Cannabis Anatomy: Anatomical Structure of the Plant



Cannabis is a woody and one-year plant from the Cannabaceae family. Cannabis, whose homeland is Asia, has spread all over the world in various ways. Today there are two subspecies. These are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Their structures resemble each other but have some anatomical differences. So, do you know about the anatomy of cannabis?

The cannabis plant has a long, gnarled pot. Fiber cells are in bundles in the shell part and there are 30-50 fiber cells in each fiber bundle. Each fiber cell has a fineness of 20-35 microns. The primary fibers in the cannabis stalk are suitable for use in the production of textile products. Primary fibers consist of reptilian tissue. During the growth phase of the plant, there is no change in the number of fibers, but the length of the fibers increases. In the cannabis plant, the fiber thickness increases as the stem go down. The fiber length is determined by the distance between the knuckles. The shiny hemp fibers are yellow-brown and the cross-section of the fiber is polygonal.



One of the important parameters affecting the properties of the fiber is maturity. The harvest period of the plant determines the fiber maturity. The harvest period should be chosen according to the desired fiber quality. Small lumen accompanies thin cell walls in mature stems. The harvest of cannabis plants for fiber is done in August and just before the flowering period ends.

Fiber length is on average 40-45 mm, depending on the length of the plant it reaches up to 2 meters. The substances in the composition of the fiber affect the fiber properties and behavior as well as the production properties. For this reason, it is important to know the materials that make up the fiber well, to select appropriate processing conditions, and to determine the usage properties of the textile product planned to be produced from this material.

The Components of Cannabis Anatomy


  • Root

Cannabis has a pile root system. It consists of a main taproot and secondary and lateral roots emerging from it. The taproots can go down to depths of 3 – 4 m under suitable moisture and soil conditions. The root system has spread in the form of a net starting from 15-20 cm below the soil. Its strong roots go deep into the soil. However, if the soil conditions are unfavorable, the main root remains short and the lateral roots develop more.

  • Stalk

The hemp stalks have a hard, herbaceous structure and the white wood part is surrounded by a green shell. Depending on the environment and the variety in which it grows, its diameter can vary between 4-20 mm and its length between 1-6 m. The length is longer in males than females. Cannabis stalks, which are juicy in the first development period, become woody as they age. The cross-section of the stem is round in the hypocotyl part, four on top of it, and hexagonal above it.



In fact, each of the 4 corners creates three protrusions, resulting in a 12-cornered shape on the upper parts of the stem and a corrugated appearance of the plant stem. The handle, which is filled with wood at the bottom, becomes full of the essence as it goes upwards and finally becomes empty in the middle. The hemp stalk consists of knuckles and knuckles, the number of which is 9-11. Since the number of knuckles is not much variable, the knuckle gaps are also long in tall hemp. In this plant, the internodes are the longest in the middle of the stem; it gets shorter towards the top and bottom.

The length of the knuckle distances is important in determining the fiber length. The distances between the knuckles vary between 3-40 cm. In cannabis, the technical stem length refers to the length from cotyledon to the point where branching begins or the leaves change from reciprocal to alternating state. This length varies according to the variety and growing conditions.

  • Fiber

Hemp singular fibers are found in beams in the shell part of the stem. In the hypocotyl part of the stem, the number of fiber cells is low. 7-8 from the 4th node. The number of primary fiber cells increases up to the node. As one moves up from these nodes, the number of cells and beams decreases. 6-9 of the handle. The number of primary fiber cells between the knuckles is 8000-10000, and the number of fiber beams is 600-700. The number of fiber cells in the base of the stem is approximately 3000 and 4000-5000 at the tip. Hemp fiber cells are polygonal (2-7 corners). The length of these cells is 5-100 mm, an average of 40-55 mm, and their thickness is between 18-50 microns. Fiber cells become thinner towards the tip.

