Understanding Cannabis: The Basic Anatomy of the Cannabis Plant

When it comes to the cannabis plant, the flowers usually get most of the attention, since they are consumed for use and contain many of the components that people look for in cannabis. However, the leaves, stalks, seeds, and roots of the cannabis plant have their own unique properties and play a vital role in bringing those flowers to life. Let’s have a quick look at the many parts of the cannabis plant.

Breaking Down the Cannabis Plant

  • Stem: The main support structure of the cannabis plant. Transports fluids and nutrients to the rest of the plant.
  • Pistil: The primary piece of the female flower’s reproductive system, comprising a single ovule with two protruding stigmas.
  • Stigma: Thin hairs that extended from the female cannabis plant’s bract to catch male pollen.
  • Bracts: The small leaves surrounding the reproductive cells of a female cannabis plant. When a female plant is exposed to pollen from a male plant, the bracts surround and shield the seed pod.
  • Fan Leaves: One of two main types of leaves found on the cannabis plant. These large, protruding leaves found along the length of the plant help with the photosynthesis process.
  • Sugar Leaves: The other main type of leaves found on the cannabis plant. Smaller and found throughout the buds, they are often coated in trichomes. Sugar leaf trim is sometimes used to make edibles and concentrates.
  • Node: The point at which the stem and leaf intersect. This is also the spot where cannabis plants begin to grow either pollen sacs (male cannabis plants) or pistils (female cannabis plants).
  • Trichomes: Small, hair-like appendages found on the surface of the cannabis plant. Trichomes protect the plant from external stressors and contain resinous glands that create flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenes.
  • Flower: Small, teardrop-shaped structures that consist of pistils attached to bracts. Cannabis flowers are only found on female cannabis plants and are usually covered in a frosty-looking coating of trichomes. The main part of a flower is called the cola, which is composed of many small floral clusters.

How Is The Cannabis Plant Used?

The obvious part that everyone knows about is the flowers. When people smoke cannabis or make plant medicine, they use flowers. Most of the many benefits you can get from smoking marijuana or hemp comes from cannabinoids, which are mainly housed in the trichomes of cannabis buds. That’s also where terpenes are found in the highest concentration. The sticky, resinous trichomes have historically been used to make hash, kief, and other cannabis concentrates as well. If you’re looking for THC or CBD, this is also where you should look first.

Yet while flowers might be the “main attraction” of the cannabis plant, it isn’t the only part that gets used. For instance, cannabis leaves can be used in a variety of different ways: they are often used to make cannabis teas and tonics, which are known to promote various health benefits. Additionally, the “Sugar Leaves” coated in trichomes are often used in cooking or tincture making.

Then there are the seeds. While you probably don’t want to see any seeds in the marijuana you smoke, cannabis seeds have earned a reputation as a type of “superfood,” with some considering them one of the most nutritionally complete foods available. You can even find hemp seed and hemp seed oil in the health aisle and many health foods stores.

On top of all of this, the rest of the cannabis plant has a wide range of uses as well. Cannabis roots have been used for centuries to treat anything from inflammation to gastrointestinal issues, while also being used to create oils, butter, and even infused in wine. Meanwhile, the stalks and stems are often used to create fabrics, paper, and even construction materials like cement and insulation.

Knowledge Is Power

Whether you’re a casual cannabis fan or planning to grow marijuana yourself, it pays to have some basic cannabis anatomy knowledge. Not only does it let you know what to look for when picking out some green, but it also helps you appreciate just how amazingly versatile cannabis can be. The flowers might get most of the attention, but from the roots to the highest cola, cannabis is full of potential and can do so much! 

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