The Cannabis plant
Cannabis is a complex plant with an even more complex history. Once outlawed and vilified by nations around the globe, the cannabis plant is slowly becoming more accepted by society. Following Uruguay’s 2014 legalisation of cannabis, many governments worldwide have begun to review their stance on cannabis, slowly making moves to reintroduce the substance to society.
Cannabis is the most prevalent illicit drug in the world. Source
The cannabis plant is a wild growing, dioecious plant. As with many plants, the cannabis plant is made up of several parts including seeds, flowers, and leaves.
Marijuana leaves are the most identifiable part of the cannabis plant. Its leaves go beyond serving as indicators of the plant’s health. The leaves of the cannabis plant are symbolic to cannabis consumers around the globe and the cannabis culture in general.
What does the marijuana leaf signify?
The leaves of the marijuana plant hold significance in various areas of society. Their significance can be viewed under two broad categories:
- Agricultural significance; and
- Cultural significance.
The leaves of the marijuana plant are its most identifiable part. Individuals can tell the cannabis plant apart from other plants by taking a look at its leaves.
As illustrated below, the cannabis plant can be divided into three subspecies:
- Cannabis Sativa (C. Sativa);
- Cannabis Indica (C. Indica) and;
- Cannabis Ruderalis (C. Ruderalis).
Cannabis leaves can serve as identifiers of the particular species or strain, whether sativa, indica, or ruderalis. Source
Each subspecies of the cannabis plant can be differentiated by the appearance of their leaves.
- Sativa leaves are long and slender, appearing almost spiky. Pronounced serrations give the leaf a jagged appearance. They range in colour, from bright, lime green to very dark green. These leaves can contain up to thirteen leaflets in one stalk.
- Indica leaves are much wider and broader in comparison to Sativa’s. With Indica, the largest leaves often have fewer leaflets. At its peak, Indica contains seven to nine leaflets. These leaves are usually dark – commonly a deep olive-green. Light leaves in this sub specie are very rare and often a sign of deficiency.
- Ruderalis leaves are significantly smaller than its sub specie counterparts. The plant itself is the smallest of all three subspecies, with leaves reaching five to thirteen leaflets per stalk.
In order to understand the cultural significance of cannabis, one must first understand the cannabis culture itself. Cannabis culture refers to the shared ideals, customs, and social behaviour of a group of cannabis users or society.
Cannabis culture for many cannabis consumers includes the sporting of accessories, clothing materials and novelty items which are adorned with the cannabis leaf. For many cannabis consumers, these items symbolise freedom from societal pressures, social change and liberties.
What are marijuana leaves used for?
Though the most recognizable aspect of the plant, marijuana leaves are its most under-utilised part. Marijuana leaves can be used for a number of healthy and green purposes such as;
- Cannabis leaf tea – The leaves of the cannabis plant can be dried and used in teas. To make cannabis leaf tea, simply add hot water to dried cannabis leaves and stir.
- Cannabis leaf butter – Cannabis butter is a staple for cannabis consumers who prefer to consume the substance via edibles. Cannabis leaves can be utilised to create cannabis butters.
- Cannabis leaf smoothies – The raw green leaf of the cannabis plant can be infused into juices and smoothies.
Why do marijuana leaves turn yellow?
The cannabis plant is indeed a strong plant. However, even the strongest of plants need nutrients and minerals to stay healthy. The yellowing of marijuana leaves is often a warning sign that the health of the plant is going awry. Here are some of the reasons the leaves of a marijuana plant can turn yellow:
- Under-/over-watering – When cannabis plants are under-/over-watered, their leaves may start to yellow. This usually happens when the plant has been left without water for days and is suddenly replenished with a lot of water. Keep showers light and leaves saturated when watering your cannabis plant.
- PH Levels – Yellowing leaves are often a sign of imbalanced PH levels in the soil, which the cannabis plants are planted in. If the PH level is imbalanced, the cannabis plant will not be able to absorb set nutrients, and if nutrients are not absorbed, the plant will begin to die.
Marijuana leaves are the most identifiable part of the cannabis plant. The leaves of the cannabis plant go beyond indicators to the plant’s health, and are symbolic to cannabis consumers around the globe as well as cannabis culture. Marijuana leaves can be utilised for a myriad of health conscious purposes including herbal teas, smoothies, and cannabis butters, which can also serve recreational users.