420 Holiday Prep: 9 Surprising Facts About Mary Jane

by Shannon Vize

It’s that time of year again (and no, I’m definitely not talking about springtime).

Today marks the one day of the year when stoners of all ages come out (where they can), light up and celebrate their favorite plant: Cannabis.

As you all celebrate 2015's greenest holiday by texting your dealers to make sure they save a special stash for you (or, if you're lucky, by stopping by your local Cannabis shop), check out these surprising Mary Jane facts to share with your fellow potheads.

That is, if you remember them.

1. There are more than 400 chemicals in the Cannabis plant.

Only 61 of those 400 chemicals are unique to the Cannabis plant, but still, there’s a lot more going on in those green stems than you might have thought.

Although you’re probably already familiar with two species of Cannabis, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, there is a third species named Cannabis ruderalis.

This species has a much lower level of THC and is much shorter than the other two, so it’s rarely used for the production of weed or hemp.

2. For the first time since the question was first posed to the public in 1969, a majority of the US is in favor of legalization.

Hear that? A majority of the population is in favor of legalization! Those marijuana naysayers are now finally the minority.

The first time Gallup, an American research-based consulting company, asked the question in 1969, only 12 percent of the US population was in favor of legalization.

It may seem like this opinion took a long time to shift, but most of this change has only happened in the past few years.

3. Beer and marijuana are related; hops are in the same family of flowering plants as marijuana.

Think of them like cousins -- fun, ridiculous cousins who enjoy getting a little f*cked up together.

4. A total of 23 states, Washington, DC and Guam have legal, comprehensive public medical marijuana and Cannabis programs.

Only four states, plus DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but it’s a great start!

5. A marijuana-derived compound can stop the metastasis of cancer.

In a sense, marijuana can, in fact, cure cancer. But, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet for lighting up.

The cancer-curing compound is known as Cannabidiol, and it must be synthesized in a lab and then injected, or taken by mouth in pill form, to be effective.

6. It’s widely believed marijuana is legal (and not even considered a drug) in North Korea.

Who knew Kim Jong Un and James Franco do have something in common, like their love of Mary Jane?

Although it’s difficult to definitively claim any facts about North Korea’s government or laws, several sources have indicated the controversial leader doesn't care if his people are getting high, just as long as it’s not off his supply.

7. Speaking of Mary Jane, there are over 200 slang terms for marijuana in the current vernacular.

Pot, dope, grass, doobie, bud or chronic, the Cannabis plant has been called a plethora of names throughout the years.

The name marijuana actually comes from Mexican slang for Cannabis, and it is believed to have originated from the Spanish pronunciation of the names Mary and Jane.

8. Girls vs. Boys: Depending on your gender, getting high could be a completely different experience.

Apparently, females develop a tolerance to THC much more quickly than males.

As women are more sensitive to the pain-relieving qualities of THC, it also means they are more vulnerable to the negative side effects associated with marijuana use, such as anxiety, paranoia and addiction.

Getting hit with the munchies is the only area where males seem to show more sensitivity than females.

9. Weed Day, aka 4/20, was started in 1971 by five high school stoners.

The history of April 20, the official holiday for stoners all over the country (and even some of the world), is much contested. But, it seems we finally have our answer.

A group of five stoner friends, known as “The Waldos,” got wind back in 1971 that a Coast Guard service member could no longer harvest his plot of marijuana plants in Point Reyes, CA.

The group made a plan to meet up every day after sports practice at 4:20 to start the hunt for this plot.

After weeks of failed attempts, the crew never did stumble upon the fantasy field, but they discovered the perfect code word for their activities: 420.

Any time they passed one another in the hall and wanted to discuss hunting plans or pre-hunt smoking festivities, the Waldos would just say "420." It became a shortened way to say, “Let's smoke,” or “Do you have some?”

Later, the friends hung around Grateful Dead rehearsals and shows due to some family connections, and they used the term at a wide array of shows.

The term “420” spread like wildfire, and when "High Times" picked it up, the rest was history.

So, as you (and your stash) take part in this year's 4/20 celebration, I hope you look at those green nuggs a little differently after learning these surprising facts.

Be sure to light one up for the five Waldos while you’re celebrating because, without them, we wouldn't have the 4/20 holiday we know and love today.