Cannabis : A Complete Guide book cover
1st Edition

A Complete Guide

ISBN 9781032097404
Published June 30, 2021 by CRC Press
598 Pages 286 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Cannabis sativa is best known as the source of marijuana, the world’s most widely consumed illicit recreational drug. However, the plant is also extremely useful as a source of stem fiber, edible seed oil, and medicinal compounds, all of which are undergoing extremely promising research, technological applications, and business investment. Indeed, despite its capacity for harm as a recreational drug, cannabis has phenomenal potential for providing new products to benefit society and for generating extensive employment and huge profits. Misguided policies, until recently, have prevented legitimate research on the beneficial properties of cannabis, but there is now an explosion of societal, scientific, and political support to reappraise and remove some of the barriers to usage. Unfortunately, there is also a corresponding dearth of objective analysis. Towards redressing the limitation of information, Cannabis: A Complete Guide is a comprehensive reference summarizing botanical, business, chemical, ecological, genetic, historical, horticultural, legal, and medical considerations that are critical for the wise advancement and management of cannabis in its various forms.

This book documents both the risks and benefits of what is indisputably one of the world’s most important species. The conflicting claims for medicinal virtues and toxicological vices are examined, based mainly on the most recent authoritative scientific reviews. The attempt is made consistently to reflect majority scientific opinion, although many aspects of cannabis are controversial. Aside from the relevance to specialists, the general public should find the presentation attractive because of the huge interest today in marijuana. Unfortunately, society has become so specialized and compartmentalized that most people have limited appreciation of the importance of science to their lives, except when a topic like marijuana becomes sensationalized. This review of cannabis can serve as a vehicle for public education in the realm of science and technology. Indeed, towards the goal of disseminating the important information in this book to a wide audience, the presentation is user-friendly, concise, and well-illustrated in the hope that non-specialists will find the topics both informative and entertaining.

Table of Contents

The cannabis plant
"Cannabis" – a comprehensive term
The widespread misunderstanding that marijuana is "flowers" of Cannabis sativa
Why cannabis is controversial
Sexual reproduction in Cannabis
How the four kinds of horses are similar to the four kinds of Cannabis sativa
Wild plants
Fiber plants
Other so-called "hemps"
"Indian hemp"
Oilseed plants
Intoxicating drug plants
Genetic relationships of different kinds of cannabis plants
The criminalization and suppression of cannabis
The re-legitimization of cannabis
The decriminalization and resurrection of industrial (non-intoxicating) cannabis
"Hemp" vs. "marijuana"
The decriminalization and resurrection of medical cannabis
The decriminalization and resurrection of recreational cannabis
Benefit/harm analysis of the many ways that cannabis is used
The interface of cannabis science and public policy
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Prehuman and early history of Cannabis sativa
The family tree and prehuman antiquity of Cannabis sativa
The incredibly parallel histories of Cannabis and its closest relative, Humulus (hop)
Uncertainty regarding early historical association of Cannabis and people
Location of the pre-human distribution range
The habitat of ancient wild Cannabis sativa
The "camp-follower" model of early domestication of Cannabis sativa
How adaptation to streamside soils led to water-based fiber extraction
Earliest geographical centers of the four kinds of domesticated Cannabis sativa
Early old world geography of fiber and marijuana classes of Cannabis sativa
Early migrations of fiber and marijuana kinds of domesticated Cannabis sativa
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

The ecology of wild Cannabis sativa
The nature of "wildness"
Evaluating wildness in Cannabis sativa populations
Geography of wild Cannabis sativa
Habitats & plant communities occupied
Climate limitations
Light intensity
Edaphic (soil) limitations
Seed ecology
Seed shedding
Protective thick shell
Germination behavior
Environmental factors controlling germination
Seedling development
Seed distribution agents
Bird feed
Root ecology
Stem ecology
Phenotypic plasticity: a key to success
Biotic competitors
Human eradication efforts
Pests & diseases
Curiosities of science, technology and human behaviour

