Sativa? Indica?

What’s In A Name?

Sativa, indica, ruderalis, species  subspecies… What’s in a name? Specifically, what does Cannabis Sativa L. mean?

“Cannabis” is a plant name just like sunflower means a sunflower plant. In Latin, Sativa means sown and covers the common or cultivated cannabis plant; and, the L refers to the genetic classification system created by Carolus Linneaeus. 

Clearly we don’t refer to all cannabis as sativa. The Cannabis Sativa species is broken down into two subspecies: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis.

Where does this leave Hemp? Hemp is the name most often used for cannabis plants used industrially and sometimes medicinally. In some countries Hemp has a mandatory limit on how much THC it can contain.

THC aside, there are differences in the subspecies and species. Cannabis Indica is believed to come from the Asian subcontinent. Cannabis Ruderalis in comparison doesn’t refer to an area but a reality. Like most naming,  Ruderal is latin for a wild plant that is first to claim land disturbed by nature or man.

One last fun fact, the over arcing Cannabaceae family that includes Cannabis also includes Hops, Figs, Mulberries, and Stinging Nettle. It’s a family to watch out for.

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