Cannabis (drug)

Cannabis, also known as marijuana (Spanish pronunciation: [maɾiˈhwana]) among other names,[a] is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used primarily for medical or recreational purposes.[18][19][20] The main psychoactive component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is one of the 483 known compounds in the plant,[21] including at least 65 other cannabinoids,[22] including cannabidiol (CBD).[23] Cannabis can be used by smokingvaporizingwithin food, or as an extract.[24]

Cannabis has various mental and physical effects, which include euphoriaaltered states of mind and sense of time, difficulty concentrating, impaired short-term memory and body movement,[24] relaxation,[25] and an increase in appetite.[26] Onset of effects is felt within minutes when smoked, and about 30 to 60 minutes when cooked and eaten.[24][27] The effects last for two to six hours, depending on the amount used.[27] At high doses, mental effects can include anxiety, delusions (including ideas of reference), hallucinations, panic, paranoia, and psychosis.[24][23] There is a strong relation between cannabis use and the risk of psychosis,[28][29] though the direction of causality is debated.[30] Physical effects include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, nausea, and behavioral problems in children whose mothers used cannabis during pregnancy;[24] short-term side effects may also include dry mouth and red eyes.[31][32] Long-term adverse effects may include addiction, decreased mental ability in those who started regular use as adolescents, chronic coughing, and susceptibility to respiratory infections.[33]

Cannabis is mostly used recreationally or as a medicinal drug, although it may also be used for spiritual purposes. In 2013, between 128 and 232 million people used cannabis (2.7% to 4.9% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 65).[34] It is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world,[24][34] though it is also legal in some jurisdictions, with the highest use among adults (as of 2018) in Zambia, the United States, Canada, and Nigeria.[35]

While cannabis plants have been grown since at least the 3rd millennium BCE,[36] evidence suggests that it was being smoked for psychoactive effects at least 2,500 years ago in the Pamir Mountains;[37] the earliest evidence found at a cemetery in what is today western China close to the tripoint with Tajikistan and Afghanistan.[38] Since the early 20th century, cannabis has been subject to legal restrictions. The possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis is illegal in most countries of the world.[39][40] In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalize recreational use of cannabis.[41] Other countries to do so are Canada, Georgia, and South Africa, along with 15 states and the District of Columbia in the United States (though the drug remains federally illegal).[41][42] Medical use of cannabis, requiring the approval of a physician, has been legalized in many countries.[43]