Herb Basics: The Health Effects of Marijuana

For many, the word “marijuana” may conjure up thoughts of stoned hippies. But for others, it refers to a life-saving medicine. (For more about this, see Medical Marijuana.)

Marijuana, sometimes referred to as hemp, is in the genus Cannabis in the Can­nabaceae family, which is closely related to nettles and mulberry. Canna­baceae also includes the genus Humulus, or hops.

Over the centuries, cannabis has collected many names. Mexican-Spanish gives us marijuana and possibly reefer, most likely a modification of the Mexican-Spanish word for marijuana, grifa.

• Schultes, R. E., and A. Hoffman. The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1973.
• Boyce, S. S. Hemp–A Practical Treatise on the Culture of Hemp for Seed and Fiber with a Sketch of the History and Nature of the Hemp Plant. New York: Orange-Judd, 1900.
• Dewey, L. H. “Hemp.” Yearbook of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1913.

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