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Marijuana is the popular name for a plant, Cannabis sativa. Marujuana is also the common name of the drug prepared by drying the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. The leaves and the tops contain several members of chemicals known as the cannabinois.

A chemical called THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol creates the "high" or "stoned" state by effecting the normal functions of the brain. The potency of marijuana varies greatly from sample to sample. The marijuana plant has been grown for over 5,000 years and has been used in a variety of ways.

The ancient Chinese used the fibers of the marijuana plant to weave rope and clothing. The Greeks and Romans made medicines from it. Other uses included oil for soap and paint, and even birdseed. Like the people of ancient China and Rome, the American colonists used the marijuana plant.

In the 1600's and 1700's, they used the hemp fibers to make rope and weave their clothes. In the 1800's, the canvas tops of covered wagons were sometimes made from the fibers of the marijuana plant. Using marijuana to get stoned became popular in the United States during the 1920's and 1930's.

Many people were afraid of marijuana, and laws were passed to control its use. In 1937, the United States Congress passed a law that restricted the use of marijuana everywhere within the country. In the 1960's, marijuana become more popular than ever. College and high school students began using the drug as a way to show how independent and mature they were.

The "hippies" and "flower children" made marijuana a part of their way of life. In the 1970's and 1980's, more studies on marijuana use showed scientists that it is in fact, a very harmful drug. Today, fewer people are using marijuana, and even fewer are trying it at all. However, marijuana is still the most widely used illegal drug.

The extract of cannabis, marijuana, was once widely used medically and it still has some minor medicinal uses in other countries today. Marijuana is unique both chemically and in its psychological effects. Tolerances to marijuana develop requiring more to "feel good" or "get high".

A heavy psychological dependence can develop like that of cocaine. Hallucinations are not a side-effect of the drug but often a symptom of overdose. Marijuana is commonly smoked but can also be taken orally in food or beverages. Marijuana has been demonstrated to cause diseases of the lungs and heart. The smoke contains poison gases and chemicals that are known to cause cancer. The smoke can also destroy lung tissue and lower the bodies immune system by destroying white cells.


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