What You Need To Know About Cannabis Sativa Plants

What You Need To Know About Cannabis Sativa Plants

Native to eastern Asia Cannabis Sativa is one of the species of the cannabis plants that significant all over the whole world. This annual herbaceous flowering plant is now cultivated in many places around the globe. Historically, cannabis Sativa has been cultivated for industrial fibre, religious and spiritual uses, food, and its medicinal potentials. In the past years, there has been an increased focus on its medicinal value. Usually, the plants intended purpose determines its way of harvesting.

What Difference Is There Between Cannabis Sativa And Cannabis Indica?

While the difference between these two species of Cannabis has always been a debate, there are certain variations that are significant. Sativa plants do not produce as much THC as Indica which have high levels of THC as opposed to CBD. It is believed that since Sativa strains have a relatively high CBD to THC ratios, they are less likely to induce anxiety as compared to others. 

What Are The Common Uses Of Cannabis Sativa?

Cannabis Sativa seeds are used to mainly make hemp seed oil, used for cooking, in lamps, lacquers or paints. The seeds which are a nutrient source for most animals can also be used to feed caged birds.

The seeds of the cannabis Sativa plant are found to be very nutritious with a composition of protein at 27.1%, fat at 25.6%, and carbohydrate at 7.4% as well as rich in essential oils. Cannabis Sativa seeds which are considerably tasty can be consumed orally raw or cooked in various forms. It can be made into cakes and fried or roasted and eaten as a spice. The leaves which can be consumed orally contain about 0.215% carotene and are used in soups.

The plant’s flowers and fruits contain higher contents of psychoactive chemical compounds than the leaves, stems and seeds. These psychoactive compounds in cannabis Sativa plants are called cannabinoids and offer the effects sought when the plant is consumed for recreational, spiritual and medicinal purposes.

Preparations of flowers and fruits (often called marijuana), as well as leaves and other preparations obtained from resinous extract like hashish, are consumed mainly by smoking, vaping and oral ingestion.

Historically and even now, people prepare cannabis tinctures, teas and ointments. In India, cannabis Sativa is used traditional medicine for its hallucinogenic, hypnotic, analgesic, sedative and its anti-inflammatory properties.

What Are The Medicinal Uses Of Cannabis Sativa?

Just like its recreational use, the medicinal use of cannabis Sativa has over the years given this plant a lot of attention. Many clinical experts have conducted a lot of research on how this plant can help in the medical field. There has been considerable success in this with many specialists prescribing medicinal marijuana for a number of conditions and ailments. 

The Plant Has Been Used For Treatments Including:

  • Analgesic to relieve pain
  • Anodyne milder than an analgesic used to relieve pain
  • Antirheumatic to treat rheumatism
  • Anthelmintic to expel parasites from the digestive tract
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticonvulsant to prevent seizures (convulsions)
  • Antiemetic to prevent vomiting
  • Antiperiodic to counteract recurring illnesses like malaria
  • Antispasmodic to relax muscular cramps and spasms as well as calm nervous irritation
  • Cholagogue to increase the flow of bile and Control its discharge from the body
  • Demulcent to soothe, lubricate and soften irritated tissues, particularly the mucous membranes
  • Diuretic to promote the flow of urine by acting on the kidneys
  • Emollient to soften skin, causing warmth and moisture
  • Febrifuge to reduce fever
  • hypnotic to induce sleep
  • laxative to promote gentle bowel movements
  • Ophthalmic to treat eye complaints
  • sedative to calm, reduce nervousness, distress as well as irritation
  • Tonic to promote general health by bringing steady health improvement
  • Narcotic that relieves pain, induces drowsiness and gives a “high” effect characterised with wellbeing

Owing to the properties as mentioned above, cannabis Sativa has been used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions. Medicinal uses of Cannabis are helpful to patients of:

  • asthma
  • anthrax
  • blood poisoning
  • bronchitis
  • burns
  • catarrh
  • childbirth
  • convulsions
  • coughs
  • depression
  • diarrhoea
  • dysentery
  • dysmenorrhea
  • epilepsy
  • fever
  • gonorrhoea
  • gout
  • inflammation
  • insomnia
  • jaundice
  • lockjaw
  • malaria
  • mania
  • menorrhagia
  • migraine
  • alcohol withdrawal
  • morphine withdrawal
  • neuralgia 
  • rheumatism
  • scales
  • snake bite
  • swelling
  • tetanus
  • toothache
  • uteral prolapse
  • whooping cough

Cannabis has also been used by patients suffering from AIDS in order to increase their appetite, minimise nausea to help them build weight.

In people with multiple sclerosis (MS), Cannabis is used to alleviate spasticity, neuropathic pain, an overactive bladder that causes frequent urination and other symptoms of MS.

As an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiemetic, hypnotic, cannabis Sativa is used to help cancer patients deal with pain and effects of chemotherapy like nausea.

