The Info List - Cannabis

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_CANNABIS_ (/ˈkænəbɪs/ ) is a genus of flowering plant in the family Cannabaceae . The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized, _ Cannabis sativa _, _ Cannabis indica _ and _ Cannabis ruderalis _; _C. ruderalis_ may be included within _C. sativa_; or all three may be treated as subspecies of a single species, _C. sativa_. The genus is indigenous to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent .

Cannabis has long been used for hemp fibre, for hemp oils , for medicinal purposes , and as a recreational drug . Industrial hemp products are made from cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber. To satisfy the UN Narcotics Convention , some cannabis strains have been bred to produce minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent . Many plants have been selectively bred to produce a maximum of THC (cannabinoids ), which is obtained by curing the flowers. Various compounds, including hashish and hash oil , are extracted from the plant.

Globally, in 2013, 60,400 kilograms of cannabis were produced legally . In 2014 there were an estimated 182.5 million cannabis users (3.8% of the population aged 15–64). This percentage has not changed significantly between 1998 and 2014.


* 1 Description

* 1.1 Reproduction * 1.2 Biochemistry and drugs * 1.3 Chromosomes and genome * 1.4 Taxonomy * 1.5 History of cannabis * 1.6 Early classifications * 1.7 20th century * 1.8 Continuing research * 1.9 Popular usage

* 2 Uses

* 2.1 Recreational use * 2.2 Medical use * 2.3 Industrial use (hemp) * 2.4 Ancient and religious uses

* 3 Reproduction

* 3.1 Breeding systems * 3.2 Sex determination

* 4 Etymology * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links


_ Cannabis_ growing as weeds at the foot of Dhaulagiri , Nepal . _ A thicket of wild cannabis_ in Islamabad , Pakistan .

Cannabis is an annual , dioecious , flowering herb . The leaves are palmately compound or digitate , with serrate leaflets . The first pair of leaves usually have a single leaflet, the number gradually increasing up to a maximum of about thirteen leaflets per leaf (usually seven or nine), depending on variety and growing conditions. At the top of a flowering plant, this number again diminishes to a single leaflet per leaf. The lower leaf pairs usually occur in an opposite leaf arrangement and the upper leaf pairs in an alternate arrangement on the main stem of a mature plant.

The leaves have a peculiar and diagnostic venation pattern that enables persons poorly familiar with the plant to distinguish a cannabis leaf from unrelated species that have confusingly similar leaves (see illustration). As is common in serrated leaves, each serration has a central vein extending to its tip. However, the serration vein originates from lower down the central vein of the leaflet, typically opposite to the position of, not the first notch down, but the next notch. This means that on its way from the midrib of the leaflet to the point of the serration, the vein serving the tip of the serration passes close by the intervening notch. Sometimes the vein will actually pass tangent to the notch, but often it will pass by at a small distance, and when that happens a spur vein (occasionally a pair of such spur veins) branches off and joins the leaf margin at the deepest point of the notch. This venation pattern varies slightly among varieties, but in general it enables one to tell _Cannabis_ leaves from superficially similar leaves without difficulty and without special equipment. Tiny samples of _Cannabis_ plants also can be identified with precision by microscopic examination of leaf cells and similar features, but that requires special expertise and equipment.

The plant is believed to have originated in the mountainous regions northwest of the Himalayas. It is also known as hemp, although this term is often used to refer only to varieties of _Cannabis_ cultivated for non-drug use.


_Cannabis_ normally has imperfect flowers , with staminate "male" and pistillate "female" flowers occurring on separate plants. It is not unusual, however, for individual plants to bear both male and female flowers. Although monoecious plants are often referred to as "hermaphrodites", true hermaphrodites (which are less common) bear staminate and pistillate structures together on individual flowers, whereas monoecious plants bear male and female flowers at different locations on the same plant. Male flowers are normally borne on loose panicles , and female flowers are borne on racemes . "At a very early period the Chinese recognized the _Cannabis_ plant as dioecious", and the (c. 3rd century BCE) _ Erya _ dictionary defined _xi_ 枲 "male _Cannabis_" and _fu_ 莩 (or _ju_ 苴) "female _Cannabis_".

