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The Language of Statistical Cannabis

We should all be familiar with the rapid growth of the cannabis seed market. If the marijuana debate were to disappear overnight, the sudden emergence of the seed industry on Wall Street would be seismic. Market analysts, however, do not rely on Richter's scale; instead, they use graphs to track commodity values over time. The ability to quantify something by collecting accurate data and presenting it visually, such as through a graph, is crucial for comprehending the cannabis plant. In the Victorian era, naturalist Richard Owen (1804-1892) introduced the concept of archetype to the scientific community. By examining similarities and differences among living organisms, Owen aimed to improve their classification into distinct groups. He observed that certain biological structures could be considered either analogous or homologous. For instance, comparing the bones of a seal flipper, a human arm, a horse's leg, an amphibian leg, a bird's wing, and a fish fin reveals striking similarities among vertebrate appendages. These shared characteristics are considered homologous. However, due to differences in bone arrangement, the fish fin is not classified as homologous. Nonetheless, because it is an appendage like the bird's wing or seal flipper, it is deemed analogous to them. Owen's groundbreaking work not only enhances our understanding but also introduces a biological concept known as existentialism, influenced by Plato's forms applied to biology. By identifying homologous and analogous structures, we subconsciously acknowledge that these groupings are imperfect representations of their ideal blueprints. This notion leads us to view seal flippers as imperfect versions of "flipperness," or bird wings as imperfect representations of "wingness." Ultimately, our fascination lies in seeking their geometric equivalents. The same goes for cannabis. When we see a species of cannabis we try to fit it into our perfect version of "indicaness" or "sativaness" or even its "cannabisness." In the mind's recesses we critique what we are seeing by comparing it to our mental archetype. the problem is this is an absolutely corrupt picture of what is actually going on with.

Sampling Marijuana xvii | Cannabis is one of the reasons why Owen failed to embrace Darwinian biological evolution by natural selection. The scientific tree of life shows that modern living things are derived from ancestral "originals," with cannabis meeting a common ancestor with modern rose species. Cannabis, hops, and hackberries share traits substantiated by genetic sequencing, indicating shared derived and ancestral characters. In the scientific classification for roses, cannabis differs at the family level, with cannabis in Cannabaceae and roses in Rosaceae, both joining in the order of Rosales from common ancestors. The tree of life reveals that cannabis, like Tyrannosaurus rex, is not permanent and has no enduring template. Humans must keep cannabis alive to understand it better. Darwin challenged Paley's watchmaker argument by showing that natural selection explains biological complexity better. Darwin's discoveries led to the understanding of evolution through natural selection as a mechanism driving biology. Sampling Marijuana xix | Darwin explained former adaptations falling into disuse, showing the limitations of natural selection. The fossil record revealed gradual changes in species and mass extinctions, supporting evolution by natural selection over fixed species hypotheses. Darwin demonstrated that biological complexity could arise through natural processes without the need for a watchmaker. Superfecundity, inheritance, and variation are components of natural selection driving evolution. Photo: Tropical Seeds Sampling Marijuana xxi | The struggle for survival is evident in the competition among organisms to reproduce and survive. Superfecundity is seen in the abundance of seeds produced by cannabis plants and sperm by human males, with only a few succeeding. Organisms exhibit fascinating reproductive methods to compete in the struggle for survival, while variation confers advantages in this biological war. Darwin's idea is simple: organisms compete to reproduce, with variations providing advantages that continue through generations. The Language of Statistical Cannabis We should all be familiar with the booming cannabis seed market. If the marijuana controversy were to disappear overnight, the sudden emergence of the seed industry on Wall Street would make a significant impact. Market analysts use graphs to track commodity values over time, highlighting the importance of quantifying data to understand the cannabis plant. In Victorian times, naturalist Richard Owen introduced the concept of archetypes to the scientific community. By comparing similarities and differences between living things, Owen identified homologous and analogous biological structures. For example, vertebrate appendages like seal flippers, human arms, horse legs, amphibian legs, bird wings, and fish fins exhibit homologous traits, except for the fish fin due to its unique bone arrangement. Owen's contribution led to a biological mindset that sees structures as imperfect versions of their ideal blueprints. This mindset also applies to cannabis, where we try to fit each species into our mental archetype of "indicaness" or "sativaness." This flawed perception prevents us from embracing Darwinian biological evolution through natural selection. Cannabis is closely related to other plants in the Cannabacee family, such as hops and hackberries, sharing both derived and ancestral traits. While cannabis diverges from roses at the family level in scientific classification, both plants ultimately join together in the order of Rosales. This phylogenetic example highlights the shared ancestry of cannabis and roses within the tree of life. Phylogenic example of where Rosales are in an extremely small section of the tree of life. Trace Rosales back and trace Fabales above it back. Notice where they meet? That would be their common ancestor that no longer exists.3 The tree of life shows us something startling. Marijuana enthusiasts will just have to suck in the next rational conclusion: Cannabis is no more permanent than Tyrannosaurus rex and there is no template for "cannabisness." Cannabis is no more likely to endure than the cannabis-rose common ancestor was. That ancestor is long gone. Unless humans keep cannabis alive and alter it very little (that is if humans live that long and natural selection no longer acts on wild cannabis!), cannabis will be but a fleeting speck, a millisecond on the cosmic calendar. This, however, does not impede our progress in understanding cannabis. In fact it will enhance it dramatically. While Owen was stuck on templates of originals derived from "types," which he believed appeared spontaneously and fully complex by the hand of a supernatural de-signer, Darwin had realized a serious flaw in this reasoning. Darwin would tackle this argument by objecting to something called the watchmaker argument that was developed by Paley. Rev. William Paley (1743-1805) suggested that if you were walking along, came across a pocket watch and examined it, its complexity and apparent suitability for purpose would lead you to assume that a watchmaker was responsible for creating it. There-fore, he inferred, if we find complex living things in nature, we should similarly assume that a designer made them. Darwin noted that there are bad "designs" (the term design would eventually be dropped from modern biology) as well as good "designs" in nature. The Rosales, a small section of the tree of life, can be traced back to their common ancestor with Fabales. This common ancestor no longer exists, highlighting the transient nature of species. Just like Tyrannosaurus rex, cannabis is not permanent and lacks a fixed template for existence. Without human intervention to preserve and minimally alter cannabis, it may disappear like its common ancestor. Despite this impermanence, our understanding of cannabis will continue to evolve. Darwin's critique of Paley's watchmaker argument, which suggests a designer for complex living things in nature, reveals flaws in the idea of perfect design in biology. Nature exhibits both good and bad "designs," challenging the notion of a divine creator behind every living organism.

