Legalizing Marijuana Marijuana is the name for the drug that comes .
from the leaves and flowers of the Indian hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. It .
is a tobacco-like substance produced by drying the leaves and flowery top .
of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette called a .
joint or in a pipe or bong. Recently, it has appeared in cigars called .
blunts which are longer. This drug is a mild hallucinogen, meaning that it .
distorts sensory perceptions. The intoxicating part of the plant lies .
mostly in its strong-smelling, sticky, golden resin. This is given off by .
the hemp flowers, especially those of the female plant. The resin protects .
the plant from heat and helps it stay moist during its reproductive cycle. .
Many users describe two phases of marijuana intoxication: initial .
stimulation, giddiness, and euphoria, followed by sedation and pleasant .
tranquillity. Mood changes can often accompany altered perceptions of time .
and space and one's bodily dimension. The hemp plant can be found growing .
as a weed or as a cultivated plant throughout the world, in many soils and .
climates, with the more potent varieties produced in dry, hot, upland, .
climates (Berger 1). All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. They all .
contain THC, the main active chemical in marijuana. THC was first .
identified in the mid-1960s. Its chemical structure is complex and unique, .
making it unlike that of any other psychoactive drug. There are also four .
hundred other chemicals in the marijuana plant besides THC, but they do .
not cause the same effect. For this reason, marijuana is, by far, the most .
frequently used illegal drug. Though its use in the United States is .
primarily for the pleasure effect of the drug, it has been used as an .
intoxicant in various parts of the world for centuries.