There are other varieties of the cannabis plant with low concentrations of THC and no psychoactive properties called hemp. The hemp plant has been used for fiber and its seeds for food for 10,000 years. The fiber, oil and seeds of hemp are used in the manufacture of many different products like rope, cloth, paper, wax, flour, cereal and fuel. Hemp is legally grown throughout the world but it is still illegal to grow hemp in the United States.
Cannabis has been recognized for its many beneficial qualities for thousands of years; as a mood enhancer, as an appetite stimulant and for treating certain medical conditions. It has also been widely used in religious or spiritual rituals.
Although medical research has not been conclusive, the local governments of 20 states in the United States now allow the dispensing of marijuana to medical patients to adults with a doctor's recommendation.
Colorado and Washington state have just recently legalized the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana to adults without use restrictions, within a tightly regulated and controlled marketplace.
Contrary to what most people believe, marijuana use and abuse can be addictive. Studies have found that approximately 1 in 11 marijuana users become dependent. The earlier a person starts using marijuana the more likely he or she will become dependent on it and/or other drugs.
In 2011, approximately 872,000 Americans 12 or older reported receiving treatment for marijuana use, more than any other illicit drug.