Medicinal Marijuana

3 07 2008

An old solution for new problems.

Ganja, weed, cannabis, marijuanaThe qualities that made cannabis one of our ancestors’ most useful and valuable resources are no less important in the 21st century. Considering the sorry state of our planet’s ecosystem and endless political turmoil over the control of finite, fossil-based energy resources, we might conclude that hemp is of even greater importance to us than to our forbears.

The medicinal value of cannabis is widely accepted by medical professionals all over the world. It is interesting to note that opposition to the therapeutic benefits of cannabis comes almost exclusively from law-making groups rather than those with expertise in medicine or pharmacology.

The best-known medical applications of cannabis are in treating pain, asthma, glaucoma, muscle spasm and epilepsy. Cannabis is also extremely useful in combating the nausea, loss of appetite and general discomfort associated with the synthetic drugs used in chemotherapy and HIV treatment.

The various cannabinoids produced by cannabis have numerous other medical applications and more are discovered every year as legal obstacles to cannabis research are slowly overcome.

In the Netherlands, as of September 1st 2003, government-supplied cannabis is available on prescription through the nation’s pharmacies. Other European countries are likely to follow the Dutch example.

Cannabis can provide a cheap, renewable and abundant food source for the planet, as it grows almost anywhere and its cultivation does not require farmers in developing countries to purchase pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers from agricultural corporations.





The unique versatility of the Cannabis plant

3 07 2008

Perhaps the most interesting fact about industrial hemp, especially when compared to trees or to other fibre crops, is its amazing versatility.

Cannabis as a food source.

Cannabis can provide a cheap, renewable and abundant food source for the planet. Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritious grains on Earth, rich in high quality protein, very low in saturated fats and containing all of the essential fatty acids required by human beings.

Cannabis grows almost anywhere and its cultivation does not require farmers in developing countries to purchase pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers from agricultural corporations.

Cannabis as a medicine.

The medicinal value of cannabis is widely accepted by medical professionals all over the world. It is interesting to note that opposition to the therapeutic benefits of cannabis comes almost exclusively from law-making groups rather than those with expertise in medicine or pharmacology.

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Hollands’ Hemp History

3 07 2008

Hemp is one of the oldest crops domesticated by man. The history of hemp in Holland also goes back for thousands of years. The stalk of the hemp-plant produces one of the strongest natural fibres that were used to make things like rope, textile and paper. Also the seed of the hemp-plant contains high-grade food oil that was also used for lamp oil, the production of paint and (green!) soap.

The Dutch Golden Age was also the golden age of Dutch hemp in Holland. Without hemp there would not have been too much golden age in the first place. A seafaring nation with ships going around the globe is a nice thing to be; however, to be able to build such ships, many tons of hemp was needed. Next to wood, hemp was the main component used to build a ship in those times. The replica of the famous 17th century Dutch ship ‘Batavia’ contains about 21 kilometres of rope. The sails are made of hemp and hemp-fibres were also used as part of a caulking that made the hull watertight.

Only after Czar Peter the Great learned about shipbuilding in the Dutch ‘zaanstreek’ (an area in the north of Amsterdam where a lot of ships used were build) — and as it seems also about hemp production — did Russian hemp start to compete with the Dutch. This was the beginning of a slow decline for hemp, a decline that continued into the 20th century when modern machines and artificial fibres finally conquered the market. The farmers, especially in the middle of Holland and along the big rivers, lost their winter-time work (peeling the fibres from the stalks) and started to make their own cheese. The hemp-market in places like Gouda became a cheese-market and Holland became a cheese-country.

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Protecting the children from drugs.

3 07 2008

Cannabis funThe sponsors of a medical cannabis initiative appearing on South Dakota’s ballot in November are suing the state Attorney General over his misleading summary of the initiative, apparently designed to encourage a negative reaction in voters. The AG must write a neutral summary of each state ballot initiative. In this case, his first act was to rename the measure.

An act to provide safe access to medical marijuana for certain qualified persons,” became “An Initiative to authorize marijuana use for adults and children with specified medical conditions.
August 2006 (source)

It’s curious that the greatest – or at least the loudest – love for children is proclaimed by those who display a general distrust of progress and freedom.
Groups seeking to control individual behaviour, undermine civil rights or impose a moral code on society will frequently broadcast their own sincere desire to protect young folk from real or imaginary threats, habitually invoking ‘the children’ to justify each new restriction.
If the safety of children is at stake, who could possibly object to laws that curtail privacy, individual choice and basic liberty?

The need to protect the young is biological, a basic principle of survival seen in most animals. In people, the instinct is more refined; it applies to our species in general and is not limited to our own children. Because it is a rational decision based on a powerful unconscious imperative, the protective urge can be irrational in its expression and has a long and unfortunate tradition of being used to manipulate people.

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