All known strains of _Cannabis_ are wind-pollinated and the fruit is an achene . 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 be day-neutral .


_Cannabis_ plants produce a group of chemicals called cannabinoids, which produce mental and physical effects when consumed.

Cannabinoids , terpenoids , and other compounds are secreted by glandular trichomes that occur most abundantly on the floral calyxes and bracts of female plants. As a drug it usually comes in the form of dried flower buds (marijuana ), resin (hashish ), or various extracts collectively known as hashish oil . In the early 20th century, it became illegal in most of the world to cultivate or possess _Cannabis_ for sale or personal use.


Root system side view *

Root system top view *

Micrograph _C. sativa_ (left), _C. indica_ (right)


_Cannabis_, like many organisms, is diploid , having a chromosome complement of 2n=20, although polyploid individuals have been artificially produced. The first genome sequence of _Cannabis_, which is estimated to be 820 Mb in size, was published in 2011 by a team of Canadian scientists.


_ Underside of Cannabis sativa _ leaf, showing diagnostic venation

The genus _Cannabis_ was formerly placed in the Nettle ( Urticaceae ) or Mulberry ( Moraceae ) family, and later, along with the _ Humulus _ genus (hops ), in a separate family, the Hemp family (Cannabaceae sensu stricto ). Recent phylogenetic studies based on cpDNA restriction site analysis and gene sequencing strongly suggest that the Cannabaceae sensu stricto arose from within the former Celtidaceae family, and that the two families should be merged to form a single monophyletic family, the Cannabaceae sensu lato .

Various types of _Cannabis_ have been described, and variously classified as species , subspecies , or varieties :

* plants cultivated for fiber and seed production, described as low-intoxicant, non-drug, or fiber types. * plants cultivated for drug production, described as high-intoxicant or drug types. * escaped, hybridised, or wild forms of either of the above types.

_Cannabis_ plants produce a unique family of terpeno-phenolic compounds called cannabinoids, some of which produce the "high" which may be experienced from consuming marijuana. There are 483 identifiable chemical constituents known to exist in the cannabis plant, and at least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the plant. The two cannabinoids usually produced in greatest abundance are cannabidiol (CBD ) and/or Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC ), but only THC is psychoactive. Since the early 1970s, _Cannabis_ plants have been categorized by their chemical phenotype or "chemotype", based on the overall amount of THC produced, and on the ratio of THC to CBD. Although overall cannabinoid production is influenced by environmental factors, the THC/CBD ratio is genetically determined and remains fixed throughout the life of a plant. Non-drug plants produce relatively low levels of THC and high levels of CBD, while drug plants produce high levels of THC and low levels of CBD. When plants of these two chemotypes cross-pollinate, the plants in the first filial (F1) generation have an intermediate chemotype and produce intermedite amounts of CBD and THC. Female plants of this chemotype may produce enough THC to be utilized for drug production. _ Top of Cannabis_ plant in vegetative growth stage

Whether the drug and non-drug, cultivated and wild types of _Cannabis_ constitute a single, highly variable species, or the genus is polytypic with more than one species, has been a subject of debate for well over two centuries. This is a contentious issue because there is no universally accepted definition of a species . One widely applied criterion for species recognition is that species are "groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations which are reproductively isolated from other such groups." Populations that are physiologically capable of interbreeding, but morphologically or genetically divergent and isolated by geography or ecology, are sometimes considered to be separate species. Physiological barriers to reproduction are not known to occur within _Cannabis_, and plants from widely divergent sources are interfertile. However, physical barriers to gene exchange (such as the Himalayan mountain range) might have enabled _Cannabis_ gene pools to diverge before the onset of human intervention, resulting in speciation. It remains controversial whether sufficient morphological and genetic divergence occurs within the genus as a result of geographical or ecological isolation to justify recognition of more than one species.


