The definition of addiction is “A compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance”. It is possible to develop a psychological addiction to most things that are taken to excess, however cannabis is not physically addictive, although it is accepted that in some cases a psychological

Dependence can occur in heavy to chronic users. Among marijuana users it is relatively rare, although few users develop dependence, some do.

According to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicines 1999 report, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base: “Compared to most other drugs dependence among marijuana users is relatively rare, although few marijuana users develop dependence, some do.

But they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.” Even heavy cannabis users wont suffer withdrawal as is the case with alcohol, hard drugs and prescription medicines.

Chronic users who stop using cannabis report experiencing irritability, restlessness and find it difficult to sleep for at least a week after discontinuing use.

There is no evidence that cannabis leads to hard drug use. According to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicines 1999 report, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base:

“There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular physiological effect.”

Cannabis is not more dangerous than tobacco. Research shows that daily cannabis smoking does not lead to increased rates of respiratory illness.

Unlike tobacco, research has never shown that cannabis increases rates of lung cancer or other cancers usually associated with cigarette smoking. In May 2006, Dr. Donald Tashkin of UCLA presented results of a new study showing that even chronic marijuana smokers had no increased risk of lung cancer.

There are three distinct types of cannabis plant that are grown for their psychoactive content. These are Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis ruderalis.

The fourth classification is given to what is now referred to as Hemp, this is the name given to non psychoactive cannabis plants that are grown commercially for seeds, oil and fiber.

These plants typically contain around 3% THC content, however, hemp strains have been artificially bred to contain very little cannabinoid content to satisfy the prohibition lobby.

In reality if farmers could grow regular cannabis they would be able to utilize more of the plant and earn extra income from the cannabinoids which could be used as medicine. This would effectively cripple the black market in cannabis as it would be so readily available.

No hemp oil is very beneficial and should be used daily by anyone suffering from illness but it does not contain the cannabioids found in cannabis oils that are required to cure cancer and other serious conditions.

There is some evidence from a study carried out in New Zealand that individuals who smoke cannabis whilst in their teenage years have a lower IQ score in adult life than others who have never used the plant, this suggests that it is not beneficial to use cannabis whilst the brain is still developing.

However, a North American study conducted by think tank Source Watch found a correlation between the smoking of certain sativa strains of cannabis and academic achievement. Use of these sativa strains led to the stimulation of chords within cerebellum which otherwise remain dead throughout daily activity.

Claims of a dramatic increase in today’s cannabis potency are used by prohibitionists to bolster their dubious case against cannabis use.

The statistic is based on the assertion that cannabis in the 1960’s and 1970’s contained only 1% THC but this makes no sense whatsoever as 1% cannabinoid content would not make the cannabis even slightly psychoactive.

Before cannabis was made illegal, drug stores in the U.S. and Britain sold tinctures of cannabis which were over 40% THC.

David Cameron, former British prime minister is on record as saying that cannabis is now twenty to thirty times stronger, which is physically impossible because it would have to be over 100% cannabinoid content.

It can be argued that in reality there is no increase in potency, more that many modern varieties contain significantly more THC and reduced CBD that has a calming effect on the psychoative high, however THC is not toxic at high doses and modern strains may actually minimize the risk for lung problems because less is required to achieve the desired effects.

The truth is, cannabis has not increased in potency to any great extend, if at all, in the last several hundred years and even if it is shown that today’s cannabis is stronger, it would still not be harmful to the user.

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If you are treating a serious illness such as cancer and have access to cannabis oil then this is best taken orally by placing a small amount either under your tongue or inside of the cheek.

It is not advisable to smoke cannabis in tobacco joints for obvious health reasons.

If you wish to smoke cannabis, which is advisable for pain relief as the effect is felt more rapidly then we suggest you use what is known as a vaporizer. These gently heat the cannabis to release the cannabinoids. Have you considered making cannabis edibles? There are recipes for medical cannabis chocolate included in this resources section, or you could make cannabis butter which is then added to recipes or simply spread on toast.

Cannabis is an annual, meaning it germinates, grows, reproduces and dies in one year. It is photosensitive and produces a chemical called phytochrome that enables the plant to measure the amount of light it receives. Flowering is triggered when light exposure reaches 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness. This occurs naturally when winter approaches and the days shorten.

Under artificial lighting this is mirrored by switching the light cycle to a 12 hour regime. Outdoor crops require a full growing season which means they are generally planted out in the spring and harvested mid to end of October, depending on variety. Indoor plants can be manipulated by changing the light cycle and can be flowered after as little as 10 days vegetative growth. The flowering process itself takes approximately 8 weeks once again, depending on variety.

Q: What is the difference between annual and perennial plants?

Annual plants such as cannabis live, reproduce and die in one year. Perennial plants return every year, growing in size and stature until full maturity is reached. Despite cannabis being an annual plant it can be manipulated to regenerate after flowering and therefore it can be argued that it shows some perennial traits.