Odd marijuana facts

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Some lighthearted history on marijuana throughout time

In an effort to show the lighter side of marijuana, a trip down memory lane produces some fun facts about the plant that many may not have known. Given that marijuana is often taken seriously – too seriously, in some cases – it’s good to look at things from a different perspective from time to time.

William Shakespeare smoked marijuana. Apart from having written about the plant (Sonnet 76 talks about an invention in a noted weed, which many believe refers to cannabis), an excavation of his garden revealed four popes, all of which contained traces of cannabis.

During World War II, marijuana was used by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) as a truth serum when interrogating prisoners of war. The OSS is what would ultimately become the CIA. Perhaps there’s more to the movie “The Men Who Stare At Goats” than meets the eye.

Former president Bill Clinton famously said that he had tried marijuana but that he “didn’t inhale.” However, the country’s founding fathers happily grew cannabis – and smoked it. George Washington is known to have used it to battle the pain from his false teeth and James Madison reportedly wrote the Constitution after having consumed.

Henry Ford once tried to build a hemp car. His prototype used bio-fuel and was made almost 100% from plant material that included 70% cellulose fibers from wheat straw, hemp and sisal, and 30% resin binder. The only steel used in the production was the vehicle’s tubular welded frame.

Want to consume without consuming? Head to Italy. A study conducted last year by the country’s Institute of Atmospheric Pollution found minute quantities of marijuana in the air of eight cities – Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Turin and Verona. Turin had the highest concentration; Palermo the lowest (Rome was somewhere in the middle).