Many people have a confusion regarding the different varieties of cannabis and thousands of different uses of this plant around the world. The results of ignorance and misinformation lead thousands of people to jail, boost organized crime and deprive the state and citizens of an important source of revenue. Cannabis is a plant which has been cultivated for different uses for 10,000 years and has had a ‘bad reputation’ for the last 50 years. Cannabis is usually classified into three distinct types:
Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. The male Sativa plant (hemp) is associated with textile and nutritional uses, and is characterized by very high fiber and seed content (30-40%). The female plants, mainly Sativa and Indica, are cultivated for medical, ritual and recreational uses. The main difference is the content of the most known compound of cannabis, the psychoactive delta9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is ‘responsible’ for the fact that cannabis was included in the list of illegal substances under international UN Conventions. The male Sativa plant has a minimum content of THC (0.2-1.5%), which along with the absence of blossoms excludes its euphoric recreational use. In contrast, fibers, leaves, oil and seeds of the male plant have thousands of uses such as the production of durable fabric, rope, paper and food with high nutritional value, as well as building and insulation materials, bioplastics, biofuels, substrates for animals, etc. Seeds and oil from hemp have very high nutritional value, as they contain high quality protein, omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and vitamins.