Sex expression
What is "sex" in flowering plants?
Maleness and femaleness in Cannabis in comparison to other flowering plants
Differences between male and female cannabis plants
Male plants and their flowers
Pollen dispersal
Female plants and the pollination of their flowers
Remarkable development of unpollinated female flowersMonoecious ("hermaphroditic") kinds of Cannabis sativa
Cross-fertilization and self-fertilization
Genetic determination of sex
Sex-associated DNA markers
Environmental determination of sex
Modification of sex by hormonal treatment
Reduction and elimination of males for human purposes
Culling of most male plants when seeds are produced for industrial hemp
Culling of all male plants for purpose of producing marijuana
Selection of female-predominant monoecious strains
Generation of seeds producing "all-female" plants
Use of environment and/or hormones by marijuana growers to increase females
Cloning of female plants
Summary of the demise of male cannabis under domestication
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Introduction to reproductive photoperiodism in Cannabis sativa
Autoflowering (day-neutral) plants
Latitudinal photoperiodic adaptation
The interaction of photoperiodism, killing frosts and seed production
Photoperiodic problems for plant of northern origin grown close to the equator
Photoperiodic problems for plant of semi-tropical origin grown in northern latitudes
Photoperiodic problems for semi-equatorial drug strains in northern climates
Unsuitable photoperiod may not be the only cause of poor performance
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Shoot and foliage architecture
Anatomy and morphology
Basic leaf botany of Cannabis
Shoot architecture of wild plants
Shoot architecture of plants grown in different field configurations
Shoot architecture of fiber crops
Reducing height of marijuana plants
"Sea of green" and "screen of green" cultivation methods
Reducing height of fiber plants
Resistance to catastrophic stem damage
Foliage architecture
Protective unicellular hairs
Cystolithic trichomes
Simple trichomes
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Introduction to fiber
Ancient hemp history
The golden age of hemp in the western world
The labor-intensive pre-twentieth century period
The twentieth century great demise of hemp in the western world
The recent renaissance
The two basic classes of stem fiber: phloem (bast) and xylem (wood)
Anatomy of the stem
The economically important stem tissues
Ambiguities regarding stem tissue anatomical terms
How the three kinds of fiber contribute to stem strength
Xylem fiber
Primary phloem fiber
Secondary phloem fiber
Fiber qualities
Fiber extraction technologies
How domestication has altered Cannabis sativa for fiber production
Economic products
Textiles, fabrics and clothing
Substrates for plant growth
Horticultural planting media
Biodegradable mulch
Cordage products
Pressed and molded fiber products
Paper & specialty pulp products
Building construction products
Construction wood products (pressboard, moldings)
Concretized and masonry construction products (stucco, building blocks, tiles)
Animal bedding based on hurds
Plastic biocomposites
Compressed cellulose plastics
Security requirements
General growth requirements
Root growth
Soil and fertilization
Water relations
Seed germination
Maintaining seed viability in storage
Planting requirements
Wind, rain and hail damage
Higher plant parasites
Mammalian pests
Other invertebrates
Economic status
Market development and future needs
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Introduction to edible fixed oil
Introduction to hempseed and hemp oil
Oil extraction and processing technology
Pressure extraction
Solvent extraction
Nutritional qualities of hemp seed and oil
Fatty acids
Essential fatty acids
Minor fatty acids
Other significant dietary constituents
Environmental control of the development of fatty acids
How domestication has altered the plant for oilseed production
Review of key information presented in previous chapters
The traditional use of tall, highly branched plants to produce hempseed
The use of short, compact plants to produce hempseed
Selection for seed characteristics
Seed whiteness
Seed size vs. seed quantity
Fatty acid quality
Hull thickness
Hemp seed and oil culinary limitations
Processed food products for humans
Raw hempseed sprouts for humans
Recipe sources
Animal feed
Beneficial aspects
Harmful aspects
Nutraceutical extracts (dietary supplements), functional foods and fortified foods
Cosmeceutical products (nutritional cosmetics)
Industrial (non-edible) products
THC contamination of oilseed products
Soil and fertilization
The potential use of oilseed cultivars to produce CBD and "highless marijuana"
Economic status
Market development and future needs
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Essential oil
Introduction to essential oil
The nature of cannabis essential oil
Possible plant-protective functions of the essential oil of Cannabis
Value of cannabis terpenoids as commercial repellents
Medical significance of terpenes in cannabis
Why eliminating terpenes by irradiating medical marijuana may be harmful
Evolution of essential oil in domesticated cannabis
Odor and other organoleptic qualities of marijuana
Odor has become a key selling criterion for marijuana
The importance of terpene odor for oilseed cannabis
Odor detection and law enforcement
Agronomic production
Commercial products
Regulatory restrictions
Economic prospects
Market potential for cannabis essential oil
Breeding cultivars for essential oil harvest
Breeding marijuana strains for attractive terpene profile
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Minor uses
Merits of Cannabis sativa as a source of biomassBiogas
Hemp solid fuel
Non-seed use of hemp as livestock feed
Ornamental use
Hemp as a protective companion plant
Natural pesticides
Hemp jewelry
Hempseed as fish bait
Hempseed as a growth medium for fungi and other microorganisms
Hemp as an agricultural pollen barrier
Edible shoots (stems & foliage)
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior
Cannabis chemistry: cannabinoids in cannabis, humans and other species
Glandular trichomes of cannabis: the plant’s drug factories
Cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa
Clarification of the term "psychoactive"
Clarification of the term "drug"
Basic chemistry of the cannabinoids
Decrease of intoxicant ability by transformation of THC to CBN
Variation of cannabinoids among different kinds of cannabis plants
Conversion of non-intoxicant CBD to intoxicant THC in the lab and in humans
Biosynthesis and genetics of the cannabinoids of Cannabis
Quantitative variation of cannabinoids in different plant parts
