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Are beer and marijuana related?

Beer and marijuana have more in common than you would think. Surprisingly, beer hops are in the same family of flowering plants as marijuana.

Both plants, including other plants such as lavender and citrus fruits, have aromatic molecules called terpenes and terpenoid compounds. While lavender and citrus are not remotely related, hops plants and marijuana plants share the same types of terpenoid compounds which gives them their similar, potent aroma and flavor.

In addition to the similarity of their terpenoid compounds, taxonomists who would look at characteristics of plants in order to group them, put Humulus (hops) and Cannabis (among others) in the same family called Urticales due to their physical similarities. Both plants have leaves with veins, lobes and leaflets which all derive from a single point, the stem. As you can see, this is a rather broad description and eventually physical characteristics became a defective way of classifying plants.

As DNA testing became available, plants in the larger Urticales family were put through sequencing and while not all plants within the family turned out to be genetically related, it was confirmed that Cannabis and Humulus were closely related and truly belonged in the same family which was named Cannabinaceae.

Long story short, hops and marijuana are genetically related and share more than one similarity. Did you know?

Craft Beer Trivia found in our Micro Brew News featuring Brau Brothers Brewing Co. located Marshall, Minnesota.