There is a great deal of uncertainty and misinformation about cannabis, supporters and opponents of the drug both are tempted to distort the facts. Liberapedia does not know how far the information in this article is reliable. If you're just some stupid stoner with uncited "facts" or a stupid opponent with uncited "facts", then don't edit this page.
Cannabis is a plant that has grown since long before biblical times. It can be used as a drug where it displays hallucinogenic properties, as a medicine where it provides relief of the symptoms of many serious diseases, as a source of fibre for cloth, rope or papermaking. Some consider an aid to spiritual growth; Rastafarians treat smoking ganja as a sacrament.
Cannabis is often referred to as marijuana, which originates from the Spanish language. Other common names for cannabis include "pot" and "weed". A large amount of cannabis is grown in Latin America.
Some consider this to be offensive due to the word's origin, however, the term seems to be used in a non-offensive manner. In the 1930's the US chose to call it marijuana because it was the Mexican name for cannabis and these stereotypes would help the government to convince people that its propaganda campaign was true and help them to make the herb an illegal drug. Although they did not bother to look the Spanish word up, and initially spelt it "Marihuana" or "Marihwana".
Recently published research suggests that regular cannabis use prevents the brain developing properly and lowers IQ. Youngsters below the age of 18 whose brains are actively developing are particularly at risk. If you must use it don't use it too often especially when you are young. Keeping off cannabis won't damage your brain but using it might. Do you want to take that risk?
Dried and smoked cannabis allegedly has less harmful effect on the body than many legal drugs such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine though it is harmful. If ingested instead of smoked, it is said by many to have little to no harmful effects on the body but many others are very concerned. Note, however, that those arguments are oversimplifications. Whereas marijuana has more carcinogens, by mass, than non-chemically altered tobacco, pot smokers are much less likely to develop cancer than cigarette smokers because the sheer amount of plant material inhaled is typically much less with marijuana users than with tobacco users. Cigarettes can be more addictive than heroin, thus, their addicts use them, constantly, in massive quantities. Plus, marijuana is only mildly addictive, thus its addicts tend to be occasional users. Whereas, the inhalation of large amounts of smoke of any kind can cause cancer, the latest research has shown that there is no real link between even heavy marijuana smoking and cancer unless the amount of material combusted is so extreme that the amount of actual smoke inhaled produces carcinogenic effects. Keep in mind this is true among cannabis-only smokers as opposed to cannabis smokers that also smoke other substances such as tobacco. Cannabis also has cancer-killing properties as evidenced in a 1970's study in Spain, that was very highly suppressed by the U.S. government, showing how THC kills cancer cells dead.
Psychosis is the medical term for insanity or madness and that matters a great deal. Heavy cannabis use may be associated with the serious condition schizophrenia, (see Drug disorder schizophrenia link), but this was contradicted in a British study after observing the lack of correlation between cannabis use and schizophrenia in the 10-year period of 1996 to 2005 (see NORML news article on the study). Aforementioned study is only one of many that seem to disprove cannabis' alleged causation or activation of psychological disorders (see study conclusion for relevant information which suggests that recreational use of cannabis ie use that is not heavy doesn't cause psychosis).
Sourced material from the BBC
According to a study cited in the BBC some types of cannabis increase the risk of psychosis or insannity.
Smoking potent cannabis was linked to 24% of new psychosis cases analysed in a study by King's College London. The research suggests the risk of psychosis is three times higher for users of potent "skunk-like" cannabis users than non-users. (...) Scientists found the risk of psychosis was five times higher for those who use it every day compared with non-users. They also concluded the use of hash, a milder form of the drug, was not associated with increased risk of psychosis. (...) "Compared with those who had never tried cannabis, users of high potency 'skunk-like' cannabis had a threefold increase in risk of psychosis, the results show that psychosis risk in cannabis users depends on both the frequency of use and cannabis potency." (Dr Marta Di Forti, lead author on the research) (...) Skunk contains more THC than other types of cannabis, which is the main psychoactive ingredient. Unlike skunk, hashish - cannabis resin - contains substantial quantities of another chemical called cannabidiol or CBD and research suggests this can act as an antidote to the THC, counteracting psychotic side effects. 
The quote above is from a good source.
Cannabis can have harmful effects on behavior. Like alcohol it can cause users to do impulsive or irresponsible things and it does cause short term memory problems. Although heavy habitual use of cannabis, like any drug, can lead to dependence, cannabis allegedly lacks the powerful physical addictive nature of alcohol and nicotine and is, in comparison, less addictive. As with anything, moderation is the key, and most cannabis addictions can be ascribed to the user's addictive personality rather than the substance itself (see explanation of addictive personality and cannabis use, this source may be biased).
Cannabis has many legitimate medical uses. It can reduce the pain of sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, allegedly increase the appetite of malnourished AIDS victims and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and even help to stabilize the mood of people suffering from depression and anxiety and help some people with ADHD to calm down and focus better. If you think you may have ADHD take extra care over cannabis. Your condition makes you excitable and unhibited and cannabis may aggravate this. With illegal cannabis you never know what dose you are getting or what impurities have been added.
Cannabis also allegedly offers many benefits as a recreational drug. It creates a euphoric and calm state of mind without the severe impairment and harmful effects on the body caused by alcohol, making it the better choice for parties and social gatherings. It can also reduce the inhibitions of people tempted to commit serious crimes without reducing their ability to commit these crimes. It inspires creativity and enhances the enjoyment of everything without dulling the mind the way alcohol does.
Some Christian zealots ignore medicinal value and relative safety of cannabis by repeating debunked myths. (When did facts ever get in their way?) This is largely due to their fear of the herb's potential to induce genuine religious experiences in users and therefore posing a threat to the world's religious infrastructure. The herb has, in fact, been used for centuries in many parts of the world as a religious sacrament and can provide the modern user with a deeper appreciation of spirituality often lacking in our greed-driven society.
There are several special interest groups who regularly lobby to the government to keep cannabis illegal.The Top Five Special Interest Groups Lobbying To Keep Marijuana Illegal These groups include police unions, private prisons corporations, alcohol and beer companies, pharmaceutical corporations, and prison guard unions. For various reasons, these lobbyists make large amounts of money as a result of it being illegal.
Drug prohibitionist lobbying has traditionally sought to links recreational drugs to disapproved behaviors. In the first half of the 20th Century, marijuana was linked to interracial sex. Today the linkage is to human trafficking. Consider the following obvious exercise in prohibitionist agit-prop: Trafficked children working in UK 'cannabis farms'.
Legality in the US
- In Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, California and Alaska, cannabis use is legal. The world is watching to see what happens there.
- Young cannabis smokers run risk of lower IQ, report claims
- 'Skunk-like cannabis' increases risk of psychosis, study suggests