Marijuana's 'medicinal' properties and its psychoactive ingredients were first described in a Chinese medical book in about 2737 B.C. Its use spread from China to India, then to N. Africa, and it reached Europe at least as early as 500 AD. In India, it was clearly used recreationally; the Muslims used it recreationally, because alcohol consumption was banned by the Koran. (It was the Muslims who introduced hashish, whose popularity spread quickly throughout 12th century Persia (Iran) and North Africa.)

In the 1500s, the Spanish brought marijunana to US soil, and by the early 1600s, it was being grown commercially, alongside tobacco, as a source of fiber.

In the 1920's, marijuana rose in popularity as a recreational drug. (Some historians say its emergence was brought about by the Prohibition). Marijuana was not illegal, nor was it considered to be a social threat of any kind. Medicinally, it was prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism, until after the Second World War, although it was 'criminalized' in 1937. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana along with heroin and LSD, naming it as highly addictive -- and illegal.

Although use of marijuana dropped off through the 1980s, it has gained popularity again, particularly among young people. There is also a strong lobby currently to have it legalized, particularly as a highly effective painkiller for people who suffer particular diseases.

Is marijuana addictive? In a word, yes! Read about marijuana use and the brain HERE

For more about the medical history of marijuana, click HERE

If you think you might have a problem with marijuana use, answer these 12 Questions as honestly as you can...

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