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The genus Cannabis belongs to the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three of the species are known to exist: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Alternatively, C. ruderalis may be included within C. sativa, all three may be considered subspecies of C. sativa, or C. sativa may be considered an undivided species. The genus is widely accepted to be indigenous to Asia and its origins can be traced back to that country.
As well as being referred to as hemp, this plant is also known as cannabis, but this term is often used to refer to its varieties that are cultivated for purposes other than drug production. In addition to hemp fibre, hemp seeds and oils, hemp leaves can also be used for culinary purposes, medicinal purposes, recreational purposes, and to produce an abundance of fibre. its plants that are selected to grow and produce a high amount of fiber have been used to create industrial hemp products. In recent years, various cannabis strains have been bred, often selectively, to produce high or low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid and one of the plant’s most psychoactive constituents. Compounds such as hashish and hash oil are extracted from its plants.
Description of Cannabis
It is an annual, dioecious flowering plant with palmately compound or digitate leaves with serrated leaflets. Cannabis has leaves with palmately compound or digitate leaflets. Depending on the variety and the conditions of the plant, the number of leaflets increases to a maximum of about thirteen per leaf (usually seven or nine). The number of leaflets on each leaf again diminishes to a single leaflet at the top of a flowering plant. Usually on the main stem of a mature plant, the lower leaf pairs are arranged in an opposite leaf arrangement and the upper leaf pairs are arranged in an alternate leaf arrangement.
It is very easy to distinguish cannabis leaves from unrelated species with similar leaves due to the peculiar and diagnostic venation pattern of the leaves (which varies slightly among varieties). As is common in serrated leaves, each serration has its own central vein extending to its tip, but in cannabis this originates from lower down the central vein of the leaflet, usually opposite the position of the second notch below, as in serrated leaves. In other words, on its way from the midrib of the leaflet to the tip of the serration, the vein serving the serration passes by the intervening notch in close proximity to the tip of the serration.
Sometimes the vein will pass tangentially to the notch, or it might pass by tangentially at a small distance; if that occurs, a spur vein (or sometimes two) branches off and joins the leaf margin right at the deepest point of the notch. There is also the possibility of identifying tiny samples of Cannabis with precision by microscopically examining leaf cells and similar features of the plant. However, this requires special equipment and expertise.
Reproduction of Cannabis
In all cases of Cannabis, the fruit is an achene, and it is wind pollinated. In general, most strains of Cannabis are short-day plants, with the possible exception of C. sativa subsp. sativa var. spontanea (= C. ruderalis), which is commonly described as “auto-flowering” and may have a day-neutral growth pattern.
There are two types of marijuana plants: the staminate flower (male) and the pistillate flower (female), which are both imperfect flowers on separate plants. At a very early period the Chinese recognized the Cannabis plant as dioecious, and the (c. 3rd century BCE) Erya dictionary defined the terms “male Cannabis” and “female Cannabis”. Male flowers are usually borne on loose panicles, whereas female flowers are borne on racemes.
Several monoecious varieties have also been
described, in which individual plants bear both male and female flowers on the same plant. A monoecious plant is
sometimes called a hermaphrodite, but hermaphrodites that are true hermaphrodites – which are less common in Cannabis – bear staminate and pistillate structures together on individual flowers, whereas monoecious plants bear the male and female flowers at different locations on the same plant. It has been
reported that many populations are sexually labile as a result of subdioecy (the presence of monoecious individuals and dioecious individuals within the same population).
it exhibits a variety of sexual phenotypes that can be
defined by the ratio of female to male flowers occurring in each individual, or typical of the cultivar as a result of intensive selection in cultivation. In the production of drugs, dioecious varieties are
preferred, since the fruits (produced by the female flowers) are
used to make drugs. In addition, polyecious varieties are
preferred for textile fibers, whereas monoecious varieties are
preferred for pulp and paper. There have been suggestions that the presence of monoecy can be
used to differentiate licit crops of monoecious hemp from illicit drug crops, but it has been
suggested that sativa strains can often produce monoecious individuals, which could be the result of inbreeding rather than a mutation.
History of Cannabis
The first domestication of cannabis took place approximately 12,000 years ago in East Asia during the early Neolithic period, as confirmed by genetic and archaeological evidence. It has been
documented by archaeological findings in prehistoric societies all around Eurasia and Africa that cannabis was
used as a mind-altering drug. The oldest written record of cannabis usage is the Greek historian Herodotus’ reference to the central Eurasian Scythians taking cannabis steam baths. It is
noted in his Histories (c. 440 BCE) that “The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed [presumably, flowers], and creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately, it smokes, and gives out such a vapour that no Greek vapour bath can match; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy.” The ancient Greeks and Romans also used cannabis.
its smoke was
inhaled by Daoists who burned the plant in incense burners as a form of incense, and its psychoactive properties were
described in the Shennong Bencaojing (3rd century AD).
In the Middle East, the use of it spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa, and in 1545 the Spanish imported cannabis to Chile for its use as fiber, and in North America, it, commonly referred to as hemp, spread throughout the country for use as rope, cloth, and paper.
It was in the late 1800s that its extract was the first to be
isolated containing the compound cannabinol (CBN). The first preclinical research studies to determine the effects of cannabis-derived compounds in vivo took place in 1940 after its structure and chemical synthesis had been
estimated that 60,400 kilograms of it were
produced legally around the world in 2013.
Medical use of Cannabis
A medical cannabis (or medical marijuana) is
defined by the use of cannabis, as well as its constituent cannabinoids, to treat diseases or improve symptoms of illnesses. It is
known that cannabis reduces nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, can improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, and can treat chronic pain and muscle spasms. Cannabinoids are being
studied for their potential to affect stroke in the future. The evidence for depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychosis is lacking. A couple of cannabis extracts, dronabinol and nabilone, have been
approved by the FDA as drugs that can be
used to treat chemotherapy and AIDS side effects in pill form.
The short-term use of it increases both minor and major adverse effects. Common side effects include dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, and hallucinations. Long-term effects of it are unclear. There are several concerns regarding the use of this product. These include memory and cognitive problems, addiction, schizophrenia in young people, and the possibility that children might accidentally take it.
Industrial use (hemp)
The term hemp is
used to name the durable soft fiber from the its plant stem (stalk). Cannabis sativa cultivars are commonly
used for fiber production due to their long stems; some varieties can grow as tall as six meters. However, hemp can be any industrial or food item that is not
intended for use as a drug. There are many countries in the world that regulate the amount of psychoactive compound (THC) that can be
found in hemp-branded items.
estimated that it is
used in tens of thousands of commercial products, including paper, cordage, construction materials, textiles in general, and clothing, mainly because of its ability to be
used as a fibre. In addition to being stronger and longer-lasting than cotton, hemp is also an ideal source of food (hemp milk, hemp seed, hemp oil) and biofuel. This crop has been
used for a long time, from China to Europe (and eventually to North America). During the past few decades, novel applications and improvements have been
explored with modest commercial success in modern times.
As defined by the federal government in the US, industrial hemp is it that contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, and is not
considered a narcotic plant. It was
established in the 2018 Farm Bill that this classification of hemp was
refined so that hemp-derived extracts, cannabinoids, and derivatives were
included in the definition of hemp.
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