What Part Of The Marijuana Plant Do You Smoke?
It’s not surprising that many do not know what part of the marijuana plant you smoke, given its many different components.
Quite simply, the flower of the marijuana plant is the part that is smoked. Only female cannabis plants produce flowers, so the plants that are smoked – and the only ones with psychotropic and medicinal attributes – are the females.
The anatomy of the female marijuana plant consists of one main long, skinny stem, with its large iconic leaves extending from various nodes on the main stem. It’s not these recognizable leaves that are smoked, however, but the flower or bud.
The marijuana flower forms at the cola, or bud site, along the main stem of the plant. The main cola, or largest flower, is located at the top of the cannabis plant. Buds will be enveloped by smaller leaves, and will typically have a fine layer of hairs on them, as well as white crystals. It’s these crystals, called trichomes, that grow on the outside of marijuana flowers that contain the active ingredients of marijuana, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and other cannabinoids.
The female marijuana plant can grow to heights of 16 feet (five meters) when fully grown.
Marijuana plants don’t display their sex until after six months of growth, when they pre-flower. Male plants are identifiable by the pollen sacs that develop near the nodes of the plant (where the stems meet the main plant), as well as the increased thickness of their stems. The pre-flowers of female marijuana plants have small hairs coming out of them.
It’s important to distinguish between male and female marijuana plants at an early stage of growth, as pollination from male plants will cause neighboring female plants to stop growing flowers. In rare cases hermaphrodite plants develop with both male and female characteristics. Male plants are kept to ensure crop diversity, and to use in hemp production and for a variety of other uses, such as juicing.
As female plants grow, they are trimmed, allowing for dense production of remaining buds. Once complete, the plants are cut and allowed to dry. The large marijuana leaves are trimmed from the dried plant; although they can also be smoked, they do not contain trichomes. The smaller leaves surrounding buds are often smoked as well, although these don’t contain trichomes either.
The part of the marijuana plant that is smoked, therefore, comprises a fairly small part of the overall plant.
There are two main sub species of the female marijuana plant that are smoked – cannabis sativa and cannabis indica (cannabis ruderalis is much less common). These two varieties produce marijuana with different effects and medicinal properties. Each of these varieties are distinguishable by the slightly different appearance of their larger leaves. Cannabis sativa plants have long, skinny leaves in greater numbers, while indica plants have shorter, fatter leaves (ruderalis plants have only a few leaves).
The portion of the marijuana plant that is smoked, the flower of the female plant, is highly distinguishable now that you know what to look for.
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