Now more than ever, it seems like marijuana is everywhere. But despite this cultural phenomenon and frequent news coverage, there are a lot of things about marijuana that people don’t know. After all, marijuana has been used all over the world since the beginning of history, dating back to almost four thousand years ago when it was used in Asia for religious purposes.
With that in mind, here are 30 shocking facts about marijuana that you have never heard before.
1. In North Korea, marijuana isn’t even considered a drug, and as a result it is perfectly legal. (Source: FactSlides)
2. Just under half of high school seniors have smoked marijuana. The numbers decrease for sophomores and freshmen, but they are still in the double digits. (Source: DrugAbuse,gov)
3. Out of all of the marijuana users in the world, only 9% are considered “clinically dependent”. (Source: FactSlides)
4. Colorado’s legal marijuana sales reached $1 billion in 2015, more than the wine industry in the same state. (Source: USA Today)
5. It is possible to use marijuana to stunt the growth of cancer cells. One clinical research study has shown that a substance comprised mainly of marijuana is capable of freezing cancer cells in their place, which prevents them from spreading. (Source: FactSlides)
6. Hemp isn’t actually another name for marijuana; it’s an entirely different drug, though it is in the same family. Its concentration of certain substances is much lower than marijuana, which is why it is so frequently used in consumer products. (Source: USA Today)
7. 42% of adults in the United States have tried weed at least once in their lives. The majority of those people smoke at least once a year. (Source: FactSlides)
8. The first online transaction was in 1971–and it was a marijuana sale between two college students from Stanford and MIT. Nowadays, such a sale would most likely be illegal. (Source: USA Today)
9. Studies have shown that alcohol is actually much more dangerous than marijuana. So is tobacco. (Source: FactSlides)
10. If marijuana were legal in every state, it would generate $8.7 billion of revenue for the federal government through sales tax. (Source: FactSlides)
11. Marijuana was made legal in Alaska in 1975, and still is. This happened 62 years after marijuana was first made illegal in some states. (Source: FactSlides)
12. In certain circumstances, some sects of Judaism consider medical marijuana to be kosher. (Source: FactSlides)
13. California was actually the first state to ban marijuana (in 1913, to be specific). (Source: FactSlides)
14. In general, most possession offenders receive a total of a few months or years in jail, depending on the severity of the offense. But in 2013, a man tried to sell $10 of marijuana to a police officer who was sent undercover to bust his drug operation and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole. (Source: FactSlides)
15. In Colorado, medical marijuana dispensaries outnumber Starbucks stores three to one. No wonder marijuana is the largest cash crop in the state! (Source: FactSlides)
16. When called upon to testify in court, the United States’ “Official Expert on Marijuana” declared under oath that the drug had turned him into a bat. The same “expert” later testified that a murderer was not guilty because being in the same room as marijuana had made him temporarily insane. The criminal was acquitted as a result of this testimony. (Source: FactSlides)
17. Annually, the United States government spends about $3 billion enforcing laws regarding marijuana and investigating its illegal usage. That shakes out to around $4 per plant. (Source: DrugPolicy)
18. Until TV was introduced in Bhutan about twenty years ago, farmers used marijuana as pig slop. After 1999, the advertising used in cable networking changed the drug’s purpose in that developing Asian country. (Source: FactSlides)
19. Marijuana milkshakes are common in India. They are called “bhang” and have been used in important religious and political ceremonies for over 2,000 years. (Source: FactSlides)
20. More teenagers in the United States smoke marijuana than cigarettes or even e-cigs. (Source: TIME)
21. Bob Marley was buried with not only a Bible, but also a sizeable portion of marijuana. (Source: FactSlides)
22. Dying from a marijuana overdose would require consuming 1,500 pounds of the substance in a timespan of roughly fifteen minutes. Considering the fact that black market marijuana costs about $350 per ounce, this would cost about $8.4 million and would be incredibly illegal. So don’t try this at home. (Source: FactSlides)
23. Marijuana can be used to clean up nuclear disasters. After the Chernobyl incident, authorities brought in industrial marijuana to stop the spread of the contaminants. (Source: FactSlides)
24. William Shakespeare may have smoked weed; scientists have found traces of cannabis in his garden and on his pipes. That may explain why some of his works are so hard to read. (Source: FactSlides)
25. A study done for marijuana news in Britain found that students who get better grades are more likely to smoke than their under-achieving peers. (Source: DrugPolicy)
26. There is a marijuana arrest every 50 seconds in the United States, which totals about 700,000 people per year. (Source: DrugPolicy)
27. Out of all of these arrests, roughly 90% are just for possession, not sale or distribution.
28. In 2013, the first country to legalize marijuana was Uruguay. It is still legal there four years later. (Source: The Guardian)
29. “Dimethylheptylpyran” was a synthetic version of marijuana created by the United States military in 1949. It is much stronger than the original substance, with symptoms from one gram lasting at least three days. (Source: FactSlides)
30. And finally, according to the medical records of all countries where marijuana is used, no one has ever died from an overdose of the drug. (Source: Huffington Post)
No matter what you think about marijuana, it is certainly an interesting subject. Few things that were popular in 1,000 BC are still popular today, but marijuana is definitely one of them. Whether it’s in ancient Indian rituals or the first sales on the Internet, marijuana has been around for much of human history and has made a huge impact on our culture.