6 Kick-Ass Science Facts about Cannabis

By Guest Blogger E.P.

You don’t have to be a botanist to appreciate cannabis: the plant we all know and love. Here are a few fun, freaky, science facts about Mary Jane.

1. Sex

Cultivators are obsessed with sex...of the plant that is. Cannabis plants are diecious - meaning there are both female and male versions of the plant. ‘It’s a girl!’ if whispy pistils (female plant parts) are present, whereas males showcase about five, tiny-testicle-looking features in which stamen (male plant parts) emerge. The lady flowers form into the sticky buds we all desire, while males are only valuable to growers managing their own breeding. If you're going to grow, be sure to separate the girls and boys so the plants don't turn into hermaphrodites.

2. Family Tree

Female plants produce buds and one male plant in a room of girls, can ruin an entire crop through pollination.

Female plants produce buds and one male plant in a room of girls, can ruin an entire crop through pollination.

There are currently no commercial pot-beers for sale but home brewers have already started experimenting.

There are currently no commercial pot-beers for sale but home brewers have already started experimenting.

The family Cannabaceae includes Cannabis (hemp and marijuana), Humulus (hops), and Celtis (hackberries).  Didn’t know your favorite IPA and favorite bud were related? Dad and Dude's Breweria introduced one of the first cannabis brewed beers, made with legal hemp oil, at the 2015 GABF in Denver. The taste reflects that of a traditional IPA, but with a smoother finish.The THC is stripped from the hemp used so that consumers don't get the high effects. Colorado is at the epicenter of craft brewing and conveniently also the mecca for recreational weed in the United States so it is likely that more cannabis craft beers will be made available in the years to come. 

3. Genetics

Industrial hemp grows as tall sturdy plants and the end product can be used for foods, oils and textiles.

Industrial hemp grows as tall sturdy plants and the end product can be used for foods, oils and textiles.

The difference between hemp and marijuana is a genetic switch. Cannabis plants contain unique compounds called cannabinoids, though these compounds vary between hemp and marijuana. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis and most common known cannabinoid. The hemp plant lacks the enzyme to produce THCA, the precursor to THC and therefore has very little THC content. Alternatively, hemp is known for its high content of CBD, another important cannabinoid for pain relief with no psychoactive and components. Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC while cannabis produces more THC than CBD, although both cannabinoids are found in each type. 

4. Hey Ladies!

Women are more likely to develop a tolerance to THC.

Women are more likely to develop a tolerance to THC.

Washington State University psychologist, Rebecca Craft, studied cannabis resistance in rats and in a 2014 study concluded that females are more sensitive to the pain-relief side effects of the cannabis plant, but are also more inclined to develop a tolerance. Shout out to the ladies on this one! It’s mainly due to higher estrogen levels in women. Women are generally more sensitive to cannabis; the only area where men scored higher in this unique gender-based study was ‘having the munchies’. Sounds like the best excuse for grabbing Cheetos at 711 around there could be, you sensitive gents, you.

5. DNA

Sweet Grass Kitchen grows the strain, Sueño, a sativa-dominant hybrid. 

Sweet Grass Kitchen grows the strain, Sueño, a sativa-dominant hybrid. 

Purple Haze, Sueño, Golden Goat and all the other funky, different strains are composed of very different DNA - just like the way your Aunt Edna has that special Old Couch & Caramel jello scent in her own unique DNA. Crazily enough, some scientists do work on genetic mapping of different strains of marijuana, sometimes used in cartel-busts, or forensic cases. Due to the federal scheduling of marijuana, the amount of research on the genetic DNA of strains is bleek, but more and more scientists are taking the plunge to learn more about this marvelous plant and the benefits it provides.

6. Contact High

Trace amounts of THC were found in the air around iconic places like The Coliseum.

Trace amounts of THC were found in the air around iconic places like The Coliseum.

It may require a large amount of marijuana and a lack of ventilation, but contact high is a real thing. Researchers in Italy actually studied the air around such iconic places like The Coliseum, finding trace amounts of cannabis. Of the eight Italian cities studied in 2012 - Rome, Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Turin and Verona - the honors went to Florence and Bologna for highest cannabis concentrations. Buongiorno!!!

 

 

Sources:

http://fortune.com/2015/09/25/gabf-beer-marijuana/

http://www.livescience.com/48246-odd-facts-marijuana.html

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v525/n7570_supp/full/525S4a.html

http://www.weedfarmer.com/cannabis/botany_guide.php