Botanical name: Cannabis sativa Family: Cannabaceae (Marijuana family)
Synonyms: Cannabis indica, Cannabis chinensis, Cannabis generalis
Marijuana, is a coarse, rangy annual that grows 6-12 ft in height. The leaves are palmately divided into 3-7 narrow, toothed segments, most about 3-6 in long. The stems are rough and scabrous and the inner bark is fibrous. Hemp is normally a dioecious species, with male and female flowers on separate plants, but sometimes bisexual plants occur. The female flowers are in greenish leafy spikes a little less than 1 in long, borne on stem tips, and the male flowers are yellowish, tiny, and borne in axillary clusters. The flowers are inconspicuous and without scent; they are pollinated not by insects, but by the wind. The fruit is an achene, which is a hard, one-seeded fruit that remains closed at maturity. There is only one species of Cannabis, but numerous forms have been selected for various purposes. The hemp plant is not particularly attractive and has no ornamental qualities. The tough fiber of the plant, cultivated as hemp, has numerous textile uses. Its seed, chiefly used as caged-bird feed, is a valuable source of protein, energy, and psychoactive and physiologically active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that are consumed for recreational, medicinal, and spiritual purposes. When so used, preparations of flowers and leaves, sometimes called marijuana, and preparations derived from resinous extract, sometimes called hashish, are usually consumed by inhaling a vapor released by smoking or heating, or by oral ingestion. Historically, tinctures, teas, and ointments were also common preparations.
Medicinal uses: The Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years across many cultures. Its usage in modern times is controversial, and in recent years the American Medical Association, the MMA, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and other medical organizations have issued statements opposing its usage for medicinal purposes.
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