Introduction to Cannabis
A brief history of Cannabis…
The healing properties of cannabis have been known for quite some time. References to cannabis, and its therapeutic use, date back to ancient China, where it was used as a medicine to bring balance to the body, and also as an anesthetic. Cannabis was even introduced into the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1854.
Today, we have a much better understanding of cannabis and the healing components these plants possess. Although research is still restricted in the U.S., many studies have shown just how powerful this healing plant can be. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of conditions. These include pain relief – particularly of pain caused by nerve damage – nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Cannabis is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, AIDS, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may even protect against some types of malignant tumors, and act as a neuroprotective.
With more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s supervision. The medicinal value of cannabis is becoming hard to ignore with study after study proving its effectiveness.
Here we will go over some of the basics of Medical Cannabis. We will explain the common cannabinoids and how they interact with our body’s natural endocannabinoid system, the difference between Sativa and Indica plants, an intro into terpenes that make up the smell and taste of cannabis, and also methods of cannabis consumption.
Indica plants tend to grow short with thick stems and broad, deep-green leaves. They also have shorter flowering cycles, and grow sufficiently in cold, short-season climates. Sativa plants have longer flowering cycles, fare better in warm climates with long seasons, and usually grow taller with relatively light-green, and narrow leaves.
Knowing the morphological, or physical, form differences between Indica and Sativa plants are more useful to growers and cultivators than virtually anyone else in the cannabis space, despite the terms’ common use in the consumer marketplace.
Every part of the cannabis plant is usable. Historically, cannabis has been bred by humans for three distinct purposes:
- Fiber – harvesting cannabis stalks, typically from hemp varieties.
- Seeds – harvesting seeds from a female hemp plant for its rich oil and protein content.
- Drug-type cultivars – harvesting cultivated varieties for their psychoactive and therapeutic cannabinoids.
From seed to harvest, the cannabis plant’s growth cycle can last anywhere from 10 to 26 weeks. The cycle has three main stages: germination, vegetation, and flowering. Like most plants, cannabis requires light, air, nutrients, and a medium to house its roots. The amount and duration of light the plant is exposed to dictates which growth stage it will be in.