Over medicated America – a few figures to understand why cannabis is still illegal

9 02 2012

Here’s a chart that puts into simple words and figures a system that shows no benefits:
Overmedicated America
Created by: Medical Billing and Coding Online

What this work prove is that profit is more important to the people in charge of the health system than the health of the people that generate their profits.

Just over a week ago the FDA pushed to approve a skin cancer treatment when side effects are varied and numerous, while Cannabis Science is publishing more case studies where patients actually get rid of their cancer.

If such a powerful institution supports a drug with a list of side effects that can all be treated, as well as the ailment itself, by a safer alternative, how can people keep on trusting them and allow them to behave like that?





Medicinal Cannabis and its Impact on Human Health

8 09 2011

In this myth shattering, information packed documentary, learn from physicians and leading researchers about medicinal cannabis and its demonstrated affects on human health. This game-changing movie presents the most comprehensive synopsis to date of the real science surrounding the world’s most controversial plant.

http://vimeo.com/20129106

Executive Producer: James Schmachtenberger
Director & Producer: Lindsey Ward
Director of Photography: Troy Brajkovich

Topics include:
*What the consensus is from over 15000 scientific and medical trials
*What conditions have been proven to benefit from medical marijuana
*Its historical use as medicine dating back over 5300 years
*Methods of delivery and their different advantages
*Government sponsored studies intended to show Marijuana having negative effects that yielded the exact opposite results
*Common myths about negative effects of Marijuana and what the research really says about these topics

Via:  medicinalgenomics.com





New study explores cannabis effect on short term memory

7 10 2010

The effect of weed on your short term memory has long been a standard in any cannabis-comedy routine. Now, researchers are unlocking the effect of cannabis on memory.

A new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that variations in the chemical makeup of different strains of marijuana are associated with different levels of cognitive impairment while high.

Tetrahydocannabinol (THC) is commonly recognized as the ingredient in marijuana that causes a “high” in users, but researchers have long known that pot contains other active substances as well. While THC can cause the widely advertised hallucinations and paranoia, another chemical found in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), is believed to be responsible for the calmer, sedating part of the experience. The two chemicals have opposing effects on one of the brain receptors affected by cannabis, the CB1 receptor.

Some clinical studies have proposed that CBD acts as a balancing force to regulate the strength of the psychoactive agent THC.
Marijuana with relatively high ratios of CBD:THC is less likely to induce anxiety than marijuana with low CBD:THC ratios. CBD is also believed to regulate the body’s metabolism of THC by inactivating cytochrome P450, an important class of enzymes that metabolize drugs.
To determine the effect of different levels of CBD, researchers studied 134 cannabis-using volunteers while they smoked their own stash of marijuana, at home. They gave them various cognitive tests, either while stoned or abstinent. Then, they took samples of the pot back to the lab for testing.

The amount of cannabidiol contained in the marijuana varied widely — from 0.14% or less to 0.75%. Researchers found that individuals that smoked the weed with the lowest CBD had significant impairments in their ability to recall words, while those whose pot had higher levels of the chemical had no impairment at all. (The study authors controlled for any variance in levels of THC.)

Interestingly, however, unlike previous studies, the new research did not find that CBD reduced the hallucinatory and paranoia-inducing effects of THC that can be associated with psychotic episodes.

While some growers have bred “skunk” marijuana, which has extremely high levels of THC, less intense varietals with increased CBD can also be found. If this research holds up, the mellower high may be the smarter choice.

Source:cannabisfantastic





Area 420: Secret Hemp Research Facility Could Save Uruguay!

9 09 2010

Industrial hemp with happy cow, HempFlax, NL

Farming industrial hemp could offer Uruguay a simple and elegant solution to a host of serious environmental problems that are currently damaging the country. Tests by the National Institute for Farming Technology are scheduled to start next month at a secret location and will explore hemp’s potential for production and the suitability of various strains.

Uruguay, a small nation tucked between Brazil and Argentina, and advertised to tourists as ‘A Natural Country’, is rapidly becoming anything but natural. Abnormally large numbers of dead animals, birds and fish have been turning up in the last year and cancer is now the second most common cause of death in the human population. Herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, many of them carcinogenic, are currently being used in massive amounts all across the country. Tragically, many users are small-scale farmers who are not aware of the toxicity of these substances and the dangers they pose. Many farmers do not wear or are unable to afford the necessary protective equipment and the chemicals are often used indiscriminately, without proper instructions.

