Needing very little water, cannabis thrives in warm climates. It completes its growth in 4 months from August to October. Its fruits are single-seeded. After the last frost threat of the first spring has passed, cannabis seeds are sown by sprinkling in April – May. Sprouting in the plant can be observed 12 days after sowing. Since the maturation period of the male and female of the cannabis plant is different, it is harvested in different periods. Cannabis is a flowering plant. Cannabis flowers appear before the harvest.
The cannabis flower is dioecious. Male flowers are in the form of a cluster, while female flowers are in spikes on a single leaflet. Male flowering cannabis is thinner and shorter than females. Its fruit is small, ash-colored, hard-shelled, and single-seeded. Cannabis, an annual plant with a rough, angled branched stem that can be up to 3 m tall, has finger-like leaves, saw-toothed edges, and pointed leaflets. Cannabis flowers can be grown anywhere in the world. It grows better especially in relatively damp places. Let’s take a look at the subtleties of cannabis flowering and cultivation.
Brief Information About Cannabis Flowers
Cannabis is a one-year, dioecious and herbaceous plant, 50 cm-3 m tall, grown in mild climates, blooming pale greenish flowers in July-August. Their bodies are upright and hollow, and they are rough because of their thorny hairs. The leaves are long-stalked, opposite, and hand-shaped. Male and female cannabis flowers are located on separate plants.
Male flowers are collected in clusters at the axils of the leaves. The female flowers are in the axils of small leaves and are almost sessile. The fruit is 3-5 mm long, lentil-shaped, grayish or greenish-brown in color. The homeland of cannabis is Central Asia. It is also grown in moderate climates. The rope made of cannabis is the first rope produced in the world. In 3000 BC, the Chinese used it to make cloth.
Different types of cannabis are encountered due to the plant’s flowering period, branching shape, feathers, and variety of leaf sizes. Cannabis, whose fibers will be used, is planted directly by sprinkling the seed on the soil. Seed cannabis is thrown into special pits opened, and the tops are filled with soil. The female flowering branch tips, fruits, oil, and fibers of the plant are used. Since cannabis fibers are very strong and durable, they are especially used in making sacks, ropes, carpet rope, sailcloth, etc. It is also used in construction.
Especially the flowering branch tips of the plant contain a resin that dissolves in organic solvents and essential oil. The resin contains cannabinol, cannabidiol, and tetrahydrocannabinol. Obtaining good quality resin depends on climate and soil. This resin has a physiological effect. It acts on the central nervous system and is sedative and narcotic. It does not have much effect on the digestion system.
This brownish mass obtained from the female inflorescences of the cannabis plant is known as marijuana. It is widely used in Asia and Africa as a stimulant. Marijuana can be smoked in the form of tobacco, cigarettes, and hookahs. Whether any sample contains cannabis resin (marijuana) is important forensically and practically. This control can be done biologically on white mice as well as with some chemical color reactions (Beam reaction).
Oil is extracted from cannabis seeds and this greenish oil is used especially in soap making. The world’s annual cannabis production is around 300,000 tons on average. The countries that grow the most cannabis are Russia, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Mexico, and India.
Geographic Distribution and Origin of Cannabis
Cannabis systematically has the following varieties: Cannabis sativa var. Vulgaris L. (Cultured cannabis), Cannabis sativa var. Indica Lam. (Cannabis), Cannabis sativa Subvar. Gigantica (Giant cannabis), Cannabis sativa var. Ruderalis (Wild cannabis). The cultivated cannabis plant has a diploid structure and 20 chromosomes. There are 4 ecotypes of cultivated cannabis: Northern Russia-Finland, Central Europe, Southern Europe-Asia Minor, and Indian (narcotic).
Cannabis originated in a vast area stretching from the Caspian and Himalayas to China and Siberia. Cannabis is probably one of the oldest cultivated plants without a food source. It is the only fiber used by the first inhabitants of northern, northeastern China, and eastern Siberia. This plant probably began to be cultivated in China at least 4500 years ago, and records showing the known use of its fibers date back to Neolithic (Polished Stone) times.
Historical records indicate that cannabis reached western Asia and Egypt 1000-2000 years ago; It was taken to Europe by the Scythians 1500 years ago; shows that it settled on the Mediterranean coast later on. There are also records showing that cannabis fibers dating back 700-800 BC were found in Anatolia. It has been an important fiber plant in Europe since 500 MS; It reached the United States in 1632.
Although the narcotic properties of cannabis were known in India 1000 years before Christ, it was also known around the Mediterranean during the Roman civilization. The genus Cannabis is considered monotypic, although species other than Cannabis sativa are included, and no clear intraspecies classification (subspecies or varietal division) has been defined. Cannabis is a foreign pollinated plant and derives directly from an “open-pollinated wild ancestor”.
Today, there is no record of the existence of a truly wild cannabis population anywhere in the world, and probably no such population. There is a mutual character exchange between wild forms and cultural forms, which are illegally derived from cultural areas and started to grow like weeds.
