What is Cannabis
Cannabis refers to a group of plants that contain: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. There is a lot of confusion about the terms Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana. The terms have been used interchangeably, and sometimes incorrectly, for many years. Cannabis refers to the genus or the all-inclusive taxonomy that describes the strains of the plant. Hemp and Marijuana are types of Cannabis that vary widely at the genome level, which dictates their difference in production of CBD and THC levels. The Cannabis plant is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented plants on the planet. The Cannabis plant is extremely complex and contains over 700 components and over 120 of those are cannabinoids, but 50 of these are produced in significant amounts. The other components are a mixture of terpenes, flavonoids and other plant molecules. Terpenes play a large role in the effects of Cannabis and some of them are being studied for the positive effects on the human body.
The generally accepted origin of Cannabis is that it was first wildly grown in the mountains of Kazakhstan nearly 10,000 years ago. The harsh climate in the mountains forced the Cannabis plant to adapt a shorter grow cycle due to the shorter summer season.
Like a lot of plants, Cannabis uses animals to help spread its seeds, and it accomplished this with various odors from the blends of terpenes. These scents would entice the animals to eat the flowers and spread the seeds in their excrements. The production of terpenes, which are aromatic compounds, are not only a reproductive mechanism to attract animals, but also a defense mechanism against smaller bugs to prevent them from destroying the plant. Utilizing the Silk Route, humans assisted in the movement of Cannabis into more populated regions. The Silk Route was a historic trade route that dated from the second century B.C. until the 14th century A.D. It stretched from Asia to the Mediterranean, traversing China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greece, and Italy. Due to this expanded trade route, the Cannabis plant and seeds were taken to different climates, causing a divergence into two main strains. The Indica strains developed in the colder regions of the Himalayas, while the Sativa strains were grown in the Middle East and African regions.
Cannabis use has been part of the human experience since its discovery. It has been speculated that our ancestors would ingest Cannabis to help them relax and forget about their long days of hunting and gathering. Research shows that Cannabis has been used medicinally for as many as 5,000 years and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine, two of the world’s oldest medical traditions still practiced today. Cannabis tonics and tinctures were even commonplace in American homes until their prohibition in the late 1930s. Dr. William O’Shaughnessy was an Irish doctor working in India who was one of the first Westerns to study Cannabis as a medicine. It has been used for centuries in India for many alignments, but it wasnt until 1838 that his work with Cannabis began to get noticed back in the British Empire. In 1890 in one of the most respected medical Journals, The Lancet, J.R. Reynolds, who was the personal physician to Queen Victoria, published about his work with Cannabis. He was quoted as saying, “ In almost all painful maladies I have found Indian hemp by far the most useful drug.”