The National Academy panel is more judicious. Its conclusion is that we simply don’t know enough, because there haven’t been any “systematic” studies. But the panel’s uncertainty is scarcely more reassuring than Berenson’s alarmism. Seventy-two thousand Americans died in 2017 of drug overdoses. Should you embark on a pro-cannabis crusade without knowing whether it will add to or subtract from that number?
Fig. 11. Frequency histograms of THC concentration in germplasm collections. Left, collection of E. Small and D. Marcus; of the 167 accessions, 43% had THC levels >0.3%. Right, the collection of the Vavilov Institute, St. Petersburg; of the 278 accessions for which chemical analyses were reported in Anonymous (1975), about 55% had THC levels >0.3%.
I work well under pressure, but being extremely busy at work has almost made me less productive—I'm constantly distracted by email, Slack, and the people around me, to the point where getting my work done becomes difficult. This week, however, I've found it easier to put my blinders on, block out all distractions (especially social distractions) and focus on one task at a time. I think this is partly related to the lessened anxiety—I feel more frazzled and off task when my anxiety is running high. It almost feels like a newfound sense of clarity and calm that enables me to focus.
The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), is a non-intoxicating molecule that results from the heating, or decarboxylation, of cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA. As popular as CBD has become in both the cannabis community and mainstream consumerism, its natural precursor, CBDA, is one of 114 unique cannabinoids found in cannabis. In most cultivars, or cultivated varieties of cannabis, CBD ranks low on the expression chart; there often isn’t much. However, following a explosive discovery in 2009 — it was noted that a handful of strains are rich in CBD over THC. Droves of CBD-rich cultivars began cropping up all across the US, resulting in a marked uptick in CBD availability across the states.
Fig. 5. Typical architecture of categories of cultivated Cannabis sativa. Top left: narcotic plants are generally low, highly branched, and grown well-spaced. Top right: plants grown for oilseed were traditionally well-spaced, and the plants developed medium height and strong branching. Bottom left: fiber cultivars are grown at high density, and are unbranched and very tall. Bottom center: “dual purpose” plants are grown at moderate density, tend to be slightly branched and of medium to tall height. Bottom right: some recent oilseed cultivars are grown at moderate density and are short and relatively unbranched. Degree of branching and height are determined both by the density of the plants and their genetic background.
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, America will have a chance to counter China’s massive influence in the cannabis hemp industry. But it will mean playing catch-up for the foreseeable future. Currently, hemp cultivation techniques in America lag far behind other crops—it still has to be harvested by hand even. Even though marijuana is legal in China, the country has funded research into the plant and its cultivation, placing it miles ahead of other countries.
Sub-lingual CBD drops have helped me enormously with sleeping and with radiation damage pain. I have a cancer that spread from the pelvic area to my sacrum and sciatic nerve and whilst the chemo and radiotherapy saved my life I have been taking MST (morphine derivative) for nerve pain ever since. My tumours are presently all quiet and last March I decided I wanted to stop taking the pain relief drugs, fearing dementia. CBD oil was recommended by my son who has arthritis and, for me, it really works. It’s so good to read an article that isn’t put out by a CBD sales site – I wish it could be properly prescribed and regulated (I’m in the UK) in order to have confidence with purity and dosage.
Chronic pain can be nociceptive or neuropathic. Nociceptive pain is the most common and is caused by tissue damage and inflammation. It’s characterized by throbbing, aching, and sharp pain. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous system and can feel like stabbing, burning, or tingling pain. Studies on cannabinoids and pain demonstrate that CBD can treat both types of pain.
Fig. 25. The “hemp house” under construction on the Oglala Lakota Nation (Pine Ridge Reservation), South Dakota. Foundation blocks for the house are made with hemp fiber as a binder in cement. Stucco is also of hemp. Shingles are 60% hemp in a synthetic polymer. Hemp insulation is used throughout. (Courtesy of Oglala Sioux Tribe, Slim Butte Land Use Association, and S. Sauser.)
Drug policy is always clearest at the fringes. Illegal opioids are at one end. They are dangerous. Manufacturers and distributors belong in prison, and users belong in drug-treatment programs. The cannabis industry would have us believe that its product, like coffee, belongs at the other end of the continuum. “Flow Kana partners with independent multi-generational farmers who cultivate under full sun, sustainably, and in small batches,” the promotional literature for one California cannabis brand reads. “Using only organic methods, these stewards of the land have spent their lives balancing a unique and harmonious relationship between the farm, the genetics and the terroir.” But cannabis is not coffee. It’s somewhere in the middle. The experience of most users is relatively benign and predictable; the experience of a few, at the margins, is not. Products or behaviors that have that kind of muddled risk profile are confusing, because it is very difficult for those in the benign middle to appreciate the experiences of those at the statistical tails. Low-frequency risks also take longer and are far harder to quantify, and the lesson of “Tell Your Children” and the National Academy report is that we aren’t yet in a position to do so. For the moment, cannabis probably belongs in the category of substances that society permits but simultaneously discourages. Cigarettes are heavily taxed, and smoking is prohibited in most workplaces and public spaces. Alcohol can’t be sold without a license and is kept out of the hands of children. Prescription drugs have rules about dosages, labels that describe their risks, and policies that govern their availability. The advice that seasoned potheads sometimes give new users—“start low and go slow”—is probably good advice for society as a whole, at least until we better understand what we are dealing with.
