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Cannabaceae

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Cannabaceae
Cannabis 5.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genera
Humulus 1.jpg

Cannabaceae is a taxonomic family of dicot flowering plants whose species are infamous throughout the world. Its two genera, Cannabis and Humulus, are known for their abilities to produce both beer and narcotics. As early as 3000 BC, species of this family have been used as medicine and intoxicants in India, Central Asia, and China.[1]. The use of these plants for narcotic purposes is now illegal in most countries, but the plants are being used for other purposes such as the production of clothing and birdseed.

Anatomy

Cannabis grown like a weed in Taxila and Islamabad

The family of Cannabaceae are erect, twining, or climbing plants. [2] These plants have many leaves which generally have a palmate shape, meaning the leaflets radiate from the petiole like fingers extend from the hand. The color of the leaves are usually green, but some strains of the plant can have odd colors. For example, the blueberry strain of marijuana has a blue color.[3] Members of this family either don't have petals or their petals are very indistinct. If they do have petals, the petals are radially symmetrical.[4] The fruit of this plant are dried and one-seeded.[5] Often times, they have cystoliths, which are hard calcium carbonate structures at the base of a hair. Their stems are either furrowed or winged with no stipules (small pair of appendages of base of some plants). [6] Their trichomes, hairlike structures projecting from the plant's epidermis, produce resin that is used to prepare hallucinogenic drugs. [7]

Reproduction

These plants are usually dioecious, meaning that the female and male structures are on separate plants. However, they can sometimes be monoecious. Members of this family generally reproduce sexually by producing flowers. The flowers are usually gathered in cymes.[8] The male plants are long while the female plants are shorter and erect.[9][10]The male plants have about 5 stamens, male organs. In the female flower, the calyx, or sepal, is appressed to the ovary. The females also bear fewer flowers than the males. [11] The plants are pollinated by the wind, which explains the small size of the flowers. After pollination occurs, an achene fruit covered by a calyx or a small nut is produced by the female.[12]

Ecology

A model wearing hemp clothing

Members of the Cannabaceae family can be found throughout temporary regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They're naturally found in North Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.[13]Although they are found naturally in those places, species of Cannabaceae can be grown in homes for recreational purposes.

Human Usage

Humans use the members of the Cannabaceae for a variety of purpose. The fruit of the species Humulus lupulus are used to make beer.[14] This species acts has a natural preservative to beer and also contributes to its pscyhoactive effects.[15] Hemp, specifically Cannabis sativa, seems to have the most uses of the whole family. The fibers from the hemp stem are used to make clothing, rope, and other rough textiles. The seeds of hemp are used to feed birds and the oil produced from the seed can be used to create oil paints and even soap.[16]

Drug Usage

Marijuana bagged illegally for smoking purposes.

The Cannabaceae family is well-known for its hallucinogenic qualities. Cannabis sativa, the most famous member of the family, is an Indian plant whose many different plant parts causes hallucinations and other effects. The parts of the female plants have the most potent effect. In India the resin produced by the female flower heads and seeds of hemp is called charas and is used to create narcotic smoking mixtures. [17] There are many different kind of narcotics produced by this plant such as hashish and marijuana. The key ingredient in the drugs is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which comes from the sticky resin from the trichomes.[18] The difference between hashish and marijuana is that hashish only contains the resin of the plant while marijuana contains the resin as well as the flowering tops and leaves. These narcotics can be consumed in many different ways; some common ways are through smoking, chewing, vaporizing or in a bong or pipe.[19] The seeds of these plants are now even available in many different strains for consumers to grow in their own homes.

The use of cannabis as a recreational drug causes many problems. The first phase of marijuana intoxication is the initial stimulation and then the following peacefulness. During this time, the user will feel happy and excited, but won't be able to think clearly or logically. Among the harmful effects are the confusion, unexplained anxiety attacks or paranoia, loss of self-control, impaired judgment, and impaired motor skills.[20]In the long term, it can cause lung damage and perhaps lung cancer.

Cannabis has been used throughout history as both a medicine and a drug since 3000 BC. It is now illegal to use or distribute this in most countries, but there is a lot of opposition to those laws.[21] Many people advocate the use of marijuana as medicine, claiming that it can be used to ease the pain of unpleasant illnesses and has even been shown to help treat MS and AIDS.[22] Protesters continue to work for the legalization of marijuana and often gather together in rallies. For example, the annual Hempfest festival in Seattle is a 2-day gathering to advocate the legalization of marijuana. [23]

Gallery

References