History of Cannabis

Cannabis has a long history of human use. Most ancient cultures didn’t grow the plant to get high, but as herbal medicine, likely starting in Asia around 500 BC.
The history of cannabis cultivation in America dates back to the early colonists, who grew hemp for textiles and rope.

The cannabis or hemp plant originally evolved in Central Asia before people introduced the plant into Africa, Europe and eventually the Americas.

Hemp fiber was used to make clothing, paper, sails and rope, and its seeds were used as food.

These early hemp plants had very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects.
There’s some evidence that ancient cultures knew about the psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant. They may have cultivated some varieties to produce higher levels of THC for use in religious ceremonies or healing practice.

In the 1830s, Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish doctor studying in India, found that cannabis extracts could help lessen stomach pain and vomiting in people suffering from cholera.

By the late 1800s, cannabis extracts were sold in pharmacies and doctors’ offices throughout Europe and the United States to treat stomach problems and other ailments.
Scientists later discovered that THC was the source of marijuana’s medicinal properties. As the psychoactive compound responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects, THC also interacts with areas of the brain that are able to lessen nausea and promote hunger.

California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use by people with severe or chronic illnesses with the
Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

The Story of Strains

Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis sativa s a species of cannabis usually associated with mammoth growth and potent, cerebral highs. It is certainly the tallest of the three species, with pure bred sativas able to reach above 5m in height under the right conditions. Cannabis sativa originated from countries around the equator, such as Thailand and Indonesia, where the length of day varies very little throughout the year. However, as vegetation is dense, the plants need to fight for sunlight. As a result, cannabis sativa has evolved to continue growing tall.

It produces large, but airy looking cannabis. The huge growth produces abundant yields, but requires a longer flowering time. The leaves of a sativa are much more slender than those of the other species, producing almost delicate looking fingers.
Sativa typically has high THC content with comparatively low amounts of CBD.

It results in a predominantly heady high, often characterized by the following effects: Euphoria, inspiration, motivation, increased energy, focus, uplifted mood and stimulated appetite.

Cannabis Indica

Cannabis indica was first documented by the West in 1785. It is a species of cannabis thought to have originated from the arid and dry climates of the world, such as Lebanon, Afghanistan and of course, India. Pure indica strains grow with a squat, Christmas tree like stature; and have an average flowering time of 6-8 weeks. As soon as an indica reaches its optimal height, it will stop growing upwards, in favor of putting its energy into producing its dense, aromatic buds.

This is a by-product of its origins, as the area of the world indica comes from has significant fluctuations in daylight hours throughout the year. This trait can also be seen in its leaves, which are much wider, and fanlike in nature than the other species of cannabis – allowing to fully utilize any light it can get.

Strains of cannabis indica tend to produce moderate levels of THC, with comparatively high CBD levels. There are even some strains that have been bred to now contain more CBD  than THC. Typical traits of an indica high include: A body buzz, the classic couch lock sedation, increased dopamine production, relief from stress and anxiety, eased muscle tension, and increased appetite.

Cannabis Ruderallis

Although it has been around for a long time, cannabis ruderalis is a relatively new addition to the world of cannabis cultivation and breeding. This is due to the fact that ruderalis grows very small, very weak, and with little yields. However, it does have some very beneficial traits – namely high resilience, and a light-independent flowering cycle.

Cannabis ruderalis originates from the northern reaches of the world, such as Russia, China, and Poland. Due to the lack of light and cold weather, ruderalis has evolved into a very hardy plant whose flowering cycle is not determined by changes in light, but by age. The downside to this is that ruderalis doesn’t grow to a particularly impressive size, or produce yields of much note.

The effects of pure ruderalis are pretty much none-existent, due to its low levels of THC and CBD. However, through selective cross breeding, it has been possible to create either indica or sativa dominant strains that have the resilience and autoflowering traits of a ruderalis – bringing together the best of both

The Chemistry of Cannabanoids

There are three main classes of cannabinoid:

Produced by plants

Endogenous compounds present in mammals that activate the same receptors as phytocannabinoids

Synthetic Cannabimimetics
Synthetic compounds that activate the same receptors.
A large number of phytocannabinoids have been detected in cannabis, but the dominant ones tend to be D9 -THCA and CBDA.

These spontaneously undergo thermally induced decarboxylation to the more biologically active forms, D9 -THC and CBD.

In mammals, cannabinoids interact with a complex signalling and control network known as the endocannabinoid system.
Medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids have been considered for the treatment of a vast range of medical conditions.

Promising results have been obtained with the treatment of epilepsy in paediatric and young adult patients, the prevention or management of nausea and vomiting, multiple sclerosis, and chronic non-cancer pain.