Industrial hemp, with its fast growth and dense foliage, needs no herbicides to compete with weeds and other plants – it simply outgrows them. This alone would be a massive boon to both the farmers and the ecology of Uruguay. Hemp has proven effective in cleaning pollutants and heavy metals from soil; it is feasible that it could also work for removing agrochemical toxins. Hemp’s composted foliage makes an excellent fertilizer which can replenish vital nutrients in soil, while its deep root system aerates and improves the land. Hemp can actually improve the yields of many other food crops when grown in rotation.

Soy is currently one of Uruguay’s main food crops. Transgenic soy – specifically Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready (RR) soy – covers more than 600,000 hectares of Uruguayan farmland and is closely linked to both ecological and economic problems. RR soy is genetically engineered to be resistant to RoundUp, a highly toxic glyphosate-based herbicide (also invented by Monsanto) which has been banned in several countries. RR soy’s main selling point is that fields in which it is cultivated can be sprayed indiscriminately with RoundUp, which will kill all other plant life while leaving the GM soy intact. Given that RoundUp is toxic to mammals (including humans), birds, amphibians, fish and invertebrates, it goes without saying that widespread and high-volume use is capable of significant environmental damage.

Ingested quantities of RoundUp as small as 85ml can kill humans within hours due to organ failure, and much smaller amounts have been shown to cause endocrine disruption (damage to reproductive development) and genetic damage.

Furthermore the cultivation of RR soy is only economically feasible on a large scale (due to the costs of the patented seed and of the accompanying herbicide), making the crop economically damaging to small farmers. Worse still, RR soy has been found to yield significantly less (~6.7%) than unmodified soy varieties.

The nutritional value of hempseeds is by now widely known; hempseed yields 30% oil by weight compared to the 18% for soy. The balance of essential fatty acids in hempseed is far superior to that of soy and the two crops yield comparable amounts of valuable vegetable protein. Replacing the current soy crop with hemp would only be beneficial for all Uruguayans.

Uruguay is set to become the first South American nation to invest in industrial hemp and hopefully, in the not-to-distant future, this progressive and principled decision will be the catalyst for change in its larger neighbors. Last week, Argentinean film maker Ricardo Manochi visited the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam to shoot footage for a new documentary and to research industrial hemp cultivation and processing in the Netherlands, where pioneering company HempFlax is one of the largest European producers of industrial hemp. He expressed hope that, if the Uruguayan trials succeed, Argentina – where transgenic soy accounts for over half of all agricultural output – will be the next to follow.





Cannabis gateway theory challenged by new research results

3 09 2010

DURHAM, N.H. — New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that the “gateway effect” of marijuana — that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to move on to harder illicit drugs as young adults — is overblown.

Billboard paid for by US tax payers in Portland

Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used cannabis.

Conducted by UNH associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, the research appears in the September 2010, issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in the article, “A Life-course Perspective on the ‘Gateway Hypothesis’.”

“There seems to be this idea that we can prevent later drug problems by making sure kids never smoke pot,” Dr. Van Gundy, told CBS News. “But whether marijuana smokers go on to use other illicit drugs depends more on social factors like being exposed to stress and being unemployed – not so much whether they smoked a joint in the eighth grade.”

“In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the ‘drug problem,’ ” Van Gundy and Rebellon say.

The researchers used survey data from 1,286 young adults who attended Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Within the final sample, 26 percent of the respondents are African American, 44 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are non-Hispanic white.

The researchers found that young adults who did not graduate from high school or attend college were more likely to have used marijuana as teenagers and other illicit substances in young adulthood. In addition, those who used marijuana as teenagers and were unemployed following high school were more likely to use other illicit drugs.

However, the association between teenage marijuana use and other illicit drug abuse by young adults fades once stresses, such as unemployment, diminish.

“Employment in young adulthood can protect people by ‘closing’ the cannabis gateway, so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities,” Van Gundy says.

In addition, once young adults reach age 21, the gateway effect subsides entirely.

“While marijuana use may serve as a gateway to other illicit drug use in adolescence, our results indicate that the effect may be short-lived, subsiding by age 21. Interestingly, age emerges as a protective status above and beyond the other life statuses and conditions considered here. We find that respondents ‘age out’ of marijuana’s gateway effect regardless of early teen stress exposure or education, work, or family statuses,” the researchers say.

