Meaning of Cannabis
Street Names: Chamon, Charro, Chocolate, Herb, Ganza, Hax, Hash, Liamba
Cannabis, the most popular of the illegal drugs, can be known by different street names like charro, chamon, liamba, herb, chocolate, tablet, taco, curro, ganza, hax, hash, marijuana, oil (hash oil), ox or hemp. Cannabinoids are derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant and are considered psychedelic (mild), hallucinogenic or depressant drugs.
There are three forms of preparation:
“Marijuana or grass” – prepared from the dried leaves, flowers and small trunks of Cannabis Sativa. It comes from several “grape varieties”, the strongest being Skunk (the stronger, the greater the amount of THC, the substance that causes the effects).
“Hashish” – prepared from the resin of the female plant, which is transformed into a brown colored bar, with the colloquial name of “chamom”. It is potentially more toxic than marijuana, since its THC content (up to 20%) is higher than that of marijuana (from 5% to 10%). The most common types of resin or hashish are Moroccan, Lebanese and pollen.
“O cannabis oil or hash oil” – prepared from the mixture of the resin with a solvent (acetone, alcohol or gasoline), which evaporates to a large extent and gives rise to a viscous mixture, whose amounts in THC are very high (up to 85%).
These substances are mainly consumed by ingestion and inhalation. When smoked, cannabis is mixed with tobacco in hand-made cigarettes or pipes. In some African or Caribbean cultures, tisanes made with this drug and water are drank. It can also be prepared in the form of cakes (in this case its effects are intensified).
Although it is mainly used for recreational and social purposes, it can be used therapeutically as an oral antiemetic to treat nausea caused by chemotherapy or as a relaxant.
The active substance (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC”) is responsible for almost all the characteristic effects of these substances. Cannabinoids are absorbed by the lung or the gastrointestinal tract quickly, and are then assimilated by the body’s fats, being released into the plasma. In the Central Nervous System, THC acts on a specific brain receptor, with the highest concentration in the basal ganglia, hippocampus and cerebellum.
Cannabinoids are derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, which originates in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea area. This plant has been used for 12,000 years as a source of fibers for clothing and cordage.
The first reference found for this plant dates back to 2 737 years BC and was found in the pharmacopoeia of Emperor Shen Nuna, being recommended to treat malaria, rheumatic pain and female disorders. In the sacred texts of Hinduism, in particular in Atharva Veda (3,000 years BC), there are also references to this plant. It has always been very popular in the medical and pharmacological fields, although its therapeutic indications are a little confusing. At the time, there seemed to be a belief that the plant helped to reduce the discomfort caused by cyclical or chronic “breakdowns”. Even the Old Testament makes reference to this plant (with the name of kalamo) when Solomon sings and praises its properties.
In terms of psychoactive consumption, it is also one of the first drugs with this type of evidence. Heródoto’s “History of Medical Wars” tells how the Escitas (people from the area of origin of Cannabis Sativa) consumed the plant to become intoxicated (2,500 BC). In the 12th century, the Holy Office accused anyone who used cannabis of witchcraft, even accusing Joan of Arc, in 1430, of using various herbs to “hear voices”. In the 12th and 13th centuries, there was a widening of its use in the Islamic world. In Egypt, there was tolerance in relation to their consumption, which had the function of differentiating the integrated and the excluded from society, as described in the “Thousand and One Nights”. Napoleon’s campaign in the East also contributed to the expansion of this drug, taking it to European literate circles.
Cannabis Sativa was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish at the time of the discoveries, having been planted in Chile in the late 16th century. However, there are also theories that argue that this plant existed on the American continent long before its discovery. King James I encouraged British colonists in North America to cultivate the plant to obtain materials for the production of ropes and sails for Royal Navy ships. Later, during World War II, the Department of Agriculture again encouraged planting to produce fibers for the textile industry.
