Cannabis (scientific name: Cannabis) is a type of plant in the cannabis family.
Cannabis has been used since the dawn of history for a variety of uses, including fiber production (hemp), seed oil (hemp oil), for medical purposes, for religious ceremonies and as a psychoactive substance. The seeds of the cannabis plant have no psychoactive effect and are nutritious and rich in protein and consumed as food.
The cannabis plant has identified three main chemical families of substances: terpenoids, flavonoids and cannabinoids. About 80 known cannabinoids exist in the plant, the main ones being THC and CBD. The first has the effects of a psychoactive substance and the second has anti-psychoactive effects.
The use of cannabis for amusement is controversial and since 1937 (the year cannabis was outlawed by the US federal authorities), in most countries of the world, its production, possession and use have been banned without supervision; In some countries it is even included in the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. The main reason for these restrictions is that consistent and uncontrolled consumption of cannabis is considered by many in the field of conventional medicine and mental health as addictive (psychological addiction) and therefore its consumption is recommended only as a drug and under pharmacological supervision.
The cannabis plant is an annual plant. Cannabis begins to grow in the spring and lasts between 3 and 5 months. The life cycle of the plant in nature begins with the seeds. After germination, the plant begins a stage of growth to height and growth of branches to the sides while spreading leaves which aims to increase the area of exposure to the sun and thereby increase the process of photosynthesis and energy accumulation. This phase lasts between two and three months, and then, with the onset of night elongation in late June, the flowering phase begins.
In the flowering stage the plant grows a little more in height, but mainly cultivates a mass of branches and leaves. About two weeks after the beginning of the flowering stage, the flowers emerge in the ‘joint’ areas of the branches and leaves.
The two pairs can now be distinguished – the male grows pollen sacs in order to fertilize the females, and the female produces succulent flowers – the buds, which are covered on the surface of the face by glands, which secrete the active ingredient THC, and sometimes also in thin hairs. At this point the plants begin to release pollen until they mature over time.
Industrial and private uses
The term ‘Hemp’ refers to the fibers produced from the stem of the cannabis plant. The subspecies Cannabis Sativa is mainly used for the production of cannabis because the height of the species is up to 6 meters. The term hemp is sometimes referred to as a description of the entire industry and the food produced from the plant that is not intended for consumption as a drug. Many countries have regulated the limits of the concentration of the psychoactive ingredient (THC) in hemp products.
Cannabis has been used in ancient cultures to treat many medical problems. In the 19th century the use of cannabis as a medicine entered Europe thanks to the research of William O’Shaughnessy and in fact until it was outlawed in the 1930s it was a major ingredient in many medicines. Since it was outlawed until the 21st century, cannabis has disappeared from the shelves of pharmacies, but since the beginning of the 21st century there has been a drastic increase, both in the number of different uses and in the number of users using cannabis as medicine, known as “medical cannabis”.
Medical cannabis is consumed by swallowing, smoking or steaming, and is used to treat a wide range of conditions. It relieves pain, prevents nausea and increases appetite and is therefore commonly used among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Due to its calming effects, cannabis has uses in the fields of psychiatry and psychology, for example with people suffering from post-trauma. It is effective against various types of epilepsy. Various studies have shown that cannabis causes anti-cancer activity in cancer cells in the laboratory.
The main active ingredient in cannabis (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) has a synthetic imitation with a reduced psychoactive effect. It is used to cure a wide range of medical conditions.
Use as a drug
From the parts rich in trichomes (hairs that contain the resin glands) in the plant, the psychoactive drug cannabis is produced. Its most prominent products are marijuana and hashish, which are usually consumed by smoking, steaming (using a steaming device) or eating.
The main reason for opposing the consumption of cannabis as a recreational drug is on the grounds that its consistent consumption causes psychological addiction and therefore addiction to the drug; That is, the user becomes addicted to the drug and gradually consumes increasing amounts of it, which involves less motivation for certain tasks that could come while consuming it, certain behavioral effects attributed to it, and sometimes also economic cost associated with its consumption. Supporters of the free consumption of the drug oppose these claims and claim that they are exaggerated and biased.
The flowers of the female marijuana plant can be identified by their small teardrop structures, which consist of pistils attached to bracts. Cannabis flowers are usually covered with a frosty-looking coating of trichomes, with a heavier density of trichomes making for a more desirable flower.
The main part of the flower, at the end of a female plant’s stem is composed of many small floral clusters. In general, the bigger, heavier, and more densely covered in trichomes a cola is, the better quality it will be, although some cultivars will naturally grow flowers that are more loosely structured and airy.
The small leaves that surround the reproductive cells of a female weed plant. When a female plant is exposed to pollen from a male marijuana plant, the bracts surround and shield the seed pod.
