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The Art in Science

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Some of the first studies of cells were done in plant tissues.  This image shows a stem of the industrial hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, cut in cross section, revealing the numerous vessels, made up of cells connected end-to-end, that transport nutrients and water. The section is NOT stained, so the colors present are due to natural pigments in the plant. The stem of a hemp plant contains an inner, woody pith, or hurd, made up of xylem vessels (red), which transport water. The outer layer, or bast, containsphloem vessels (aqua) that transport sugars made in the leaves. The bast fiber bundles(greenish-red bundles) located in the outer layer are very strong and are used to makehemp products such as textiles and rope. This subspecies of Cannabis has a relatively low concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component found in marijuana.  In 2009, the Obama administration changed the policy on the use ofmedical marijuana.  Fourteen states, including Michigan, have made it legal for patients with certain life-threatening diseases to use medical marijuana as atherapeutic alternative to traditional medications.


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