Marijuana can generate a multitude of images, both serious and comical, in the minds of most people. Most of us have had some sort of interaction with it’s use. First impressions can be lasting ones, but what do you really know about the current use of cannabis? Here are 5 facts you might not know about medical marijuana:

1. Is it legal?

While it remains a federal crime in the U.S. to posses any form of cannabis, as of December 2015 medical marijuana has been legalized in 23 states. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are currently the only US states that have made cannabis fully legal. However recent predictions have identified the possibility of 16 states joining the medical marijuana law reform in 2016, due to the upcoming presidential election.

2. It’s big money!

New frontier analysts predict the medical marijuana market to reach $22-23 billion dollars, in the US alone, by the year 2020. One American company has invested over $150 million dollars into the research of both the cultivation and delivery method (eg: inhalers, edibles, topicals) of cannabis to get a jump on the market.

3. Is it safe?

Due to the political nature of cannabis, testing has been made difficult in the United States. Many US companies are sending all their medical marijuana research overseas to Israel. While the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Israel the use of cannabis for medical research has been approved by the Israeli government, which makes Israel the world leader in medical marijuana research. Studies performed there by the OWC suggest that the use of medical marijuana under the supervision of a trained physician in some cases is more effective and significantly safer than the use of manufactured, manmade, pharmaceuticals.

4. Children ingest it now?!

The FDA has approved a new drug that utilizes CBD (cannabidiol), one of the main compounds in cannabis, to treat children with epilepsy. Don’t worry people. There aren’t a bunch of poor kids dazed and confused in a research lab. CBD does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is believed to be the psychoactive component of marijuana. The children remain completely normal, but without the horrible anxiety and pain of experiencing multiple seizures throughout the day.

5. It’s ancient and everywhere

Cannabis was being used as early as 10,000 years ago. Scientists discovered traces of the plant in ancient Taiwanese texts. Although then it was mostly used as a textile and utilitarian crop, it was documented that it was ingested during religious ceremonies and in the treatment of disease. Cannabis can be found on every continent and in every country of the world now.

The last 10 millenia of human history has brought us many interesting discoveries and uses for marijuana. Whether you’re pro-ganja or anti-weed it doesn’t appear as though marijuana will be going anywhere, anytime soon.