What Are the Parts of the Cannabis Plant?

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When people refer to cannabis chances are pretty good that what they are actually talking about are the dense and fun crystal loaded nugs or flowers that people are most familiar with when they enjoy smoking weed. Not only do these wonderful weed plant buds provide a great head and body buzz when properly grown and cured but they get all of the publicity buzz as well when it comes to the cannabis plant. But did you know there is a whole lot more to the cannabis plant than just these fun crystal covered nuggets?

The unique properties of the seeds, leaves, stems, stalks and roots all have their own unique properties and purposes as well and are also well worth learning about. Join us as we take a deep dive into the wide variety of uses and purposes the other parts of this wonderful plant have to boast about! Let’s learn about botanical synergy.

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The cannabis plant grows in a wide variety of conditions and locations all around the world but is best cultivated by caring and attentive professionals in a well controlled environment. The uses for this plant are many and varied and widely celebrated by those who love and care for them even if the dense weed plant buds most of us are familiar with seem to get all the credit for the popularity of cannabis in the public eye.

Some exciting and incredible applications for the parts of the cannabis plant that are lesser known include use in rope, biofuel, paper production and of course the widely known and celebrated medical and recreational effects it can provide. Let’s look at each part of the plant and all of the myriad uses fans of cannabis should know about and celebrate!


Cannabutter / Canna Oil

One of the principal differences between male and female marijuana plants are the dense and trichome covered flowers or nugs of the female marijuana plant. These are the star of the show and the primary reason most growers first choose to tend and care for their plants. This frosty trichome coating is typically the benchmark by which a plant is deemed as a bountiful and worthwhile strain to cultivate. When users smoke cannabis or process it into medicine the famous buds and nugs coated in trichomes are the part of the plant that they use.

Most studies on the use and effects of cannabinoids – which are found in the trichomes of the cannabis flower along with most of the also much lauded cannabis terpenes – are focused on these fun dank buds that we all know and love. The sticky resin produced by these trichomes is also used hash, kief and other forms of cannabis concentrates that you are likely already familiar with.

The main part of the flower at the end of the female weed plant stem is called the cola and is composed of many small floral clusters. Generally the bigger and denser these top flowers are and the more coated in trichomes the more desirable a plant will be to a cannabis grower and user however some cultivators do intentionally breed and grow cannabis plants with a more loose and airy structure as well.

Dense Buds vs Airy Buds

Typically the difference when it comes to dense buds vs airy buds is purely cosmetic when it comes to growing at home or for a hobby. Industrial growers will always do their best to maximize their yields and attempt to produce the densest buds possible as these will have higher market value for the end consumer. When growing at home for personal use however the difference between dense buds vs airy buds is less important as the light, fluffy and more spaced out buds on the cannabis plant will still produce the desired effects when consumed.

To avoid loose and airy weed buds on your plants start with a highly regarded and well researched strain, ensure your plants are receiving enough light and nutrients and make sure your grow room temperature and ventilation are suitable. All of these factors can contribute to determining whether your plants will produce big clusters of dense and desirable trichome laden buds or the more loose and airy – though still perfectly useful – lighter version.


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The most readily identifiable part of the cannabis plant even to the layperson or casual observer is most likely the iconic shaped cannabis leaves which can be found surrounding the delightful weed bud on the plant. These iconic leaves are the most obvious indicator when learning how to identify a hemp plant. The purpose of these wonderful leaves is to protect the plant from pests and the elements. Although most of the leaves found on the plant have the same iconic shape there are a variety of types which serve specialized functions for the weed plant flowers.

The sugar leaves grow closest to the flowers of the cannabis plant and contain more crystal trichomes than the fan leaves but still not nearly enough to compare to the weed plant buds. Excess sugar leaves that are trimmed away during the care and manicuring of the plant during its growth period are often also used in the production of edibles or cannabis tinctures – waste not want not after all!

Cannabis leaves are also known to contain canniprene which could be used in medicines and teas as an anti-inflammatory.

The small leaves that surround the reproductive cells of the female weed plant are named bracts. When pollen from a male marijuana plant is introduced to the seed pod on the female weed plant the bracts surround and shield it to help ensure the reproductive process.

