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Cannabis – Is it a fruit, a vegetable, or an herb?

When this question came across my mind, my initial response was an herb, mainly because that’s what I’ve heard people reference it as. After doing some research, I realized it is technically all three!

Let’s start with what defines a fruit, a vegetable, and an herb. There’s been a fine line between fruits and vegetables over the years because the qualifications have changed. Growing up I was told that anything that grew out of the ground that was sweet was considered a fruit, and anything else was a vegetable. Nowadays, regardless of flavor, if it is a seed plant, then it’s considered a fruit. That means cucumbers, squash, peppers are all fruit.

The definition of a vegetable is an herbaceous plant that has edible parts like the leaves, roots, bulbs, flowers, tubers and stem.. Anything that comes from a plant or tree, is edible, and doesn’t have seeds, is considered a vegetable. Now this gets me thinking of the fruits I know to see if they all have seeds. While there are many fruits that I thought were vegetables, the only plant I could find that tastes sweet and doesn’t have any seeds, is rhubarb.

Then I thought to myself, what about bananas? I honestly didn’t think they had seeds in them because I never tasted them. After doing some reading, I learned that bananas do have seeds. However, the ones you typically get at the supermarket contain a minimal amount. There are different types of bananas, and some of the seeds are more apparent than others. Then it is brought to my attention that bananas also fall into the herb category. An herb is defined as a flowering plant with a stem that is not woody when above ground, and is valued for its flavor, scent or medicinal properties. I was always under the impression that bananas were grown on trees when, in reality, they are technically plants. This is because the stems on banana plants are more of a succulent material than wood. So crazy right?

Now I will get to the main plant of discussion, cannabis, aka marijuana. Based on what is defined as a fruit, vegetable, and herb, this is one of the rare plants that fall under all three categories. It was surprisingly the only one I could find, but I’m not knowledgeable enough in this field to make it a claim.

Here is why cannabis is technically a fruit, a vegetable, and an herb:

    • Cannabis is a fruit because it reproduces seeds through their pistils. They are the tiny hairs on the female plant that collect pollen from the male plant, to create a seed.
    • Cannabis is a vegetable because it is an herbaceous plant that is edible with nutritional value. Not many people know this, but you can eat the cannabis leaves, and it won’t make you feel high. There is also value in eating hemp seeds (they come from the cannabis sativa plant) that are a high source of protein and has other nutrients like omega-3 and omega-6.
    • Cannabis is an herb because it has a stem above the ground that is not woody. Depending on the type of cannabis plant, it can grow like a bush or tall and thin stalk. There is also the debatable topic that it has medicinal properties, which is proven more and more every day with medical research studies.

The moral of the story is, what we perceived to be something based on what we were raised to believe can change over time. If people can accept that a tomato is really a fruit, I’m hopeful that one day people (as a society) will accept that cannabis isn’t as bad as it’s been made out to be.

Cannabis – Is it a fruit, a vegetable, or an herb? When this question came across my mind, my initial response was an herb, mainly because that’s what I’ve heard people reference it as. After ]]>