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Exploring the Roots of Cannabaceae Family Tree

cannabaceae family tree

Table of Contents

For ages, cannabis has played a vital role in human culture, being one of the plants that humans learned to cultivate. Despite facing research restrictions for nearly a hundred years, recent changes in its legal status have reignited curiosity and sparked new investigations into the evolution and genetics of this remarkable plant. This article is your guide to understanding the Cannabaceae Family Tree, shedding light on its evolution and how scientists classify it. Whether you’re interested in the historical journey of this medicinal plant or just curious about its roots, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of cannabis plant family, exploring its past and unraveling the scientific aspects that make it a subject of renewed exploration.

The Cannabaceae Family Overview

cannabaceae family tree

The Cannabaceae family is like a big, green family album that includes a bunch of plants that are kind of related. At the heart of this family are two superstars: Cannabis and Hemp. Cannabis exhibits diverse THC levels, potentially inducing psychoactive effects. It comes in different types such as Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis, with people using it for recreational or health purposes. On the other hand, Hemp seeds are rich in nutrients, serving as a valuable source of healthful elements. Despite their association with the cannabis plant, hemp seeds have minimal to no THC, the psychoactive compound commonly linked with Cannabis. In essence, these two siblings in the Cannabaceae family offer distinct characteristics, with Cannabis known for its varied effects and Hemp celebrated for its nutritional benefits without the psychoactive component.

While hemp and cannabis belong to the same plant species, their differences lie in their THC content, cultivation purposes, and uses. Hemp is prized for its industrial applications and low THC content, while cannabis is known for its psychoactive properties and diverse medical and recreational uses.

Exploring the Cannabis Family Tree

cannabaceae family tree

The Cannabaceae family can be divided into several genera, each housing different plant species. Some notable genera within this family include Cannabis, Humulus (hops), and Celtis (hackberries). The cannabis family tree showcases the intricate relationships among these plants, highlighting their shared ancestry and unique characteristics.

  • Cannabis: This iconic plant has gained notoriety for its psychoactive properties and diverse uses. Cannabis comes in various types such as Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis, each offering distinct effects when consumed. Beyond its recreational use, cannabis is increasingly recognized for its potential medicinal benefits, with ongoing research exploring its therapeutic applications.
  • Humulus (hops): Humulus, commonly known as hops, contributes to the world of brewing. These cone-shaped flowers impart both bitterness and aromatic qualities to beer. Beyond its role in brewing, hops have been explored for potential medicinal applications, showcasing a versatility that extends beyond the bar.
  • Celtis (hackberries): Celtis, represented by hackberries, is a group of deciduous trees with a unique contribution to landscapes. Known for their edible berries, hackberries add aesthetic value while providing a food source for wildlife. These trees have adapted to various environments, demonstrating resilience and versatility in different climates.

In the vast tapestry of the Cannabaceae family, these plants not only reflect diversity but also showcase the multifaceted ways in which plants contribute to human culture, industry, and the natural world.

Cannabis and Hemp – The Star Siblings

Hemp and Cannabis are two varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa, but they have distinct differences, primarily in their uses and chemical compositions.

1. THC Content:

  • Hemp: Hemp is bred and cultivated for industrial purposes, and it contains very low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. In many countries, hemp plant family must contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight to be legally classified as hemp.
  • Cannabis: Cannabis, on the other hand, can have varying levels of THC, making it psychoactive. Different strains may have higher THC concentrations, leading to different effects when consumed.

2. CBD Content:

  • Hemp: Hemp is a rich source of CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive compound with various potential health benefits. Hemp-derived CBD products
    have gained popularity for their therapeutic properties.
  • Cannabis: While cannabis also contains CBD, the ratio of CBD to THC can vary widely among different cannabis strains.

3. Plant Appearance:

  • Hemp: Hemp family are tall and thin, with narrow leaves concentrated toward the top of the plant. They are often grown close together to encourage
    tall, straight stems.
  • Cannabis: Cannabis plants can vary widely in appearance, with broader leaves and a bushier structure. The cultivation methods may also differ, with a focus on  flowering buds for cannabis.

While hemp and cannabis belong to the same plant species, their differences lie in their THC content, cultivation purposes, and uses. Hemp is prized for its industrial applications and low THC content, while Cannabis is known for its psychoactive properties and diverse medical and recreational uses.

