Cannabis is a fascinating plant genus best known for its mind-altering and medicinal properties. Its use and cultivation date back as far as written language itself, and its therapeutic and spiritual utility spans many cultures around the world throughout history.
But despite its ubiquity, you may not fully understand what cannabis is or why there are thousands of different named strains flooding markets worldwide. Here, we’ll take a dive into how the plant is defined, how cannabis has been used, and why it’s taken on so many forms since its earliest uses in human society.
What is cannabis used for?
Today, cannabis consumption is generally divided into two primary uses: recreational and medical purposes. Recreational cannabis consumers may use cannabis for a variety of purposes, such as enjoyment, stress relief, and creative stimulation. Medical consumers use cannabis to alleviate symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, appetite loss, and more.
Cannabis contains hundreds of active compounds (e.g., cannabiniods, terpenes, and flavonoids) that provide a range of medical benefits. THC and CBD are two of cannabis’ most well-known compounds, although there are many more that offer a unique range of effects.
The cannabis plant is also an important agricultural resource. The strong fibers of hemp have been used to make ropes, clothing, textiles, building materials, and more. It also produces nutritious consumable seeds filled with essential amino acids, protein, and other valuable minerals. Cannabis byproducts can also be manufactured into cooking oils, and can even function as a sustainable biofuel.