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Cannabis 101

The Endocannabinoid System(ECS):

The Endocannabinoid System of your body is a network of receptors that help to regulate homeostasis or balance by interacting with and supporting a variety of major bodily functions.

The ECS Receptors

The two main receptors of the endocannabinoid system are known as CB1 CB2 receptors.


CB1 Receptors
CB1 receptors are found primarily throughout the brain and central nervous system. CB1 receptors are also found within the kidneys, liver, lungs, digestive tract and even our eyes.


CB2 Receptors
CB2 receptors are found primarily throughout the immune system. CB2 receptors are also found within our peripheral tissues that exist in our stomach, muscles, glands and even our ears.


Cannabinoids are chemical compounds secreted by the cannabis plant’s trichomes during its growth process. THC & CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids but there are many others, such as: CBN, CBG, THCA, and THCV.


Cannabinoids work by bonding with the receptors of the ECS and either support what the receptors intended function is or supplement to help change or modulate a receptor’s function(s) if the ECS is out of balance.


THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most well-known cannabinoid. THC is the primary psychoactive component of the marijuana plant and has many potential health benefits.


CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second most well-known cannabinoid. CBD is known to have many potential health benefits and may mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC.

Cannabis Plant Anatomy


Cannabis is dioecious, meaning it comes from separate male and female plants. Growing from a seed, cannabis can take on the following forms: female, sinsemilla, male, and hermaphrodite.

Female & Sinsemilla

Female cannabis plants produce the large buds and flowers of marijuana. They contain pistils, the plants primary sex organ, and resin which collects pollen from male cannabis plants. When pollen fertilizes the female plant, seed is produced. If the female plant is kept away from pollen, more resin is produced; unfertilized females, known as sinsemilla, create a frosty layer of trichomes desired by the growers and consumers. Sinsemilla is much more potent than fertilized flowers because of their increased trichome production.


Male cannabis plants produce pollen sacks that blossom into flowers when they reach maturity. They are not as potent as female plants, but do contain cannabinoids. Pollen fertilizes the bud of a female plant and contains genetic material used to breed new strains of marijuana with specific traits over time. Pollinating a female plant creates seeds with genetic material from both the mother and father plant, leading to more genetic variation and a stronger cannabis species (clones of female plants are prone to genetic weakness over time).


A hermaphrodite is a plant that develops both female and male parts. This usually occurs when females have gone a long time without pollination or experience stress during growth.

Visual Components of Cannabis Plant

The cannabis plant is made up of several structural parts, many of which can be found on any ordinary flowering plant.


Trichomes are tiny glands on leaves and calyces that produce cannabinoids and terpenes. They have a crystal-like appearance and hold the majority of resin. Trichomes and their resin are used to create a variety of concentrates and extracts.

Stigma & Pistil

Pistils contain the reproductive parts of the flower. Stigmas are the vibrant, hair-like strands of the pistil that collect pollen from males. They are only found on female plants and capture pollen from male plants by curling or bending toward male plants. Pistils are a grower’s best tool for differentiating between a male and female plant.


The calyx is a tiny, teardrop-shaped cluster that makes up the bud itself. It contains sugar leaves and pistils and is where most of the trichomes are found.


A bract is a tear-shaped green leaf covered in resin glands. Bracts produce lots of concentrated cannabinoids. They encapsulate the reproductive parts of the female and house seeds in a fertilized plant.


A cola is the flowering top of a female cannabis plant where the bud develops. Colas grow vertically toward the ends of major branches where the buds receive the most light. Healthy plants grow one main cola at the top of the cannabis plant, and form smaller colas around the rest of the plant. Dried cannabis flower is the cola.

Sugar Leaves

Sugar leaves are small leaves that grow during the flowering stage out of the cannabis buds. These leaves are usually covered in sparkly THC-filled trichomes that look like a dusting of sugar.

Fan Leaves

Fan leaves grow in pairs off of the main stem and branches. Fan leaves help to differentiate sativa versus indica plants: sativas have light green and slender leaves while indicas have dark green, wide leaves. Fan leaves soak up light and transport energy throughout the plant via the phloem.


Leaf nodes are where branching occurs off of the stem and where flowers grow. Nodes connect new stem branches that separate and take the form of a leaf, branch, or bud. Internode space is the distance between sets of branches; indicas have shorter internode spacing than sativas.


The main stem of a cannabis plant emerges from the roots and allows the plant to grow vertically.

Note: Individual results may vary.

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