What is Cannabis?

What Is Cannabis: Cannabis 101

Learning about cannabis can be intimidating. Different strains of cannabis, different ways to ingest cannabis, and different types of highs result in a lot of cannabis lingo. Also, using cannabis affects every person uniquely, so one needs to try a variety of cannabis substances and consumption methods to understand what they like best. Although it may be challenging to learn about the deep and nuanced world of cannabis, it is much easier than it used to be. Just ten years ago, when cannabis was illegal in much of the United States, it was challenging to find good resources to learn about cannabis. However, the rise of the internet and the legalization of marijuana and other substances like CBD make finding quality, comprehensive resources simple. In this Cannabis 101 resource, we ask the simple question, what is cannabis?

Our question is simple, but it is not an obvious answer. When many people think about cannabis, they instantly think of marijuana. Although marijuana is a cannabis product, there are many other essential elements of the cannabis plant. Today, we will describe the cannabis plant, some of its main byproducts, and the differences between cannabis and other plants like hemp. Once you finish reading, you will have an excellent foundation for your cannabis education. Without further ado, here is our answer to “what is cannabis?”

What Is Cannabis: The Cannabis Plant

What is cannabis: the leaves of the cannabis plant
Cannabis Leaves

Cannabis comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant. The cannabis plant is indigenous to East Asia, where ancient cultures began cultivating it thousands of years ago. Many scholars believe cannabis was one of the first cultivated plants, illustrating its importance to human culture.

The plant is tall and green and easy to identify because of its large, famous leaves. Cannabis needs a lot of light to grow, about 16 to 18 hours a day. Furthermore, cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning that it has male and female flowers. The male plants produce pollen that female plants receive, creating seeds that produce more cannabis plants. However, for farmers who produce cannabis, they want to avoid the reproductive cycle.

The female plants receive the pollen from male plants via their large flowers. These flowers grow as large, sticky buds that many call “nuggets.” It is these flowers from the cannabis plant that can create cannabis products like marijuana and CBD. However, once the male plants pollinate the female flowers, they begin to create seeds. The pollination is counterproductive to the process of cultivating cannabis. Therefore, cannabis farmers will only grow female cannabis plants to obtain unpollinated cannabis flowers. The farmers then turn the flowers into cannabis products of all shapes and sizes.

What is Cannabis: Different Productswhat is cannabis: marijuana flower

Marijuana is the most well-known cannabis product. Marijuana is the flower of the cannabis plant. The simplest way to use marijuana is to let the flowers dry out and then grind them into small pieces. These pieces burn easily and are very easy to smoke. Although this is the most straightforward way to consume cannabis, countless other methods exist.

The flower contains hundreds of organic compounds called “cannabinoids.” These cannabinoids come in all sorts of varieties. Some are psychoactive, which means they cause a high. Others are non-psychoactive, meaning they do not cause a high. When one smokes cannabis flower, they consume all of these cannabinoids in concert. However, producers can extract certain cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and put them into specific products.

The most famous cannabinoid is THC. This compound is responsible for causing the classic marijuana high. It is the most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, and anyone who has used marijuana before is familiar with its euphoric effects.

Another abundant cannabinoid is CBD. This compound recently became very popular due to its natural effects. Although nothing is definitively proven by science, countless people claim CBD helps relax muscles, reduce anxiety, and help with sleep. Furthermore, it is non-psychoactive. So one can use CBD at any time of the day as a natural medicine.

CBD and THC are the two most popular cannabinoids, but countless others exist. Delta 8, HHC, Delta 10, and many more cannabinoids exist within cannabis. These cannabinoids range from incredibly psychoactive to utterly benign, each having a variety of unique uses. Many of these cannabinoids are isolated into pure products, allowing anyone to experience their unique effects. Although marijuana is more popular, many prefer using these lesser-known cannabinoid products.

What is Cannabis: Cannabis and Hemp

If you know about cannabis, you likely also know about hemp. Many people use these words interchangeably, but this is a mistake. Cannabis and hemp are very similar but have one essential difference, the quantity of THC.what is cannabis: hemp farm

Cannabis and hemp are the same plants. They grow identically and can reproduce together. The reason they have different names is not because they are different plants but because of their THC content. Cannabis is much higher in THC than hemp, and many hemp plants have almost zero THC. Although many referred to hemp as low-THC cannabis colloquially for years, it now has a legal definition. The 2018 Farm Bill declared that hemp in the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC. Additionally, the Bill also made hemp legal in the United States as long as it met the aforementioned legal definition. Although cannabis low in THC might seem useless to some, it serves an essential purpose to many.

Hemp serves more purposes than just bearing flowers. Its natural fibers are strong and durable, so manufacturers commonly use them in rope, cloth, and paper. However, hemp flower is still supremely useful. Although it is low in THC, it is high in other cannabinoids like CBD. Producers extract these cannabinoids and put them into various products, like oils, pills, drinks, and foods. The hemp industry is a godsend for people who use CBD to help with anxiety, aches and pains, or sleep.

Furthermore, any cannabinoid product extracted from hemp is de facto legal, which is why cannabinoids like Delta 8 are legal in most of the United States because they come from hemp. However, the details will have to wait until the next edition of Cannabis 101 – coming soon.