10 Surprising Facts About Marijuana

Interesting marijuana facts that range from Shakespeare's connection to cannabis to how THC affects males and females differently.
Author: Jason Oliver

There’s a lot more to know about marijuana than the correct way to smoke it. It’s likely the world will never completely unlock all of the secrets hidden within this miraculous plant. Over the years, however, legions of cannabis lovers, scientists, and historians have compiled an ever-growing array of marijuana facts.

Some of them are fascinating, some are funny, and some help debunk long-held myths about marijuana. Whether readers are enjoying this for a few minutes’ of entertainment or to one-up their friends the next time they gather for a smoke session, these cannabis facts aren’t to be missed.

Interesting Facts About Marijuana

Even if someone has been a cannabis connoisseur for years, learning new cannabis information may make them think differently about their marijuana. This first set of marijuana facts includes trivia about the history of cannabis and how it works in the body.

Females Respond Differently to Marijuana than Males

Cannabis connoisseurs are aware that various strains of marijuana affect people differently. But most people don’t know that how an individual reacts to weed may depend on whether they’re a male or a female? The first fascinating marijuana fact dives into the gender differences that exist when it comes to cannabis use.

A study by Washington State University looked at marijuana tolerance and found that females build a tolerance cannabis much more easily than males. The study was done on rats, as they have a menstrual cycle and experience fluctuations in hormone levels in a way that’s very similar to female humans.

The researchers found that the females were more sensitive to THC during the time of ovulation, so they adjusted their dosage down accordingly. Still, even when starting at a low dose, within 10 days, the female rats had developed a higher tolerance for the drug than males in the study. In other words: if given a little over a week to level up, even the most marijuana-sensitive woman can easily outpace the males.

Weed Seeds Date Back Thousands of Years

Although the world tends to think of marijuana history as kicking off in the 1960s with the hippies, it actually started far before that. It even began before 1950s, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation.

Although the exact timeframe is a bit muddled, many historians trace the earliest recorded use of marijuana back to China in 10,000 B.C. The ancient Chinese weren’t growing marijuana to smoke it, however. They used hemp to make rope and cannabis oil and seeds as a food source. By 4,000 B.C., hemp was being incorporated into the production of textiles and over time, it spread across the globe.

Fun Facts About Weed

A plant that makes people feel happy and silly is bound to be the source of lots of fun facts. Here’s a list of THC facts meant to generate smiles.

Shakespeare Smoked Pot

Does marijuana make people dumb or creative? Consider this cannabis fact: there is evidence that Shakespeare, the famous playwright and poet, was a fan of the beautiful green plant. Indeed, forensic technology has revealed marijuana residue in pipes found in his Stratford-upon-Avon garden.

The forensic study used a specialized gas procedure that is known to be extremely sensitive to residue preserved in pipes, even if the residue is hundreds of years old. Of the studied clay “tobacco pipes” that came from Shakespeare’s garden, four of them were found to contain traces of marijuana.

Given the research findings, it is possible that Shakespeare was quite high when he wrote the romantic sonnets and other literary works that are still considered masterpieces by many people. If so, then the connection between creativity and cannabis consumption may just have gotten a bit stronger.

Marijuana Is in the Air in Italy

Another fun marijuana fact? It seems that marijuana smoke is wafting through the air in many parts of Italy. In 2012, scientists at Italy’s Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research published a report of their findings on the substances in the air of some of the country’s most populous cities.

The researchers tested the air in Florence, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Verona, Naples, Palermo, and Turin. They concluded that weed was floating through the air in all eight of these cities, and that Bologna and Florence had the highest levels.

Even in the latter two cities, the amounts are not concentrated enough to cause a contact high. What is clear, though, is that love isn’t the only thing in the air in Italy. In fact, the researchers discovered that in addition to cannabis, the air in the eight cities also contained cocaine, caffeine, and nicotine.

More than 200 Slang Terms Exist for Cannabis

It turns out that there are over 200 street names or slang variations of the word marijuana? Even the word “marijuana” is a new term for the plant (in a historical sense). Americans only started using it in the 1930s when Harry Anslinger, the first director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, started a fear-mongering campaign to tie cannabis to immigrant Mexicans. In the years since then, the drug has also become known as “grass,” “weed” or “pot,” but a bit of world travel reveals some other interesting terminology for it.

