Cannabis 101: A Basic Understanding

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Due to cannabis' propaganda driven prohibition, much confusion surrounds the cannabaceae family of plants, of which "weed" is a member. It is a small family of the rose (Rosales) order, which includes 170 species of flowering plants. The popular ingredient in beer, hops (Humulus); as well as hackberries (Celtis) are other common members of this family. This entry will discuss the need to know basics of the cannabis plant and how it interacts with the human body, in an effort to produce a more well-informed consumer.

Cannabis is a genus within the cannabaceae family that refers specifically to the herb as we know it. Three species of cannabis exist: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. Indica and Sativa are the most popular of the three, as they naturally tend to contain higher levels of the intoxicating delta-9 THC and THCa. Ruderalis, native to more northern climates of Eurasia, is a "feral" version of cannabis, naturally showing higher levels of CBD.

Cannabis Sativa grows tall in stature, with long, skinny leaves. Demanding long flowering periods, they are best suited for areas near the equator. Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, and Durban Poison are some examples of landrace Sativa strains. Cerebral and uplifting are typical descriptions of the effects of a Sativa plant. Indica plants are much shorter, boasting broad leaves. The flower period of this species is also shorter, making it more well suited for colder environments nearer to the poles. Hindu and Afghan Kush are prime examples of indica cultivars. Anecdotally, indica is responsible for the "couch-lock", relaxing, and appetite stimulating effects. Due to the prohibition of cannabis in the developed world, there is very little scientific evidence of these claims as of yet. New research concerning terpene and cannabinoid profiles has shed a great deal of light on new ways to cultivate craft cannabis.

The term "hemp" refers to a subspecies of cannabis sativa, named by the famed botanist Carl Linnaeus, "cannabis sativa L.", which contains very low levels of THC. It grows quickly,