Cannabis is a flowering plant in the family of plants that also includes Hops and Hackberries. Three species of Cannabis are generally recognized: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Cannabis originated from Asia and has been cultivated for over 10,000 years.
Cannabis is also known as hemp or Marijuana. Cannabis has long been used for industrial products that are made from cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber, seeds and oils. The Cannabis plant produces a set of chemicals called "Isoprenes". Among these chemicals are "Cannabinoids" that give Cannabis its desirable properties as a medicine and "Terpenes" that give Cannabis its smell and flavor in addition to medicinal properties.
Each plant acts as a unique little chemical factory, producing 489 different chemicals including 70 Cannabinoids of 10 different types, Nitrogen Binding compounds, Amino Acids, Proteins, Enzymes, Sugars, Hydrocarbons, Alcohols, Aldehydes, Ketones, Acids, Esters, Lactones, Steroids, Terpenes, other Phenols, Flavonoids, Pigments, Vitamins and pure elements. The plant's ability to produce different Cannabinoids and Terpenes depends on the plant DNA, its environment and how it is processed. Therefore it is difficult to obtain a consistent Cannabis product. Testing helps in the development of consistent plants and plant properties.
Cannabinoids exhibit special properties in the human body. Humans have evolved with a set of Cannabinoid "receptors", and that "endocannabinoid system" is the primary regulatory system for all our organs including the heart and brain.
Some Cannabinoids, such as Tetrahydocannabinol or THC cause a psychoactive, intoxicating or euphoric reponse from the body.
Other Cannabinoids, such a Cannabinidiol or CBD do not cause psychoactive, intoxicating or euphoric reponse from the body.
In recent years, there has been a greater interest in Natural Medicines and a wider Social acceptance of Cannabis as a medicine. 41 states have medical marijuana programs depite a federal ban on this plant. The Government has made a formal effort to separate Industrial Hemp from that Cannabis used as Medicine, but this is specifically to restrict the use of the intoxicating THC cannabinoid and promote agricultural development.
Further formal research is needed on the benefits of Cannabis and this can only come from decriminalization of this plant.