Plants in the Cannabaceae Family

Beyond Cannabis and Hemp, the Cannabaceae family encompasses a variety of plants that may not be as widely recognized. To complete our exploration, let’s compile a brief list of plants within the Cannabaceae family.
This list includes:

  • Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana): Cannabis Sativa, commonly known as marijuana, is a versatile plant cherished for its psychoactive effects. This variety of cannabis is often associated with inducing a more uplifting and energetic experience. Its tall and slender stature, coupled with distinct leaves, characterizes Cannabis sativa. People use it for various purposes, including recreational enjoyment and potential medicinal benefits.
  • Cannabis Indica (Marijuana): Cannabis Indica is another prominent member of the cannabis family, known for its relaxing and sedative effects. Its shorter and bushier appearance, with broader leaves compared to Cannabis sativa, distinguishes it. Indica strains are often favored for their potential to alleviate pain, induce relaxation, and aid in sleep.
  • Cannabis Ruderalis (Wild or feral cannabis): Cannabis ruderalis is the wild cousin of the more well-known sativa and indica varieties. Smaller in size and often found in the wild, ruderalis has a unique trait of flowering based on age rather than light cycles. While it may have lower THC content compared to sativa and indica, it plays a role in breeding and developing new cannabis varieties.
  • Humulus Lupulus (Hops): Humulus lupulus, or hops, is a crucial component in brewing beer. These cone-shaped flowers impart both bitterness and aroma to beer, contributing to its flavor profile. Hops are cultivated worldwide for their role in the brewing industry, and their extracts are also explored for potential health benefits.
  • Celtis Occidentalis (Common hackberry): Common hackberry, belonging to the Celtis genus, is a deciduous tree with distinctive warty bark. It produces small, sweet berries that are a food source for birds and wildlife. Commonly found in North America, this tree serves not only as a part of the landscape but also supports local ecosystems.
  • Celtis Laevigata (Sugarberry): Sugarberry, another member of the Celtis genus, shares similarities with common hackberry. It features a smooth bark and produces sweet berries, contributing to its name. Like its counterpart, sugarberry provides habitat and sustenance for various wildlife species.
  • Celtis australis (European hackberry): European hackberry, a deciduous tree native to Southern Europe, is renowned for its adaptability and resilience. It thrives in diverse climates and produces small, sweet fruits. Beyond its ornamental value, this hackberry species is recognized for its ability to withstand challenging environmental conditions.

These plants within the Cannabaceae family showcase the diversity of this botanical clan, offering not only unique characteristics but also contributing to human culture, industry, and the ecological balance of their respective habitats.

Conclusion

As we wrap up our journey through the Cannabaceae family tree, it’s clear that this plant family is far more than just Cannabis and Hemp. From the diverse uses of cannabis to the flavoring properties of hops and the landscape contributions of hackberries, the Cannabaceae family continues to leave an indelible mark on human culture and industry. So, the next time you encounter cannabis or hemp, remember the rich family tree they belong to—a family deeply rooted in our past and branching out into an ever-evolving future.

FAQs

1. What are the main plants in the Cannabaceae family?
The primary plants in the Cannabaceae family include Cannabis sativa (marijuana), Cannabis indica (marijuana), Cannabis ruderalis (wild or feral cannabis), Humulus lupulus (hops), Celtis occidentalis (common hackberry), Celtis laevigata (sugarberry), and Celtis australis (European hackberry).

2. How are cannabis and hemp different within the Cannabaceae family?
Cannabis and hemp are two varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. They differ primarily in their THC content, with hemp having very low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. Hemp is cultivated for industrial purposes, while cannabis is known for its psychoactive and medicinal properties.

3. Are there other lesser-known plants in the Cannabaceae family?
Yes, besides cannabis, hemp, hops, and hackberries, the Cannabaceae family encompasses a variety of lesser-known plants. Some of these plants may not be as widely recognized but contribute to the overall diversity of this plant family.

4. How many plants are in the Cannabaceae family?
In its current definition, the family encompasses approximately 170 species distributed among around 11 genera. Notable genera within the Cannabaceae family include Cannabis (hemp), Humulus (hops), and Celtis (hackberries). Among these, Celtis stands out as the most extensive genus, comprising roughly 100 species.

5. What family is Cannabis in?
Cannabis is in the Cannabaceae family. The Cannabaceae family includes various flowering plants, and cannabis belongs to the genus Cannabis within this family.

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