Quantitative variation of cannabinoids in relation to environmental factors
Quantitative variation of cannabinoids in relation to stress
Quantitative variation of cannabinoids in relation to chromosome doubling
Qualitative variation of cannabinoids in relation to environmental factors
Nature vs. nurture in the determination of cannabinoids of Cannabis sativa
Environmental factors influencing qualitative development of cannabinoids
Breeding for high and low levels of cannabinoids
High-THC strains
Low-THC cultivars
THC test protocols for industrial hemp
Informative online websites regarding THC sampling procedures for hemp
Adaptive purpose of the cannabinoids
Expanded definitions of cannabinoids
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Non-medical drug usage
Reliability of counterculture information
The cannabis experience
Biphasic effects
Sequence of psychological impacts
Pleasant psychological effects
Unpleasant psychological symptoms
Physiological effects
Health risks
Concern for mental status
Cannabis dependence
Cannabis withdrawal syndrome
Marijuana as a "gateway drug"
Concern for lung function
Societal vs. individual health
Driving risks
Risk of contamination and adulteration of street marijuana
Risk of exposure to indoor grow-op environments
Risk to dogs
The great debate: is cannabis relatively harmful or benign?
Representative viewpoints that cannabis is relatively harmful
Representative viewpoints that cannabis is relatively benign
Global usage of marijuana
A brief history of non-medical psychotropic usage of cannabis drugs
Modern spiritual usage of cannabis
Cannabiphobia and the cultural war on marijuana
Growing public acceptance of marijuana
The genetic "improvement" of marijuana due to law enforcement
Formal botanical nomenclature and "strains" of Cannabis sativa
The evolution of high-THC strains
"Sativa-type" and "indica-type," the two domesticated kinds of marijuana plants
Selection for color in marijuana strains
Plant production
Distortion of botanical and horticultural terms by the marijuana trade
Technologies for preparing cannabis drugs
Traditional hashish
Solvent extracts
Advanced non-solvent technologies for preparing concentrates of gland heads
Water extracts ("teas")
Technologies for smoking and vaping cannabis drugs
Joints & blunts
Simple (non-filtering) pipes
Water pipes
Edible cannabis
Preferred modes of marijuana consumption
Fake marijuana
Ethical perspectives of decriminalization and legalization of recreational marijuana
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Medical marijuana
Introduction to the controversy
How medical does marijuana have to be to qualify as "medical marijuana?"
Medical marijuana as a pretext for non-medical use
A brief history of medical usage of cannabis
Non-cannabinoid medicinal components
Bias in research on medical marijuana
Bias against euphoric medicines
The issue of addiction
The issue of incapacitation (reduction in abilities) while intoxicated
Transfer of bias against THC to non-intoxicating cannabinoids
The importance of experimental design in evaluating medical marijuana
The precautionary principle in relation to medical marijuana
Recent authorized medical marijuana production and usage
Pharmacological terminology for marijuana
Comparative therapeutic value of pure chemicals and herbal mixtures
The medicinal importance of combining THC and CBD
The accidental medicinal value of "indica-type" strains
Overview of medical marijuana preparations
Medical marijuana drug delivery systems
Safer respiratory systems
Conventional smoking
Valsalva maneuver and prolonged breath-holding
Water pipes
Oral consumption
Synthetic oral cannabis drugs
Dermal and mucosal drug absorption
THC dosages, absorption rates & time course of effects
Blood concentrations of THC in relation to safe driving
The endocannabinoid system as a basis for much of the medical value of marijuana
Overview of the endocannabinoid system
Introduction to cell receptors and G protein-coupled receptors
Endocannabinoid receptors
Inter-cellular communication involving endocannabinoids
The broad range of compounds affecting the endocannabinoid system
Effects of cannabinoids on non-endocannabinoid physiological systems
Medical importance of the endocannabinoid system
Extensive activity of the endocannabinoid system limits targeted therapy
Evolution of the endocannabinoid system & potential for non-human patients
The endocannabinoid system in relation to the lack of overdose marijuana mortality
LD50 (median lethal dose)
Therapeutic index
Comparative overdose lethality of cannabis and other drugs
Cannabinoids as a possible basis for eliminating the need for herbal medical marijuana
Medical conditions for which cannabis has or may have value
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease)
Anorexia & appetite loss
Arthritis & rheumatism
Brain injury
Cardiovascular diseases
Gastrointestinal diseases
Human immunodeficiency virus & acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
Huntington’s disease
Liver disease
Morning sickness
Multiple sclerosis and spasticity
Neurodegenerative diseases
Parkinson’s disease
Psychiatric disorders
Autism spectrum disorder
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Bipolar disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder
Skin conditions
Acne & seborrhea
Tourette’s syndrome
Medical applications of specific cannabinoids
Inflammatory bowel diseases
Nausea and vomiting
Neurodegenerative diseases
Psychiatric disorders
Other natural cannabinoids
Cautions regarding medical marijuana
Limitations of expert medical guidance in the use of medical marijuana
Allergies due to Cannabis sativa
Is marijuana a bona fide medicine? Tentative conclusions
Medical-ethical perspectives of legalization of medical marijuana
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Medical marijuana: production
The need for high standards of professionalism
Fundamentals of marijuana plant production
Overview of production
Planting density & yields
Indoor yields
Outdoor yields
Governmental production quotas
Growth media
Vegetative propagation
Light intensity
Light quality
Fluorescent lighting
High pressure sodium lighting
Metal halide lighting
LED lighting
Recommended lighting
Atmospheric growth conditions
Air-borne contaminants in relation to stickiness
Carbon dioxide concentration
Insect control
Harvest & drying
Quality control
Microbiological safety and sterilization
Monitoring and controlling the production of standardized herbal marijuana
Informative online documents and websites regarding production of medical marijuana
Security considerations
Biotechnological approaches of potential importance to medicinal marijuana
In vitro production
Genetic engineering
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

