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Professional Grower Explained: What is Cannabis Sativa?

professional grower explained what is cannabis sativa

Every cannabis grower should be able to understand that there are different types of cannabis species. Likewise, there are three major cannabis species: the cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis.

Identification of these cannabis varieties is important for any neophyte grower. Each of these species varies in physical and chemical characteristics. That is why a careful examination should be done as one use and aroma is different from one another. It’s basic information that every aspirant grower should be able to master.

In this article, we’ll get to know more about the cannabis sativa species. Moreover, we’ll understand its cultivation practices, physical traits, and potential uses in comparison to other cannabis species involved.

What is Cannabis Sativa?

As basics, the cannabis sativa is a scientific name given to specific cannabis species that were indigenous to tropical and sub-tropical regions in the world. They are annual herbaceous flowering plant primitively grown to forests of Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa, China, Brazil, parts of the USA, South Africa, India, and Kenya.  Whereas, the cannabis indica species were first cultivated exclusively on a few regions of the Middle East. 

As compared to other cannabis species, the sativa varieties are widely distributed across the world. Its mostly purchased and cultivated as it holds significance to human’s daily living.

Not everyone knows, but there are two varying species of cannabis sativa. The first one denoting as pure Cannabis Sativa and the other literally named as Cannabis Sativa L.

In one glance, you could not readily identify the difference between these two species. However, both hold different functions and chemical composition. The Cannabis Sativa or what we knew as marijuana or pot induce psychoactive effects. Whereas, the Cannabis Sativa L. or what we refer as hemp are non-psychoactive. It will never make anyone euphoric upon smoking or consuming it.

To not be confused, the rest of the article will refer to cannabis sativa as marijuana and the cannabis sativa L. as hemp.

The Marijuana Species

Basic Profile:

We all learn about marijuana horrifically. Its depicted as bad, villainous, and a narcotic drug. Consequently, it has been illegal of use to some countries and had been regularized to few countries who allowed using it.

Marijuana also called pot, weed, herb, ganja, Mary Jane, or bud are primarily utilized for recreational smoking. It’s the same league as tobacco for which dried leaves are rolled into a joint and then smoke it. Apart from that, marijuana could be infused to food or teas. It’s mixed into edibles such as cookies, candies, and even candies.

Various forms of marijuana are being sold in various dispensaries and cannabis stores. Higher concentrates of its active ingredients are referred to as hash oil, rosin, hashish, resin, and shatter. These different modes of marijuana used at multiple purposes mainly in cooking, medicine, or smoking.

Physical Characteristics

Before we conclude that it’s a marijuana plant, its vital that one should scan thoroughly the plant itself and look for some hints as needed. 

Basically, a marijuana plant is usually long and tall in stature. It should grow at least six feet to as much as 20 feet. There are times that it spans to more than 20 feet depending on the nutrient and growing conditions of the plant.

Comparably to an indica variety, marijuana plants are usually cultivated outdoors. Though there are few instances where it’s being grown indoors, the plant thrives best on its natural habitat conditions.

The plant’s branch structure are typically slim and narrow. Leaves are light-green, driven with sharp and long blades, and scattered over the plant’s overall shape. This arrangement promotes ventilation during plant growth to prevent the risk of fungus or bacterial infestation as it’s cultivated in slightly humid conditions.

The flowering period takes longer than its relative indica or ruderalis varieties. It spans usually from nine to ten weeks. Its buds or flowers are uniquely slender, not quite dense as the indica strain. It’s fluffy with a fruity and floral aroma with sweetness on its details. However, this may vary as pure sativa strains are constantly bred from indica strains. These type of strains are referred to as a hybrid.

Chemical Composition

All cannabis varieties are distinctively comprised of a group of compounds called cannabinoids. These clustered compounds contain different amounts or concentrations into each variety or strain. Consequently, there are at least 113 existing cannabinoids functioning in a typical cannabis plant.

A notable cannabinoid for a marijuana plant is the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This cannabinoid exists in high concentrations on various marijuana strains. Exclusively, it may range from 15% to more than 30% depending on the strain’s genetic composition and growing conditions.

The Delta -9- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) holds importance to a marijuana plant. It’s the main culprit to its psychoactive effect that’s being felt once consumed marijuana. It’s a resin usually found in the leaves and predominantly on the buds of the plant. It consequently the main reason why marijuana is banned to different areas across the globe.