In females, the stalk is thicker and the fiber yield is higher; In male hemp, the stem is thinner, the fiber yield is low, but the fiber quality is higher. Fibers occur in 3 stages within the shell. Since the first formed fibers are longer, they are more desirable. The spindle-shaped fiber cells come together and adhere with pectin to form fiber beams. Hemp fibers contain more lignin than flax fibers, and no matter how often they are planted, they are not as thin as flax fibers. The fiber ratio of hemp stalk is 16-20%; 65% of the fiber product is female hemp fibers.

  • Leaf

Cannabis leaves are opposite to the technical stem length; above this, they take place alternately. While the leaves show continuity intensively in the farthest inflorescences in female plants; In male plants, the flower at the tip is much less sparse leaves. Cannabis leaves are formed by the combination of 3-11 narrow leaflets at the bottom and at the same point, on a stalk, with their lengths shortening to both sides, the longest in the middle.

Leaflets are narrow and long; roughly toothed edges. The number of leaflets in the middle of the stem is between 9 and 11; as it goes up and down, it goes down to 3. Even simple leaves can be found at the tip. The length of the leaflets varies between 5-12 cm and width 1-2 cm.



  • Flower

Cannabis is a dioecious plant. In other words, male and female flowers are found in separate plants. However, monogenic forms are also found. In male plants, sparse inflorescences consisting of yellowish-green male flowers; In female plants, dense flower bunches consisting of green-looking female flowers are also located in the leaf seats. Flowers on the male plant are joined to the panicle stalk with short stalks.

Male cannabis plants end in a rich inflorescence. In male flowers, 3 protective leaves on the outermost, 5 perianth remnants inside them; They contain thin filaments, white round anthers, and 5 stamens. Stamens hang out of flowers through perianth leaves.

The anthers are also covered with very small warts. Flower powders in white or yellow color are easily carried by the wind. The female flowers are located on female plants, sessile on the axis of the flower position, in a dense, spike-like manner, mutually in pairs. In each pair, often only one flower binds fruit; the other is barren. The female cannabis plant ends in a dense and rich spike-like flower community with lots of leaves.

In female flowers, the protective leaves are united and over the perianth, the flower is clearly wrapped. Perianth leaves combined to form a cup-shaped, uninterrupted sheath around the ovary. The female organ, which has a single-chambered ovary and forms a single seed inside it, has two large stigmas extending upwards through the protective leaves. Stigmas have a hairy structure suitable for open fertilization.



  • Fruit and Seed

Although it is generally used as birdseed, it has become more preferred in the kitchen in recent years with the understanding of its health benefits. Cannabis seeds are egg-shaped, hard, and brownish-greenish in color. The seed in the walnut is endospermic and the embryo is curled in the fruit.

Since it contains a single seed and its shell is hard and unopenable, the walnut is used as a seed in the cultivation of cannabis and is practically called cannabis seed. Depending on the variety, the length of the seeds is 4.0-6.0 mm; 1000 seed weight of cannabis seeds with a width of 3.0-3.5 mm varies between 9-27 g. Hemp seeds contain 30-32% oil, 22-23% protein, 35-35% carbohydrate, 1.5-2% sugar, 5-6% ash and 21% carbohydrate.

A Morphological Approach to Cannabis Anatomy


Cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) is one of the first cultivated plants in human history, a one-year plant with 2n = 20 chromosomes, long and strong from the C3 group, grown for its seeds and fibers. As a result of archaeological research, remains of fabric made of hemp dating to 8000 BC were found. It is known that hemp was produced in Anatolia in the 1500s BC. Hemp fibers have had a very important place in textile production throughout history and shaped the economies of the countries.

