Even though cannabis was one of the first plants to be domesticated, we haven’t spent much time studying it – which means the plant still has plenty of secrets to reveal to us. Cannabis’ status as illegal has kept researchers from being able to perform hardcore research on all of the marijuana plant’s medicinal properties and even its genetics. As the legality of cannabis is opening up more and more, scientists and doctors are gaining the freedom to conduct studies on the plant.
For instance, PLOS One recently published a study conducted by a Canadian research team looking to observe the plant’s genome in the hopes of understanding how different cannabis species account for variations.
Over the course of the study, the research team took 81 samples of cannabis and 43 of hemp and sequenced their genes. All of the samples belonged to the Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis species. The research showed that yes, all cannabis strains belong to one of two strains: sativa or indica. Hemp, however, is genetically different, but closer to indica than sativa.
Another important finding of the study was that the percentages breeders and growers give their cannabis are often incorrect. The researchers feel that this means cannabis qualities have a different relationship than we once thought.
Jonathan Page, one of the authors of the study, says, “Whether this points to different origins for hemp and marijuana, or is the result of human selection for different uses, is not clear.”
You can read more about this study here.