Tripping on The Origin Theories of Plants and Cannabis

Boomhouse

Hello and Welcome to the 1st Edition of Boomhouse, our weekly newsletter specifically dedicated to the science, history and practical applications of the cannabis plant. The purpose is quite simple really: it is to communicate to the world at large that it is time to move beyond surface level knowledge and make the time to understand each and every topic with depth, focus and take the fight to the peddlers of bad logic, their utter lack of respect for deep scientific, truthful knowledge so to speak.

Let’s start booming. 

The Origin of Plants and Cannabis – Some Trippy Theories

Before we begin, remember it is difficult to ask the right questions and even more difficult to find the right answers, depending from person to person. But suffice to say, too many people from too many walks of life hardly choose to ask the difficult questions since they would mean investing the time to find the answers, a boring endeavor at best. What we want to do is to start tripping and make these boring quests seem trippy. 

The first step is to go back and understand the evolution of plants themselves. As in – how did plants come to be as they are today? This is quite trippy. We read this paper that quotes:

“Over 470 million years ago, during the Silurian or late Ordovician Period, a lineage of charophyte green algae underwent an evolutionary transition that allowed it to remain hydrated and reproduce while in full contact with the atmosphere, and (eventually) to access subsurface water. In so doing, these organisms gained access to atmospheric CO2 and sunlight unfiltered by water. They were probably not the first photosynthetic organisms to occupy the terrestrial environment, but they diversified into the land plants that now occupy all but the harshest terrestrial environments.” 

The takeaway is that: all land plants find their roots beginning approximately 500 million years ago. 

“They constitute the basis for agriculture, as well as lumber, paper, plant fibers (cotton, linen, flax, etc.), and other key industrial products. Their diverse biochemistries give rise to secondary metabolites that are crucial pharmaceuticals, recreational drugs, and pesticides. Dead land plants are the primary source not only of coal, but also of the organic components of soil, which is the single largest reservoir of stored carbon on Earth. Thus, the origin of a terrestrial flora was one of the most profound geobiological transitions in the history of the planet.” 

Think of it like this: Big bang, sunlight, life starts underwater and then comes to land in the form of plants; side by side another evolutionary divergence causes underwater life to evolve into land animals, eventually evolving into the first human beings (crude apes) 7 million years ago. Quite trippy this. Therefore, all plants and human beings emerged from under the water. Plants and human beings are related, and separated only by evolutionary chance. No wonder human beings like to stay around plants.  

Now we just need to go back to school level botany, classify plants into different types, find out where cannabis belongs to then keep tripping and blazing as always. To keep things simple for now, a class of plants called angiosperms (flowering plants; plants that ‘flower’) is the group to which cannabis can be slotted into. Botany (the study of plants) is complex and we’ll explain the diverse botanical possibilities that the cannabis plant can fit into. For now let’s stick to angiosperms, and this is the group to which cannabis belongs to. 

Flowering plants (angiosperms) like cannabis are the youngest of the four main groups of land plants. They are thought to have appeared around 130 million years ago during the Cretaceous periodsharing the earth at the time with Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, with Stegosaurus and Diplodocus already long extinct! Since then, the angiosperms have diversified into almost 350,000 different species, which makes theirs the most diverse and abundant group by far. Angiosperms make up almost every crop utilised in agriculture.”

We’re tripping quite well at this point and we haven’t even covered half the journey of cannabis yet. 

The purpose of this 1st edition of Boomhouse is for our readers to get a sense of the magnitude of literature on hand with regards to cannabis. It intersects world history (because human beings spread the seeds of the plant all over the world), botany (cannabis had millions of years to spread across the eurasian landmass, well before the first human beings even appeared on the scene) and evolutionary history. 

We will leave with three more points backed by three scientific sources:

The third point is about this: where did the cannabis plant evolve first? Which area so to speak? 

This classic study presents the same. Quoting below: 

“The multi-species concept has recently gained credibility based on systematic chemotaxonomic work by Karl Hillig with Paul Mahlberg. They conducted a genetic analysis of 157 cannabis accessions of known geographic origin. A principal component analysis of allozyme frequencies at 17 gene loci revealed two major groupings. A sativa gene pool included East European ruderal (roadside) accessions, as well as hemp fiber and seed landraces from Europe and Central Asia. The indica gene pool included Far Eastern fiber and seed landraces, narrow-leaflet drug strains from Southern Asia, Africa and South America, wide-leaflet drug strains from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and feral populations from Nepal and India. Ruderal accessions (Cannabis ruderalis) from Central Asia formed a putative third gene pool. A geographic map based on the results depicted an epicenter of origin for C. sativa in current Kazakhstan, and one for C. indica in the Western Himalayas

Broadly the cannabis origin theories can be divided into: 

  • The Central Asian origin theory: modern Kazakhstan and the steppes of Mongolia
  • Indian Sub-continent theory: modern Himlayas

Let’s keep booming as always. 

Have a great weekend 🙂 

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