The commercial marijuana revolution
A sea change for better or worse
Commercial obscuration of the distinction between medical and recreational marijuana
Prescription drugs vs over-the-counter herbals
Physician gatekeepers for hire to provide legal access to pseudopatients
Prescription drugs vs. over-the-counter herbals
The evolution of physician acceptance of medical cannabis
Softening of medical opposition
Medicine by popular vote
Profit-driven vs. health-driven medical marijuana
Patient financial reimbursement
Medical vs. recreational marijuana markets
The role of "Big Tobacco"
Professional niches in the developing marijuana business sector
Opposition to commercialization of recreational marijuana
Medical opposition to recreational marijuana
Political opposition to recreational marijuana
Badmouthing the competition
Growing societal acceptance of recreational marijuana
The need for caution in legitimizing marijuana
Chronic consumption
Effects of increased availability of authorized cannabis
Effects on prevalence of usage
Effects on health
Effects on crime rate
Financial guestimates of the potential monetary value of recreational marijuana
Economic effects of legitimizing marijuana on the illegitimate marijuana industry
Costs of production of marijuana
Elementary business hazards: will the "pot boom" become a "pot bubble?"
Possible scenarios of success or collapse of sectors of the marijuana market
Why not harvest CBD from hemp?
Genetically engineered Cannabis sativa
Marketplace constraints related to "cheap highs"
Comparative costs of pot and booze
Co-existence of black and white markets
Absence of foreign competition for authorized marijuana
Consumer trends
Market production models: big vs. small-scale businesses
Market outlet formats
State monopoly vs. private sector
"Weed bars"
Pot restaurants
Home delivery ("weed on wheels")
Patient financial reimbursement
Potency as a determinant of sales restriction
The age of majority – a problematical determinant of sales and consumption restrictions
Legal considerations
International treaties
Legal models
The Netherlands
United States
Other countries
Opium poppy as a business model for marijuana production
Laughing gas as a business model for marijuana production
The great irony: from counterculture narcotic to mass-marked commodity
The cannabis roads to heaven and hell
The precautionary principle in relation to commercial development of cannabis
Reasonable regulatory risk management
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

