While unique in its medicinal applications for a seemingly infinite number of ailments, the cannabis plant still has much in common with its cousins in the plant kingdom. The species Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis — sometimes all just referred to as Cannabis sativa — fall under the genus Cannabis L. The next broader level is the family, in this case the Cannabaceae family, and that falls under the Rosales order. The plant’s class is Magnoliopsida, its phylum is Tracheophyta, and its widest classification is belonging to the Plantae kingdom.
Within those leveled categories, the cannabis plant is related to numerous other plants. For instance, blackberries, apples, peaches, figs, and roses are all in the same Rosales order as cannabis. However, these are all distant cousins. Instead, you might find other plants in the Cannabaceae family, which are more closely related to cannabis, that might surprise you.
Humulus lupulus, or hops, is also a member of the Cannabaceae family. Used mainly in beer, hops has a number of medicinal benefits especially for digestion, anxiety, and inflammation. Hops and cannabis physically look similar, and both contain therapeutic terpenoids (aromatic molecules) and flavonoids (pigmentation molecules). However, whereas cannabis is herbaceous, or a botanical herb, hops is bine, meaning that it’s a climbing plant.
The hackberry tree is surprisingly different from cannabis, despite also being a member of the Cannabaceae family. This tree has flexible wood, which is often used to make furniture or fences. Native to North America, it can also be found lining streets in Serbia or Bratislava. The tree also produces small berries that are high in fat, carbohydrates, and protein. The berries were historically eaten by Omaha Native Americans, while the Dakota Native Americans used them to flavor meat.
The Blue Sandalwood tree, also known as Tara wingceltis or Qing Tan, is native to China. Its wood is used for timber, while its bark fiber is often combined with hemp to make calligraphy paper. Meanwhile, the tree’s oil is used to treat the cold and flu.
Often seen in the form of a small variety of evergreen tree or a deciduous shrub, Trema Orientalis is also called the Indian charcoal tree. Originally from Asia, the tree grows small flowers that become black fruits. All of it, including the leaves, is edible. The roots of the tree are also used to help enhance and balance out needy soils.