The Cannabis Family: A Closer Look at the Plant’s Relatives and Variations

The Cannabis Family: A Closer Look at the Plant's Relatives and Variations

The Cannabis Family: A Closer Look at the Plant’s Relatives and Variations

Cannabis, a plant known for its various medicinal, recreational, and industrial uses, belongs to the Cannabaceae family. This diverse family includes other economically and ecologically significant plants, as well as various variations within the cannabis genus itself. This article will explore the family of plants that cannabis belongs to, its close relatives, and the different variations in the cannabis family of plants.

The Cannabaceae Family

The Cannabaceae family is a small group of flowering plants consisting of approximately 170 species, divided into 10 genera. The family includes plants that are trees, shrubs, and herbs, and can be found in temperate and tropical regions worldwide. Members of the Cannabaceae family share certain botanical characteristics, such as being wind-pollinated, having unisexual flowers, and producing fruits called achenes.

Close Relatives of Cannabis

Humulus (Hops):

Hops, the primary ingredient responsible for beer’s bitter flavor and aroma, is perhaps the most well-known relative of cannabis. The two genera, Humulus and Cannabis, share many similarities, including their phytochemical makeup, with both plants producing terpenes and flavonoids. Furthermore, both plants exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning that individual plants are either male or female.

Celtis (Hackberries):

The genus Celtis consists of deciduous trees commonly known as hackberries or nettletrees. These trees produce small, berry-like fruits that are an essential food source for various bird species. Although not as economically significant as cannabis or hops, hackberries have been traditionally used for their wood and as ornamental trees in landscaping.

Variations in the Cannabis Family of Plants

Cannabis sativa:

Cannabis Sativa is a tall, slender plant with narrow leaves and a longer flowering time compared to other cannabis species. Sativa strains are known for their uplifting, cerebral effects and are often associated with creativity and focus. These plants have been cultivated for various purposes, including fiber production (hemp), seed oil, and recreational and medicinal use.

Cannabis indica:

Cannabis indica plants are shorter, bushier, and have broader leaves than their Sativa counterparts. Indica strains typically have a shorter flowering time and are known for their relaxing, sedative effects. Indica varieties are often used for their therapeutic properties, such as pain relief, muscle relaxation, and anxiety reduction.

Cannabis ruderalis:

Cannabis ruderalis is a wild, hardy species native to Russia and Central Asia. It is shorter than both Sativa and Indica plants, and it has adapted to harsh climates and environments. Ruderalis plants have a unique characteristic known as autoflowering, which allows them to flower based on age rather than light cycles. This trait has been utilized in modern cannabis breeding to create autoflowering hybrids, combining the rapid growth and resilience of ruderalis with the desirable traits of Sativa and Indica plants.


The majority of cannabis strains available today are hybrids, resulting from the crossbreeding of sativa, indica, and ruderalis plants. This breeding process has led to a vast array of strains, each with its unique combination of characteristics, including growth patterns, cannabinoid profiles, and terpene compositions. Hybrids have been developed to cater to specific needs, preferences, and growing conditions, offering growers and consumers a wide range of options.


Cannabis belongs to the diverse Cannabaceae family, which includes economically and ecologically significant plants such as hops and hackberries. Within the cannabis genus, there are several variations, including sativa, indica, ruderalis, and a multitude of hybrid strains, each

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