As hemp’s function as a global source for textiles, food and oilseed dried up in the 20th century, the use of cannabis as a recreational drug increased, the new study noted. But there are still “large gaps” in knowledge about its domestication history, it said, in large part because the plant is illegal in many countries.
The study’s authors found that the plant was a “primarily multipurpose crop” grown about 12,000 years ago during the early Neolithic period, probably for fiber and medicinal uses.
By sequencing genetic samples of the plant, they found that the species had most likely been domesticated by the early Neolithic period. They said their conclusion was supported by pottery and other archaeological evidence from the same period that was discovered in present-day China, Japan and Taiwan.
Michael Purugganan, a professor of biology at New York University who read the study, said the usual assumption about early humans was that they domesticated plants for food.
Although scientists can make some basic predictions about how a given plant species will diverge in nature, she added, such predictions “go out the window” when a natural selection process is driven by humans.
Here’s one to ponder: Where did the weed come from? No, not where it was bought, but where and when was the plant first domesticated?
Dr. Fumagalli and his colleagues then extracted genomic DNA from the samples and sequenced them in a lab in Switzerland. They also downloaded and reanalyzed sequencing data from 28 other samples. The results showed that the wild varieties they analyzed were in fact “historical escapes from domesticated forms,” and that existing strains in China — cultivated and wild — were their closest descendants of the ancestral gene pool.
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Let’s look at the environments and regions in which marijuana can grow naturally.
Popular Strains in Tropical Regions
Another region in which marijuana can grow unaided and in the wild falls under the category of a continental climate. Continental climates are generally very hot year-round but are also known for their heavy rains during the summer. Winters in continental regions are typically cold and very dry.
Popular Strains in Continental Regions