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Explainer: 420

<p>As they say, 420 is but a number. Or so it seems!</p>
| Apr 19, 2010
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Rather than throwing a party in commemoration of Adolf Hitler's birthday, FHM will take on the 420. When April 20 rolls in, you may hear a few folks greeting each other a happy 420, see a few of them looking sleepy, or notice that the junk food aisle in the grocery is emptiere than usual. [firstpara] What is happening, you may ask. Four twenty is happening, mate. Don't know what that is? Well, read on and find out.

What is 420?
Harold & Kumar’s favorite number, these three little digits have become one of the cornerstone symbols of that sect in society that appreciates Marijuana. Four twenty, 4:20, or 4/20 is a code for marijuana and has become known all around the world as the international “burn time.” Tokers have made April 20 as a holiday of sorts, which, as you may notice, is slowly becoming part of the mainstream.

Where did it originate?
The history of the term 420 is wrapped in a purple haze of counterculture lore.  Some might say that it originated from the number of chemicals found in the leaf. Others claim that it’s the penal code for marijuana use in California. Still, others, say it’s tea time in Holland.

The most interesting 420 story credits a couple of teenagers, who called themselves the Waldos, in San Rafael high school in California in 1971. It started as “420, Louis,” which means that "at 4:20 [they'd] meet by the Louis Pasteur statue outside the high school" to smoke pot and get high.

The term took root, flourished, and spread in a way much like the very weed the Waldos smoked: beyond San Rafael high school through the Grateful Dead, and their dedicated cohort of pot-smoking fans. It reached High Times and the term spread like wildfire.

So what happens with 4:20 strikes?
When the clock hits 4:20, these counterculturalists have their celebratory toke: basically, they light up and get high. Some may call it an afternoon delight.

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Others, who can’t sneak a toke, may instead take note of the time when they see it in the clocks and acknowledge that it’s 4:20, the intergalactic planetary burn time.

And what do they do on 4/20?
The highest of all holidays in every toker’s calendar, this day is celebrated all around the world by waking and baking in the goodness of life. Potpride rallies and smoke-athons may take place in campuses, streets, parks and your momma’s basement to celebrate cannabis in a communal, happy, hippie-like ambiance. 

What's so special about weed?
The most controversial plant in the history of mankind, cannabis is what 420 is all about. The world’s oldest stash of marijuana dating 2,700 years ago was found in a tomb in China. The 789 grams of dope discovered belonged to a shaman and was placed in the tomb for use in the afterlife.

This is the earliest evidence of man using weed for a variety of purposes. The ancient Assyrians used cannabis in religious ceremonies in their churches as the Rastafarians do so today.

The latest research on marijuana has shown that millions of years ago, the plant developed a compound called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a defense system against ultraviolet light and animals.

Coincidentally, 500 million years ago our evolutionary ancestors,the humble sea squirt, with its simple nervous systems developed its own cannabinoid compounds and receptors.

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NEXT: Very Important Potheads?!


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