Cannabis, also known as marijuana or ganja, is a psychoactive product of the plant Cannabis sativa. The drug is commonly ingested after it is dried. The most common parts of the plants used in ingestion are dried flowers and leaves of the female plants. Another method of consumption is the resinous form, which consists of the crystalline trichomes on the flowers and leaves.
The psychoactive chemical substance of the plant is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. This compound causes psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed, usually through smoking or ingestion. Common effects include euphoria, laughter, philosophical thinking, increased appreciation for music, heightened sensory awareness, pain relief, increased appetite, and reduced nausea. Negative effects include coughing, lung problems, possible psychological dependence, panic attacks or anxiety problems, and the exacerbation of mental illness.
Cannabis has been consumed by humans since before written history. In the 20th century, the consumption of the drug has increased due to recreational, religious, and medicinal purposes. Statistics estimate that about 4% of the world’s population use marijuana annually and that 0.6% use the drug daily. However, the possession, use, and sale of the substance became illegal in most countries during the 20th century. In recent years, some countries have tightened their restrictions on cannabis while others have lessened the charges or legalized the drug.