Cannabis, generally known as marijuana or pot, has been used by humans for a very long time. The majority of ancient societies grew the plant as herbal medicine, most likely beginning in Asia around 500 BC, rather than to get high. The first colonists in America who produced hemp for textiles and rope are responsible for the history of cannabis cultivation in this country. Although marijuana’s legal status is changing in many locations, political and racial issues in the 20th century contributed to its criminalization in the United States.
Before being brought into Africa, Europe, and eventually the Americas, the cannabis or hemp plant first appeared in Central Asia. Clothing, paper, sails, and rope were all made from hemp fibre, and its seeds were consumed as nourishment. Hemp was frequently planted in colonial America and in Spanish missions in the Southwest due to its quick growth, ease of cultivation, and wide range of uses. The Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut colonies mandated hemp cultivation in the early 1600s.
The ingredient in marijuana that causes its mind-altering effects, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), was present in very small amounts in these early hemp plants. There is some proof that prehistoric cultures were aware of the psychotropic effects of the cannabis plant. They may have raised particular plants to produce more THC so they could use it in religious rituals or medical treatments.
Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish physician conducting research in India in the 1830s, discovered that cholera patients’ stomach pain and vomiting may be lessened by cannabis extracts. Cannabis extracts were available to treat stomach issues and other disorders by the late 1800s in pharmacies and medical offices across Europe and the US.
Later, researchers found that THC was the substance responsible for marijuana’s therapeutic effects. THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana that causes its mind-altering effects, also interacts with parts of the brain that can alleviate nausea and increase appetite.
In reality, Marinol and Syndros, two THC-containing medications that are taken in pill form, have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat nausea brought on by cancer treatment and appetite loss in AIDS patients.
In order to get high, the Scythians, a sizable tribe of Iranian nomads living in Central Asia, were said to have smoked cannabis seeds and flowers, according to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.
After around 800 AD, hashish—a refined variety of cannabis smoked with a pipe—became quite popular throughout the Middle East and portions of Asia. Its popularity grew as Islam became more prevalent in the area. The Quran clearly forbade the use of cannabis but did not outlaw the use of alcohol or some other intoxicating substances.
Before the early 1900s, marijuana use for recreational purposes was very uncommon in the United States. During the turbulent years of the Mexican Revolution, immigrants from Mexico to the United States introduced marijuana smoking as a leisure activity to American culture.
During the Great Depression, there was a lot of unemployment and social unrest, which fueled animosity toward Mexican immigration and popular fear of the “evil herb.” As a result, and in line with how all intoxicants were perceived throughout the Prohibition era, 29 states had made cannabis illegal by 1931.
History of Cannabis
New laws decriminalising cannabis in Malta went into effect in April 2015. Simple possession continued to be an “arrestable offense,” allowing law enforcement to continue fighting drug trafficking.
Effectively decriminalised was the possession of 3.5g or less of marijuana for personal use. First-time offenders who are found in possession of cannabis will be subject to fines ranging from €50 to €100. Repeat offenders will appear before a Drug Offenders Rehabilitation Board, which will establish the terms of rehabilitation and be led by a retired chief justice.
A criminal crime would be committed if the terms were violated. The Magistrates Court would be able to function as a Drugs Court and refer the accused for treatment to the rehabilitation facility in circumstances not involving the use of weapons or violence.
In 2015, Sativex received prescription approval. But as of July 2017, no patients had received care using it. The Maltese president signed legislation authorising medical marijuana with a prescription into law in March 2018, but the legislation did not specify which specific conditions would warrant using cannabis.
Robert Abela, the prime minister, announced plans to present legislation legalising the possession of small amounts of cannabis and plants for personal use on February 18, 2021.
Recreational cannabis use was partially legalised on December 14, 2021, becoming the first EU country to do this. In Malta, it is now acceptable to carry up to 7g of cannabis and allow up to 4 plants per home to grow. It is also permitted to form cannabis associations, commonly known as Cannabis Social Clubs, which are allowed to grow cannabis for their members to consume up to 7g daily and 50g monthly. Public smoking is still prohibited. On December 18, 2021, the law became operative after President George Vella’s signing.
Side Effects of Cannabis
The negative psychological and physical effects of marijuana are in part to blame for its murky legal status. Euphoria or other mood changes enhanced sensory perception, and increased appetite are examples of short-term impacts.
While many people who use marijuana feel happy and “high,” others may sense fear, panic, or worry. When a person consumes too much marijuana or the cannabis is unusually potent, negative effects could be more frequent.
THC, the substance in marijuana that gives it its strength, has grown significantly in recent years. The typical THC concentration of marijuana that was seized was around 4% in the mid-1990s. In 2014, it was over 12 per cent, with some marijuana strains having THC concentrations as high as 37 per cent.