The Name of Cannabis: A Short Guide for Nonbotanists.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“The genus Cannabis (Family Cannabaceae) is probably indigenous to wet habitats of Asiatic continent. The long coexistence between mankind and Cannabis led to an early domestication of the plant, which soon showed an amazing spectrum of possible utilizations, as a source of textile fibers, as well as narcotic and psychoactive compounds. Nowadays, the specie(s) belonging to the genus Cannabis are represented by myriads of cultivated varieties, often with unstable taxonomic foundations. The nomenclature of Cannabis has been the object of numerous nomenclatural treatments. Linnaeus in Species Plantarum (1753) described a single species of hemp, Cannabis sativa, whereas Lamarck (1785) proposed two species of CannabisC. sativa, the species largely cultivated in Western Continent, and Cannabis indica, a wild species growing in India and neighboring countries. The dilemma about the existence of the species C. indica considered distinct from C. sativa continues up to present days. Due to their prevalent economic interest, the nomenclatural treatment is particularly important as far as it concerns the cultivated varieties of Cannabis. In this context, we propose to avoid the distinction between sativa and indica, suggesting a bimodal approach: when a cultivar has been correctly established. It could be advisable to apply a nomenclature system based on the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP): it is not necessary to use the species epithets, sativa or indica, and a combination of the genus name and a cultivar epithet in any language and bounded by single quotation marks define an exclusive name for each Cannabis cultivar. In contrast, Cannabis varieties named with vernacular names by medical patients and recreational users, and lacking an adequate description as required by ICNCP, should be named as Cannabis strain, followed by their popularized name and without single quotation marks, having in mind that their names have no taxonomical validity.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861494

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2016.0027

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