Cannabis, also known as marijuana (from the Mexican Spanish marihuana), and by other names,a is a preparation of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug and as medicine. Pharmacologically, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); it is one of 400 compounds in the plant, including other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
Contemporary uses of cannabis are as a recreational drug, as religious or spiritual rites, or as medicine; the earliest recorded uses date from the 3rd millennium BC. In 2004, the United Nations estimated that global consumption of cannabis indicated that approximately 4.0 percent of the adult world population (162 million people) used cannabis annually, and that approximately 0.6 percent (22.5 million) of people used cannabis daily. Since the early 20th century cannabis has been subject to legal restrictions with the possession, use, and sale of cannabis preparations containing psychoactive cannabinoids currently illegal in most countries of the world; the United Nations has said that cannabis is the most-used illicit drug in the world.
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“Lincoln, six feet one in his stocking feet,
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Whose hands were always too big for white-kid gloves,
Whose wit was a coonskin sack of dry, tall tales,
Whose weathered face was homely as a plowed field.”
—Stephen Vincent Benét (18981943)
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—Eliza Cook (18181889)