The fact that plants are alive will hardly come as a surprise to most readers. They obviously respond to light, the weather, and the nutrients in the soil. We also know that some plants are more sensitive to stress than others, but recent studies claim our green friends may be much more sensible than we thought as well. Then again, simply reacting to your environment is not the same as being conscious of that environment. So we started to wonder: are plants – and weed plants in particular – aware of their surroundings? Can cannabis plants have consciousness?
Do Cannabis Plants Have Consciousness?
Many people feel that having a friendly chat with random chamber plants is a bit weird. On the other hand, we see plenty of growers who think that a bit of constructive pep talk can really boost a cannabis plant’s harvest result. So can you motivate plants to grow and flower with more power? Let’s face it: that would be great news for any grower! Still, motivation implies intention, or in other words: (free) will. Whether such a thing exists? Well, that’s the question, as Shakespeare put it. We tried to figure out the current scientific position op weed plants with a consciousness.
Sensitive Plants And Awareness
Two hundred years ago, scientists already claimed that some plants are extremely sensitive. Supposedly, such plants are able to distinguish people with bad intentions form others. As expected, the entire academic society came crashing down on them. Nonsense! Lies! Everubody knows plants don´t have a will+ they´re just, well, vegetating. A will of their own – hah! Intention? Oh, please! If you come up with ideas like these, perhaps you should spend less time smoking plants and more time actually studying them… Discussion closed.
Except for the fact that the notion of a plant with a will of its own kept intriguing unorthodox scientists.
In 1966, plant researcher Clive Backster hooked a Philodendron leaf up to a lie detector to measure the electric conductivity while water moved to the leaf. Interestingly, the reading spiked as soon as Backster wanted to try what happened if he were to burn one of the leaves.
The same tests were repeated with other plants and trees. The readings proved similar with species like orange trees, banana plants, lettuce, bulbs, and many other crops. Backster’s dubious research methods aside, this is still tantalizing news for any plant lover. Of course, the question remains whether this proves that plants are conscious. And if so: how does that consciousness work?
In this blog, we dig into the depths of the cannabis plant to fins out whether our weed is conscious or not. Because if it turns out to be true, isn’t it cruel to top and harvest our plants, only to mercilessly set them on fire in the end?
Do Cannabis Plants Feel Pain?
Whether you like plants or not, pruning just wouldn’t feel the same if you knew it would hurt them. We’ve all seen images of activists tying themselves to tree trunks in an ultimate attempt to save a forest from the chainsaw. “Trees have feelings too!” is an often-heard slogan in those scenarios.
Scientists are divided on the sense and sensibility of plants. They do agree that cannabis plants lack the brain cells needed to actually feel pain impulses like we do. That’s a relief, then: you can keep on putting buds in that grinder without fearing that you’ll hear agonized screams as soon as you start to grind.
Cannabis Plants: Conscious No-Brainers?
‘Plants don’t have brains; they lack the required nerve cells to actually feel anything’, according to an international team of scientists. And yet, even though weed plants won’t shout ‘Ouch!’ or register pain like humans do, they are certainly aware of threats around them.
We can see this when plants notify others nearby about, for instance, caterpillars nibbling at their leaves. Plants will signal the danger to their neighbours by emitting certain chemicals that others can pick up. That means plants communicate; that would suggest plants must be aware of the threat posed by the caterpillar. How else would it know when to warn the neighbours? In fact: how does the plant even know it has neighbours at all?
Plants With Intention
More recent studies led scientists to a plant that actually does appear to have intention. Or a will, in other words: a conscious urge to ‘do something’. That’s very different from just standing around and growing tall when you think about it. It’s actually breaking news: until recently, the assumption was that plants just don’t have intentions at all.
Our self-conscious green pal in this specific case turns out to be a string bean. That’s right: just a regular humble string bean. Joined by Vicente Raja of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy in Canada, the researchers used time-lapse photography to observe the behaviour of two dozen potted green bean plants. Some were raised next to a support strut; the rest were left to grow without support.
If you’ve ever watched a bean plant grow in nature, you’ve probably noticed the tiny ‘tentacles’ they use. These thin ends of their branches can latch on to other branches, or fence posts, for instance. This allows the bean plant to spread. If you didn’t know better, you’d almost think the plant ‘knew’ where the best support is located. As it turns out, that may prove to be exactly what’s going on…
Using their time-lapse images, the team analyzed the dynamics of bean growth. They discovered that the plants acted with more control and predictability in the presence of support. The team compared it to sending a blind person into a room with an obstacle inside, either telling them where the obstacle was, or just waiting until they tripped over it.
Cannabis Plants And Consciousness: A Sensitive Topic
Alright, so plants lack the brain capacity or nervous system to actually experience pain impulses. Nonetheless, cannabis plants (like green beans) are perfectly capable of protecting themselves and those around them. In a sense, that means we can say our cannabis plants have consciousness. It’s just a very different kind of consciousness from what we use for ourselves.
That means you can harvest cannabis plants when their ready without serious moral objections. It also means you can smoke them guilt-free. At the same time, though, research continues, and you can never know what we’ll discover next. Who knows? Maybe you’re just staring at your plants and thinking about that harvest; but who can guarantee that your plants aren’t thinking about you while you’re standing there..?
Consciously Enjoying Cannabis With Consciousness
Knowing this, you can now consciously enjoy conscious cannabis plants. Better yet; you now have a great topic for debate ready while you enjoy that harvest with friends. What would it be like if cannabis plants knew what went on around them? And what if they could communicate about that, too? How nice would it be if they warned you of bud rot before it caught on, or if air humidity became unpleasant for them? It may sound like a fantasy, but we just thought we’d give you fair warning. If your weed plant does ever start talking to you, we suggest putting that fat haze spliff down for a bit. The fact that your cannabis plants display consciousness does not mean you can just pass out on the floor unconscious yourself…