The seeds (botanically the fruit) of cannabis, with its oil content of 30-35%, are used to extract cannabis oil, which is widely used in the making of soft soaps. Cannabis seeds are also eaten as a snack; They are also used as bird feed. Cannabis seed meal is of moderate quality, as it is used for feeding meat and working animals, but also contains shell residues.
Herbal Properties of Cannabis Flower
The root system of cannabis consists of the main taproot and secondary and lateral roots emerging from it. Pile roots can reach a depth of 4 m under suitable moisture and soil conditions. The root system is spread in the form of a net from 15-20 cm below the soil. Cannabis stalks have a hard, herbaceous structure and a green bark surrounds the white wood part. Depending on the growing environment and variety, its diameter can vary between 4-20 mm and its length can vary between 1-16 m.
The height is longer in male cannabis than in females. Cannabis stalks, which are sappy in the first development period, become woody as they age. The cross-section of the stem is round at the hypocotyl, four-pointed above it, and hexagonal above. In fact, each of the 4 corners creates three protrusions, causing the upper parts of the stem to become 12 corners and the stem to gain a corrugated appearance from one end to the other. The handle, which is filled with wood at the bottom, becomes full of the essence as you go up, and finally, it becomes empty in the middle.
The cannabis fruit is a greenish-brown nut (achene). Its length is 4.0-6.0mm; the 1000 grain weight of cannabis seeds, whose width is between 3.0-3.5 mm, varies between 12-30 g. The more common variation limits around the world are 14-22 g. The seed contains 30-35% oil, 22-23% protein, and around 21% carbohydrates.
The cannabis plant needs a growing period of 4 months for fiber production and 5 months for seeds. Cannabis, which is resistant to light frosts, gives a good fiber product, especially in rainy and humid regions. In places where precipitation is insufficient, fiber production is possible by irrigation. For fiber production, a temperate climate and regular distribution of precipitation throughout the season are required. High temperature and drought accelerate the ripening of cannabis, causing a decrease in fiber yield and quality.
Cannabis is harvested when it reaches flowering or when the seeds are ripe, usually at the end of a 4-5 month growing season. Since cannabis is dioecious and its male and female plants mature at different times, some difficulties arise in deciding the harvest time. Although male plants mature 5-10 days after they shed pollen for fiber production (a dust cloud is seen when male plants shake at this stage); It is necessary to wait another 4-5 weeks for the seeds to mature in female plants.
Cannabis is one of the most important raw materials used even in the years before Christ. Central Asia is shown as the homeland of cannabis. Thanks to the THC substance found in female cannabis, the drug is prohibited due to its production. Over 50 thousand industrial products are obtained from cannabis, which has a place in human history throughout history.
Cannabis is a raw material that can be used in many sectors. The cannabis plant is produced industrially by all countries of the world. Especially after its use in medicine, countries focused on cannabis, and its cultivation areas were expanded. It has been increased by 150 percent in one year in the USA. In addition, Israel is among the leading countries in medical use. It receives products 4-5 times a year in specially established greenhouses. Canada has increased its lands for cannabis production and started cannabis cultivation on 100 thousand hectares of land.
Australia has also introduced incentives for cannabis cultivation. As it is known, the Netherlands, while allowing cannabis, which has been a drug for years, also stepped up in industrial cannabis production and increased its cultivation lands by 200 percent. At the same time, the Dutch government made an agreement with Romania and established 1 laboratory and 1 processing facility here. Germany, France, and Austria also decided to expand their cannabis cultivation areas last year. The sectors in which cannabis is most used are as follows:
- Food Industry
- Cosmetic Industry
- Pharmaceutical Industry
- Textile sector
- Paper Industry
- Building Materials Industry
- Petroleum and Petrochemical Industry
Cannabis, which is used in almost all industrial sectors and is more profitable than most substances, also has many benefits. Cannabis, which has the feature of a cleaning nature, is also one of the active raw materials in the health sector today. Cannabis grown on an area of 1 decare provides oxygen as much as a forest area of 25 decares. Paper obtained from 1 acre of cannabis plants is the same as paper obtained from 4 acres of forest area. Cannabis is protective against radiation. Before it was banned, cannabis was one of the raw materials frequently used in the textile field.
The first jeans were made from cannabis and were called canvas. After its prohibition, today’s jeans were produced. cannabis in the health sector; It is used in the production of medicines for cancer, AIDS, heart diseases, asthma, epilepsy, migraine, and stomach disorders. Plastic can also be produced from cannabis, and recycling this plastic to nature is much faster. In heavy industry, when cannabis is processed, it becomes much stronger than steel. This ensures that the resulting product is more durable.
How to Grow Cannabis?
Cannabis is divided into male and female. Male cannabis is suitable for industrial use. The cultivation and production of female cannabis are prohibited. Because the flowers contain THC, which is used in drug production.
Planting cannabis begins in April and May. Cannabis, which does not require much care after planting, grows spontaneously in humid climates. In arid regions, it can be grown with a little irrigation method. It grows naturally in regions with a minimum rainfall of 700 mm.
Cannabis grows in any soil, but its yield is maximized in deeply plowed, nutrient-rich, slightly loose, and organic matter-rich soils with a pH of 7 to 7.5. Yields decrease in acidic soils.