The researchers found that the strongest predictor of other illicit drug use appears to be race-ethnicity, not prior use of marijuana. Non-Hispanic whites show the greatest odds of other illicit substance use, followed by Hispanics, and then by African Americans.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling more than 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

Past research had already largely invalidated the gateway theory. Most recently, in January a study was released indicating that marijuana use actually discourages hard drug use.
A 2002 RAND study dismissed the gateway theory and raised doubts about the legitimacy of federal drug policies based upon its premise.




Canadian study shows relief for chronic neuropathic pain

31 08 2010
There’s now more scientific evidence for what many patients have known for awhile: Smoking marijuana can ease chronic neuropathic pain and help patients sleep better, according to a team of researchers in Montreal.
The new study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that pain intensity among patients decreased with higher-potency marijuana, reports Caroline Alphonso of The Globe and Mail. The study represents an important scientific attempt to determine the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

Patients suffering from neuropathic pain often use opioid pain medication, antidepressants and local anesthetics, but all of those drugs have limitations, and the side effects of these substances can rival the conditions they are supposed to treat. Unlike “normal” pain, which results from stimulation of pain receptors in the body, neuropathic pain results from damage to or dysfunction of the central or peripheral nervous system, reports Deborah Mitchell at EmaxHealth. Read the rest of this entry »




Dutch among lowest cannabis users in Europe-report

22 03 2010

cannabis - marijuana  usage reportThe annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction was published late last year, so while it´s not exactly ´hot off the presses´ news, the study´s findings and conclusions are well worth mentioning.

The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands’ well-known tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published.  Among adults in the Netherlands, 5.4 percent used cannabis, compared with the European average of 6.8 percent, according to an annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, using latest available figures.

A higher percentage of adults in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and France took cannabis last year, the EU agency said, with the highest being Italy at 14.6 percent. Usage in Italy used to be among the lowest at below 10 percent a decade ago.

Countries with the lowest usage rates, according to the Lisbon-based agency, were Romania, Malta, Greece and Bulgaria.

Cannabis use in Europe rose steadily during the 90s and earlier this decade, but has recently stabilised and is beginning to show signs of decline, the agency said, owing to several national campaigns to curb and treat use of the drug.

“Data from general population and school surveys point to a stabilising or even decreasing situation,” the report said.

Source: Reuters.com

Read the full report.





Marijuana Said to Trigger Heart Attacks

30 10 2009

Heart attack risk medical marijuanaHere is something we found on the Harvard gazette website. Although the risk of having a marijuana associated hearth attack is very small (around 1 in 100,000) this news is very likely to be miss-used by the anti marijuana lobby.

Next time you hear some anti-drug nincompoop talk about how you can get a heart attack from cannabis, keep this in mind; The real risk applies only to die-hard couch potatoes and even for this high-risk (no pun intended) group, smoking medical marijuana is still less risky than running to catch your bus..

Source: news.harvard.edu

Marijuana can be hard on the heart. In the first hour after smoking pot, a person’s risk of a heart attack could rise almost five times, according to a Harvard University researcher.

As baby boomers born in the late 1940s and early 1950s reach the age at which heart disease is the leading cause of sickness and death, “we may see an increase in marijuana-associated heart attacks,” says Murray Mittleman, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

The possible medical uses of the drug are receiving more and more attention. Mittleman thinks such use may be a bad idea for people with heart disease.

The danger exists in the first hour after smoking pot, Mittleman told an American Heart Association meeting in San Diego today (March 2). “It causes the heart rate to increase by about 40 beats a minute,” he says. “Blood pressure increases then abruptly falls when the person stands up. This could precipitate a heart attack.”

Mittleman noted that, as an immediate trigger for heart attack, pot smoking is nearly twice as dangerous as sex for a sedentary person, exercise for a fit male or female, a tantrum of rage, or a bout of anxiety. But it’s less risky than a spurt of exercise for a couch potato or a snort of cocaine.

Despite the high percentage of people younger than 50 years old who report they use the drug – 12.5 percent – Mittleman doesn’t foresee an epidemic of pot-triggered heart attacks. For a 50-year-old baby boomer without other risk factors, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the absolute risk of having a heart attack in the crucial first hour after smoking marijuana is one in 100,000, he says.

These findings come from a study of 3,882 people who survived heart attacks. It was conducted at a number of centers around the country, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where Mittleman works. In the study, 124 people reported using marijuana regularly. Of these, 37 people said they used it within 24 hours of their heart attacks. Nine said they smoked it within an hour of their attacks.

