Cannabis Anatomy 101

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

As with any plant, looking at the anatomy of the cannabis plant is both fun and interesting. When it comes to marijuana, it can also provide insights as to where the medical efficacy is derived. Understanding the anatomy of cannabis is especially important for patients who choose to grow their own medicine at home. With Whaxy's "Cannabis Anatomy 101," we will dive into the different anatomical components of the marijuana plant that make it what it is.

Many like to categorize cannabis as either an indica or a sativa strains. While we at CannaBest Medical think it is more important to look at specific cannabinoid content when understanding the effects of cannabis on symptom relief, the Indica and Sativa categorization is a good way to generalize the effects of different types of cannabis. Sativas often deliver a more energetic, cerebral high, making it a good candidate for treating conditions like depression or PTSD. Sativas are often taller and lankier than the short and stocky Indicas. Indicas have sedative effects and are known for stimulating appetite. This makes them effective in treating arthritis, cancer, and pain management.

We will mainly be looking at the anatomy of female plants, because resin-bearing female plants are the plants responsible for producing the most desirable medicinal and recreational products.

The largest collection of buds on the plant form what is known as the main cola on the top of the plant but there are also cola found on the ends of the plant's major branches.

The calyx refers to the actual bud, which appears to have a sugary coating due to the amount of tiny trichomes covering its leaves. The calyx is made up of small sugar leaves, tear shaped nodules, and pistils, and it is the most important part for those who choose to smoke or vaporize their medication.

When people describe the cannabis plant as "hairy," what they are really seeing are the pistils. The pistils are found on the calyx in female plants, and they are responsible for collecting pollen from male plants. The pistils change colors throughout the maturation process, but Whaxy says don't be fooled by bright orange pistils; the color is often mistaken for indicating high quality plants, but in reality, these plants have few trichomes (meaning few terpenes and less potent THC).  

The most important part of the plant has been deemed the trichomes. The trichomes are microscopic and translucent glands containing the cannabinoids and terpenes responsible for delivering medical efficacy. These glands can be found on the flowers and the fan leaves. 

The fan leaves are probably the most iconic identifier of the marijuana plant. These large protruding leaves run along the length of the plant and can have five, seven, or nine points to the leaf. The fan leaves can be used to make cannabis extracts, edibles, and infused products. They are also used for cannabis juicing, which is gaining popularity as a healthy regime or disease therapy. Juicing cannabis fan leaves provides THC-A, which delivers symptom relief without the euphoric high. 

To learn more about each of these components of the cannabis plant, please read Whaxy's "Cannabis Anatomy 101."