So much so that until the end of the 19th century, cannabis fiber was the raw material of 80% of all textile products in the world. With the technology developed in the early 20th century, with the use of cotton fiber, thinner yarns could be produced and lighter clothes were made possible. With the anti-cannabis laws enacted in the 1930s, hemp agriculture was greatly interrupted, and in addition to this, hemp textiles started to lose their former importance with the synthetic fibers developed in parallel with the war industry. Cannabis systematically has the following varieties;



  • Cannabis sativa var. vulgaris L. (Cultured cannabis)
  • Cannabis sativa ssp. indica Lam. (Cannabis)
  • Cannabis sativa ssp. gigantica (Giant hemp)
  • Cannabis sativa ssp. ruderalis (Wild hemp)

Although not fully compatible with taxonomists, cannabis is the only species in the Cannabis genus in the Cannabinaceae family. The cultured cannabis plant has a diploid structure and 20 chromosomes. Cannabis sativa L. ssp. vulgaris was used for fiber production in the past. Cannabis sativa L. Indica subtype, on the other hand, was used for narcotic purposes as it contains more THC.

Wild cannabis that grows spontaneously in nature is Cannabis sativa L. Ruderalis. However, all these subspecies, which are taxonomically differentiated in this way, can easily cross each other and give fertile offspring. These subspecies, which are easily separated from each other physically, chemically, and genetically, now have intermediate forms that are hybridized with each other. For this reason, it has become almost impossible to determine exactly which subspecies the existing genotypes belong to.

For example, although there are many sources of the use of the Indica subtype in the production of illicit substances, it is currently thought that the most THC-containing types belong only to the Indica (cannabis) subspecies. This claim is an untrue opinion. Because the genes of the Skunk variety (type) come from the 75% Sativa, 25% Indica subtype. Also, genotypes with very high THC in some countries are commonly referred to as “Skunk”. This statement is also not correct. Because “Skunk” is a hybrid variety obtained for special purposes. Therefore, what is essential in cannabis is not the name of the subtype, but for what purposes it was developed and used.

Cannabis’ Anatomy Makes It the Best Raw Material


Cannabis, which has more than 25 thousand uses today, is known as one of the oldest plants used as a raw material. Among the areas where cannabis is most commonly used are food, beverage, cosmetics, personal care, food supplement, medicine, fabric, paper and building materials. Stating that the reason for the banning of cannabis is the use of the THC substance found in female cannabis, experts underlined that while trying to take advantage of the benefits of the cannabis plant, measures should be taken against its abuse.



Although cannabis is one of the oldest plants used as a raw material in human history, it is known that it has more than 25 thousand uses today. In particular, the variety of uses of hemp oil and fibers and the need for alternative sources in the market make hemp popular and economically valuable. Food, beverage, cosmetics, personal care, food supplement, medicine, fabric, paper, building material are among the most common areas of use of hemp.

In addition, its seeds are used in the production of fuel, food, soap, and paint. Cannabis has many uses and benefits in many areas. The main ones are, one decare of hemp is a very rich plant in cellulose, which can provide pulp equivalent to 4 decares of wood. In addition, when compared in terms of the amount of oxygen it produces, 1-acre of hemp corresponds to the oxygen production amount of a 25-decare forest. It helps to protect forests as it is more suitable for papermaking than trees.

It has been announced that studies will be carried out for the production of cannabis, which has started to regain its popularity due to its versatile opportunities and environmentalist structure. Before the risks this may bring, it is important to have sufficient information about cannabis and to eliminate misinformation.

Cannabis is an annual plant belonging to the Cannabaceae family. There are three types of it: Cannabis sativa, cannabis Indica, and cannabis Ruderalis. Cannabis sativa is the most widely known type. The type of cannabis used in cannabis production is cannabis Indica. The plant is a female, sexual plant, and permission must be obtained for its cultivation.

There are two basic chemicals in the cannabis plant called THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). THC is a psychoactive substance and is used as a drug. In contrast, CBD is a non-psychoactive substance that can be used medically. While the content of cannabis used as a drug contains THC in the range of 5% to 20%, this rate is legally below 0.3% in cannabis produced for industrial purposes.

So they cannot be used for drug purposes. From this point of view, the controlled production of cannabis may not have direct harm. However, it is thought that the increasing and widespread hemp production may pose an indirect risk, as it will make it difficult to identify people engaged in illegal production.



