Interested in tasting the forbidden fruit of paradise?  If you’ve never smoked before and would like to know more about marijuana, this is the perfect place to start.  The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana assumes no knowledge of cannabis or cannabis culture and aims to build a foundation of knowledge upon which an educated decision can be made as to whether or not to try.  Additionally, it provides quality advice for making a smooth transition to the wonderful world of smoking without embarrassing moments.  Part I focuses on detailing the pros and cons of smoking.  It provides information regarding marijuana in general.  Read on to learn more!

Introduction

Beginner's Guide to Marijuana: Part IIf you have arrived at this Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana, you are probably already partially interested in marijuana and most definitely already have a number of ideas about marijuana.  Marijuana refers to the psychoactive product of certain species of the Cannabis genus (specifically C. sativa and C. indica).  Human use of marijuana dates back to times before recorded history.  There is evidence in the form of charred cannabis seeds dating as far back as the Neolithic age from burial sites.  Its historical uses were largely ritual or religious, but was introduced to the United States in the early 19th century by Indian laborers.  During the 20th century, its recreational use in Western countries rose steadily. During the counterculture revolutions of the 60’s, popular attitudes on marijuana were changed drastically and many people began to try it.  Lifetime use statistics indicate that by about 1980 70-80% of all adults had tried marijuana at some time, and this number has remained relatively stable.  For more statistical information, see the Erowid Psychoactives Statistics Vault.  Marijuana is currently illegal in many countries but there is a growing interest in its legalization for medical purposes

Modern day attitudes on marijuana vary greatly.  Many people believe that marijuana is essentially bad and that it results in bad health, laziness, low-intelligence, and a downward spiral of drug abuse/addiction.  Others feel that marijuana has medical potential and that it should be legalized for its use in treating glaucoma, combating the life-threatening weight-loss associated with chemotherapy, and relieving pains, nausea, and depression.  Still, many feel that the use of cannabis recreationally is an entertaining and socially acceptable activity.

This guide focuses mainly on recreational use of marijuana.  Part I explains many of the benefits and some of the hazards of smoking pot, but it is by no means an unbiased guide to marijuana.  If you are considering using marijuana, it is best to consider all of the facts from many different sources and weigh the options on your own.  Every source of information on marijuana will be influenced by the author’s opinion of the subject, so use your head and make up your own mind!

Health Alert!

In the modern school system, we are taught from a very young age the potential health hazards of smoking marijuana.  Many of these hazards are exaggerated in an attempt to scare the impressionable youth away from the scourge of marijuana use.  While the teachers of health class may have their own agenda, there is some basis to the health concerns of smoking marijuana, and these certainly should be considered before trying marijuana.

While I am certainly not an expert on the health effects of marijuana, I have gathered some information from some fairly reputable sources.  First of all, the general consensus among professionals is that smoking marijuana causes particulate matter to enter your lungs, which causes irritation.  In addition to the heat of the smoke, this is what causes the coughing.  Also, there are well-documented increases in upper-respiratory infections in frequent users.  In general, these health hazards are neither permanent, nor life threatening, but they should certainly be taken seriously.  If you notice after habitual use that you get colds more easily or you are coughing more often, it might be beneficial to take a break.

Many people claim that marijuana causes cancer.  It is important to note that no study has demonstrated any link of marijuana use to an increased risk of cancer.  Chemical constituents of marijuana smoke are known carcinogens, but nearly every single organic/man-made food product you eat has naturally occurring carcinogenic chemicals.  Carcinogens alone do not precipitate cancer.

Many policy makers and anti-drug activists are also concerned with the risk of triggering or increa