The birthplace of Cannabis and its meaningTom Stavely
“Despite a voluminous literature emerging in the last three decades, the classification of Cannabis and its centre of origin remains under debate,” Author and medical researcher John McPartland (University of Vermont).With the lack of print fossils, scientists turned to plant pollen of the Cannabis genus; these pollens were first studied in the 1930s to help discover more on the Cannabis plants history.
“Cannabis flourishes in steppe – an open, treeless habitat,” the researchers say.
John McPartland and his team went through 155 existing fossil pollen studies centred on Asia. A probelm with the data is many of the studies lump Cannabis pollen grains in with pollens from plants of the Humulus genus. This is because they look similar and both plants diverged from one another around 28 million years ago.
So to deal with these identification problems, McPartland and his team used a statistical technique involving “ecological proxies” in which they differentiated probabilistically the pollens based on other plants common to that region, this included plants belonging to the Artemisia genus.
The findings were reported in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany on the 14th May 2019.