One example is “dinkie dow cigarette.” Used by American GIs during the Vietnam war, this term borrows the Vietnamese phrase for “crazy” to ask for a bit of wacky weed. If someone wants a joint in Great Britain, they need only ask for a “gasper stick.” It may sound old-fashioned now, but in the U.S., “joystick” used to either refer to the equipment people used to play video games or a marijuana cigarette. Meanwhile, in Latin culture, asking for for “caracas” will result in very low-grade marijuana.

The actual act of smoking cannabis has also generated a slew of slang terms. Marijuana users may be “going loco,” “getting the wind,” “smoking trees,” “chasing,” or even “mowing the grass.”

Facts About Medical Marijuana

One could spend a lifetime poring over everything scientists are learning about marijuana and barely scratch the surface. Some of the most fascinating trivia springs out of facts about medical marijuana.

Marijuana Can Kill Cancer Cells

A report from the U.S. National Cancer Institute explains that cannabis and cannabinoids are helpful in treating cancer symptoms and side effects of cancer therapies. They’ve been proven helpful at controlling nausea and vomiting, as well as stimulating appetite and controlling pain.

But cannabis does more than address the side effects of cancer and its treatments; studies are showing that it may be able to kill the cancer cells themselves. In a 2016 study published in Current Oncology, researchers discussed the large body of evidence showing that cannabinoids can reduce cancerous tumor growth.

Despite the promising findings, cannabis is not yet an FDA-approved cancer treatment because there are not enough studies proving its effectiveness as a cancer-fighter. Still, the findings are promising.

Marijuana Boosts Mood Using the Same Mechanism as Chocolate

THC is an excellent antidepressant because it binds to the same receptors as the brain’s natural anandamide, or “bliss molecule.” CBD, another ingredient in marijuana, slows the brain’s breakdown of anandamide. This makes marijuana a double-whammy in terms of its antidepressant properties.

For those who are feeling down and don’t have marijuana handy, it may help to munch on some chocolate. It turns out that chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that stimulates the brain to produce produce greater amounts of anandamide. It’s apparent that there’s hard science behind chocolate lovers’ enjoyment of the melty treat.

Marijuana Myths and Facts

Along with learning about marijuana facts, it’s always interesting to unearth the truth about popular marijuana myths. From the science behind how weed works to marijuana’s effects, here are a few popular marijuana myths debunked.

Myth: People can get high from eating raw marijuana.

Fact: Some of the best marijuana-themed movie moments feature a character hastily scarfing a bag of weed in order to hide it from the police. The high-flying results might make for good comedy, but they’re not totally realistic. The truth is that freshly-cured weed has very little THC in it– and that’s the ingredient responsible for creating a high. While someone may get an upset stomach from eating it, they’re not likely to get particularly high.

Myth: Marijuana causes lung cancer.

Fact: It’s a well-established medical fact that smoking tobacco causes lung cancer. This has led people to also believe that smoking marijuana will lead to the disease. The most recent studies simply don’t back this up. In a 2015 review of the connection between marijuana and lung cancer, researchers concluded that the “studies largely appear not to support an association with marijuana use.” They felt that this was likely because marijuana users smoke the drug much less frequently than tobacco users smoke cigarettes.

Myth: It’s possible to overdose on marijuana

Fact: Unlike with alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and many other substances, there have been no reported deaths as a result of marijuana overconsumption. Ingesting too much THC can cause a racing heart, anxiety, and nausea – in short, It can make for a very uncomfortable few hours – but it’s never resulted in anyone dying.

Wrapping Up the Cannabis Facts

Growing and using cannabis dates back for thousands of years. It’s only fairly recently that the world has experienced an era of marijuana criminalization, stigmatization, and supposed marijuana addiction facts and myths about its use. This interesting history and the research that’s happened since has provided lots of fodder for fun and interesting facts about marijuana. From trivia that’s lighthearted and silly to intriguing facts about medical marijuana, there’s no doubt much more to learn about this powerful and mysterious plant.

Jason Oliver - CNBS Author: Jason Oliver
Jason is our master grower. He has been growing cannabis for almost 10 years and working in a commercial cannabis cultivation business as an external consultant for more than three years. Helping us with getting all the facts right, Jason shares his insights via in-depth grower’s and buyer’s guides which are advanced but yet easy to read and understand.
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