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The Evolutionary Origins Of Cannabis Sativa Discovered By Geneticists

WHETHER SMOKED, eaten, or merely smelled wafting in through an open window, cannabis enjoys a special kind of fame — it is used all over the world, it is instantly recognizable, and it provokes as much controversy as it does enthusiasm. This distinct spot in the human psyche is to do with the fact people have used the plant for thousands of years. Yet despite these ancient roots, we knew surprisingly little about its birthplace and evolution — then in July, scientists announced they had solved the mystery.

THE DISCOVERY — Research published in the journal Science Advances in July, 2021, traces the ancestry of Cannabis sativa. This is the species of the cannabis plant from which the most used strains stem — sativa, by the way, roughly translates as “cultivated.”

Beyond revealing the roots of cannabis, the study demonstrates that marijuana cultivation extends further back in human history than paleoanthropologists realized — to the birth of farming. Ironically, our avid cultivation of cannabis for our own use may have in turn driven pure, wild, ancient strains of cannabis to extinction.

Co-author Luca Fumagalli from the University of Lausanne’s Laboratory for Conservation Biology told Inverse at the time: Cannabis “is one of the first cultivated crop species.”

Cannabis leaves pattern in a watercolor style. Aquarelle wild flower for background, texture, wrappe...

HOW THEY DID IT — The researchers first amassed a dataset of 110 genomes from Cannabis sativa strains from across the world. Then, they used molecular analysis and advanced DNA sequencing to build phylogenetic trees for the strains.

These trees reveal how four genetically distinct groups of cannabis evolved over centuries — one of which had never been detected before in previous research.

  • Basal cannabis: This includes wild plants. But it also includes traditional cannabis hybrids known as “landraces,” which is a term used to denote a varietal that has been cultivated in a certain place and which has evolved specific adaptations to the environment it grows in.
  • Hemp cannabis: Hemp is a type of Cannabis sativa distinguished by its lower levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive compound in weed. Hemp isn’t typically considered a drug like other forms of cannabis — rather, its fibers have traditionally been used to weave textiles and other materials.
  • “Drug” cannabis one: This group includes wild strains with psychoactive properties similar to varieties of cannabis found in China, India, and Pakistan.
  • “Drug” cannabis two: This group includes varieties that have been purposefully cultivated by humans around the globe for their psychoactive properties.

WHERE DID CANNABIS COME FROM?

These genetic groupings told scientists that domesticated cannabis originated in East Asia, including parts of modern China, sometime during the latter part of the Stone Age. This is the same period in human history in which dogs, sheep, goats, and other animals were also being domesticated as ancient human groups increasingly gathered in agriculture-fueled settlements.

From the results, it appears modern cannabis split from ancient basal cannabis about 12,000 years ago. The hemp and drug cannabis groups formed some 8,000 years later.

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CBD Product Market Will Reach Over $210 Billion By 2028

Yahoo! Finance | This research report provides an in-depth analysis of the CBD-infused products market across five major geographies and emphasizes on the current market trends, market size, market shares, recent developments, and forecast till 2028. The CBD-infused Products Market is expected to reach $216.8 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 45.6% during the forecast period, 2021-2028.

The growth of this market is mainly attributed to the rising demand and increasing legalization of cannabis, growing application of cannabis in cancer, and health benefits offered by cannabis-infused products are also a few of the key factors driving the growth of the CBD-infused products market.


The study offers a comprehensive analysis of the CBD-infused products market with respect to the source (hemp and marijuana), type (CBD-edibles {confectionery products, bakery products, beverages [non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages], coffee & tea products, and other products}, CBD-oil and extracts, CBD-personal care products {skincare products, haircare products, deodorants and perfumes, and other personal care products}, CBD-smoke & vape products, CBD-supplements, CBD-pet products, and other CBD-products), distribution channel (offline store {dispensary, pharmacies, natural health foods store, and other stores} and online store), and geography. The study also evaluates industry competitors and analyzes the market at the country level.

Based on source, the CBD-infused products market is mainly segmented into hemp and marijuana. The hemp segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the CBD-infused products market in 2021. The large share of this segment is mainly attributed to its lower THC concentrations, which decrease or eliminate its psychoactive effects and increase hemp-derived products for various medical applications. Also, its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antioxidant properties, and high effectiveness of CBD extracted from hemp is a key factor for the large share of this segment. However, it is also expected to witness significant growth, as some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp with an especially low THC content.

Based on type, the CBD-infused products market is segmented into CBD-edibles, CBD-oil and extracts, CBD-personal care products, CBD-smoke & vape products, CBD-supplements, CBD-pet products, and other CBD-products. The CBD-edibles segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the CBD-infused products market in 2021. The large share of this segment is mainly attributed to the growing popularity of recreational cannabis, increasing demand for food infused by cannabis such as THC and CBD, rising adoption of CBD in different verticals such as confectionery, bakery, etc., and cannabis consumer are looking for alternatives to smoking cannabis. Also, the increasing use of CBD-edibles to treat psychiatric disorders, neurological disorders, and cancer, along with pain control, is expected to drive the demand for CBD-edibles. However, it is also expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

Based on distribution channel, the CBD-infused products market is segmented into offline and online stores. The offline stores segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the CBD-infused products market in 2021. The large share of this segment is mainly attributed to the perception of purchasing authentic and good quality products. However, the online store segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The rapid growth of this segment is mainly attributed to the ease of convenience and rapid penetration of CBD-infused products on E-commerce platforms. Also, the availability of CBD-infused drinks on leading online platforms is playing a crucial role in the CBD-infused products market.

Geographically, the market is segmented into five major regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa. The North American region is estimated to account for the largest share of the CBD-infused products market in 2021. The large share of this region is primarily attributed to the ease of accessibility, technological advancements in CBD-infused products production and processing, a large base of CBD consumers, changing perceptions towards CBD consumption for both medical and recreational purposes, growing awareness regarding various medical benefits of CBD among users, and increasing investments from leading players.

CBD Key Players

The key players operating in the CBD-infused products market are Canopy Growth Corporation (Canada), Aphria, Inc. (Canada), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Canada), Docklight Brands, Inc. (U.S.), Maricann Inc. (Canada), Tilray, Inc. (Canada), GW Pharmaceuticals plc (U.K.), VIVO Cannabis Inc. (Canada), Cresco Labs, Inc. (U.S.), Tauriga Sciences, Inc. (U.S.), MariMed Inc. (U.S.), CV Sciences, Inc. (U.S.), Puration, Inc. (U.S.), Kona Gold Solutions Inc. (U.S.), Bhang Inc. (U.S.), DT Brands & Co (N.I.) Ltd. (U.S.), Forest Coffee Trading Co. (U.S.), G&Juice (U.S.), Honeydrop Beverages Inc. (U.S.), and Elixinol Global Limited (Australia).

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