Benefits and Uses

The marijuana plant has multiple uses. Primarily, it’s the main commodity for recreational smoking. Its often sold in several licensed cannabis stores in few countries. However, as said, it’s still illegal to use in some countries. It’s best to know more of the laws and policies before taking any step on buying marijuana.

Second of all, marijuana possesses therapeutic benefits. It’s efficient to alleviate symptoms of different conditions such as glaucoma, epilepsy, migraines, and even diseases like cancer and AIDS. It has been continuous researching as to its potential health uses and how to safely take it without experiencing euphoria or paranoia.

Also, marijuana oils or resin could be infused to various food products. Its relatively edible and could be added to foods for enhancing of flavor, color, or taste. Moreover, its seeds could be eaten as well. It’s rich in protein and several important nutrients like amino acid and carbohydrates.

The Hemp

Basic Profile:

Hemp has a quite similar appearance to marijuana. It has been part of the cannabis sativa variety though employs different chemical composition as the latter possesses. This is a quick-grown plant with astonishingly industrial and commercial benefits. It has been widely used on early to industrial human civilization with large-scale plantations for it.

However, with the rise of marijuana’s ban, the plant’s popularity has slowly declined. It was often perceived as ‘marijuana’ as to its analogous appearance. That is why, a lot of its growers stopped planting hemp and shifted to other less controversial commodities as such as rice, corn, wheat, and cotton.

Unlike marijuana, the hemp doesn’t possess any psychoactive component. Smoking it won’t get one euphoric as the latter manifests. It’s a misconceived plant and just plainly victimized from the fate that its close relative possesses.

Chemical Composition

Like any cannabis variety, the hemp contains cannabinoids. Though, its composition varies from the likes of marijuana or any cannabis variety.

In contrary to the marijuana plant, the hemp comprises of very low THC content. However, it’s conversely high in CBD content. The Cannabidiol (CBD) is another prominent cannabinoid present in a cannabis variety. It counteracts THC with negligible psychoactive capability.

Oppositely, CBD is known to be therapeutic with sedative and relaxing effect upon purely consuming it. Furthermore, CBD has been thoroughly studied and produced legally by several pharmaceutical companies across the world.

In the United States, it has a trading name of Epidolex which is a drug used to treat epilepsy disorder. Though, the drug is sold to only limited states in the USA since it’s not thoroughly proven as a form of treatment.

Physical Appearance:

At one glance, both marijuana and hemp are similar. However, upon examining it thoroughly, there are few differences that both cannabis plants possess. 

First, its leaves. The leaves of the marijuana plant are broader and narrower than those of hemp. Leaves of a typical hemp plant are most dense to the top and less prominent below. Whereas, a marijuana plant’s foliage is well-disperse to different corners of the plant.

The other thing to look at is its physical stature. Marijuana plants tend to be fatter and shorter as compared to a hemp plant. Hemp plants grow taller more than 20 feet and skinnier than a marijuana plant.

Benefits and Uses

The hemp plant is traditionally an important raw material about 10,000 years ago. It has been used mainly to produce ropes, textile, clothing, and shoes. It has a strong and reliable fiber blended with other fabric materials such as cotton and flax to make various textile products.

Its also used as a building material. Its an effective insulating material combined with other elements as such as brick, wood, and steel. It has also been utilized to mix with plastics and fiberglass to manufacture composites for use in the construction of automobile parts and furniture.

Apart from that, the hemp is also used as a food source. As similar to marijuana, its seeds are rich in protein and various nutrients. In fact, its commercially sold analogous to other legume and nut products. Moreover, hemp is also extracted as oils to cook food.

Being rich in CBD, it also has medical benefits. Its use to treat and alleviate different conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, and depression. It also improves the quality of sleep, promotes relaxation and focuses as well.

As of now, the industrial hemp industry is still active. Though, regulations have been stricter ever since the banning of the marijuana plant.

The Final Word

When you say cannabis sativa, it’s truly a complicated plant. There’s a lot of stories to tell with this plant species as related to its uses, effect upon consumption, and chemical composition. It has ups and downs, misconceptions, and myths as well.

In general, there’s no such thing as a bad plant. Nature has been blessed to have these wonderful plants. It holds an opportunity for betterment. Though, sometimes it takes moderation and proper guidance upon taking any of it.


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