Meet the Cannabis Plant


Cannabis is an annual plant that can grow up to five meters high in three to six months.  It’s a versatile plant which can basically grow in all but extreme climate and soil conditions.  Still, it prefers lots of sunlight, a well-drained soil, with plentiful nutrients and water.   

Cannabis is grown mainly for two purposes; for its “high” effect as marijuana and for its large number of other uses as hemp.  Cannabis is the general name of the  plant family which includes both marijuana and hemp.   

Hemp is a variety of cannabis grown for its tall and sturdy stalks, and contains low levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient which causes the “high” effect.  Marijuana is the variety of cannabis with high levels of THC.   Both types of cannabis contain numerous cannabinoids (one of which is the famous CBD), the main distinction being levels of THC.

There are three categories of Cannabis: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.  Cannabis Indica plants have short and broad leaflets and are thought to originate from present day Afghanistan.   The Sativa plant has longer and narrower ones and has originated in Asia and North Africa.  The Ruderalis plant, characterized by its weedy growth, is native to Northern Himalayas and Southern Russia.

Due to extensive hybridization between the Sativa and the Indica, the distinction between the two has been obscured.  The two categories have been interbred for generations and therefore dont have the clear distinct gene pools their ancestors once had. 


Coursera – Technion Elon Eisenberg


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