What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a general, umbrella term referring to the plant Cannabis sativa and all of the products made from this plant, including various concentrated forms such as hash, wax, butter, shatter, and oil. Tetrahydrocannabinol ∆-9 (THC), the psychoactive constituent in cannabis, can also be added to food products called edibles. Experiences with marijuana vary widely and depend on the potency of the drug taken.

Due to cannabis' classification as an illegal drug under federal law, research on the drug and its properties is limited. Information shared here has been gathered from sources including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy.

A note about terminology:

At HAWP, we acknowledge the problematic history of the word "marijuana," which was popularized with the racially motivated “Marihuana Tax Act” passed in 1937. This is why we choose to use "cannabis" to refer to the Cannabis sativa plant and all products made from it. However, when citing research and/or policy, we will use the term used in the source text in order to maintain accuracy.