EXPLORING MARIJUANA SAMPLING A carefully cultivated bunch of cannabis flowers. Your favorite strain. Consider, for example, the potential dangers of wisdom tooth extraction, where the shared passage for eating and breathing can result in choking. Additionally, the presence of blood vessels in front of our retinas can block light. Nature also presents us with oddities such as flightless birds like the kiwi (Apteryx) and sightless creatures like moles (Talpa occidentalis). Darwin suggested that these are remnants of past adaptations that are now becoming unnecessary, highlighting the limitations of natural selection. In his revolutionary work "The Origin of Species" (1859), Darwin persuasively argued that evolution through natural selection provides a more comprehensive explanation for biological diversity. If species were truly unchangeable, there would be a consistent fossil record to support this idea. However, geologists in Darwin's time began uncovering evidence of gradual changes in species and mass extinctions within the Earth's layers, contradicting the static fossil record hypothesis in favor of a transitional fossil record. Darwin's discoveries also challenged Paley's watchmaker argument, proposing that biological complexity could emerge through natural processes like superfecundity, inheritance, and variation driven by the struggle for survival and reproduction. These factors form the foundation of natural selection, the driving force behind evolution

SAMPLING MARIJUANA xxi | The struggle for survival is evident when we consider that the Earth is not overcrowded with cannabis plants. Cannabis plants produce numerous seeds, ranging from fifty to a few hundred per plant in their natural environment. However, not all of these seeds germinate and not all of them survive. If they did, the Earth would be covered with cannabis plants multiple times over within a few decades due to exponential growth. Just like human males produce a surplus of sperm that compete to fertilize the female egg, with only one succeeding. Birds have optimal clutch sizes. This illustrates a biological battle taking place in the world. Organisms display intriguing reproductive strategies to compete in the fight for survival, known as superfecundity. Additionally, diversity is apparent when observing different "types" of organisms, highlighting significant variations among them. Darwin connected the dots by recognizing that organisms compete to reproduce and variations provide advantages in this competition. This concept forms the basis of Darwin's theory - organisms with advantageous variations are more likely to pass on their traits to the next generation. For example, elephants migrating north may develop thicker, hairier coats over time to cope with colder climates, thanks to variations in hair length and density within the population. Conversely, mammoths moving south due to predators or food sources may lose their hairy coats as it becomes too warm. In the struggle for survival, those with less hair are favored in passing on their traits. It's simply about organisms competing to survive and passing on beneficial variations to their offspring. It becomes clear that an elephant is not inherently "better" than a mammoth; they simply possess different adaptations suited for their respective environments. Similarly, different species of elephants have adapted to their own habitats - whether it's an African bush elephant, an African forest elephant, or an Asian elephant. The phrase "survival of the fittest" emphasizes how well an organism "fits" its environment rather than its speed, strength, or stealthiness. Those with traits that align best with their surroundings are the ones that thrive and survive. Now, let's apply these principles to cannabis. Indica is not superior to sativa; rather, both varieties are tailored to their specific environments. A cannabis strain bred for taste does not surpass one bred for potency. However, if a new hybrid strain combines high potency and great taste, it may outshine the others. Ultimately, our preferences and values assigned to these strains are subjective and based on personal taste preferences. .

