Cannabis 101: Educate the Lawmakers

By |Published On: June 1st, 2020|
Cannabis Can Help South Africa

Cannabis has drawn much attention over the past few years from places all around the world. All of a sudden, everyone is talking about Cannabis and hemp and it seems that new terminology is popping up daily. As a Cannabis community, we know that we know our plant. But who will educate the lawmakers?

You might be surprised to hear that the people who are trying to create all the new laws surrounding Cannabis and its consumption in South Africa, don’t really know what the plant is about. When Myrtle spoke to parliament at the end of last year, it was evident that we need to educate the lawmakers to ensure fair and equal rights for all involved with Cannabis in our country.

Fields of Green for All knows that our Cannabis community should be given a voice and this is your chance to educate the lawmakers.

Take part in the challenge!

Read through the sections below, which gives some basic information about Cannabis. Then – show the Cannabis community of South Africa what you know! Submit your notes and comments about every subtopic to the comments section of our Manifesto page during the month of June. At the end of June, we’ll choose the best contributions and compile a new community-written resource. Your article might be chosen to go into our Manifesto document that will be presented to the president!

Where to start:

To help you along, we’ll keep referring to some important resources that you should consult when taking part in the challenge. The best place to start is at the Clinical Cannabis Convention we held in 2017. Arne Verhoef gave us a detailed presentation about Cannabis, the plant.

Cannabis 101 community content challenge


Step 1:  Read this blog post to see what information we want from you.

Step 2:  Consult the resources we link to and educate yourself.

Step 3:  Compile your own version of this post, showing the Cannabis community what you know about the plant.

Step 4:  Post your version to the comments section of our Manifesto page during the month of June.

Step 5:  Wait to see if your submission made is chosen to be published in our Manifesto document, presented to the lawmakers.

Here are the questions we want you to answer as part of our Cannabis 101 Community Content Challenge to Educate the Lawmakers:

The simplest answer is that Cannabis is a plant that has psychoactive properties. It can be divided into three groups: Cannabis ruderalis, better known as hemp; Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The flowers found on the female plants of the sativa and indica strains are harvested and dried to produce marijuana; one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. Chris Duvall wrote a book called  Cannabis, which gives extensive information about the origin  of Cannabis. You might also know Cannabis as:

“Aaptwak, Amasokisi, Apietwaak, Bawiwi, Boom, Cannabis, Dagga, Dibaibai, Dikwarara, Dipaje, Dipampanyane, Dipompo, Dope, Ezimnandi, Ganja, Giggel Gras, Gologodo, Igata, Igudu, Kanja, Kgomo, Kuba Labanthwa, Lentsangu, Mahip, Makaki, Marijuana, Mary Jane, Mashela, Mbangi, Mdluli, Ntsango, Ntsangu, Omkyktwak, Patje, Pfulo, Pfulu, Raasblaar, Skyf, Spliff, Timbango, Timbanju, Timbeva, U gqatso, Umya, Weed, Zakadalawadi, Zol or Zoot”

(See our shop for an African themed shirt containing these awesome words!)

When we talk about hemp and dagga, it helps to understand that they are members of the same plant species, Cannabis. Almost like siblings, from the same parent — many similar traits, but also a few important differences. Jules wrote a great article about Hemp v Cannabis In South Africa, but the short version is:

  • hemp and dagga look differently
  • they have different growing characteristics
  • dagga needs different growing conditions compared to hemp
  • their chemical composition differs
  • hemp has different uses to dagga

The Cannabis that we smoke is generally divided into three groups: indica, sativa and hybrid, which is a mixture of the two. Besides the physical differences between these groups, they also have different effects and therefore, different uses.

Indica is generally used to promote sleep, treat pain or relax. It’s also the strain famous for its couch-lock consequences!

Sativa is popular to help focus and keeps its users sharp and bright.

Hybrid between the two would mean some sort of balance in between.

We’re leaving this one to the experts — tell us what you know about indicas, sativas and hybrids!

Many people still don’t know that our bodies contain an endocannabinoid system, which facilitates the interaction between your body and THC and CBD respectively. It works almost like a signalling system to regulate a whole bunch of functions on the inside. We still don’t understand much of this system, though. Dr Marlon Germon gave a fascinating presentation at our Clinical Cannabis Convention, where he explains that your body naturally produces endocannabinoids. Simply put, you produce the stuff to make you high! These endocannabinoids have a very similar chemical structure to that of both THC and CBD, two of the best known cannabinoids.

CBD or cannabidiol is mostly found in hemp plants. It is the most popular compound for medicinal use, due its non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive properties. Mostly, CBD acts as an antagonist of sorts in the way that it binds with your body’s receptors. Wanna help us educate the lawmakers about this?

THC is the popular compound in the recreational, adult use market. THC is the compound that induces the euphoric effect it is both famous and infamous for. This compound is found mostly in marijuana plants (both indicas and sativas) and it directly binds with your body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. Are you an expert on the topic of THC?

Without necessarily having the greenest of fingers, it’s important to understand the anatomy of a Cannabis plant:

  • Roots: like all plants, cannabis plants have roots.Their main purpose is grounding the plant and absorbing nutrients from the soil.
  • Big stem with branches: from the roots, the main stem transports all the nutrients to the rest of the plants and helps to keep the plant upright. Branches grow out in pairs on either sides of the stem and from nodes on the branch, leaves grow.
  • Fan leaves: These are the big leaves arranged in a symmetrical layout. These leaves are easiest to use to distinguish between sativas and indicas. They act like solar panels that soak up light and convert it to energy to feed the plant.
  • Flowers:
    • Male plants: Male plants do not produce flowers, but rather stamens with anthers packed with pollen sacks containing pollen. Pollen sticks to the pistils of the female flower and fertilises the plant. This then produces seeds — great for breeders, horrifying for smokers!
    • Female plants: During pre-flower, a female plant will have small white hairs growing from the leaf node. This, with the calyx, develops into a nug, which becomes a bud – the end product smoked by stoners all around the world.
    • Calyxes: On the female flower, tiny clusters will form in the shape of tear drops with leaves growing between and around it. This is the calyx, best visible towards the end of the flower season.
    • Pistils: the small white “hairs” on the flower, an outgrowth from the calyx with the main purpose of catching pollen for fertilisation.
    • Trichomes: this is the glistening, gooey, glue-y, sticky-icky resin coat covering the cannabis flower bud that stoners lose their minds about. Colour transitions of the trichomes during flowering are often used as a guideline on when to harvest the plant.

Think you can explain it better? Show us how!

The popularity of the Cannabis plant is ever-increasing due to the array of possible applications of the plant. It has an astounding amount of uses in the following areas:

  • Agricultural: Animal and human foods, food oils, nutritional supplements.
  • Industrial: cloth materials, concrete and building materials, biofuels.
  • Medicinal: pain killers, cancer treatment, epilepsy, anxiety, etc.
  • Adult use: smoking flower, BHO extracts, rosin, hash, etc.

There is much to say about the uses of the Cannabis plant and we’d love to hear from you!

Make sure that you use this opportunity to show the government that the Cannabis community know their  plant! Take part in Fields of Green for All’s Cannabis 101 Content Challenge to Educate the Lawmakers to have a chance to form part of our Manifesto document.

fields of green cannabis 101 community content challenge

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!


About the Author: Marleen Theunissen

Cannabis lover, spreader of love, hater of injustice and recently-turned activist.

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