Marijuana trichomes are hairlike appendages found on the surface of the cannabis plant. Trichomes protect the plant from external stressors and contain resinous glands that create flavonoids, cannabinoids and terpenes — the chemical compounds that give the marijuana plant its unique features and effects. Trichomes give cannabis buds a crystal-like sheen and make them sticky feeling.
The point at which the stem and leaf intersect. Nodes can hold one or more leaves or offshoots. Understanding the sex of a marijuana plant is crucial to the final product, since only female plants produce flowers and since non-pollinated flowers are far superior than pollinated buds when it comes to consumption.
Leaves are important components of a weed plant, and there are actually a couple types of marijuana leaves. The large, protruding leaves that appear along the length of the plant are called fan leaves. Theses leaves are essential to the living plant’s photosynthesis.
As opposed to fan leaves, sugar leaves are small leaves found throughout cannabis colas’ cupping buds that are typically trimmed off the flower after harvest. They are called “sugar leaves” because of the high volume of trichomes found on them, which makes it look like the leaves are covered in sugar. Sugar leaf trim can be used to make edibles or concentrates.
What is a pistil?
The pistil is the primary piece of the female flower’s reproductive system, comprising a single ovule with two protruding stigmas.
What are stigmas?
The thin hairs that extend from a female’s bract to catch male pollen. They are commonly confused with pistils. Knowing how to identify stigmas is an important part of growing weed, as these are the telltale signs that a plant is female and will therefore produce the cannabinoid-rich flowers you’re trying to harvest.
The main support structure of the marijuana plant, the stem transports fluids, nutrients, and information from the roots to the rest of the weed plant. The stem provides a foundation to give fan leaves access to the light they need to facilitate growth and carries the weight of heavy colas.
Types of weed plants
Cannabis is typically classified in the following four categories:
- Indica: Indica-leaning weed plants tend to produce dense, fat, heavy buds during the flowering stage. These strains are typically believed to give consumers a “body high” instead of a more cerebral high.
- Sativa: Sativa plants tend to produce buds that are airy and more formed than indica plants. Sativa strains of the weed plant are often said to offer users a more cerebral, energetic, “buzzy” highs.
- Hybrid: As a blend of sativa and indica, hybrid strains are generally believed to give you a more balanced high.
- Hemp: Hemp plants are part of the cannabis family, but they differ from a regular weed plant in that they produce only trace amounts of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating effects of the marijuana plant. In the U.S., the 2018 Farm Bill specified hemp as a cannabis plant containing up to 0.3% THC. However, hemp plants produce a number of other important cannabinoids, most notably cannabidiol (CBD), and their fibers are used to produce a range of textiles.
How to tell male from female marijuana plants
Typically, you will be able to distinguish between male and female cannabis plants when the plant is about six weeks old. To figure out the sex of a marijuana plant, look at the plant’s nodes, where the leaves and branches connect to the main stem.
Male plants will produce pollen sacs that at first look like little tiny balls and then grow into larger clusters of oblong-shaped sacs. A female weed plant will produce pistils, which in their early stages look like thin hairs and then eventually start growing into more structured ovules and stigmas.
Many breeders produce seeds that are feminized as a way to avoid male genetics. These feminized seeds only carry female genetics, and in most cases, is guaranteed to produce female plants. Another option is to grow auto-flowering strains, which are genetically engineered to automatically flower after a brief vegetative period of two to four weeks.
How to propagate cannabis plants
Knowing the parts of a marijuana plant is necessary for propagating cannabis plants. Propagation refers to the process of using one plant to create new plants. In general, cannabis growers do this in one of two ways:
- Cloning: Cloning is a popular method, as it allows you to get multiple baby plants from a single adult plant, without having to buy seeds or go through the longer process of germinating, planting, and growing a weed plant from seed. To clone a marijuana plant, carefully cut a branch away from the stem right at the node. From there, place the cutting into a growing medium, typically either suspended in water or inserted into a starter plug. When the cutting develops roots you can then transplant it into a larger container or the ground, depending on where you’re going to be growing the plant.
- Seeds: Growing from seed requires you to start from scratch, and is ideally suited to growers who are novices, growers who want to produce a new type or strain than what they’re already growing, and growers who don’t have a plant they want to replicate exactly. To grow a weed plant from seed, place a seed in some sort of starting medium such as rockwool or peat pellets and keep it moist until it sprouts. As the sprout develops leaves and roots, it will start requiring more and more light. When a decent little ball of roots has formed, transplant the baby marijuana plant to a larger container or the ground and proceed to feed, water, and ventilate it until the weed plant reaches maturity.
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