China is the largest producer and exporter of using hemp in the paper and fabric industry and continues to grow in this field. Canada leads the way in cannabis seed products and shows faster growth compared to China. The use of cannabis in Europe is more prominent in industrial areas such as automobiles and construction. Russia, England, Germany, France, Denmark, Austria, Romania, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Hungary are known countries for hemp production.

As America has changed its attitude towards cannabis from time to time in different political periods, it lagged behind countries such as Canada and China in this field, but in recent years, it has started to make large investments and support in cannabis research and production throughout the country. From this point of view, it is seen that many states are in practice for the legal production of cannabis.

One of the main reasons for the prohibition of cannabis is that THC (tetra-hydro-cannabinol), which is concentrated in the upper part of female cannabis, is used as a pleasurable and addictive substance. There are more than 461 different chemical components in the cannabis plant. There are false beliefs among the public that natural substances do not cause addiction. However, this is not true. According to research, cannabis use appears to cause both physical and psychological addiction.

In a study, 35% of people using cannabis were unable to quit although they wanted it, 24% continued to use it despite harming it, ‘had difficulty controlling their use, and 20% described withdrawal symptoms such as extreme restlessness and tension when not using it. For this reason, while trying to benefit from the benefits of the plant, it will be appropriate to consider the risk of addiction due to misuse and abuse and to take precautions accordingly.

Anatomy of Cannabis Fiber and the Textile Industry


Cannabis is an annual woody plant that is close to nettles, belonging to the Cannabaceae family. This plant, whose homeland is Asia, has spread all over the world by following various paths. There are two subspecies today. These are cannabis Sativa and cannabis Indica. Cannabis sativa is a type used for fiber production and has industrial importance. Indica’s production has been banned all over the world due to its narcotic properties.

Apart from the textile industry, hemp is also used in other areas. Its seeds are used in oil production and animal feed, and its fibers are used in papermaking. Cannabis is one of the first cultivated plants in human history. As a result of archaeological research, remains of fabric made of hemp dating back to 8000 BC were found.



It is known that hemp was produced in Anatolia in the 1500s BC. Hemp fibers have had a very important place in textile production throughout history and shaped the economies of the country. So much so that until the end of the 19th century, hemp fiber was the raw material of 80% of all textile products in the world.

With the technology developed in the early 20th century, with the use of cotton fiber, thinner yarns were produced and lighter clothes were made possible. With the anti-cannabis laws enacted in the 1930s, hemp agriculture was greatly interrupted, and in addition to this, hemp textiles began to lose their former importance with the synthetic fibers developed in parallel with the war industry. Today, it is seen that the demand for textile products produced from hemp fibers is increasing rapidly.

The high level of environmental concerns is the main reason for this interest. Compared to cotton and petroleum-derived synthetic fibers, which are the most widely used natural fibers in the world, hemp fibers attract attention with their superior ecological properties and organic textile production potential. Another reason why hemp textiles have come to the fore recently is that they provide superior usage properties. These properties result from the physical and chemical structure of the fiber.

The Physical and Chemical Structure of Cannabis Fiber


Hemp fibers used in the textile industry are obtained from cannabis Sativa-type hemp males. The plant has a tall pot containing knuckles. There are different categories of fibers in the sac section (the secondary cell bundle is absent in flax, this is a distinctive feature). The fibers suitable for textile use are primary fibers. Primary fibers are made up of apical sliding tissue.

The number of primary fibers between the knuckles does not change with the growth stages of the plant, but the fibers are elongated. Fiber length and yield depend on the distance between knuckles. The fibers in question are in the form of bundles in the shell part and there are 30-50 fiber cells in the fiber bundles. Each fiber cell is 20-35 microns, the thickness of the fiber varies, increasing towards the lower parts of the sac. The fibers are shiny and their color is yellow-brown.

Maturity is an important parameter for fibers to be used in industrial applications. The maturity of a single fiber occurs from the outside to the inside with the development of the secondary wall. The cell walls are thin and the lumen occupies a small volume in the mature sac. The development of the secondary wall begins in the growth phase of the plant and continues after flowering. The fiber characteristic varies according to the harvesting period of the plant, so the correct harvesting period should be selected according to the fiber quality to be obtained.