The large leaves that protrude along the length of the plant are known as fan leaves. These leaves are an essential component in the natural process of photosynthesis that which keeps the plant alive, healthy and thriving but they are always removed completely from the harvested and cured finished product.


How to Make a Marijuana Cake

Did you know that the seeds of the cannabis plant are highly nutritious? It’s true! In fact cannabis seeds have been consumed in China as a nutritionally complete food source for over 3000 years! Not only do they also boast strong anti-inflammatory properties but they contain high levels of protein and essential amino acids and are rich in essential fatty acids.

These seeds are easy to identify by their outer hull and inner heart. Both the hull and the heart inside are rich with useful and health boosting properties with many ongoing studies boasting uses as antioxidants and as a potential fighter of the big C: Cancer. The seeds are also widely used as animal feed in some places.


The place on the cannabis plant where the stem and the leaves meet is known as the node. This is an important part of the plant to be able to identify as a cannabis cultivator as this is where the plant will tell you the difference between male and female marijauna plants. If a cannabis plant is male you will find pollen sacs at the node but if your cannabis plants are female – the only type of cannabis that produces the desirable weed bud on the plant – you will find pistils. Pistils are the reproductive organs of a female cannabis plant and they are composed of an ovule with two stigmas protruding from it. Stigmas are identifiable as fine hairs that extend to the bract of the plant and are produced to catch and trap the pollen necessary for cannabis plant reproduction.


How to Make a Marijuana Cake

The roots of the cannabis plant have been used medicinally throughout history but despite this fact they are possibly one of the least studied aspects of this wonderful plant. That is slowly starting to change however as more and more study is devoted around the world to the medicinal potential of cannabis and the drive to utilize every portion of the plant effectively takes a stronger hold in the industry.

The roots of the cannabis plant have been used for centuries in medicines to alleviate the symptoms of fever, inflammation, burns, tumors, infection, and gastrointestinal issues and more uses are certain to be discovered as research into the cannabis plant continues.

Though the roots do not contain any of the beneficial cannabinoids they are rich in other useful compounds like friedelin and epifriedelanol. The full benefits of these compounds are still under study but there are indications that they may possess anti-aging properties as well. The proper method for use, extraction and production of the roots of the plant – for example the source of the roots must be under careful consideration as it is possible for them to absorb unwanted heavy metals and other compounds from the soil.

Stalks & Stems

How to Make a Marijuana Cake

Although the stalks are typically discarded entirely by most cannabis growers they also have their own potential uses that deserve study and production. Hemp stalks are widely known to be used as a fantastic source of material for fabrics, clothing and paper! It’s no wonder the cannabis plant has been hailed for centuries as a miracle plant! In fact the stalks of this plant are so sturdy they can be used to produce alternatives to cement, fiberglass and insulation for housing projects too!

The stalks of the cannabis plant are naturally insect repellent making it ideal for producing garden mulch as well. Also unlike many of the products we rely on for some of the above mentioned purposes cannabis stalks are naturally biodegradable! Some farmers have also discovered that the stalks can be used to make animal bedding and a less dusty version of straw making it easier to keep animal areas clean and the livestock healthy and thriving free of harmful dusts.

The Difference Between Male and Female Marijuana

The earliest point in the life cycle of the plant when the sex of the cannabis plant becomes apparent is at six weeks of growth. As discussed earlier the best way to tell them apart is to observe the nodes of the plant where the leaves and the branches meet the stem.

At these nodes on the male cannabis plant you will find large clusters of oblong shaped sacs called pollen sacs. A female weed plant will produce pistils which appear as thin hairs that eventually develop into structures called ovules and stigmas.

It is extremely important for any cannabis cultivator to be able to identify these important elements of the cannabis plant as the difference between male and female marijuana plants determines which plant will produce the dense and trichome rich buds that most growers and users of cannabis most desire. Male cannabis plants do not produce weed plant flowers and are therefore less desirable overall especially for the casual or hobby grower.

Unless you are intentionally attempting to induce pollination to reproduce cannabis plants naturally it is very important to keep male plants away from female plants to avoid unintentional reproduction.

Now that you have an overview of all the different parts of a cannabis plant and their uses go forth and spread the word! Many people – even those who regularly enjoy the effects of weed plant flowers – are simply unaware of the wide range of uses this wonderful plant can provide for the world!

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