The reputation of the cannabis plant for sustainability
How major crops harm the world and why Cannabis sativa can be beneficial
Comparative environmental friendliness of Cannabis sativa and other crops
Biocide reduction
Using up surplus manure
Miscellaneous environmental advantages
Environmental disadvantages
Saving trees
Wildlife support
Environmentally-friendly commercial products
Hemp vs. cotton
Carbon sequestering
Thermal insulation products
Erosion control blankets
State subsidization of industrial hemp – good or bad?
Environmental cost of indoor production of marijuana
Ecological damage from irresponsible illegal cultivation of marijuana
The dangerous concept of employing bioweapons to eliminate marijuana plants
Sustainability depends on using sustainable methods
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Germplasm resources
Definition of germplasm
In situ vs. ex situ conservation of wild germplasm
Private ownership of germplasm vs. long-term conservation in public collections
World genebank situation
Seed storage in genebanks
Clonal storage in genebanks
Cell and tissue storage in genebanks
Core collections
The importance of N.I. Vavilov
Seed storage conditions for Cannabis sativa
The challenge of preventing pollen contamination of Cannabis sativa germplasm
The shamefully inadequate state of germplasm preservation of Cannabis sativa
The germplasm importance of wild-growing Cannabis sativa
The germplasm importance of landraces of Cannabis sativa
Chinese germplasm of Cannabis sativa
World genebank collections of Cannabis sativa
European "national collections" of Cannabis sativa
The Vavilov Institute collection
The Gatersleben collection
North american public germplasm collections of Cannabis sativa
Germplasm collections and the future of industrial hemp
Germplasm resources for fiber
Germplasm resources for oilseed
Germplasm resources for essential oil
Germplasm collections and the future of medicinal & recreational marijuana
Industrial hemp
Medicinal & recreational cannabis
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

