cannabis plant grown outdoor

Cannaculture [cann-a-kuhl-cher]



the culture or cultivation of cannabis; cannabis-growing.


the study or science of cannabis and its culture.

Cannaculture is the science, production, and study of Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis afghanica and Cannabis ruderalis. (These species are hotly debated and will be discussed below)  It deals with the series of events that occur in the grow room, greenhouse or farms.  Just as viticulture is to grapes, cannaculture is to cannabis.

Cannabis sativa originated from Central Asia thousands of years ago and spread outwards as humans began to cultivate the crop.  Short, wild-growing varieties, such as C. indica and C. ruderalis have also been found in other regions, such as Afghanistan, which suggests that humans have played a significant role in shaping the characteristics of cannabis through dedicated breeding and cultivation. The plant has demonstrated high levels of adaptability and will sometimes mutate to accommodate a new environment after its introduction. For this reason, cannaculture can be found on almost every continent on the planet.

Duties of the cannaculturist include monitoring and controlling pests and diseases, fertilizing, irrigation, canopy management, monitoring flower development and characteristics, deciding when to harvest, curing and post production processing.  Further maintenance during down time and off seasons also require time management.  Be prepared for amazing new revelations from cannabis as this burgeoning industry rapidly expands into a worldwide commodity over the coming decades.

current USDA Classification for Kingdom Plantae Down to Species Cannabis sativa L.

Kingdom  Plantae – Plants

Subkingdom  Tracheobionta – Vascular plants

Superdivision  Spermatophyta – Seed plants

Division  Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants

Class  Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons

Subclass  Hamamelididae

Order  Urticales

Family  Cannabaceae – Hemp family

Genus  Cannabis L. – hemp P

Species  Cannabis sativa L. – marijuana P

Cannabis taxonomy

Marijuana and hemp (Cannabis) and the closely related hop genus (Humulus) are the only widely known genera included in the small, but economically valuable, Cannabaceae family. Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, the “father of modern taxonomy,” first published the scientific name Cannabis sativa in his seminal Species Plantarum of 1753. The Latin name Cannabis derives from Greek (kannabis) and may have been originally derived from Scythian. The term sativa simply means “cultivated” and describes the common hemp plant that was widely grown across Europe in Linnaeus’ time. (Cannabis Taxonomy: The "sativa" vs. "indica" debate. Available from:

Cannabis research is a work in progress, and not all researchers agree on a single taxonomy. DNA sequencing is currently being used to characterize the diversity of many plant and animal groups, including Cannabis. While our knowledge grows and the evolutionary history of Cannabis is revealed, changes in taxonomic nomenclature will continue to reflect our deepening understanding of this medically valuable, yet controversial, plant. More broadly, whether we discover that Cannabis plants belong to one or more species, we can be sure that humans have long known, used, dispersed, cultivated, and artificially selected these plants to perpetuate a truly wide range of diversity. (Cannabis Taxonomy: The "sativa" vs. "indica" debate. Available from: [accessed Dec 29 2018].)


Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (Dr. Daniele Piomelli: CCR): I would like to start with a few questions that should not be too contentious. First off, what is the geographic origin of the Cannabis plant?

Dr. Russo: Cannabis originated in Central Asia and perhaps the Himalayan foothills. There are converging lines of evidence, including a center of biological diversity there, and biochemical data that support this. There is no trace of its presence in the Western Hemisphere before the 16th century.

CCR: Now, moving onto something more controversial. Here is a statement one can find on the Web: “It is widely accepted that marijuana has two different species: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.” This was of course also the opinion of the great 18th century naturalist, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, but would academic botanists today agree with this statement?

Dr. Russo: Botanical taxonomists never agree on anything for very long! To paraphrase and expropriate an old Yiddish expression: 12 botanical taxonomists, 25 different opinions. Many classical botanists would argue for Cannabis as one polymorphic species based on the ability of all its types to interbreed. However, if this were true, hundreds of neotropical gesneriads (Gesneriaceae, members of the African violet family) would all be one species since they readily hybridize and produce fertile offspring. It is clear that there are many chemotypes of Cannabis: THC predominant, CBD predominant, and mixed types. This is a good basic classification, but it has also been possible to selectively breed for other chemotypes expressing high titers of THCV, cannabidivarin, cannabichromene, and even ones producing 100% of its cannabinoids as cannabigerol, or others with no cannabinoids at all. The debate continues. Some espouse Cannabis as a single species, while others describe up to four: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, and Cannabis afghanica (or kafiristanica).6,7

CCR: Some users describe the psychoactive effects of Cannabis indica and sativa as being distinctive, even opposite. But are they really? Beyond self-reports from users, is there any hard evidence for pharmacologically different species of Cannabis?

Dr. Russo: There are biochemically distinct strains of Cannabis, but the sativa/indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature is total nonsense and an exercise in futility. One cannot in any way currently guess the biochemical content of a given Cannabis plant based on its height, branching, or leaf morphology. The degree of interbreeding/hybridization is such that only a biochemical assay tells a potential consumer or scientist what is really in the plant. It is essential that future commerce allows complete and accurate cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles to be available.

CCR: Sativa is often described as being uplifting and energetic, whereas indica as being relaxing and calming. Can you speculate on what could be the basis for these perceived differences?

Dr. Russo: We would all prefer simple nostrums to explain complex systems, but this is futile and even potentially dangerous in the context of a psychoactive drug such as Cannabis. Once again, it is necessary to quantify the biochemical components of a given Cannabis strain and correlate these with the observed effects in real patients. Beyond the increasing number of CBD predominant strains in recent years, almost all Cannabis on the market has been from high-THC strains. The differences in observed effects in Cannabis are then due to their terpenoid content, which is rarely assayed, let alone reported to potential consumers. The sedation of the so-called indica strains is falsely attributed to CBD content when, in fact, CBD is stimulating in low and moderate doses! Rather, sedation in most common Cannabis strains is attributable to their myrcene content, a monoterpene with a strongly sedative couch-lock effect that resembles a narcotic. In contrast, a high limonene content (common to citrus peels) will be uplifting on mood, while the presence of the relatively rare terpene in Cannabis, alpha-pinene, can effectively reduce or eliminate the short-term memory impairment classically induced by THC.2,8

CCR: How do you think one could address the sativa/indica dichotomy in a scientifically sound manner?

Dr. Russo: Since the taxonomists cannot agree, I would strongly encourage the scientific community, the press, and the public to abandon the sativa/indica nomenclature and rather insist that accurate biochemical assays on cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles be available for Cannabis in both the medical and recreational markets. Scientific accuracy and the public health demand no less than this.

CCR: Thank you, Dr. Russo. We all appreciate your insight into this controversial, complex, and very important topic.


There is currently debate to rewire the indica and sativa species designation by Robert C. Clarke, by basically calling all fiber and seed producing varieties Cannabis sativa, and by calling all cannabinoid and terpenoid dominant varieties Cannabis indica. The other suggestion is to simply abandon the species classification and start over with new designations based on cannabinoid and terpenoid percentages, which is suggested by Dr. Ethan Russo. We’ll leave this discussion with a clip from an article in leafly, for now…

Decades of research by dedicated ethnobotanists and various methods of DNA analyses have helped to create what is probably the most accurate taxonomic structure to date. It may lead to a future change in vernacular used in the cannabis industry, but, for now, we’ll continue to refer to our bushy, broad-leafleted, sedating varieties as indicas, and our tall, narrow-leafleted, stimulating varieties as sativas. Using the new taxonomical nomenclature would surely present much confusion for retailers and consumers, so it’s unlikely that the current meanings will be abandoned any time soon. (LEAFLY)