From this data, the researchers conclude that the relative risk of a heart attack jumped 4.8 times within the first hour after smoking, then dropped to 1.7 times in the second hour. That’s still double the risk, but the drop indicates that the danger declines rapidly.

Mittleman admits he can’t explain exactly how pot could trigger a heart attack. It might be due to THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, or merely the smoke from a burning plant, he says. Smoking marijuana and tobacco both involve the latter, and both are now implicated in raising the risk of heart disease.





Houses made of hemp could help combat climate change!

27 10 2009

professor pete walker - university of bath

We have recently come across this very interesting press release from Professor Peter Walker at the University of Bath (U.K) who is leading the research into the use of hemp-lime in construction.  Buildings and other infrastructure currently accounts for almost 20% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  This is another example of how this wonderful plant can help save reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Recently we brought you the news that Hanes – one of the worlds biggest consumer brands – has been investing in a new hemp technology called Crailar which requires only a fraction of the water needed to make cotton; and we are very happy to announce that it is the subject of another of our articles, a Dutch company called Hempflax who has won the contract to supply the raw materials to Hanes – i.e. the HEMP!

Here’s the press release:

Houses made of hemp, timber or straw could help combat climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of building construction, according to researchers at the University of Bath.

Currently the construction industry is a major contributor of environmental pollutants, with buildings and other build infrastructure contributing to around 19% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  Researchers at the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials are researching low carbon alternatives to building materials currently used by the construction industry.  Although timber is used as a building material in many parts of the world, historically it is used less in the UK than in other countries. Researchers at the Centre are developing new ways of using timber and other crop-based materials such as hemp, natural fibre composites and straw bales. Their work using straw bales as a building material has already been featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs series.

Professor Peter Walker, Director of the Centre, is leading the research. He said: “The environmental impact of the construction industry is huge. For example, it is estimated that worldwide the manufacture of cement contributes up to ten per cent of all industrial carbon dioxide emissions.  “We are looking at a variety of low carbon building materials including crop-based materials, innovative uses of traditional materials and developing low carbon cements and concretes to reduce impact of new infrastructure. As well as reducing the environmental footprint, many low carbon building materials offer other benefits, including healthier living through higher levels of thermal insulation and regulation of humidity levels.”

Their research is being presented at the Sustainable Energy & the Environment showcase at the University of Bath.  The exhibition will be opened by David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills, and will be attended by industrialists, research councils, local and national government representatives and other key stakeholders from across the South West.  The exhibition coincides with the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Energy & the Environment (I-SEE) at the University of Bath, which will bring together experts from diverse fields of science, engineering, social policy and economics to tackle the problems of climate change.

Read the rest of this entry »





Hemp vs Cotton – The Pros and Cons

12 10 2009

Historically, hemp has proven to be a versatile and durable substance and therein lies the contradiction. For nearly a century now, Hemp has been overlooked and under-appreciated as a viable alternative to cotton, possibly as a result of its connotative association with marijuana. To clarify, hemp has no psychoactive properties.

hemp, cotton, cannabis, marijuana, medicinal, sensi seeds, industrial

PROS: Hemp fibre is surprisingly useful as a cotton, paper, cellulosic or polymer substitute when it is treated correctly. As a crop, it is low-maintenance and resilient, and requires none of the weeding and heavy use of pesticides usually required in farming.  Hemp is particularly effective as a source for textiles. The fibres drawn from the hemp plant are the strongest and longest in nature. Fabrics, twines, yarns and cords made from hemp are durable and versatile. It can be combed into any gauge or quality of fibre. As a substitute for such diverse substances as cotton, trees, or petroleum, hemp proves to be more environmentally sound than all of its alternatives (requiring about 10% of the water needed to produce cotton) and its versatility and resilience make it economically sound as well.

CONS: Hemp fibre is characterised by undesirable susceptibility to moisture and rot due to moulds and mildews and the like. It is also characterized by a strong, naturally-occurring odour which makes it unacceptable as a substitute for other odourless fibres. Moreover, hemp fibre in its natural spun state is susceptible to fraying and has a rough hand and feel. A need therefore remains for a hemp product which is suitably strong, soft, flexible, moisture-resistant and rot-resistant and generally suitable for substitution in applications previously focused on the cotton, paper and petroleum-fibre industries.

Hempflax are the leaders in this field in Europe and are based in Holland.








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