For thousands of years, humans have used Cannabis (the biological name of the plant known as weed or marijuana) for medicinal and recreational purposes, as well as for religious and spiritual rites. In this article we’ll walk through many of the uses and benefits of cannabis. The three varieties of this herb are Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis.
Cannabis is more than just buds that can be dried and smoked—the entire plant can be utilized for practical purposes. Hemp, a variety of Cannabis sativa with a higher fiber content and lower level of THC (the chemical that causes euphoria or a “high”) than other varieties, has thousands of uses.
Hemp fiber is strong, and has been used for textiles in China since 8,000 BCE. The oil in the hemp seed is very nutritious, and lends itself to a variety of uses. The entire hemp plant, from stalk and seeds, to leaves and flowers, offers countless benefits. However, it is still illegal to grow hemp in the United States.
Industrial Uses for the Cannabis Plant
• Building Materials: fiberboard, concrete (“hempcrete”), stucco and insulation
• Paints and varnishes
• Printing inks
• Lubricants and solvents
Consumer Uses for Cannabis
• Clothing: denim, shirts, sweaters, lingerie
• Baby diapers
• Grocery bags
• Paper: printing paper, stationery, newsprint, cardboard
• Hygiene products: soap, shampoo, lotions, cosmetics
Food and Beverages Made From Cannabis
• Cooking Oil
• Protein powder
• Food supplements
• Beer and wine
• Granola and seed bars
• Animal feed
Medical Marijuana from Cannabis
In addition to the many personal and industrial uses of Cannabis, one of the most beneficial products from this natural herb is medical marijuana. Marijuana has long been proven to relieve chronic pain, treat certain conditions and relieve side effects caused from intensive treatments, such as chemotherapy.
The THC in Cannabis can relieve or prevent the nausea and vomiting that many chemotherapy patients endure. It can also increase appetite in people with cancer, anorexia, dementia or AIDS. Marijuana relieves intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients, too.
Marijuana has been highly effective in reducing debilitating seizures in adults and children with neurological disorders. Researchers are also seeing positive results in treating multiple sclerosis, arthritis and Lou Gehrig’s disease with medical marijuana. However, research into medical marijuana’s potential has been limited, due to its current classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government.
Economic Benefits of Marijuana in Florida
Florida voters have the opportunity to weigh in on legalizing medical marijuana this November, when Amendment 2 appears on ballots. If medical marijuana becomes legal in the state, it will open the doors to thousands of new businesses and jobs, as well as additional economic benefits, including:
- New revenue streams: Opportunities will arise for lawyers, real estate agents, financial advisers, business management and other service providers who specialize in cannabis.
- Fewer prisoners and prisons: Roughly 650,000 people are arrested for cannabis possession each year. If medical marijuana becomes legal, fewer people will be arrested and incarcerated, with significant costs savings for Florida taxpayers.
- Higher tax revenues: Soon after recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado, the state announced that it collected $2 million in tax revenues on $14 million in marijuana sales. Increased tax revenues in Florida could be funneled into education, health care, infrastructure and public transit, as well as social programs for children, veterans, the homeless and the elderly.
- Pot Tourism: If, like Colorado and Washington State, Florida ever makes recreational marijuana legal, the state could experience a surge of pot tourism. Marijuana-friendly B&Bs, hotels, clubs and tours have the potential to bring even more tourists to enjoy the sun and fun of the Sunshine State—and spend their vacation dollars on shopping, restaurants, bars and recreational activities, pumping up local economies.
Once Florida implements legal medical marijuana, the state will see increased tax revenue and business activity. But more importantly, countless Florida residents will finally have the opportunity to find relief from chronic pain, side effects and chronic conditions for which they currently have no solution.
What do you think about the many uses of hemp and Cannabis? Are you in favor of legalizing the cultivation of hemp and Cannabis in the United States? Please share your thoughts below.