Botanical classification and nomenclatural issues
Theoretical classification issues
Scientific classifications often differ
Scientific names are often ambiguous
Geographical uncertainties complicate interpretation of groups
Possible relationships among wild ancestors, domesticates and escapes
Classification difficulties due to hybridization
Stereotypical thinking – a roadblock to biological classificatio
Classification difficulties due to obliteration of populations by humansTaxonomic splitting and rank inflation
The semantic "legal species" issue (or dressing up a wolf in sheep’s clothing)
Domestication complicates classification
A comparison of competing classification systems for Cannabis
Semantic difficulties concerning "sativa-type" and "indica-type" Cannabis sativa
Homogenization due to gene flow
Alternative taxonomic and nomenclatural treatments
Cannabis assemblages as conventional taxa
Cannabis cultivar assemblages as "groups" under the cultivated plant code
Crop-wild assemblages as non-formal groups
Occam’s razor in relation to the evolution and classification of Cannabis
How many species of Cannabis merit recognition?
A rationale for emphasizing the principal selected character complexes in classification
A practical and natural taxonomy for Cannabis
Identification key to subspecies and varieties of Cannabis sativa L.
Curiosities of science, technology and human behavior

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Dr. Ernest Small received a doctorate in plant evolution from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1969, and has since been employed with the Research Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where he presently holds the status of Principal Research Scientist. He is the author of 14 previous books, six of which received or were nominated for major awards. He has also authored over 350 scientific publications on plants. Dr. Small’s career has included dozens of appearances as an expert botanical witness in court cases, acting as an adviser to national governments, presenting numerous invited university and professional association lectures, supervising post-graduate students at various universities, participating in international societies and committees, journal editing and media interviews. He has been an adjunct professor at several universities, and currently has this status at Ryerson University in Toronto. Dr. Small is widely known for his work on hemp and marijuana, which has included development of a standard strain that has been the basis of all licensed medicinal marijuana in Canada for more than a decade, supplying over 100,000 patients. Dr. Small published two previous books and more than 40 research papers on Cannabis. He has received several professional honors, including: election as a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London; the G.M. Cooley Prize of the American Association of Plant Taxonomists for work on the marijuana plant; the Agcellence Award for distinguished contributions to agriculture; the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to science; the George Lawson Medal, the most prestigious award of the Canadian Botanical Association, for lifetime contributions to botany; and the Lane Anderson Award, a $10,000.00 prize for science popularization, received for "Top 100 Food Plants." His most recent books, "Top 100 Exotic Food Plants," and "North American Cornucopia: top 100 indigenous food plants," were finalists for the Botanical and Horticultural Libraries’ award.



If one is looking for a recent and comprehensive volume on cannabis, this is it! From general knowledge to the arcane, this near-exhaustive CRC Press volume covers the natural and anthropological history, biochemistry, taxonomy, biology, and uses of cannabis. The chapter entitled "The Commercial Marijuana Revolution" provides a brief and informative history and analysis of legalized/commercial marijuana in the US. This well-annotated, science-based volume considers both hemp and marijuana, as well as their near relatives. The volume is documented and illustrated well; it contains color photos, high quality illustrations, and diagrams. A touch of humor is added to the subject, with references to the "hemp car" and depictions of pot growers from the 1970s through the present era. The chapters "Medical Marijuana: Theory and Practice" and "Medical Marijuana: Production" are useful and informative for those interested in the actual science of this topic, as well as discussions pertaining to the history of cannabis use and the potential for treating multiple medical and psychological conditions.

--S. T. Meiers, Western Illinois University

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals.

Source: October 2017 issue of CHOICE


In addition to the potential interest of scientific, scholarly and administrative specialists, the general public ought to find Small’s new book worthy of detailed reference because of the vast and still growing concern today in Cannabis. In sum and without reservation, I would recommend that readers with an inquisitive and intellectual passion for having a vast amount of information about one of the world’s most useful and yet most notorious groups of plants obtain Ernest Small’s latest and by far his most comprehensive Cannabis publication.

- Mark Merlin, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA

Source: Economic Botany, Winter 2017