_ Cannabis sativa_ appears naturally in many tropical and humid parts of the world. Its use as a mind-altering drug has been documented by archaeological finds in prehistoric societies in Eurasia and Africa.

The oldest written record of cannabis usage is the Greek historian Herodotus 's reference to the central Eurasian Scythians taking cannabis steam baths. His (c. 440 BCE) _Histories_ records, "The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed , and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy." Classical Greeks and Romans were using cannabis, while in the Middle East, use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa. In 1545, cannabis spread to the western hemisphere where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber. In North America, cannabis, in the form of hemp, was grown for use in rope, clothing and paper.


_ Relative size of varieties of Cannabis_

The _Cannabis_ genus was first classified using the "modern" system of taxonomic nomenclature by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, who devised the system still in use for the naming of species. He considered the genus to be monotypic, having just a single species that he named _ Cannabis sativa_ L. (L. stands for Linnaeus, and indicates the authority who first named the species). Linnaeus was familiar with European hemp, which was widely cultivated at the time. In 1785, noted evolutionary biologist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck published a description of a second species of _Cannabis_, which he named _ Cannabis indica_ Lam. Lamarck based his description of the newly named species on plant specimens collected in India. He described _C. indica_ as having poorer fiber quality than _C. sativa_, but greater utility as an inebriant . Additional _Cannabis_ species were proposed in the 19th century, including strains from China and Vietnam (Indo-China) assigned the names _ Cannabis chinensis_ Delile, and _ Cannabis gigantea_ Delile ex Vilmorin. However, many taxonomists found these putative species difficult to distinguish. In the early 20th century, the single-species concept was still widely accepted, except in the Soviet Union where _Cannabis_ continued to be the subject of active taxonomic study. The name _ Cannabis indica_ was listed in various Pharmacopoeias , and was widely used to designate _Cannabis_ suitable for the manufacture of medicinal preparations.


_ Cannabis ruderalis _

In 1924, Russian botanist D.E. Janichevsky concluded that ruderal _Cannabis_ in central Russia is either a variety of _C. sativa_ or a separate species, and proposed _C. sativa_ L. var. _ruderalis_ Janisch, and _ Cannabis ruderalis_ Janisch, as alternative names. In 1929, renowned plant explorer Nikolai Vavilov assigned wild or feral populations of _Cannabis_ in Afghanistan to _C. indica_ Lam. var. _kafiristanica_ Vav., and ruderal populations in Europe to _C. sativa_ L. var. _spontanea_ Vav. In 1940, Russian botanists Serebriakova and Sizov proposed a complex classification in which they also recognized _C. sativa_ and _C. indica_ as separate species. Within _C. sativa_ they recognized two subspecies: _C. sativa_ L. subsp. _culta_ Serebr. (consisting of cultivated plants), and _C. sativa_ L. subsp. _spontanea_ (Vav.) Serebr. (consisting of wild or feral plants). Serebriakova and Sizov split the two _C. sativa_ subspecies into 13 varieties, including four distinct groups within subspecies _culta_. However, they did not divide _C. indica_ into subspecies or varieties. This excessive splitting of _C. sativa_ proved too unwieldy, and never gained many adherents.

In the 1970s, the taxonomic classification of _Cannabis_ took on added significance in North America. Laws prohibiting _Cannabis_ in the United States and Canada specifically named products of _C. sativa_ as prohibited materials. Enterprising attorneys for the defense in a few drug busts argued that the seized _Cannabis_ material may not have been _C. sativa_, and was therefore not prohibited by law. Attorneys on both sides recruited botanists to provide expert testimony. Among those testifying for the prosecution was Dr. Ernest Small, while Dr. Richard E. Schultes and others testified for the defense. The botanists engaged in heated debate (outside of court), and both camps impugned the other's integrity. The defense attorneys were not often successful in winning their case, because the intent of the law was clear.

