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The phytocannabinoids are primarily produced in glandular tissues in the cannabis leaves and stored in sticky droplets, called resin glands. These glands can be found on the surface of all parts of Cannabis sativa, except for roots and seeds (Frank & Rosenthal, 1992). Generally speaking, resin glands can be divided into three types: bulbous (15-30μm), capitate (25-100µm), and capitate-stalked (150-500μm). The capitate-stalked resin glands are the only ones that can be seen with the naked eye, the rest can be sensed as a sticky layer on top of, for example, the leaves (Frank & Rosenthal, 1992).
The reasons for the unique synthesis and storage of the phytocannabinoids are unknown, but it has been hypothesized that they participate in physiologically relevant events such as pathogen defense (CBD, CBG, and their acids are potent antibiotics) and plant-eating (via their psychotropic actions) (Frank & Rosenthal, 1992; Morimoto et al., 2007). To obtain usable cannabis, the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant are first dried and then grinded or pressed into a dense mass with a binding agent, yielding yellow or brown hashish (Fisar, 2009).