MARIJUANA FACTS. HISTORY AND STRAINS
Types Of Marijuana – Indica, Sativa, Hybrid.
In the production of marijuana, there are three main types of leaves used: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and also a hybrid plant. The hybrid plant was just newly introduced and it involves the mixing of both Indica and Sativa strains of the best quality from around the globe. Cannabis has been severally documented in use since the 18th century. Marijuana sold on the market is often a mixture of both cannabis strains as aforementioned. The list of prepared marijuana products is endless and differs from place to place; this has resulted in a diversity of flavours. Many experts with the knowledge of the differences in flavour of each strain make their purchases based on the strain alone.
History of Marijuana
As at to this point, there has been no pronounced evidence scientifically which says there is a difference between these strains or even expatiate the differences between Cannabis Indica and its other strain, Cannabis Sativa if they exist. But amongst the cultivators and users, there are widely accepted facts.
In the late 1700s, the C. indica strain was first classified by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. He also discovered the intoxicating effect it had on its consumers. This was used in its differentiation from the regular hemps grown in Europe at that time. Cannabis indica derived its name from its location of first discovery by Lamarck which was India and to establish its difference from the European variety known as Cannabis sativa. The indica strain was also considered as a remedy in Western medicine during the 1800s.
This is the most commonly smoked marijuana strain around the world. Cultivators of marijuana love this strain for its height. It is generally a small shrub which can grow to heights of about 15 feet in some cases.
Its leaves are narrow and long which are suitable characteristics for outdoor cultivation. The seeds are soft with no spots or markings. They are also known not to bloom quickly in contrast to C. indica; a shift or change in the lifecycle has little effect on this character.
Cannabis sativa has its niche in areas below latitude 30° N and such places include India, Thailand, Nigeria, Mexico and Colombia. The sativa leaves are often dried, cooked and consumed by some while another category vaporize or smoke it to get the feeling of being high. It’s known to have an invigorating effect on its consumers which differentiates it from the sedative Cannabis indica.
Another effect of C. sativa depending on the user, is its ability to enhance one’s creativity. It’s most consumed during the day for its energy boosting effect and its ability to open its consumer to new and fresh ideas. Artists are seen to love this strain most.
There are two active primary ingredients in Cannabis which are tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The sativa dominant strain has a higher ratio of THC to CBD. The high ratio of THC to CBD makes it less likely to be used therapeutically but it’s still commonly used in Ayurveda. It works effectively to combat symptoms such as: Depression, ADD, fatigue and mood disorders.
Of the two strains in comparison, indica doesn’t possess the sought after height of the sativa strain. It is generally of height 3 to 6 feet i.e. 1 to 2 meters tall. It grows in a bushy manner with round healthy leaves unlike the long and narrow leaves of sativa but both cannabis plants have soft marbled colored seeds. Because of its short height, it’s perfect for indoor cultivation.
As earlier mentioned, the indica plants bloom faster than its counterpart sativa strain and this can be influenced by adjusting the light cycle. It’s commonly found in places above the latitude 30° N, in countries like Nepal, Lebanon, Morocco, and Afghanistan. When flowering, the buds and flowers usually grow close to each other and produce more resin thereby becoming stickier to the touch when compared to sativa. The indica plant is also preferred in the production of hashish due to the amount of resin it contains.
For consumers who prefer being relaxed and a deep state of relaxation, indica becomes their favourite. It has a sedative effect and a high amount of cannabidiol. It’s also known to have therapeutic qualities and is used in the management of insomnia and pain, inducing muscle relaxation and helps with muscle spasms, calming anxiety, headache and migraine relief.
This is the third and less popular strain of cannabis. It’s quite similar to the indica species growing as a thick foliage and one of the primary varieties known. It’s found to grow farther in northern regions than any other marijuana species and therefore a fast bloomer because of the cold. It has a short stature and height of 20-25 inches. This strain is used in the production of autoflowers.
Apart from its region of cultivation, ruderalis is less popular because it’s also not known to have much effect on the brain. It is used mainly by cultivators in cross breeding with other species to produce hybrids which can flower early and can be cultivated under the northern climates.
As far back as some 10,000 years ago, Cannabis sativa was already being spun into usable fibre. A variety of the sativa strain which grows around the northern hemisphere is cultivated essentially for the benefits of its derived products. It has found use in various sectors as a material in the production of items which include paper, clothing, food, Animal feed, biodegradable plastics, insulation, paint, biofuel and also textiles.
