Cannabis is an ancient plant. It was one of the first cultivated plants, both for its fiber and its caloric value. Later in our relationship, but not long, humans discovered the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids. From the three major sub species, selective breeding developed two distinct “cultivars” hemp and marijuana and there appears to be some genetic evidence to this theory.
Cannabis progeny had been chosen based on their effectiveness at a given task, say for fiber verses seed production. As this variety accelerated due to selective breeding, cannabis is now found in two distinct cultivars.
“…A cultivar[nb 1] is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation. Most cultivars have arisen in cultivation but a few are special selections from the wild. Popular ornamental garden plants like roses, camellias, daffodils, rhododendrons and azaleas are cultivars produced by careful breeding and selection for flower color and form. Similarly the world’s agricultural food crops are almost exclusively cultivars that have been selected for characters like improved yield, flavor, and resistance to disease: very few wild plants are now used as food sources. Trees used in forestry are also special selections grown for their enhanced quality and yield of timber…” Wikipedia
I will call one cultivar Cannabis Hemp (hemp) and the other Cannabis Marijuana (marijuana).
This classification leaves out Indica, Sativa, or Ruderalis, due to the confusing nature of cannabis sub species classifications. Hemp and Marijuana cultivars consist of all three major cannabis sub species. Suffice it to say, there is no current scientific conscience.
“…A polytypic concept of Cannabis is proposed, which recognizes three species, C. sativa, C. indica and C. ruderalis, and seven putative taxa…”
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 52: 161–180, 2005.
Chines Symbol for Cannabis
The only difference between hemp and marijuana, for the purposes of this post, is their THC concentration. Cannabis Hemp is defined by the DEA as:
Click here for a full PDF version of the hemp rules as they now appear in the Federal Register:
Pursuant to § 811(g)(3)(B), the Administrator of DEA may exempt from control ‘‘[a] compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any controlled substance, which is not for administration to a human being or animal, and which is packaged in such form or concentration, or with adulterants or denaturants, so that as packaged it does not present any significant potential for abuse.’’
The DEA goes further to state that >0.3% THC per volume concentration qualifies as Hemp under the new definitions. So, any Cannabis variety MUST produce no more than 0.3% THC by volume to be classified as Hemp under the Controlled Substance Act. Any other cannabis varieties would then be Marijuana.
I will take my classification of cannabis one step further. Any combination of the sub species, i.e. indica, sativa, ruderalis, can be then divided further into, hemp or marijuana cultivars. These cultivars are then combined to create individual varieties. It is not “accurate” to call Blueberry a strain, but I do it. A plant strain is:
“… a designated group of offspring that are descended from a modified plant, produced by conventional breeding, by biotechnological means, or result from genetic mutation.” Wikipedia
Cannabis Hemp Cannabis Marijuana What’s the Difference?
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