Gradually growing its influence in the medicinal world, Cannabis Leaves is one of the most popular topics of 2019. While a majority interprets Cannabis as merely a psychoactive drug, there is much more to its existence. The masses who have consumed Cannabis leaves for years might not have even known that there is albino Cannabis too! Startling, isn’t it? Well, there are many surprising facts about Cannabis leaves to unravel. Happy Reading!
History of Cannabis Leaves
Tracing its origins to the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, the first green shoots of Cannabis plants sprouted up, on the Earth’s surface about 28 million years ago.
Belonging to the Cannabaceae family, Cannabis Sativa soon found a home in the fertile grounds of East of China, Central Asia, South of India, West of Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Archaeologists suspect that this plant was first cultivated by the human race in Taiwan in 8000 BCE and became the dawning point of its native civilization. Being a source of abundant resources in times of limited exposure, Cannabis has contributed a lot to the development of agriculture.
Initially, the psychedelic plant as a means of obtaining oils & medicines, particularly in China Written in 1550, The Eber Papyrus mentions several medicinal formulas derived from this versatile plant.
According to Robert Cornell Clarke’s research, one of the earliest uses of Cannabis also includes the manufacturing of yarn through hemp fibers. The fibers were extracted from the stalk of the plant and further processed to obtain thread. However, there’s little known about the times when large-scale cultivation of Cannabis began for THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
Thriving in arid, steppe-like environments, Cannabis Sativa has transitioned from wild-growing plants to domesticated ones. Hence, the anatomical structure and usage of Cannabis Sativa have evolved substantially.
Cannabis Leaves – Anatomy
Grown from a well-rounded and hard seed, the Cannabis plant has a complex anatomy. The primary components of a healthy and mature Cannabis plant include seeds, roots, root crowns, stems, nodes, leaves, flowers, and trichomes. To fully understand the anatomy of Cannabis leaves, let’s first take a glimpse at its other parts.
At an early stage, the seeds have a tough covering. A thin layer of cells covers the surface that appears as attractive designs and patterns. Slight rubbing of these markings reveals the tan color of the seed.
Cannabis seeds vary in size depending on their genes, ranging from 2.2mm to 7.2mm.
A radicle protrudes from the division in the Cannabis seed. Between the cotyledons lies the apical tip, which gives rise to the new Cannabis plant.
After germination, the root system forms of Cannabis. Primarily, the Cannabis plants have 3-types of roots, including taproot, fibrous root, and adventitious root.
A Cannabis plant first develops taproot underground, which transforms into fibrous roots. The adventitious roots grow from the aerial parts of the plant, like a stem. All of these types grow into thick, hairy, and white root system. The root crown is the area where roots join the stems and the point of dense cell division.
The green, sturdy stem of the Cannabis plant comprises of the vascular system that circulates nutrients and water in the plant. The divisions in the stem that give rise to lateral branches are called Nodes.
Being palmately compound leaves, the Cannabis plant has leaves that resemble an open hand but with 3-13 different kinds of leaflets.
As the plant grows, each set of fronds grow a different number of leaves. Usually, the first set of leaves has a single leaflet. Then, the quantity of leaflets increases with each batch until it reaches the maximum number as indicated by genes.
The point where all the leaflets join is called rachis. The rachis further joins the stem by the petiole. Although the color of petioles usually remains green, sometimes the color changes to indicate different signs. For example, purple petioles indicate a phosphorus deficiency.
Types of Cannabis Leaves
Cannabis plants are either monoecious and dioecious, but that’s the only way botanists classify Cannabis Sativa. The varieties of the plant, are more commonly differentiated based on the distinct morphology of their leaves.
Generally, there are three main subspecies of this plant, including Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.
It happens to be the most commonly propagated marijuana strains as the variety serves several forensic, textiles, and medicinal purposes. Along with tall stature, this particular variety has smooth, long, and slender leaves.
Owing to their light shade of green and narrow, spiky appearance, the Cannabis Sativa leaves form sparse foliage.
Moreover, the CBD (Cannabidiol) content in Sativa leaf dominates THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) levels. The plant grows well in countries located below the latitude 30°N.
Unlike Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica does not have a delicate appearance. Instead, it has a short, stocky structure, and at most, the plant reaches a height of about 10 feet. Each of the leaves has a broad, olive-green appearance and possesses a marble-like pattern.
The number of leaflets in each leaf is inversely proportional to the size of the blade. Although its THC content is lesser than that of Cannabis Sativa, it contains substantial levels of the three different compounds, namely THC, CBD, and CBN.
A Cannabis Ruderalis leaf is similar to an Indica in terms of width. Amongst the three subspecies of Cannabis Sativa, this variety has the smallest structure even as a mature plant. Even the most giant leaves have about five to thirteen leaves.
Overall, the plant has a rugged, shaggy appearance with light or lime green colored leaves. It is also known as “auto-flowering” plant.
Grown in colder climates, Cannabis Ruderalis reaches maturity ten weeks after seed period.
The THC concentration in Cannabis Ruderalis is much less as compared to the other two species, and hence, it lacks psychoactive properties.
Mutations in Cannabis
Over time, the Cannabis plant’s leaf structural variety has extensively expanded as a result of mutation experiments. Today, we find many common types of mutations, like:
- Ducksfoot Cannabis
The Ducksfoot Cannabis originates from Australia and grows up to have a webbed leaf. It resembles a lot like Sativa, which occasionally develops purple buds in colder temperatures.
- Creeper Cannabis
It is a rare mutation, which grows in tropical climatic conditions. The lower branches of the plant, touch the ground and continue to thrive against it.
