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From being used as a “truth serum” on World War II prisoners to literally being part of Italy’s air, here are 10 facts about cannabis you’ll be glad you know.
“To smoke or not to smoke” was apparently never a conundrum for William Shakespeare, for it seems one of the greatest playwrights and poets of all time didn’t mind a puff or two. In fact, there are chances he could have written his plays stoned!
Not convinced? Well, four pipes excavated from Shakespeare’s garden contained cannabis, suggesting, “the playwright might have written some of his famous works while high,” The Telegraph reports.
Some of The Bard’s work even includes mention of pot. “In Sonnet 76, he writes about ‘invention in a noted weed’, which could be interpreted to mean that Shakespeare was willing to use weed, or cannabis, while he was writing. In the same sonnet, it appears that he would prefer not to be associated with ‘compounds strange’, which can be interpreted, at least potentially, to mean ‘strange drugs’ (possibly cocaine),” the article adds.
Cannabis in Bhutan is widely available and for the longest time, it was fed to pigs! Cannabis is an appetite stimulant, The Guardian reports, so the animals were fed weed so they could be fattened up.
Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the U.S.—which was set up as a wartime intelligence agency that was later superseded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—was investigating various ways drugs could be used in the interrogation process during World War II. Cannabis was one of them.
“Officially, military intelligence asked the National Research Council to look into this, which they did by forming a committee to investigate,” High Times reports. Cannabis was one of the drugs that was experimented with, “spiked in the cigarettes and given to the detainees so that they spilled some secret information.”
Bill Gates apparently believes legalisation can curb illegal trade. “Traffickers are going to make a lot less money, and some of the perverse things about the illegal drug trade will be avoided,” Gates said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest man alive, voted in favour of legalising marijuana in Washington State in the state’s 2012 referendum. “It’s an experiment, and it’s probably good to have a couple of states try it out to see before you make that national policy,” Gates said.
Many cannabis enthusiasts believe the Founding Fathers not only grew cannabis, but also smoked it. “George Washington smoked it to soothe the pain of his false teeth, James Madison is said to have conceived the U.S. constitution in a haze of hemp smoke. James Monroe picked up the habit while in Paris and was reportedly puffing away on a hash pipe well into old age,” as per The GrowthOp article.
But when it came to using cannabis, there is no substantial evidence supporting the belief that any of the Founding Fathers toked. “Early American presidents may have been enthusiastic growers of low-THC hemp, and indicated as much in letters and editorials. But they grew the crop as a way to make rope and paper, not as a hallucinogen,” the article notes.
Hollywood once turned green, just not in the way one might have ever predicted. Around New Year’s in 1976, the iconic “Hollywood” sign was vandalised to read “Hollyweed.” As per a CNN report, “A prankster managed to change the iconic sign overlooking Los Angeles by using tarps to change the O’s in the sign to E’s.”
In 1941, Henry Ford came up with a hemp car. Yep, an automobile that ran using hemp bio-fuel and was almost entirely made of plant material, reports High Times. According to the Popular Mechanics article, Ford and his partners made the car with “70 percent of cellulose fibres from wheat straw, hemp and sisal, plus 30 percent resin binder. The only steel in the car [was] its tubular welded frame.”
Hemp is one of the varieties of a cannabis plant. It is also known as industrial hemp and refers to the non-psychoactive (less than one percent THC) varieties of cannabis sativa, reports Leafly.
Women are often excluded from cannabis clinical trials because they are not hormonally stable. “Despite the recommendation of the National Institutes of Health in 1993 to include more women in studies or give good reasons not to, many researchers still avoid dealing with the hormone swings inherent in a woman’s biology,” notes a report in WSU Insider, a communication platform by Washington State University.
A shame, because current research highlights men and women react differently to cannabis. Women have a higher tolerance when it comes to THC, the cannabis compound that causes the high. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to get an increased appetite, also known as the “munchies”.
Traces of cannabis were found in the air of eight Italian cities: Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Turin and Verona.
In a 2018 study, researchers at Italy’s Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research found “trace quantities of marijuana and cocaine in the air of all eight cities, with the highest total drug concentrations in Turin and the lowest in Palermo. Other substances monitored included nicotine and caffeine, which were also detected in all of the cities,” reports Live Science.
The agriculture industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world; cannabis cultivation is no different.
“The energy needed to produce 2.2 pounds (one kg) of marijuana indoors is equivalent to that needed to drive across the U.S. five times in a car that gets 44 miles to the gallon (18.71 km/l). All those grow lights suck up a lot of electricity,” notes an article by Live Science.