Cannabis Plant Anatomy 101: Your Guide to Leaves, Stems, and Stigmas

cannabis plants

Do you know the answer to these questions?

#1 Does the cannabis plant have a gender?

#2 Do all cannabis plants get you “high”?

#3 Is “medical marijuana” really just a way to get high legally?

#4 Do CBD products get you addicted?

You may find surprising answers to these questions. Learning about the cannabis plant anatomy will help you understand and share the truth.

How Well Do You Know the Plant Anatomy of Cannabis?

Cannabis refers to a plant family. Different members exhibit different properties and effects. Increasing your knowledge of the cannabis plant will allow you to purchase or grow plants that provide the desired effect.

If your business involves marketing cannabis, it is important that you fully understand your product.

Gender of the Cannabis Plant

Did you know that there are male and female species of the cannabis plant? The female species has long skinny stems and large fan leaves. This variation comprises most of commercial use.

Male cannabis plants have more flexible and resistant hemp fibers. Thus, male cannabis is softer and often used to make cloth for bed sheets and towels.

Other than making cloth, male cannabis only has one other purpose in life. This involves pollination to create new variants. You can take what you want from this information.

What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are the prime active ingredient in the cannabis plant. The two most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). It is important to know the difference between these 2 compounds.

THC causes the infamous euphoric feeling when using marijuana. It also provides pain and nausea relief and helps with sleeping.

The stories about the “munchies” are valid. THC acts as an appetite stimulant as well as elevating your mood.

Unlike THC, CBD is non-addictive and does not give you the “high” feeling. CBD helps alleviate several health problems.

It helps decrease seizures and anxiety, it is useful for pain and nausea relief.  CBD has also proven beneficial for decreasing swelling, especially in joints.

Other cannabinoid compounds that may have health benefits include:

  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)

What are Trichomes?

The cannabis plants are covered with trichomes, a crystal resin. This resin contains terpenes which are found in the oil of all flowers. They also provide flavor and aroma to the plant.

More than 100 terpene compounds exist in each cannabis flower. Some of them found in legal CBD products provide healing effects.

How Can Terpenes Improve My Health?

Terpenes have demonstrated many beneficial uses.

It is important to discuss CBD use with your healthcare provider before you start. They may impact other medications that you are currently taking


Myrcene makes up as much as 65% of all terpenes in some varieties of cannabis. It smells earthy and musky, reminiscent of cloves. Sometimes is gives off a fruity, grape-like aroma.

This terpene has a sedative effect. Is helps in decreasing swelling and long-term pain.


Limonene got its name from the citrus smell that resembles lemons. All fruits contain a large amount of this terpene. This is the most abundant terpene after myrcene found in cannabis.

This compound reduces stress and helps to elevate your mood. It also has antifungal and antibacterial effects.


Linalool is responsible for the characteristic smell of marijuana. Lavender, mint, cinnamon, and coriander also contain this terpene.

This compound provides a strong relaxing and sedative effect. It may enhance the treatment of arthritis, cancer, depression, seizures, and sleep problems.


Caryophyllene has a peppery, spicy aroma. Black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, basil, and rosemary contain this compound.

Only caryophyllene binds to cannabis receptors. This makes it useful as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Alpha-pinene and Beta pinene

Alpha-pinene and Beta pinene present in large amounts in pine trees and thus have a pine scent. They also occur in rosemary, orange peel, basil, and parsley.

These pinenes also have an anti-inflammatory effect. They can help increase airflow and lung function. Thus, they may be beneficial for people with asthma.

Memory loss seems improved by these terpenes as well.


Eucalyptol, also called cineole, primarily occurs in the eucalyptus tree. Most people recognize its minty, cool smell. Cosmetic companies often use this terpene in their products.

This can be used for pain relief. Early research is exploring its use in slowing growth of bacteria and fungus. It may also prove useful in Alzheimer’s Disease.


Trans-nerolido occurs mostly in jasmine, lemongrass, and tea tree oil. Its smells like a mixture of roses, citrus, and apples.

Many people use products containing tea tree oil to fight parasites such as lice. This compound may also have antioxidant, antifungal, and antimicrobial effects.


Borneol has an herbal minty aroma. You find it in rosemary, mint, and camphor. This helps repel insects decreasing your chance of contracting West Nile virus. It also has a sedative effect and can help with coughs.

This represents only a partial list of terpenes. Many more terpenes occur in cannabis plants.

Cannabis Strains

Sativa and Indica comprise the two most common strains of cannabis plants.

Sativa strains have long, think light-colored leaves. This variety has red or orange-colored buds that are long and wispy. These plants have a hemp strain bred for its very low levels of THC.

CBD oil derived from Sativa hemp undergoes processing to remove THC. This provides a pure CBD product. Sativa hemp also contains abundant amounts of Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.

Sativa medicinal strains help:

  • Decrease an anxiety
  • Decrease depression
  • Provide pain relief
  • Increase creativity and focus
  • Stimulate appetite

Indica strain plants have wide, broad, deep-colored leaves. Their buds appear purple in color and are bunched together.

Indica medicinal strains provide:

  • Decreased stress
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Decreased nausea
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Elevated mood

Growing Your Business

Growing your business depends, in large part, on successful marketing strategies. People need to know about your product before they can consider a purchase. If you market cannabis, educate your audience about plant anatomy and create a more discerning customer.

Marketing involves many new avenues today. Social media and blog posts are less expensive and reach more individuals. Explore our site today and learn about successfully reaching potential customers.