Such cannabis plants are unable to produce chlorophyll. Hence, they are fully or partially white. Being unable to carry out with the food-making process properly, variegated cannabis plants do not survive long.
- Twin Seedlings
Polyembryonic seeds or twin seedlings have more than one embryo in their ovule. After germination, it produces two taproots. With vigilance plantation, the seed separates into two separate plants. One of the plants grows like a healthy offspring while the other becomes the clone of the mother plant.
Marijuana Nutritional Value/Facts
Cannabis plant requires no extraordinary food for better growth and development. However, like all other plants, it needs some primary vitamins and minerals to sustain. These nutrients include:
Used in the formation of amino acids, Nitrogen forms enzymes, green chlorophyll pigment, and other protein-related substances. Nitrogen deficiencies in Cannabis result in yellow leaves, slower growth, and increased susceptibility to diseases. Excess nitrogen also damages the plant by weakening the stem and escalating foliage growth.
It is involved in essential processes like cell wall development, flowering, and nutritional uptake. The substance also takes part in the synthesis of carbohydrates, amino acids, and proteins. Potassium makes Cannabis leaves drought-resistance and increases tissue strength. A potassium-deficient Cannabis plant turns yellow, weak, and bendable. Excessive potassium equally proves damaging for Cannabis plants as it blocks the absorption of other nutrients.
Similar to humans, Cannabis plants also require Calcium, but for stronger cell development and plant growth. Cannabis leaves deficient in Calcium become twisted and curled. The overall plant growth slows down, which makes the plant weaker and an easy victim of diseases.
It assists the plant in energy transmission and storage, hence acting as a powerhouse. Phosphorous deficiency in the Cannabis plant dramatically affects its appearance by turning the color to darker shades of green, grey, and blue. Purple and brown spots also appear on the leaves while the surface becomes dry and thick. Also, the stem changes color from green to red and purple.
How Can You Grow Cannabis Leaves?
Growing Cannabis is a simple task, which any individual can perform efficiently, given that they have the right information.
To begin, you will need to decide whether you want to grow your Cannabis plant outside or inside.
Raising outdoors costs less but is also very unsafe. You will have to vigilantly watch-out for thieves as well as stray animals.
If you want to grow Cannabis leaves inside, then you will have to spend a bit more on artificial lights and nutrients.
However, you will have complete command overgrowth conditions.
Initially, the Cannabis plant requires a warmer temperature that is around 20-30degrees Celsius. But, as it approaches its budding/flowering stage, it will need a colder temperature of around 18-26degrees Celsius.
When growing Cannabis indoors, remember that the growing lights will produce much more heat than required. To balance the temperature, you will have to install in some ventilation system like fans and air conditioner.
If you are growing Cannabis outdoors, then you will not have to invest in much time and effort in maintaining the right temperature. Although, if it gets too hot, try setting up a greenhouse.
If you are growing Cannabis plant outdoors, ensure that it receives at least 8 hours of sunlight for healthy development. However, if your plantation is indoors, then install efficient LED lights that fulfill the plant’s light needs without causing damages.
Usually, Cannabis growers use 3-different growing mediums. You can use a growing medium type whether you are planting outdoors, or indoors.
Soil: It is an organic compost, which is rich in nutrients and readily available at stores.
Soilless Mix: It contains alternative materials to Earth, which includes coco coir, perlite, and vermiculite.
Hydroponics: Try immersing your Cannabis plant in a nutrient-rich water container that is surrounded by LED lights.
Nutrients & PH
Cannabis leaves need some essential nutrients, like nitrogen and potassium, to grow healthy. Make sure that all these nutrients are present in the growing medium and also the appropriate pH value is maintained. ( 6.0 -7.0 pH in soil and 5.5-6.5 pH in hydroponics)
The Positive Side of Cannabis Leaves
Most of us are already very much well-acquainted with the pain-relieving properties of Cannabis. The very same property which brings the ‘stoned state’ into effect, and has, therefore, made Cannabis illegal in several countries.
However, that’s not just about it. There’s a much more positive side of Cannabis plant that, unfortunately, is not as hyped-up as its negative side.
The energy gatherers of the plant (leaves) are so nutritious that they can be used to elevate the nutritional value of salads and green juices.
They are a rich source of protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, Calcium, fiber, magnesium, antioxidants, etc. The THC-A content in fresh Cannabis leaves reverses many diseases such as chronic diseases.
And if you’re worried about the mind-altering effects, then worry not! Consuming fresh and raw cannabis leaves, either chopped and sprinkled on your main course or juiced out, will not bring about any intoxicating effects unless heated.
You can even try different Cannabis recipes and dishes, such as Cannabis leaf tea, cannabutter, smoothie, etc.
In the medicinal department, oral cannabinoids are uses to battle cancer cells. The contents of Cannabis leaves also provide treatment for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, as well as several mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or even post-traumatic depression.
Moreover, you can use cannabis leaves to increase the fertility of your garden soil.
Combine the fallen cannabis leaves with your household waste, and compost will be prepared.
By adding this compost to your home garden, you can protect the plants from potential diseases and help aerate the soil better.
Ever since its discovery, the Cannabis leaves have served the medicinal needs of many in one way or another. Today, the Cannabis leaf treats several health issues including, muscle spasms and anxiety. Although Cannabis massively holds an image of beneficial marijuana, excess intake may inflict disastrous health problems.
Therefore, the next time you think about consuming excess to relieve your muscular pain, remember the consequences. After all, one should analyze everything upon its pros and cons.
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