The process of separating the fibers from the stems after the harvest is similar to the flax fibers, methods such as mechanical method, raw soaking, pooling method, chemical method, and enzyme treatment method are used for this process. The aim here is to obtain fibers by removing woody parts.

Hemp, a natural cellulose fiber, contains impurities such as hemicellulose, lignin, and pectin in addition to cellulose. It is important to examine the non-cellulose substances contained in the fibers in order to better understand the physical and chemical properties of the fibers and to select the processes to be applied in production efficiently. Hemp fibers are formed by the combination of many elementary fibers.

The elementary fibers come together thanks to the pectin glue. Pectic materials are structural polysaccharides and have high water holding capacity. In hemp fiber, pectin is found in the primary wall and middle lamella. In the middle lamella, pectin is coated with lignin.

Lignin is the second most abundant biopolymer after cellulose in the world. Unlike cellulose, it has aromatic and aliphatic groups. Its basic component can be considered as 4-Alkylcatechol. Lignin is a difficult molecule to decompose and is resistant to enzymes. The survival of the plants that grow above the ground level is provided by lignin. The lignin increases the reactivity of the fibers but at the same time gives the fibers a hard touch.



Due to the cellulosic structure of the fibers, leather is damaged by inorganic acids. Weak acids cause strength loss with the increase in temperature. If treatment with acids is required, it is useful to choose organic acids. Hemp fibers are very resistant to alkalis. In particular, cottonized hemp fibers are very resistant to basic processes.

The fibers melt in hot dense bases, and with the use of cold dense bases, the fibers swell and mercerizing effect is created. Organic solvents, including dry cleaning solutions, do not harm hemp fibers. It is very resistant to microorganisms. The physical properties of the fibers significantly determine the fabric structure to be produced and the usage properties of the fabric.

Cannabis’ Anatomy and Ecology


Organic agriculture is a highly controllable production system that aims to protect the environment and human health, aiming for sustainable production without destroying natural resources and the ecological system. The use of organic products is gradually becoming a lifestyle. Organic products, which were preferred for health reasons in the past, are now demanded in order to protect the environment and to be transferred to future generations intact.

According to the data of the relevant institutions, 10-12% of the greenhouse gas emission in the world originates from the direct agriculture sector, indirect emissions are not included in this rate. The use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms in organic agriculture is prohibited. In this way, it is aimed to minimize the pollution of air, water, and soil and to protect the resources.

In contrast to the high water, pesticide, and fertilizer needs of cotton, which is the most used natural fiber in the textile industry, and flax, which is widely used, and the relationship of synthetic fibers with fossil fuel sources, hemp can be used without any need for fertilizers and pesticides. It is important in terms of cultivation and protection of the soil and the environment. In addition, the fiber yield of hemp is much higher.



HEMP-SYS is a project supported by the European Union within the framework of the “Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources” program. The project started on 1 November 2002 and was implemented within a 3-year plan. The main aim of the program is to develop the innovative, competitive, sustainable hemp-based textile industry and to produce high value-added products.

Hemp fiber is used in the use of high value-added products due to its high strength properties, high moisture absorption and breathability, non-pilling, organic products, anti-bacterial properties, UV protection, and good electrostatic properties.

There are a wide variety of products produced from hemp fibers. Many textile products such as shirts, trousers, jackets, t-shirts, skirts, underwear products, towels, curtains, mats, bags, and so on can be produced from hemp fibers. In these products, 100% hemp fibers can be used, as well as fabrics made of hemp and other fiber mixtures. In order for hemp fibers to be mixed with short-staple fibers, they must be subjected to a cottonization process.

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Savaş Ateş

I like cannabis. I read a lot about cannabis usage in the medical field. I researched a lot about planting it. I have started a cannabis business and i want to share my experiences with you.

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