Who Is Cannabis?

Kathleen Harrison MD

Homo sapiens, and all the Homo species that preceded us, or cohabited with us for a part of our history, are in fact far younger than are the plants that we embrace. The Cannabaceae is the old family that includes the several Cannabis species (C. sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis) and their cousin, also our dear friend, hops (Humulus lupulus). The origins of this plant family date back ninety million years. Our genus, Homo, is currently considered to be a mere 2.8 million years old. So the ancestors of this plant that we so love were doing there own thing for a very long time before we two-leggeds showed up to appreciate their leafy descendants. The antecedents of the Cannabis we now know were hanging out with the dinosaurs, and with many stranger life forms that are now long gone. All that accumulated experience is in the Cannabis story, written right there in the genes of every bud of our beloved herb.

When humans personify a plant species, what that means is that we sense the persona that the plant presents, the character of the plant. Personification is something that even modern humans do, although mostly unconsciously. We name hurricanes, forest fires, diseases, then we talk about them in the terms of human qualities and motivations. Read Article