Plant to Product
Egyptian Kings and British Queens: Historically, Egyptian kings enjoyed cannabis products thousands of years ago, and England’s Queen Victoria was partaking only a few hundred years ago. The common folk with dirt under their fingernails, who may have harvested the cannabis for royalty, have also had a long tradition of using pot.
Marijuana, or pot, belongs to the genus Cannabis in the family Cannabaceae and includes three species, cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis, each having their own unique properties Each individual plant is either male or female and grows outdoors from April–September.
Germination, the process in which the seeds sprout and the root emerges, takes from 12 hours to 8 days. With the proper warmth, darkness and moisture the seed coat cracks open and a small embryonic root emerges and begins growing downward if placed in a proper growing medium. Soon (after 2–4 days) the root is anchored and two circular leaves emerge in search of light and the remains of the seed shell are pushed away. This marks the beginning of the seedling stage.
The emphasis on advanced cultivation techniques, as well as the availability of hybrid strains is believed to be a factor in the increase in the overall quality and variety of commercially available cannabis over the past few decades. Plant development increases dramatically, with the plant doubling or more in size with the proper light and nutrients. Production of more branches and nodes occurs as the structure for flowering grows.
The flowering phase varies from about 6 to 22 weeks for pure indicas with their shorter flowering time than pure sativas. The sex is clearly revealed in the first flowering phase. Males produce little ball-like flowers clustered together like grapes called panicles. Most plants begin to flower under diminishing light. In nature, cannabis plants sense that winter is coming as the days get shorter. If females are not pollinated (fertilized by male pollen) they start to produce buds that contain sticky white resin glands or trichomes in a final attempt for pollination by windborne male pollen. The trichomes produce resins that contain the largest amounts of THC and CBN, the two main psychoactive substances. Fertilized females continue to produce resinous trichomes but more plant energy is consumed by the production of seeds, which can be half the mass of a fertilized bract; thus, to maximize resin per gram, infertile cultivation is preferred. It is this lovely lady who becomes a wide range of medical cannabis products.