ORIGIN OF MARIJUANA
Many people don't realize that the word Marijuana, which is often used interchangeably with the scientific term Cannabis, is not the same thing. The word Marijuana was introduced in the United States in the early 1900s when legal immigrants from Mexico fled the aftermath of the civil war in their country. With them they brought the knowledge that Cannabis could be used recreationally through smoking the plant and they referred to it as Marijuana. Prior to that, Cannabis and was being used for medicinal purposes and home remedies. In fact, in the early 1900s two major pharmaceutical companies were including cannabis and cannabis extracts in their medicines. Marijuana (Cannabis) was eventually prohibited in 1937 when Harry Anslinger who did not favor immigrants or their use of cannabis pushed to pass the federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
The word Marijuana is a derogatory slang word that is rooted in racism and politics and still to this day has a negative stigma surrounding it. This is why here at OFFBEAT we choose to refer to this plant as Cannabis and we encourage everyone to change the way they speak in order to remove the negative associations that has been haunting this wonderful plant for the last 100 years.
The plant genus Cannabis includes three species: Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica are commonly referred to as Marijuana and Cannabis Ruderalis is commonly referred to as Hemp. For the sake of trying to eliminate more confusion, we at OFFBEAT refer to the Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica species as simply "Cannabis" and differentiate Cannabis Ruderalis by referring to it as "Hemp". All three species have differences and similarities.
One major way that Cannabis differs from Hemp is by chemical compounds within the plant. All Cannabis and Hemp plants are made up of more than 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids including the well known THC and CBD. Cannabis contains over .3% THC which causes an intoxicating affect while Hemp contains less than .3% THC, in turn creating no intoxicating affects. Other cannabinoids occur at different levels depending on species and strain of the plant.
Another way that Cannabis differs from Hemp is that Cannabis products continue to be strictly regulated or illegal in much of the United States. Cannabis with over .3% THC remains listed on the federal Controlled Substance Act of 1970 while Hemp and Hemp derived products with less than .3% THC were removed from the list at the end of 2018. Hemp is now legal to be grown and sold throughout the United States. Although Cannabis is federally illegal at this time, many states have decided to make decisions for themselves about the legal status of Cannabis. At this time the federal government has decided not to interfere with the states that have legalized Cannabis and are regulating the cultivation, manufacturing, and sales of Cannabis.
Hemp differs from Cannabis as it has thousands of uses where as Cannabis is typically only used for medical or recreational reasons. Hemp is traditionally grown as an industrial product and is a wonderful sustainable option for making herbal supplements, body products, food, paper products, biodiesel, industrial textiles, and building materials.
This an exciting time for the Cannabis and Hemp plants and we are excited to see what happens in the future. We look forward to the seeing how laws and regulations unfold in the years to come.