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Introduction

Cannabis sativa
Common hemp

Cannabis (/ˈkænəbɪs/) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis; C. ruderalis may be included within C. sativa; all three may be treated as subspecies of a single species, C. sativa; or C. sativa may be accepted as a single undivided species. The genus is widely accepted as being indigenous to and originating from Central Asia, with some researchers also including upper South Asia in its origin.

The plant is also known as hemp, although this term is often used to refer only to varieties of Cannabis cultivated for non-drug use. Cannabis has long been used for hemp fibre, hemp seeds and their oils, hemp leaves for use as vegetables and as juice, medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug. Industrial hemp products are made from cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber. To satisfy the UN Narcotics Convention, some cannabis strains have been bred to produce minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent. Some strains have been selectively bred to produce a maximum of THC (a cannabinoid), the strength of which is enhanced by curing the flowers. Various compounds, including hashish and hash oil, are extracted from the plant.

Globally, in 2013, 60,400 kilograms of cannabis was produced legally. In 2014 there were an estimated 182.5 million cannabis users (3.8% of the population aged 15–64). This percentage did not change significantly between 1998 and 2014.

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South Park co-creator Trey Parker wrote "Medicinal Fried Chicken"
"Medicinal Fried Chicken" is the third episode of the fourteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 198th episode of the series overall. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 31, 2010. In the episode, the South Park KFC is replaced by a medicinal marijuana dispensary, and Cartman gets involved in black market selling the KFC chicken. Meanwhile, Randy Marsh gets a medical referral for marijuana by giving himself testicular cancer, which makes his testicles grow to grotesquely huge proportions. "Medicinal Fried Chicken" was first broadcast when Colorado was considering revising state medicinal marijuana laws and restricting fast food eateries. The episode provided social commentary against both types of laws, and suggested legislating lifestyle choices is ineffective and inevitably leads to black markets. The concept of a former KFC restaurant becoming a medicinal marijuana store mirrors that of a real life dispensary in Palms, Los Angeles, designed to resemble a KFC. "Medicinal Fried Chicken" received generally positive reviews, with many commentators praising the social commentary and sophomoric testicle jokes alike. According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode was seen by 2.99 million viewers, making it one of the most successful cable programs of the week.

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Then legal hashish-shop in Kathmandu (Nepal) on 27 Jun 1973
Credit: Roger McLassus

Hashish (often shortened to hash, and also referred to by countless slang terms such as chocolate) is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is solid, of varying hardness and pliability, softening under heat. Its colour can vary from reddish brown to black, and can also be greenish or golden. It is usually smoked in pipes, and sometimes in joints mixed with tobacco or Cannabis buds. It can also be added to cookies or other food and ingested. Hash is used for its relaxing and mind-altering effects. Many people have claimed that using it gives them great insights.

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Timothy Leary

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