The inherent values of strains are non-existent. There is nothing inherently valuable about them. Apart from reproductive fitness, we cannot scientifically identify any distinguishing factor that makes one strain superior to another. When it comes to our personal preference for the ideal cannabis that suits our needs, we are edging dangerously close to a non-Darwinian perspective. This is because in our quest for the perfect plant, we create an image of an archetype that is non-existent. The archetype remains fixed, while evolution is constantly changing. Let's focus on concepts like movement, change, modifications, and diversities. If we examine a group of 100 women, we will observe differences among them. Even if we narrow it down to women aged between 20 and 22 with black hair, there will still be variations in other characteristics within that group, such as height. Adding green eyes to the selection will yield similar results. Regardless of the attribute chosen, variations will still be present. Therefore, when we categorize individuals as "women," it is solely based on the presence of the XX sex chromosome or female reproductive organs. By refining our definition, we may find that some women do not fit the criteria. However, this is not unfair; it is simply the idealized image of the perfect woman influencing us once again. The same applies to the grouping of "men." So what exactly defines individuals categorized as "woman" or "man"? The same question can be posed regarding cannabis. When we analyze a large sample of cannabis plants and attempt to categorize them, we may end up excluding certain plants. It may seem contradictory, but adhering to a specific definition and sorting through our sample will highlight this point. Creating a table to document the distribution of attributes and counting how many plants exhibit these specific characteristics, followed by presenting the results in a bar chart, can provide clarity. Additionally, generating graphs and pie charts for each individual characteristic can offer further insights.

The general concept we are presented with closely resembles what biologists refer to as population thinking. In other words, cannabis is essentially a population of varying characteristics. We are now approaching something significant. Describing cannabis as a population of changing characteristics is finally stating something accurate and measurable, rather than holding onto subjective qualities we attribute to the plant based on our expectations. We are now discussing traits that fluctuate within the population. What is actually changing? The answer lies in genes. Our population thinking has now transitioned into the practical realm of this biological concept known as population genetics. Genes are rearranged in different combinations through a biological process called meiosis, which is a form of cell division undergone by sexually reproducing individuals. This process allows genes from both male and female individuals to combine, like the two sides of a zipper, to create an individual with genes from both parents. Genes are sequences of DNA transcribed by cellular machinery and eventually translated into proteins that form parts assembled into a living organism. This process occurs continuously throughout the development and lifespan of the organism. Genes are primarily expressed through the plant's morphology, controlling its characteristics, although the environment can influence the extent of their control. This expression of genes is known as the phenotype, which encompasses what we observe, taste, smell, and feel in our plant populations. Ultimately, genes and their response to the environment dictate these traits that fluctuate. When we mention fluctuating genes, we are referring to the number of genes for a specific trait within a population. For instance, in a sample of women, a certain percentage may possess genes for black hair. If males prefer women with black hair for mating purposes in a given year, more black hair genes will be passed on to the next generation through reproduction, leading to an increase in the frequency of black hair genes in the population. This concept can be applied to cannabis in terms of all factors contributing to the makeup of a cannabis plant, focusing on the shifting frequencies of genes within the population. The overall cannabis population encompasses all currently existing cannabis plants worldwide. However, cannabis populations can be divided due to artificial boundaries (such as grow room separation) or environmental factors. Grow rooms act as artificial geographical boundaries causing geographical isolation. Reproductive isolation can also occur (for example, if pollen is shed too early in one strain before flowers bloom in another, preventing natural hybridization). Populations are subsets of this larger population where certain genes shift from higher to lower values. The struggle for survival remains relevant. Genes can indeed become extinct, never to resurface again. If a gene for blue flowers becomes unpopular with insects and they select yellow flowers instead, the blue flower genes may disappear entirely, leaving only yellow genes behind. Breeders can also influence gene frequencies by intentionally altering them to create a distinct population. By replacing unwanted genes with desired ones in sufficient quantities, a strain becomes more uniform with reduced diversity and variation. The key point of this discussion is significant. When we conduct scientific sampling, we extract material for analysis. The question "what is cannabis?" can be answered as follows: Cannabis is a plant population characterized by shifting values represented by cannabis genes expressed as phenotypes. That's it - that's what it all boils down to.

Image by Shelby Ireland
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