In 1976, Canadian botanist Ernest Small and American taxonomist Arthur Cronquist published a taxonomic revision that recognizes a single species of _Cannabis_ with two subspecies: _C. sativa_ L. subsp. _sativa_, and _C. sativa_ L. subsp. _indica_ (Lam.) Small _C. sativa_ subsp. _sativa_ was presumably selected for traits that enhance fiber or seed production, whereas _C. sativa_ subsp. _indica_ was primarily selected for drug production. Within these two subspecies, Small and Cronquist described _C. sativa_ L. subsp. _sativa_ var. _spontanea_ Vav. as a wild or escaped variety of low-intoxicant _Cannabis_, and _C. sativa_ subsp. _indica_ var. _kafiristanica_ (Vav.) Small "> Comparison of physical harm and dependence regarding various drugs A dried bud, typical of what is sold for drug use

Cannabis is a popular recreational drug around the world, only behind alcohol , caffeine and tobacco . In the United States alone, it is believed that over 100 million Americans have tried cannabis, with 25 million Americans having used it within the past year.

The psychoactive effects of _cannabis_ are known to have a triphasic nature. Primary psychoactive effects include a state of relaxation, and to a lesser degree, euphoria from its main psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol . Secondary psychoactive effects, such as a facility for philosophical thinking, introspection and metacognition have been reported among cases of anxiety and paranoia . Finally, the tertiary psychoactive effects of the drug cannabis, can include an increase in heart rate and hunger, believed to be caused by 11-OH-THC , a psychoactive metabolite of THC produced in the liver .

Normal cognition is restored after approximately three hours for larger doses via a smoking pipe , bong or vaporizer . However, if a large amount is taken orally the effects may last much longer. After 24 hours to a few days, minuscule psychoactive effects may be felt, depending on dosage, frequency and tolerance to the drug.

Various forms of the drug cannabis exist, including extracts such as hashish and hash oil which, because of appearance, are more susceptible to adulterants when left unregulated.

Cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychotropic effects by itself (although sometimes showing a small stimulant effect, similar to caffeine ), attenuates, or reduces the higher anxiety levels caused by THC alone.

According to Delphic analysis by British researchers in 2007, cannabis has a lower risk factor for dependence compared to both nicotine and alcohol. However, everyday use of Cannabis can in some cases be correlated with psychological withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and insomnia, and evidence could suggest that if a user experiences stress, the likeliness of getting a panic attack increases because of an increase of THC metabolites. However, cannabis withdrawal symptoms are typically mild and are never life-threatening.


Main article: Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis (or medical marijuana) refers to the use of cannabis and its constituent cannabinoids , to treat disease or improve symptoms. Cannabis is used to reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy , to improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS , and to treat chronic pain and muscle spasms .

Short-term use increases both minor and major adverse effects. Common side effects include dizziness, feeling tired, vomiting, and hallucinations. Long-term effects of cannabis are not clear. Concerns including memory and cognition problems, risk of addiction, schizophrenia in young people, and the risk of children taking it by accident.

Cannabinoids are under preliminary research for their potential to affect stroke or children's epilepsy .


_ Ancient Sanskrit on Hemp based Paper. Hemp Fiber was commonly used in the production of paper from 200 BCE to the Late 1800's. Main article: Cannabis (industrial uses) Cannabis sativa_ stem longitudinal section

The term _hemp_ is used to name the durable soft fiber from the _Cannabis_ plant stem (stalk). _ Cannabis sativa_ cultivars are used for fibers due to their long stems; Sativa varieties may grow more than six metres tall. However, _hemp_ can refer to any industrial or foodstuff product that is not intended for use as a drug. Many countries regulate limits for psychoactive compound ( THC ) concentrations in products labeled as hemp.

Cannabis for industrial uses is valuable in tens of thousands of commercial products, especially as fibre ranging from paper , cordage , construction material and textiles in general, to clothing . Hemp is stronger and longer-lasting than cotton . It also is a useful source of foodstuffs (hemp milk, hemp seed, hemp oil) and biofuels . Hemp has been used by many civilizations, from China to Europe (and later North America ) during the last 12,000 years. In modern times novel applications and improvements have been explored with modest commercial success.