There is a general inverse relationship in the resin of Cannabis between the amounts of THC present and the amount of the other principal cannabinoid, CBD. Whereas most drug strains contain primarily THC and little or no CBD, fiber and oilseed strains primarily contain CBD and very little THC. CBD can be converted to THC by acid catalyzed cyclization, and so could serve as a starting material for manufacturing THC. In theory, therefore, low-THC cultivars do not completely solve the problem of drug abuse potential. In practice, however, the illicit drug trade has access to easier methods of synthesizing THC or its analogues than by first extracting CBD from non-drug hemp strains.
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Many monoecious varieties have also been described, in which individual plants bear both male and female flowers. (Although monoecious plants are often referred to as "hermaphrodites", true hermaphrodites – which are less common in Cannabis – bear staminate and pistillate structures together on individual flowers, whereas monoecious plants bear male and female flowers at different locations on the same plant.) Subdioecy (the occurrence of monoecious individuals and dioecious individuals within the same population) is widespread. Many populations have been described as sexually labile.
In some areas where cannabis use had been historically tolerated, new restrictions were instituted, such as the closing of cannabis coffee shops near the borders of the Netherlands, and closing of coffee shops near secondary schools in the Netherlands. In Copenhagen, Denmark in 2014, mayor Frank Jensen discussed possibilities for the city to legalize cannabis production and commerce.
Hemp is considered by a 1998 study in Environmental Economics to be environmentally friendly due to a decrease of land use and other environmental impacts, indicating a possible decrease of ecological footprint in a US context compared to typical benchmarks. A 2010 study, however, that compared the production of paper specifically from hemp and eucalyptus concluded that "industrial hemp presents higher environmental impacts than eucalyptus paper"; however, the article also highlights that "there is scope for improving industrial hemp paper production". Hemp is also claimed to require few pesticides and no herbicides, and it has been called a carbon negative raw material. Results indicate that high yield of hemp may require high total nutrient levels (field plus fertilizer nutrients) similar to a high yielding wheat crop.
Just as there was a shift from viewing disease as a state to thinking of it as a process, the same shift happened in definitions of health. Again, the WHO played a leading role when it fostered the development of the health promotion movement in the 1980s. This brought in a new conception of health, not as a state, but in dynamic terms of resiliency, in other words, as "a resource for living". 1984 WHO revised the definition of health defined it as "the extent to which an individual or group is able to realize aspirations and satisfy needs and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities". Thus, health referred to the ability to maintain homeostasis and recover from insults. Mental, intellectual, emotional and social health referred to a person's ability to handle stress, to acquire skills, to maintain relationships, all of which form resources for resiliency and independent living. This opens up many possibilities for health to be taught, strengthened and learned.
Chronic pain: The body’s ECS plays a role in alleviating and managing pain, so CBD oil can work as a supplement for individuals with medical conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis. CBD oil also increases levels of adenosine in the brain; adenosine is a neurotransmitter that aids cardiovascular function and eases painful inflammation.
Personal health also depends partially on the social structure of a person's life. The maintenance of strong social relationships, volunteering, and other social activities have been linked to positive mental health and also increased longevity. One American study among seniors over age 70, found that frequent volunteering was associated with reduced risk of dying compared with older persons who did not volunteer, regardless of physical health status. Another study from Singapore reported that volunteering retirees had significantly better cognitive performance scores, fewer depressive symptoms, and better mental well-being and life satisfaction than non-volunteering retirees.
"The survey covers the harvest of 2013, related to a total cultivation area of 15,700 ha. The first figure shows the development of the cultivation area since 1993. Between 1993 and 1996 the cultivation of industrial hemp was legalised in most of the member states, others followed later. In 2011 the cultivation area decreased to its lowest value since 1994 (ca. 8,000 ha), but increased in 2012, 2013 and 2014, to finally reach 25,000 ha in 2015. In 2016 a further increase is expected. The main cultivation member states are France and The Netherlands. In recent years, many new European countries started or expanded their hemp cultivation, mainly for the production of hemp seeds.
• Speaking of which: Has it been third-party tested? Nearly every expert Health spoke to agreed that your CBD products should be tested by a third party to confirm the label's accuracy. This is a real concern in the industry—take the 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association study, for example, which tested 84 CBD products and found that 26% contained lower doses than stated on the bottle. Look for a quality assurance stamp or certificate of analysis from a third party (aka not the actual brand) or check the retailer's website if you don't see it on the product's label.
"Legislative history suggests that Congress accepted the name Cannabis sativa L. for the hemp plant, believing it to be the common description within the scientific community.41 This categorization combined all marijuana-producing Cannabis plants.42 Therefore, any hemp plant capable of producing any amount of THC was classified as Cannabis sativa L. under the CSA.43"
Experimental studies have also been conducted in order to assess the effect of cannabis use on schizophrenia. D’Souza et al. (2004) administered varying levels of the main ingredient in cannabis to healthy individuals with a history of cannabis exposure (but not abuse) and found that the subjects in the study displayed both positive and negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia, although all symptoms disappeared by about 3 h. D’Souza et al. (2005) conducted a follow-up study in which they followed the same protocol, but with clinically stable schizophrenia patients. Again, they found brief increases in positive symptoms, even if the patients were already taking antipsychotics.
A few years ago, the National Academy of Medicine convened a panel of sixteen leading medical experts to analyze the scientific literature on cannabis. The report they prepared, which came out in January of 2017, runs to four hundred and sixty-eight pages. It contains no bombshells or surprises, which perhaps explains why it went largely unnoticed. It simply stated, over and over again, that a drug North Americans have become enthusiastic about remains a mystery.