Since prehistoric times, Cannabis has provided humans with fiber to clothe them, food to nourish them, oil to light their lamps, euphoriant to inspire them, and medicine to alleviate their suffering. In return, humans have disseminated Cannabis from its indigenous range in central Asia and the Indian subcontinent to the far corners of the world.
The everlasting debate on grouping Cannabis into biotypes on a molecular, constituent or characteristics level continues, three species within the genus have been proposed: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. However, the fact that all tested varieties have produced fertile seeds turns this discussion – in a botanical sense – obsolete and all Cannabis can be considered Cannabis sativa. It is a herbaceous annual plant and a dioecious species with sexual dimorphism (meaning male and female plants exist) occurring in the flowering stage of plant development. Cultivated Cannabis sativa can be grouped into two distinct groups, hemp is bred for and serves agronomic purposes like seed, fiber and oil production, whereas resin-type Cannabis, also referred to as “marijuana”, is mostly cultivated and bred for high concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenoids and yields of its flowering tops (“buds”). Cannabis sativa displays an immense number of constituents, up to date, over 565 different molecules have been isolated and identified from Cannabis, out of which 120 are cannabinoids and are therefore unique to the plant.
For the production of flowers, only female clones are used, which all come from mother plants that serve the clonal propagation. Cloned Cannabis plants grow much more homogenous than plants from seeds and therefore facilitate a streamlined and controlled production.