The plant compounds are useful in managing glaucoma where it has been found to greatly reduce pressure in the eyes, therefore, minimising glaucoma symptoms.

External use of medical Cannabis helps manage conditions like corns, sores, rashes and varicose veins.

What Does The Plant’s Pharmacology Reveal About The Cannabis Sativa Compounds?

Cannabis Sativa is known to contain over 500 compounds, but the main psychoactive constituent of Cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the compound together widely used and discussed in medical areas. Out of the 500 compounds of cannabis Sativa plant, at least 113 are cannabinoids. Most of the cannabinoids are considered minor and are only produced in trace amounts. 

The compounds produced in high amounts of the plant are THC and Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is not psychoactive like THC and in clinical investigations have been found to inhibit the effects of THC in the nervous system. It is possible to produce a synthetic THC which is called dronabinol. Dronabinol pharmacology effects differ significantly from natural cannabis preparations because it doesn’t contain the other cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN).

What Chemical Constituents Of Cannabis Sativa Are Significant?

About 120 compounds found in cannabis Sativa plants are responsible for the plant’s characteristic aroma. These are mainly volatile sesquiterpenes and terpenes, which are different from cannabinoids. These are humulene which contributes to cannabis Sativa characteristic aroma and caryophyllene used to train some hashish dogs. Others include:

  • Trans-caryophyllene
  • Trans-ocimene
  • Terpinolene
  • Pinene
  • Limonene
  • Linalool
  • Terpinolene

What Is The Plant’s Physiology And How Does It Influence Harvesting And Sale?

Cannabis Sativa plants which in most cases are male or female produce unisexual flowers. You can differentiate the staminate (male) plant due to its tall, less robust stature from the pistillate (female or male) of this short-day flowering plant. Cannabis Sativa flowers are in racemes arrangement and produce hundreds of seeds. Some weeks before seed ripening occurs on the female plants, the male cannabis Sativa plants shed their pollen and die. 

Both sexes of the plant produce equal numbers of hereditary X and Y chromosomes under normal conditions with a light period of between 12 to 14 hours. Generally, genetic factors determine whether a plant will be male or female, but environmental factors diurnal light included can change the sexual expression of the plant. This can result in the plant having both male and female parts, which can be fertile or sterile. It is possible to artificially induce hermaphrodites in cannabis Sativa plants which can have fully functional reproductive organs. What is sold by many commercial seed suppliers is usually obtained from artificially monoecious females that lack the male gene. Plants are also treated with hormones or silver thiosulfate to obtain similar results.

How Does The Cultivation Of Cannabis Sativa Influence Chemical Composition?

For the plant to remain vegetative, it requires more than 12 to 13 hours of light per day in its vegetative growth phase. Environmental factors and strain of the plant determine the period of the flowering cycle in cannabis Sativa plants which are between 9 to 15 weeks. 

To achieve plants with a high content of psychoactive cannabinoids in cannabis Sativa plants, females are grown away from males to induce parthenocarpy in the female plants. Parthenocarpy happens in the plant’s fruits yielding fruits without seed and rich in cannabinoid resin.

The soil pH is also important with the optimum pH being 6.3 to 6.8. To achieve hydroponic growing, the best pH is at 5.2 to 5.8, which is hostile to most bacteria and fungi and ideal for Cannabis well-suited to hydroponics.

Tissue culture also occurs in cannabis Sativa cultivation, where medically important clones are obtained.

What Is The Legal Status Of Cannabis Sativa In The UK?

It is illegal to use Cannabis for recreational purposes in the UK. Currently, the narcotic is classified as a class B drug, a category that can fetch a higher punishment than the drugs in class C. On the other hand, medical use of Cannabis was legalised in November 2018, but one needs a prescription from a specialist doctor to access medicinal Cannabis.

Still, on legalisation, the compounds found in cannabis Sativa plant have also determined the regulations for the use of the drug in the UK. Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid is legal in the UK. One can actually sell, buy and consume CBD without requiring the doctor’s prescription. The only control is that the CBD products sold as supplements shouldn’t contain THC of over 0.2% concentration. One popular CBD-based drug is known as Epidiolex and was approved for use in the EU by the European Medicines Agency.

How Is Cannabis Sativa Consumed As A Recreational Drug?

Cannabis Sativa is the most commonly used illegal drug in the UK. Used by all ages of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, the drug is widely used. A survey in 2017 found that 7.2% of people aged 16 to 59 years had used Cannabis the previous year.

In the United Kingdom, Cannabis is often smoked with tobacco, a practice not common in other parts of the world. Cannabis users may also smoke tobacco as a cannabis cigarette called spliff. Mixing Cannabis and tobacco has been linked to the relatively high price of Cannabis in the United Kingdom. The vaporisation of cannabis Sativa has become an option and readily available. 

Herbal Cannabis grown in the UK can be smoked pure in a joint and is replacing hashish in the market, something that is weakening the mixing of Cannabis and tobacco popular in the UK.

Search blog