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But recently researchers have started questioning conventional wisdom on strains. “The whole thing about strains is that we have no scientific basis that they will produce different experiences,” Carlini says.

Whether you’ve used it yourself, have a friend who tokes, or don’t know anyone who is canna-curious, you probably have an opinion about weed.

First, a quick neuroscience lesson: Your brain is made up of billions of neurons and neural circuits. Neurons are long cells that are clustered near each other with a tiny space between their active sites.

Cannabis — as in, the name of the plant that produces marijuana and the substance itself — is no longer considered as taboo as it once was. In fact, 14 percent of American adults have used marijuana in the last year. That’s roughly the same number of people who smoke cigarettes. Keyhani S, et al. (2018). Risks and benefits of marijuana use: A national survey of U.S. adults. DOI: 10.7326/M18-0810

Terpenes are the compounds responsible for the plant’s unmistakable odor. But recently researchers have found that they can do a whole lot more than that. It turns out that terpenes play a role in how weed hits you.

“When you smoke, [cannabis] enters the bloodstream very quickly,” Rudroff says. “When you eat it, it can take up to 20 or 30 minutes before you can feel the effect.”

However, Rudroff adds that effects seem to be highly dependent on the age at which you start using. He says people who start at a younger age — when the brain is not fully developed — may have more negative effects later in life.

Because it’s a fast-growing plant that’s easy to cultivate and has many uses, hemp was widely grown throughout colonial America and at Spanish missions in the Southwest. In the early 1600s, the Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut colonies required farmers to grow hemp.

Fifty-eight-year-old farmer Samuel Caldwell was the first person prosecuted under the Act. He was arrested for selling marijuana on October 2, 1937, just one day after the Act’s passage. Caldwell was sentenced to four years of hard labor.

Medical Marijuana

Massive unemployment and social unrest during the Great Depression stoked resentment of Mexican immigrants and public fear of the “evil weed.” As a result—and consistent with the Prohibition era’s view of all intoxicants—29 states had outlawed cannabis by 1931.

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two drugs with THC that are prescribed in pill form, Marinol and Syndros, to treat nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy and loss of appetite in AIDs patients.

An ancient Greek historian named Herodotus described the Scythians—a large group of Iranian nomads in Central Asia—inhaling the smoke from smoldering cannabis seeds and flowers to get high.