In years past, there has been an intense cross breeding among the three main species of cannabis. This has led to an endless list cannabis varieties. These hybridizations have resulted in varieties with different characteristics such as disease resistance, CBD: THC ratios and the possibilities of better and shorter flowering cycles. Generally, these hybridizations have helped in combining the various positive characteristics of the individual strains used together.
The main distinguishing factors between both C. indica and C. sativa include height difference, the size and shape of the leaves, quality of the smoke produced, the odour, the chemical properties and the length between the buds. Majorly, the indica leaves are wide and robust while that of sativa is long and thin.
MALE CANNABIS PLANTS
The flowering process in mature male cannabis plants tends to occur all over the plant and tiny racemes are formed at the base of the flower itself. When the flowers are fully grown, they open to release airborne pollens which stick to the pistils of the female plant and is later absorbed.
It can be sometimes difficult to distinguish between both male and female plants but usually, the male plant gets mature earlier than the female sexually. This is basically how fertilization and reproduction occurs.
FEMALE CANNABIS PLANT
Similar to the male plants, the females also produce tiny racemes (short flower stalks). Each calyx contains an ovule acting as the receptor for the released pollen. When pollen gets stuck to a pistil, the stalk pushes into the calyx. The calyx is the site of growth after fertilization.
The fertilized seed would have characteristics from both parents except the reproductive parents are identical in character or as in some cases pure clones or specific hybridizations.
Hermaphroditic plants are known to many cannabis growers though its occurrence in nature is rare. These plants can fertilize themselves since they contain both male and female sex organs. This characteristic has made them attractive and useful from the breeding prospective. Generally, hermaphrodite plants are either comprised of mostly male flowers or an equal number of both male and female flowers; both types are of little advantage to a cultivator but if the plant has a higher ratio of female flowers to male, then it advantages can be harnessed.
Marijuana Cultivators collect the pollen grains which are very useful because even it’s a male part of reproduction, grains from a hermaphroditic plant are genetically female and therefore would produce female flowers.
Crossbreeding of these varieties of cannabis i.e. indica and sativa have been ongoing since the 70s in the USA and this set off a long chain of hybridization experimentations. The varieties of cannabis discussed are essentially the same species though native to different areas but their differences should be noted. This is quite similar in other parts of agriculture or even in dogs who could be the species but have varying differences in appearance.
There are numerous other parts of this plant which are more important than the seeds but because the seeds are essential in the cultivation of good plants, much attention should be given to it and its purchase. Some of the available options would be discussed below.
This is the common seeds cultivators have used over the years in the production of marijuana. These seeds comprise of a 50:50 male to female seeds in number and if to be used, the males have to diligently separated from the female seeds.
This type when used produce only female plants. They do not occur naturally but are scientifically produced. This is the most efficient option to be used in the cultivation of marijuana.
These seeds give rise to non-photosensitive plants which can flower either in the presence of light or without it. They flower automatically based on the timing of growth. They are good for all year production. Cultivators or producers of cannabis who prefer to grow their crops in door don’t find this very useful because they can already manipulate the flowering time of their crops by manipulating the light cycle.
This is for producers who don’t want the plants to have seeds although there is still room for exceptions. It’s strongly advised to keep the male pollens out of the cultivation room except when needed. This could cause a reduction in the plant yield and the taste ruined.
Generally, averting female pollination is desired by cultivators because the energy and nutrients used in fertilization is converted to the production of cannabinoids and buds which are highly valuable. Non fertilized plants produce more sugar, THC and produces denser and more fragrant flowers which is ideal from medicinal purposes due to its high active ingredients.
WHAT ARE THC and CBD
These two compounds are responsible for the observed effects of marijuana. There are differences between these compounds and they are explained below:
CANNABIS ELEMENT: THC
THC represents tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s responsible for the psychoactive effect of marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol is known to mimic the effects of anandamide on brain memories, increase in cognitive processes and motoric. It also has effects on fertility, hunger, pain and depression. For therapeutic benefits, strains with high THC contents are sought after.
CANNABIS ELEMENT: CBD
Cannabidiol is a psychoactive substance commonly used in medicine. CBD acts synergistically with Thc in certain ways such as suppressing the psychedelic effects which is a great advantage in the therapeutics of marijuana.
There are other examples of cannabinoids but they are only present in small amounts.