Cannabis is in the category of arable crops, but when planted in this way, yields decrease.
The preparation of the area where cannabis will be planted should be done in autumn. If there is stubble, it is recommended not to mix the stubble with the soil you will plant. In the autumn months, the area to be planted should be deep plowed with the help of a plow. At the beginning of April, a disc harrow and rake should be thrown into the soil where cannabis will be planted and a beautiful seedbed should be prepared. The fact that the seed you will use is fresh, large, and clean are the factors that will maximize the yield. (Seeds in the lower part of the plant are larger and cleaner.)
- Planting Time
Although it varies according to the region you are in, cannabis planting should be started in the spring. Sowing should be completed in April or May.
- Planting Method
Hand-spreading reduces planting yield in cannabis. With this method, more seeds are used and the seeds do not fall deeply, so maintenance becomes difficult. Sowing by machine is the most accurate. In industrial production, the distance between the sprouts should be 20-25 cm, and in seed production, this figure should be increased to 30-40 cm. Sowing depth should not exceed 2-3 cm. At the same time, 6-9 kg/da of seeds should be used for fiber production. For seed production, this figure should be 4-5 kg/da. (While frequent planting causes an increase in fiber quality, infrequent planting is aimed at increasing seed quality.)
- Irrigation Amount
Cannabis does not require irrigation in regions with a minimum rainfall of 700 mm. The period when it needs water the most is when it first develops. Irrigation in arid lands and areas with no precipitation during this period will increase the yield.
- Fertilizer Use
Farm manure should be mixed into the soil while the cannabis plant is preparing the soil (in autumn). After planting, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers should be given. 2-4 tons of farm manure per acre, 8-12 kg of pure nitrogen per acre, ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate, and 6-8 kg/da of pure phosphorus should be given.
- Hoeing and Maintenance
After planting cannabis, it should be done when the sprout is 5-10 cm tall. When it reaches 25-30 cm in length, the second hoeing should be done.
- Maturity Period and Harvest
The maturity and harvest times of cannabis and female plants are different from each other. Male plants mature and are harvested earlier. The yellowing of the stems and the shedding of the leaves of male plants is an indication of their maturity. This is the most ideal harvest time for the male plant. The female plants, on the other hand, mature and harvest approximately 4-5 weeks after the maturation of the male plants.
Cannabis is a plant that requires much less maintenance than other plants. If you consider that you will use the seeds you will obtain after the first year in other plantings, your cost will decrease considerably. It is also a demanded plant because it is used in many sectors.
Flowering and Photoperiod in Cannabis
Cannabis is a photoperiodic plant and is a short-day plant. For this reason, flowering begins when the lighting period falls below 12-13 hours. If the required daylight falls below the need during the vegetative period, cannabis stops its vegetative development and directs it to the generative stage, that is, flowering and seed formation. Photoperiod is one of the main factors determining the flowering time of cannabis as a short-day plant. Adaptation of development to latitude and temperature regimes, which requires a certain photoperiod, is an important condition for cannabis production.
The flowering of the cannabis plant is inhibited by the long-day photoperiod regime, while it is stimulated when a few short-day photoperiods have passed. 10-12 hours of continuous darkness under normal conditions; The critical photoperiod requires 12-14 hours of daylight. If the critical short day is not reached during the growing season, the plants will remain in vegetative development or the varieties will bloom too late. For the cannabis plant to make the most of the current growing season, areas with long photoperiods should be preferred.
The germination of cannabis plants grown in low-temperature areas that do not receive sufficient light is delayed, their biomass yield decreases, and pollen yield and seed production are significantly reduced. Although C. Sativa seeds germinate in the light or in the dark, light has been found to be a partially inhibitory factor in the germination of wild cannabis grown in Kansas. Insufficient daylight also delays maturation, negatively affecting fiber yield and quality.
Although cannabis is a short-day plant, it needs a certain light intensity both in greenhouse and field conditions. Cannabis grown indoors should be grown in 16-24 hours of light and 0-8 hours of darkness. During the vegetative period, 13 hours of lighting is sufficient. Both light and dark periods are needed for healthy development. Flowering is accelerated by providing complete darkness for at least 12 hours a day, 8 hours for some Indica varieties; in some Sativa varieties, it can be up to 13 hours.
If it is exposed to continuous lighting for 24 hours without a dark period, the amount of photosynthesis and the viability rate decrease, and the development of the transmission bundles slows down. In addition, plants exposed to light for 24 hours may become more sensitive to outdoor photoperiods. For example, if a clone that grows under 24 hours of light is surprised outside towards the end of May, it may begin to bloom, unlike another clone that gets only 18 hours of light. Generally, flowering occurs with complete darkness for at least 12 hours a day.
Flowering in cannabis begins with a hormonal reaction that begins with short-day conditions. Some Sativa varieties need up to 13 hours of dark phase to begin flowering. While the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) rate remains low in fiber-purpose cannabis (commonly grown), the THC rate increases several times in the same cannabis cultivars that are sparsely grown, receive a lot of sunlight, or even grown under supplemental light.
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