Different Types of Cannabis Plants
Different Types of Cannabis Plants:
The Cannabis plant is not the typical plant. Some people may even have reservations because of its undeserved bad reputation. Making it worse are those who abuse its consumption. However, its use is not limited to recreational purposes. In fact, because there are different types of cannabis, it has proven to be valuable to medical users. Unknown to many, these controversial plants also have many industrial uses too.
As a beginner in growing cannabis, all the things that need to be taken into consideration can be challenging. Beyond the plant itself, preparation also includes the environment and all the necessary tools and accessories. Not to mention, growing plants indoors can also be costly. Finally, there is the matter of tending and nurturing.
Before going into the details, though, here are some useful background information on the different types of cannabis. Basic as it is, these are the foundation of successful cultivation.
The Three Types of Cannabis
Dismissed as a substance that can cause addiction (which is not entirely accurate), most people do not know there are thousands of hybrids, let alone three families. Each of these plants is distinct from the others and has different benefits.
1. Cannabis Sativa
Sativa plants originated mostly from equatorial territories. Because of the more balanced light cycle, it developed the ability to continue growing even while flowering with some reaching 20 feet tall. Because it has a more extended flowering period, it tends to have a higher yield.
The leaves of Sativa plants are elongated and pointy. Some people have even taken to referring to it as finger-like.
Besides the appearance, the effects of Sativa are also distinct. In the past decades, one of the things that breeders focused on was to have a high THC content – these are compounds that are responsible for the psychoactive properties of the plant. As such, its effects are more potent.
Effects of Cannabis Sativa
- Euphoric cerebral high
- Amplified senses
- Increased focus
- Inspires creativity
- Promotes happiness
- Stimulates the appetite
2. Cannabis Indica
Indica plants mostly originated from sub-tropical countries where there is a more significant variation in light cycle. Because of that, it tends to begin flowering as soon as it reaches maturity. For commercial growers, the speed in which it grows means they can produce more and, thus, earn more money.
Unlike Sativa, the leaves of Indica plants are broader. One can say that it looks similar to a fan. It also does not grow as tall with most averaging between 3 to 9 feet. Due to its physically shorter structure, many people prefer to cultivate it indoors.
Similar to Sativa, many of the modern Indica plants also have a high amount of THC. However, most also come with more CBD – the compound that has significant medical benefits but without the high.
Effects of Cannabis Indica
- Induce body relaxation
- Increases the production of dopamine
- Stress relief
- Soothes aching muscles
- Reduce inflammation
- Lessens pains and aches
- Induce drowsiness
- Stimulates the appetite
3. Cannabis Ruderalis
Of the three families of cannabis, Ruderalis is the shortest with an average height in the range of 1 to 2-1/2 feet. It is also a bushy plant with thick stems and broad leaves.
Compared to the other two, Ruderalis does not possess much THC or CBD. As such, most people dismiss it as being useless to both the recreational and medical users’ community.
For breeders, Ruderalis is a valuable plant for two reasons. One is that they could use it to develop new hybrids that contain both the Sativa and Indica genetics. Another is that they could also produce auto-flowering seeds – its native trait.
Besides the three principal families of cannabis, another term that people come across is hybrid. It turns out that the three are crossbred. In other words, hybrids are plants that possess the genetics of at least two of the families.
Think of hybrids much like people of mixed descents.
Many people understand the importance of hemp for its many industrial uses. Only a few realize that it comes from cannabis. To keep it simple, it comes from Cannabis Sativa but has a very low THC in trace amounts.
There are three primary industrial uses of hemp.
1. Hemp Seed
- Dietary fiber
- Non-dairy milk
2. Hemp Oil
- Cooking additive
- Dietary supplements
- Body care
3. Hemp Fiber
The Three Genders of Cannabis
Like people, plants too have gender with a unique twist. Besides male or female, it could also be a hermaphrodite. As a beginning grower, it is vital to understand the differences and the usefulness of each gender both in cultivation and use.
1. Male Plants
In cultivating cannabis for use, male plants are useless. In fact, growers should discard it as soon as possible. Otherwise, it may fertilize female plants causing them to produce seeds instead of flowers.
Of course, if the purpose is to produce seeds, only then do the male plants become valuable to growers.
Identifying male plants is easy. A week or two after it entered the flowering phase, the male pre-flower will look like a ball.
2. Female Plants
Women power is alive and kicking in the world of cannabis. Whether the purpose is to produce seeds or buds, all growers need female plants. Unlike males, its ‘genital’ shows up a little later. One can see this in the region where the stalk meets the stem. It is here where the female pistil grows in the form of a wispy white hair.
3. Hermaphrodite Plants
Long before humans existed on earth, the plants were here. One of the reasons is that plants may have both the male and female reproductive organ. Often, environmental changes can trigger the survival instinct. Female cannabis plants, for instance, can turn into a hermaphrodite allowing it to continue flowering but producing seeds.
Other than environmental factors, it is also possible that some plants have a higher tendency to turn into one due to genetics. For recreational use, buds from hermaphrodites are not suitable as it has a low THC content. However, they are useful to seed banks for it can be used to create feminized seeds.
The Three Types of Seeds
It is possible to inspect seeds if they are of good quality visually. Although not guaranteed, it is possible to weed out the bad ones. However, knowing the gender of the plant is almost impossible. Fortunately, there are three choices.
1. Regular Seeds
Often, regular seeds result in an even split between male and female plants. In the worst-case scenario, growers could purchase a pack and end up with all males. Nonetheless, it is the least expensive of all types of seeds.
2. Feminized Seeds
Although costlier, the best choice for most home growers is to buy feminized seeds. Once cultivated, all the plants are sure to be females. Unfortunately, of the strains that have seeds available for purchase, not all have feminized seeds.
3. Auto-flowering Seeds
It is because of photosensitivity that plants know when to start flowering. Outdoors, as the cold season approaches, the day becomes shorter. Hence, they need to start the reproduction cycle while they still could. On the other hand, growers can trigger the flowering phase by switching to 12/12 light cycle.
In knowing a little more about the different types of cannabis, growers have a better understanding of its differences and benefits. Furthermore, choosing the gender of plants is dependent on the purpose.
When it comes to the seeds, it is a little more challenging to purchase the feminized or auto-flowering types as these are less common. At any rate, the most important thing to do before buying is to do due diligence on the retailer. Already, there is a deluge of scammers who may not fulfill an order, or if so, may substitute the strain for another.