Most biologists believe that mankind evolved from a single organism, but did the different species of cannabis evolve from a single seed? Dr. Barney Warf, a University of Kansas professor, received global acclaim for his 2014 study “High Points: A Geographical History of Cannabis” in Geographical Review. We asked Dr. Warf whether sativa and indica evolved from the same original seed, and he explicitly said no.
“They're definitely two different plants,” Dr. Warf explained. “Indica is the Latin word for India, and it apparently evolved in what is now the southern part of the Himalayas. Whereas sativa evolved farther north. One account that I read said they may have been a single species much earlier on, and when the Indian tectonic plate crashed into Asia and formed the Himalayan Mountains, it caused the different parts of the species to become isolated, and they evolved into two different species. For cannabis users, that's important because they have different mixes of cannabinoids and have different impacts on the brain.”
Dr. Warf added that the differences extend beyond just sativa and indica. He continued, “The genus cannabis has four species. The cannabis sativa L, and the L is in honor of Carl Linnaeus, the biologist. That's hemp, which is less than one percent THC. Then sativa, indica and ruderalis. Those are all psychotropic. I don't know much about ruderalis. It was just this Russian botanist who discovered it in the 1920s, but I really haven't read anything about where ruderalis came from or who even used it. It's just kind of like a little footnote. Apparently, it's a different species.”