Chemical composition & Varieties

It is sometimes said that cannabis is one of the most studied plants in the history of science. So far, well over 10.000 scientific papers have been published, discussing the medical use as well as abuse of cannabis. Already more than 500 chemical components - or constituents - have been identified in cannabis plants and products from all over the world. Most well-known are the cannabinoids, including the infamous THC. But many other groups of chemicals are also present, such as terpenes, flavonoids and alkaloids. And every now and then, new constituents are still being discovered.
Because many of these constituents have never been properly characterized for their therapeutic value, some scientists call the cannabis plant a “neglected pharmacological treasure trove”.

The most interesting constituents are found in the secretions of tiny glandular hairs that are present all over the Cannabis plant. These hairs, known as trichomes, produce a sticky resin that accumulates in little droplets at the tip of each hair. Trichomes are so small that they are only visible under a microscope. They can be found on male as well as female plants, but they are most abundant in the female cannabis flowers. For that reason, cannabis growers focus on growing female plants only. Ultimately, the medicinal value of a cannabis flower depends on the exact mixture of constituents that it produces. Most scientists think that cannabinoids and terpenes are the most relevant in this respect.