Main articles: Religious and spiritual use of cannabis and History of medical cannabis Cannabis Museum in Amsterdam

The Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years across many cultures. The Yanghai Tombs, a vast ancient cemetery (54 000 m2) situated in the Turfan district of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People\'s Republic of China , have revealed the 2700-year-old grave of a shaman . He is thought to have belonged to the Jushi culture recorded in the area centuries later in the _ Hanshu _, Chap 96B. Near the head and foot of the shaman was a large leather basket and wooden bowl filled with 789g of cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions. An international team demonstrated that this material contained tetrahydrocannabinol , the psychoactive component of cannabis. The cannabis was presumably employed by this culture as a medicinal or psychoactive agent, or an aid to divination. This is the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent.

Settlements which date from _c_. 2200–1700 BCE in the Bactria and Margiana contained elaborate ritual structures with rooms containing everything needed for making drinks containing extracts from poppy (opium), hemp (cannabis), and ephedra (which contains ephedrine ).

“ While we have no evidence of the use of ephedra among the steppe tribes, we have already seen that they did share in the cultic use of hemp, a practice that ranged from Romania east to the Yenisei River from at least the 3rd millennium BC onwards where its use was later encountered in the apparatus for smoking hemp found at Pazyryk . ”

_Cannabis_ is first referred to in Hindu Vedas between 2000 and 1400 BCE, in the _ Atharvaveda _. By the 10th century CE, it has been suggested that it was referred to by some in India as "food of the gods". Cannabis use eventually became a ritual part of the Hindu festival of Holi . One of the earliest to use this plant in medical purposes was Korakkar , one of the 18 Siddhas . The plant is called _ Korakkar Mooli_ in the Tamil language , meaning Korakkar's herb.

In Buddhism , cannabis is generally regarded as an intoxicant and may be a hindrance to development of meditation and clear awareness. In ancient Germanic culture , _Cannabis_ was associated with the Norse love goddess, Freya . An anointing oil mentioned in Exodus is, by some translators, said to contain _Cannabis_. Sufis have used _Cannabis_ in a spiritual context since the 13th century CE.

In modern times, the Rastafari movement has embraced _Cannabis_ as a sacrament. Elders of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church , a religious movement founded in the United States in 1975 with no ties to either Ethiopia or the Coptic Church , consider _Cannabis_ to be the Eucharist , claiming it as an oral tradition from Ethiopia dating back to the time of Christ . Like the Rastafari, some modern Gnostic Christian sects have asserted that _Cannabis_ is the Tree of Life . Other organized religions founded in the 20th century that treat _Cannabis_ as a sacrament are the THC Ministry , Cantheism , the Cannabis Assembly and the Church of Cognizance . Rastafarians tend to be among the biggest consumers of modern Cannabis use.

Cannabis is frequently used among Sufis – the mystical interpretation of Islam that exerts strong influence over local Muslim practices in Bangladesh , India , Indonesia , Turkey , and Pakistan . Cannabis preparations are frequently used at Sufi festivals in those countries. Pakistan's Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh province is particularly renowned for the widespread use of cannabis at the shrine's celebrations, especially its annual _ Urs _ festival and Thursday evening _dhamaal_ sessions - or meditative dancing sessions.

Clay pipes at William Shakespeare\'s Stratford-upon-Avon garden may contain cannabis, indicating that Shakespeare may have been a cannabis smoker.



_ Cannabis sativa_ fruits (achenes) that contain the seeds

_Cannabis_ is predominantly dioecious , although many monoecious varieties have been described. Subdioecy (the occurrence of monoecious individuals and dioecious individuals within the same population) is widespread. Many populations have been described as sexually labile. _ Cannabis_ flower with visible trichomes _ Male Cannabis_ flower buds

As a result of intensive selection in cultivation, _Cannabis_ exhibits many sexual phenotypes that can be described in terms of the ratio of female to male flowers occurring in the individual, or typical in the cultivar. Dioecious varieties are preferred for drug production, where the female flowers are used. Dioecious varieties are also preferred for textile fiber production, whereas monoecious varieties are preferred for pulp and paper production. It has been suggested that the presence of monoecy can be used to differentiate licit crops of monoecious hemp from illicit drug crops. However, _sativa_ strains often produce monoecious individuals, probably as a result of inbreeding.


