Do you know the connection between beer hops and hemp?
Once upon a time, cannabis and humulus (commonly known as hops; one of the main ingredients in beer) were the same plant.
About 27 million years ago, cannabis and hops diverged from their common ancestor and evolved as separate botanical species.
Today, cannabis and humulus are identified as distinct species within the same plant family Cannabaceae.
Cannabaceae is a small family of flowering plants which currently includes 170 species grouped in 11 genera, two of which are Cannabis and Humulus.
The Cannabis genus comprises of three species (C. Sativa, C. Indica and C. Ruderalis) commonly known as hemp and medicinal/recreational cannabis. The Humulus genus also comprises of three species (H. Lupulus, H. Japonicus, and H. Yunnanensis), with Lupulus known as the common hop.
If hemp is cannabis’ sister, the hop plant would be its cousin. The family resemblance can be seen in the jagged-edged leaves emblematic of both plants. There is also the similarity of the seeds and pollen of both cannabis and hops.
As well as their shared physical characteristics, cannabis and hops are similar in other ways. Some of the same components, including terpenes and other phytonutrients, are found in the female inflorescences (flower heads) of both species.
Cannabis has a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years, as does the hop plant. Long before hops became a bittering agent in the brewing industry, their flower heads were used in traditional Eurasian cultures to treat restlessness and sleep disturbances, as were cannabis flower heads.
The hop plant may have earned the hearts of many because of it's ability to brew beer, but hops actually have many other medicinal benefits such as easing digestive issues, anxiety, and inflammation.
Hops and cannabis share therapeutic attributes, with both plants having significant medicinal properties discovered by past, recent and ongoing scientific research.
Lee, M. (2018, April). Cannabis and Humulus: A Family Reunion. Project CBD.
Anderson, D. (2018, May). Hemp versus Hops: Past, Present, and Future for an Unlikely Pairing. LabX.