The Hallucinogenic Effects Of Cannabis

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The broad use of Cannabis has taken place over thousands of years. Cannabis use can be traced through many religions such as Hindu, Scythian, Zoroastrian and Chinese shaman cultures (Wadley 2016). Although largely restricted, Cannabis is widely used around the planet; in fact, Cannabis is the most frequently used unsanctioned drug in the world. Moreover, adult Cannabis users account for 3.5 % of the global population (Gowing et al. 2015). In this essay, I will argue in favor of Merlin’s (2003) hypothesis, that, the hallucinogenic effects of psychoactive drugs, like Cannabis, have long been used to create transcendent experiences and breed cultural understanding.
The genus Cannabis includes three species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis (Harmon 2017). Two subspecies can be derived from Cannabis sativa; the most popular species. These subspecies include Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) and Cannabis sativa (marijuana) which are respectively non-psychoactive and psychoactive variants (Warf 2014). The drug that is consumed from cannabis is marijuana. Marijuana is generally
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Cannabis cultivation is a continuing Indian tradition which still carries religious connotations (Warf 2014). Even worship of the Cannabis plant itself has been practiced throughout South Asia (Clarke and Merlin 2013). Cannabis played a major role in Indian culture, which includes the practice of “ganja doctors” which were once common in India (Warf 2014). Present day Indian culture is a great modern example of the association between cannabis use and religion. Cannabis is mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita (a Hindu scripture), and is associated with the god Ganga. It has also been traditionally consumed at weddings to honor the god Shiva (Warf 2014). Though Indian and Chinese cultures were probably influenced the most by cannabis, a number of other religions and cultures felt its

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