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Hypothesis on the geographical origin of the plant Cannabis sativa L

According to a scientific report, the original source of the cannabis plant was found

Scientists may have just figured out where cannabis comes from. Cannabis plants have long been known to be indigenous to Central Asia, but a recent study provides new insight into exactly where this genus may have first evolved millions of years ago.

Documents dating from the Middle Ages show that man has always speculated on the geographical origin of cannabis. For over a thousand years, the famous polymath Ibn Wahshiyya had suggested India and possibly China as early as 930 CE.

The paucity of fossil prints (leaf prints made on other objects) in the historical records has made it difficult for the research community to identify anything more specific than Central Asia, despite the growing popularity cannabis currently underway in many areas of academic and scientific research.

fossils, scientist, pollen, origin
Macrofossils identified as cannabis

Studies on fossil pollen

“Despite an abundant literature that has emerged over the past three decades, the classification of cannabis and its center of origin is still the subject of debate,” explains a team led by the author and researcher. medical John McPartland of the University of Vermont in a new article.

To overcome the lack of printed fossils, scientists turned to pollen from plants of the genus Cannabaceae; these pollens were first studied in the 30 years to help trace the long history of the plant.

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Numerous studies on fossil pollen have been carried out, which have identified old records of the plant in Asia and elsewhere, especially where it grows best.

“Cannabis thrives in the steppe: an open, treeless habitat,” the researchers write.

In this new study, McPartland and his team sifted through 155 existing studies of fossil pollens in Asia. One of the difficulties with the data is that many of these studies group cannabis pollen grains with those of plants of the genus Humulus. They look alike, given that the two plants diverged from each other about 28 million years ago.

fossils, scientist, pollen, origin
Anniversary Artemisia

To get around identification problems, the researchers used a statistical technique involving "ecological approximations" in which they probabilistically differentiated pollens from other plants common in the region, including those belonging to the region. genus Artemisia.

The center of origin and early cultivation of cannabis in Asia is based on a synthesis of subfossil pollen and archaeobotanical studies

Based on the evidence we have, the results suggest what is the most likely geographic origin of cannabis, although this is a hypothesis that might be impossible to prove.

“We closed the time gap between the date of divergence and the oldest pollen by mapping the earliest onset of Artemisia,” the team wrote. The researchers found no pollen from cannabis dating back to 28 million years ago but they found pollen 28 million years old fromArtemisia.

“These data converge on the northeast Tibetan plateau that we infer as the center of origin of cannabis, in the vicinity of Qinghai Lake at around 3700 meters above sea level.” The team believes cannabis spread westward, reaching Russia and Europe about 6 million years ago, and eastward, reaching eastern China 1,2 million years ago.

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This co-locates with the first steppe community that evolved in Asia. From there, cannabis first dispersed west (Europe) and then east (China). Cannabis pollen in India appeared 32000 years ago. The first archaeological remains were found at Japan, 10000 before Christ, followed by China.

fossils, scientist, pollen, origin
Qinghai Lake.

This dissemination made various cannabis plants readily available for human cultivation throughout Eurasia. No wonder we quickly understood the various properties of hemp : psychotropic drugs to fibers for ropes and clothes.

Palynology and Fossil Energy Systems

The science that studies fossil palynomorphs is the paléopalynologie. Biogeographers attribute the center of origin of cannabis to "Central Asia", mainly on the basis of wild plant distribution data. Many fossil fuel systems assign cannabis or hop (CH) pollen to collective names (Cannabis / Humulus or Cannabaceae).

CH pollen curves that developed along with crop pollen were identified as cultivated hemp. Sub-fossil seeds (fruit) at archaeological sites also served as proof of culture.

Using a statistical model, the study authors estimated that millions of years later, the assembly of plants at this location (including Artemisia) was associated with cannabis , it was likely that the cannabis was also present in this high altitude ecosystem.


Tags : AsiaIndiasativa
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Weed media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet as well as the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.