blood, urine, hair, oral fluid or sweat using chromatographic techniques as part of a drug use testing program or a forensic investigation of a traffic or other criminal offense. The concentrations obtained from such analyses can often be helpful in distinguishing active use from passive exposure, prescription use from illicit use, elapsed time since use, and extent or duration of use. These tests cannot, however, distinguish authorized cannabis smoking for medical purposes from unauthorized recreational smoking. Commercial cannabinoid immunoassays, often employed as the initial screening method when testing physiological specimens for marijuana presence, have different degrees of cross-reactivity with THC and its metabolites. Urine contains predominantly THC-COOH, while hair, oral fluid and sweat contain primarily THC. Blood may contain both substances, with the relative amounts dependent on the recency and extent of usage.
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