By the 1600s, cannabis had already been grown by humans for thousands of years as a source of food, fuel, fibre and medicine.
Cannabis seeds are rich in protein, amino acids and essential fatty acids - an excellent food source for humans and livestock. Cannabis seed oil can also be burned as a fuel for lamps and engines.
Cannabis stalk is a source of fibre and pulp. The stalk's strong outer fibres are used to make textiles like rope, sails and clothing. The inner pulpy hurds were traditionally disposed as a waste product, but after the invention of the "decorticator" in the early 1900s, the hurds became a valuable source material to make everything from plastics to paper to dynamite.
Cannabis is "dioecious" which means it has male and female plants.
The flower clusters of female plants are covered in tiny resinous glands called "trichomes." These glands are rich in "cannabinoids" with many medicinal uses - they have names like THC, CBD and CBN.
When these trichomes are separated from the plant and pressed together, the product is called "hashish."
Male plants produce small sacks which release pollen to fertilize the females.
Cannabis can also be hermaphrodite, with male and female flowers on the same plant.
Study: Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An overview, by J.C. Callaway, University of Kuopio, Finland, 2004
• amino acids
Book: The Great Book of Hemp, by Rowan Robinson, p.55, Inner Traditions, 1996
• essential fatty acids
Article: The Amazing Benefits of Hemp Seeds, by Gero Leson and Walter Russell, Alternet, October 26, 2012
• burned as a fuel
Book: Hemp For Victory: A Global Warming Solution, by Richard M Davis, Hemp Museum Publishing, 2007
• burned as a fuel
Book: The Great Book of Hemp, by Rowan Robinson, p.30, Park Street Press, 1996
• strong outer fibres
Book: Handbook of Natural Fibres, by Ryszard Kozlowski, p.119, Woodhead Publishing, 2012
• inner pulpy hurds
Book: Hemp, Industrial Production and Uses, by Pierre Bouloc, CABI, 2013
• invention of decorticator
Article: The New Billion Dollar Crop, Popular Mechanics, 1938
Book: Handbook of Natural Fibres, by Ryszard Kozlowski, p.118, Woodhead Publishing, 2012
• tiny resin glands
Article: Inside the Trichome, by Bubbleman and Jeremiah Vandermeer, Cannabis Culture, 2009
Book: Handbook of Cannabis, by Roger Pertwee, OUP Oxford, 2014
Book: Cannabis and Cannabinoids, by Ethan Russo, Routledge, 2013
• THC CBD CBN
Book: Cannabinoids, edited by Roger G. Pertwee, Springer Science, 2006
Book: Hashish!, by Robert Clarke, Red Eye Press, 1998
Video: Collecting Male Cannabis Pollen, by GrowGreenerGuru, Youtube, 2012
Book: Medical Marijuana Cannabis Cultivation, by Jeffrey Winterborne, p.123, Pukka Press, 2008