Cannabis is a popular depressant drug that comes from Indian hemp plants: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It contains an active chemical called THC or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, where hallucinogenic effects are produced when taken in large doses. Canadian marijuana seed companies pride itself in offering the best strains for growers because the potency of the drug highly depends on the plant where it will be extracted.
However, just because cannabis is tagged as a depressant drug, it does not mean that it can make the users feel depressed. A matter of fact, the chemicals found in the hemp plants sends signals to the brain receptors which causes the central nervous system to slow down its activity.
Cannabis lets the users experience the psychoactive effects (alterations in the mind and the mood), which is derived from THC. It is the THC that gives the “high” effect, which can be obtained from the three main forms of Cannabis such as marijuana, hashish and hash oil.
Among the three forms, marijuana is the least potent form since THC hasn’t been extracted from the dried leaves and flowers of the plant. The hashish or hash (dried cannabis resin in small blocks) gives a solid psychoactive effect as it contains high concentration of THC while the hash oil, that is typically a thick, oily liquid, is considered the strongest form of cannabis since it is the concentrated and extracted form of cannabis that contains high volume of resins and terpenes.
To date, the most widely used form of Cannabis is hash oil or honey oil which can be extracted also from Cannabis ruderalis, a rare type of hemp plant that is native to Central and Eastern Europe and Russia but has lower THC concentration compared to Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Hash oils are consumed by smoking, using vapes and bongs as well as inclusion on snacks as edibles such as gummies, cookies, etc.
The Discovery of Cannabis
The oldest written records that discuss the discovery of Cannabis dates back to 2737 B.C. during the reign of Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, which is venerated as the Father of Chinese medicine. Shen Nung is one of the most celebrated emperors in China for his valuable contributions in agriculture, where he taught his people how to cultivate grains as food to prevent them from killing animals.
According to the records, he is said to have tasted hundreds of herbs to determine its medicinal value and authored the earliest extant Chinese pharmacopeia entitled The Divine Husbandman’s Materia Medica (Shen-Nung pen ts’ao ching).
The use and discovery of Cannabis are also being connected by scholars to Taoism where it was used in censers or incense burners during rituals. According to Needham, citing the Taoist encyclopedia entitled, Wushang Biyao (ca. 570 AD), Taoist adds cannabis into the ritual incense burners and had ‘systematically experimented its hallucinogenic smokes’. Many Shuja or magician-technicians even suggested consuming cannabis with ginseng ‘to gain preternatural knowledge of events in the future’.
Although Cannabis is already popular to ancient Greeks and Romans and is widely used in the Middle East, Cannabis was only introduced in the western hemisphere in 1545 when the Spaniards imported the plant as a fiber in Chile. In North America, natives used cannabis hemp for creating ropes, clothing, and paper.
Early Use of Cannabis in Canada and its Prohibition
With the popularity of Cannabis for recreational purposes in the 1800s in the West, it is still not popular in Canada until the 1930s. By 1960s, Cannabis became known as a drug which is popular among middle-class college students.
Based on early records, the perceived dangers of using Cannabis were dated back in 1907 when a riot takes place at the Asiatic Exclusion League. The then-Deputy Minister of Labour, Mackenzie King went to Vancouver to investigate the cause of the riots as well as the compensation claims.
Based on his report, most of the claims came from the opium manufacturers who received great damage to their production facilities caused by the mob, which also attacked Chinatown and Japantown. On his interview with the members of the anti-opium league, a realization of suppressing the drug for its behavioral effects not only to white men and boys but as well as to women and young girls came.
King mentioned in his report that Canada is lagging behind other nations who have progressive anti-opium movement, which became the basis for the implementation of the Opium Act of 1908. The act aims to prohibit the sale, manufacture, and importation of opium if it will not be for medical use.
The Act expanded further and was followed by the Opium and Other Drugs Act of 1911, where the possession or sale of morphine, opium, and cocaine was outlawed. Although there’s a law implemented to prohibit the selling and using of opium, the 1911 Act is considered essential as it separated opium from ‘white drugs’ and associate it with the users.
In 1920, the legislation passed the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act, which was amended in 1922 and got consolidated in 1923. The 1920 legislative act implemented stiffer penalties to violators. Instead of a $50 fine and a month in jail, based on the previous Acts that was implemented, the 1920 legislative act put emphasis on longer prison terms, which were increased from one to seven years. Aside from this, trafficking and possession of opium and other drugs became a deportable offense.
Canada also became strict in accepting immigrants, particularly those coming from mainland China with the implementation of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923. Chinese immigrants who are attempting to enter the country should bear any of the titles such as Diplomat, foreign student, merchant or be granted by the Minister of Immigration an approval under the ‘Special Circumstances’ cases. Ethnic Chinese with British nationality were also included in the list of people who were banned to enter Canada.
On the same year, Cannabis was also added in the Confidential Restricted List in 1923 that is under the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill. The banning of Cannabis used is believed to be based on Emily Murphy’s book published in 1922 entitled, The Black Candle, where the book claimed that marijuana used lead the users to become homicidal maniacs.
By 1960, despite the many prohibitions on the use of cannabis and other drugs, it became rampant. Cannabis cases in between 1930 to 1946 increased drastically. With the popularity of the Cannabis, it led the government to the formation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry in the Non-Medical Use of Drugs. It aims to investigate the non-medical use of cannabis in Canada, where the commission made its first investigation by 1969.
The removal of criminal penalties in cannabis possession was first recommended by the commission in 1972, however, no steps were taken to change the legislation not until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015. He created a task force to jointly discuss ‘suitable processes for the legalization of the cannabis possession for casual use’ of many Canadians.
By October 17, 2018, the Canadian Prime Minister announced that the use of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes will no longer violate any criminal law that was implemented beforehand. Yet, the legalization of cannabis comes with the conditions that are similar to the laws implemented for alcohol in Canada. It includes limitation of cannabis home production, distribution, consumption as well as selling frequencies.
A Breakthrough on Canadian Marijuana Seed Companies
With the legalization of Cannabis in Canada, the production, distribution, consumption, and selling became regulated. To become a legitimate seller and user, one has to seek approval from Health Canada, in connection with the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Not all were also allowed to just cultivate marijuana at home as they would have to complete certain requirements to be able to a get license in growing marijuana from Health Canada.
Yet, giving a whole lot of meaning to the 420 with its legalization, Canadian marijuana seed companies from countries where marijuana cultivation and distribution were fully legalized, started selling high-quality cannabis seeds. Some seed companies put up blogs and provide training in proper cultivation of the Indian hemp plant for people who are interested to cultivate cannabis at home for personal and entrepreneurial purposes.
With licenses granted, seed companies are trying to gain access across the borders to start offering their seeds to 33 states in the United States where Cannabis is made legal for medical use, and 10 states in the US where Cannabis is legalized for recreational use.
However, due to the illegality of cannabis in some federal states in the US, carrying seeds internationally from Canada to the US is still illegal, while past consumption of the said hemp can also lead to a permanent entry ban to the US.
Even so, legalization of Cannabis in Canada had shed a positive light to those people who heavily depend on their health in using cannabis as part of their everyday life and in easing any medical issues that can’t be just treated by medicines they are presently taking. It also provides an opportunity for farmers to create variation in their rotation crops with the inclusion of Cannabis and the availability of the marijuana seeds solely distributed by licensed seed companies.