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Eight surprising facts about cannabis

cannabis leaves

It is easy to assume marijuana cultivation began in fairly modern times.

Cannabis, in all its forms, is more prevalent and accessible than ever before in the U.S. Still, it often seems that many are unaware of weed’s story, with some thinking the plant had no relevant history before the 1900s.

As cannabis becomes more prevalent, perhaps it’s time to discover the lesser-known facts about this iconic plant to help understand what exactly makes marijuana so interesting and important. Below are eight fun facts many may not have known about this elusive plant called weed.

Cannabis dates back thousands of years

It is easy to assume marijuana cultivation began in fairly modern times. However, the first recorded use of cannabis dates back thousands of years before the United States was even an idea.

Cannabis was mentioned in the sacred Hindu texts known as The Vedas, which were estimated to have been produced some time around 2000 to 1400 B.C. Woven hemp fibers were even discovered at a burial site in Taiwan dating back 10,000 years.

U.S. dispensaries number more than Starbucks or McDonald’s

As cannabis increasingly becomes legal for recreational use in the U.S., its retail popularity is skyrocketing. In the last few years, marijuana dispensaries have become more plentiful than either Starbucks or even McDonald’s in some areas.

“In Denver and Portland, Ore., for example, marijuana retailers outnumber Starbucks by close to double,” according to Marijuana Business Daily.

Some U.S. states have a cap on the number of dispensaries allowed, but the Oregon figure is certainly telling.

Beer and weed are cousins

Those who have taken a whiff of a particularly hoppy craft beer and thought they smelled weed should know their noses weren’t far off. Beer hops (or humulus), it turns out, are in the same family of flowering plants as cannabis.

“They confirmed that humulus and cannabis were very closely related and belonged in a single family, Cannabinaceae,” according to Popular Science.

The two plant species may inspire two very different final products, but sometimes the smell is practically indistinguishable.

Weed affects men and women differently

It may sound strange, but some studies have concluded that marijuana affects women differently than it affects men. The entire THC experience may be different, touching on the amount needed to get high to tolerance levels.

The main way that cannabis acts differently in women than men is its interaction with the female production of estrogen.

Canvas comes from cannabis

Canvases have been the landing spot for some of the most important artwork throughout time. Historically canvases were often made with the assistance of cannabis. In fact, cannabis was so important to canvas production that it inspired the name.

“The word ‘canvas’ is related to the word ‘cannabis.’ Historically, canvases were made of hemp.

The birth of e-commerce was a marijuana sale

There exists great debate when it comes to who exactly started e-commerce. Still, there was a day in the early 1970s that is often regarded as the first internet transaction, and it involved marijuana.

“In 1971 or 1972, Stanford students using Arpanet accounts at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory engaged in a commercial transaction with their counterparts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” wrote John Markoff in his 2005 novel, What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry. “Before Amazon, before eBay, the seminal act of e-commerce was a drug deal.”

Marijuana affects the heart

Although many now frequently regard cannabis as “safe,” it does come with some potential health side effects. One of these is an added strain on the cardiovascular system.

Studies suggest that marijuana can can affect the heart in several ways, “including raising resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels and making the heart pump harder,” according to Harvard Medical School.

Hemp is woven into U.S. history

Hemp has a long history in the U.S. Not only was Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both reported to have it on their properties, the famous Mayflower had sails and ropes made from hemp.

The first two drafts of the United States Declaration of Independence were written on paper made from hemp. The cherry on top of all this history woven with hemp lies within the first manufactured symbol of this nation.

The first American flag made by Betsy Ross was made from industrial hemp.

“Many of the very first American flags were made from hemp cloths. So there’s a real tie in to our country’s history and the important role industrial hemp played in agriculture in our country,” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who authored an amendment to the so-called Farm Bill, which allows industrial hemp research in states where it is legal.

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