_Cannabis_ has been described as having one of the most complicated mechanisms of sex determination among the dioecious plants. Many models have been proposed to explain sex determination in _Cannabis_.

Based on studies of sex reversal in hemp , it was first reported by K. Hirata in 1924 that an XY sex-determination system is present. At the time, the XY system was the only known system of sex determination. The X:A system was first described in Drosophila spp in 1925. Soon thereafter, Schaffner disputed Hirata's interpretation, and published results from his own studies of sex reversal in hemp, concluding that an X:A system was in use and that furthermore sex was strongly influenced by environmental conditions.

Since then, many different types of sex determination systems have been discovered, particularly in plants. Dioecy is relatively uncommon in the plant kingdom, and a very low percentage of dioecious plant species have been determined to use the XY system. In most cases where the XY system is found it is believed to have evolved recently and independently.

Since the 1920s, a number of sex determination models have been proposed for _Cannabis_. Ainsworth describes sex determination in the genus as using "an X/autosome dosage type".

The question of whether heteromorphic sex chromosomes are indeed present is most conveniently answered if such chromosomes were clearly visible in a karyotype . _Cannabis_ was one of the first plant species to be karyotyped; however, this was in a period when karyotype preparation was primitive by modern standards (see History of Cytogenetics ). Heteromorphic sex chromosomes were reported to occur in staminate individuals of dioecious "Kentucky" hemp, but were not found in pistillate individuals of the same variety. Dioecious "Kentucky" hemp was assumed to use an XY mechanism. Heterosomes were not observed in analyzed individuals of monoecious "Kentucky" hemp, nor in an unidentified German cultivar. These varieties were assumed to have sex chromosome composition XX. According to other researchers, no modern karyotype of _Cannabis_ had been published as of 1996. Proponents of the XY system state that Y chromosome is slightly larger than the X, but difficult to differentiate cytologically.

More recently, Sakamoto and various co-authors have used RAPD to isolate several genetic marker sequences that they name Male-Associated DNA in _Cannabis_ (MADC), and which they interpret as indirect evidence of a male chromosome. Several other research groups have reported identification of male-associated markers using RAPD and AFLP . Ainsworth commented on these findings, stating,

“ It is not surprising that male-associated markers are relatively abundant. In dioecious plants where sex chromosomes have not been identified, markers for maleness indicate either the presence of sex chromosomes which have not been distinguished by cytological methods or that the marker is tightly linked to a gene involved in sex determination. ”

Environmental sex determination is known to occur in a variety of species. Many researchers have suggested that sex in _Cannabis_ is determined or strongly influenced by environmental factors. Ainsworth reviews that treatment with auxin and ethylene have feminizing effects, and that treatment with cytokinins and gibberellins have masculinizing effects. It has been reported that sex can be reversed in _Cannabis_ using chemical treatment. A PCR -based method for the detection of female-associated DNA polymorphisms by genotyping has been developed.


A male hemp plant *

Dense raceme of female flowers typical of drug-type varieties of _Cannabis_


Main article: Cannabis (etymology)

The word _cannabis_ is from Greek κάνναβις (_kánnabis_) (see Latin _cannabis_), which was originally Scythian or Thracian . It is related to the Persian _kanab_, the English _canvas_ and possibly even to the English _hemp _ ( Old English _hænep_). In modern Hebrew , קַנַּבּוֹס‎ _qannabōs_ (modern pronunciation: ) is used but there are those who have theorized that it was referred to in antiquity as קני בושם _q'nei bosem_, a component of the biblical anointing oil. Old Akkadian _qunnabtu_, Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian _qunnabu_ were used to refer to the plant meaning "a way to produce smoke."


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