In the 19th century, European intellectuals and writers spread the recreational use of Cannabis Sativa in the West, while the private doctor of Queen Victoria of England, after studying the plant for about 30 years, recommends it for cases of migraine, senile insomnia , depressions, epileptic states, colic and asthma attacks. In fact, throughout this century, hundreds of studies and articles have been produced regarding the medicinal properties of this plant.
In the 1920s, during Prohibition in the United States, there was an increase in the consumption of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, reaching 500 “hashish houses” in New York. Ten years later, alcohol is legalized again and cannabis banned. For the prohibition of the drug, the actions of Anslinger who led the movement to prohibit alcohol contributed a lot. Through his propaganda films, he managed to convey the idea that this substance could turn angels into demons.
Until the early 1960s, cannabis use was restricted to a small group of young students and artists. From then on it has grown rapidly, reaching its peak with hippies, who have adopted this drug as their main symbol. At the end of the 1970s, this market was the responsibility of several small importers, with little intermediaries between them and consumers, a situation that was quickly changed due to the influence of the ban. The increase in demand resulted in the appropriation of the wholesale market by the criminal sector. After this rapid growth, a time of stabilization of demand arose, although in recent years a new situation of rapid growth has emerged in Europe and the United States.
The use of cannabis, although illegal, has been tolerated in the Netherlands since 1976, being sold in the so-called “Coffee Shops” freely, as long as certain restrictions are complied with. In this country there was a slight increase in the number of consumers, after several years with a stable number. However, the Netherlands maintains a number of cannabis users in the European average, below the number of users in other European countries with more prohibitionist policies. In the United States, a country with extremely harsh drug policies, consumption has continued to increase.
Currently, the main production centers are no longer located only in the south due to the greater tolerance and cultural changes in the countries of the north. The main producer is the United States, in particular some states in the north and center of the country. Given its easy adaptation to any climate and the action of man, Cannabis Sativa has spread across the planet.
Cannabinoids can cause pleasure, well-being, euphoria, intensification of sensory awareness, greater sensitivity to external stimuli, paranoid ideas, confusion of thoughts, drowsiness, relaxation, instability in walking, alteration of immediate memory, decreased ability to perform tasks that require multiple and varied operations, slowness of reaction capacity, lack of motor skills or interference with the ability to drive vehicles and other machines.
When taken in unknown places with people with little experience, this drug can have negative effects such as symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks, to which can be added symptoms of depression.
In physical terms, it can have consequences such as an increase in systolic blood pressure when lying down and a decrease in systolic blood pressure when standing. Increased heart rate, congestion of conjunctival vessels (red eyes), decreased intraocular pressure, photo-phobia, dilated bronchi, coughing or decreased tearing.
These effects appear suddenly and persist for 2 to 4 hours, varying depending on the doses, the potency of the drug, the way it is consumed, the consumer’s mood and previous experiences.
High doses can cause anxiety, hallucinations, delusions and feelings of paranoia, resulting in symptoms of a toxic psychosis.
Chronic consumption can also imply an impoverishment of the personality that can manifest itself through apathy, deterioration of personal habits, isolation, passivity and a tendency towards distraction. Noteworthy is the “amotivational syndrome” that is accompanied by a decrease in the ability to concentrate and memorize.
The consumption of cannabinoids can put the individual at risk of developing bronchitis and asthma. In addition, the risk of lung cancer increases, as the smoke is inhaled more deeply. At the endocrine level, the possible decrease in testosterone, reversible inhibition of spermatogenesis in men and the suppression of plasma LH, which can lead to anovulatory cycles in women, is highlighted.
Women with chronic consumption may have children with behavioral problems.
It is dangerous to mix cannabis with alcohol as the mixture can cause temporary breakdown and vomiting.
The possibility of overdose does not arise. It would be necessary to ingest or consume astronomical doses to cause an overdose.
The consequences that cannabis may have on the health of its users are not yet fully understood.
Tolerance and Dependence
Tolerance occurs only in large consumers and dependency is also reduced.
Withdrawal syndrome is mild and can manifest itself through anxiety, irritation, sweating, tremors or muscle pain.