Medicine


May 30, 2009-Magic Weed : The Truth About Cannabis Sativa traces the story of the Cannabis plant, which has been known to mankind for thousands of years and how it serves us in so many ways. The sacred herb was always seen by Shamans and the ancients as a gift from the Creator God(s) of life on Earth. Like food nourishes the body, Cannabis provides nourishment for the mind and works it’s magic with the soul. Also explored in this documentary is the American relationship with hemp, including it’s ban during the 1920′s and the various uses of the hemp plant ….
Part 1 : Magic Weed ~ The History Of Marijuana


Cannabis Sativa is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. It is a herb that has been used throughout recorded history by humans as a source of fiber, for its seed oil, as food, as medicine and for spiritual purposes. Different parts of the plant have different uses, and different varieties are cultivated in different ways and harvested at different times, depending on the purpose for which it is grown.

Cannabis or Ganja is associated with Shiva, who is popularly believed to like the hemp plant.

Ganja is not only offered to Shiva, but also consumed by Shaivite yogis. Charas is smoked by some Shaivite devotees and cannabis itself is seen as a gift (“prasad” or offering) to Shiva to aid in sadhana. According to one description, when Amrita or the elixir of life was produced from the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons, Shiva created Cannabis from his own body to purify the elixir (whence, for cannabis, the epithet angaj or body-born).

May 28th, 2009 – The Illinois Senate made history last night by approving a bill that would authorize the limited use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The measure advanced again tonight when a House committee approved the same measure by a vote of 4-3.

Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, said SB 1381 could be called in the House as early as tomorrow. Lang sponsored another version, HB 2514, which has the same intent but different restrictions. He said he’d try to advance the version sponsored by Sen. Bill Haine, an Alton Democrat, because it already cleared one hurdle by passing the Senate.

Lang said he would only call the bill for a full House debate if he felt sure he had enough votes for it to pass. “I am not a legislator that does test votes,” he said. “I am not going to run this out to the floor and have people vote on this pro and con. If there’s a vote taken on this bill, it will be when I think I can pass it.”

Opponents maintain that marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to drug addiction and be accessible to children. Republican Rep. Patricia Bellock of Hinsdale said one reason she objects to the bill is because marijuana is an illegal drug. Most law enforcement agencies in the state also oppose this legislation.

Rep. Ron Stephens, a Greenville Republican, said there will be no way to know how many plants patients have in their homes. The bill calls for a 60-day supply of the drug, or two ounces of dried cannabis sativa and three mature flowering plants. See background here.

Haine and Lang maintain that the bill’s language is very strict and clear. Anyone who violated or abused the law would face criminal punishment.

The next step is for the bill to be called on the House floor and debated by the full chamber. We’ll have more if that happens.

By Hilary Russell – Source.

May 28, 2009

With the recession grinding on, just about everybody is ready for the sweet smell of success to fill the air.

In the infant business of medical marijuana, the sweet smell is spreading.

Success, however, remains elusive.

More than a dozen states have approved the use of pot with a prescription, and similar legislation is under review by the Illinois General Assembly, where the state Senate voted Wednesday to approve a measure. Although the federal government outlaws the cultivation, possession and sale of the drug, it has indicated that state rules will prevail.

But the details remain hazy, the legal landscape a daze and the big business interests that might be expected to pay attention seem to keep forgetting about it.

That drowsiness and confusion in the marketplace hasn’t deterred the intrepid entrepreneur. In California, dispensaries are popping up on city streets, giving new meaning to the phrase “retail joint.”

Now along comes the publicly traded Medical Marijuana Inc., with a chief executive who is euphoric about the prospects for a business that isn’t entirely legal — yet.

“I think we’re the next Microsoft,” said Bruce Perlowin, CEO of the new company, which trades for less than $1 on the off-exchange pink sheets. “I think we’ll be the fastest-growing billion-dollar company in history. It’s a huge industry.”

Perlowin knows a lot about the marijuana business, having served 9 years in federal custody for his role in a smuggling ring during the 1970s and early 1980s. He also knows a lot about marketing, he said, after building several companies that attracted all sorts of attention.

His spirited promotion of an “Energy Wellness” machine, for instance, attracted federal prosecutors, who charged him with selling an unapproved medical device. Perlowin pleaded guilty last year, but didn’t receive any additional prison time.

A public company with a criminal in the executive suite is nothing new — Martha Stewart springs to mind — and Perlowin believes his background gives him status among operators of dispensaries. “I am the legend,” he said. “It helps to sell our stock.”

Perlowin is not alone in his belief about a bright future for medical marijuana. Terry Patton, a veteran of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, is laying the groundwork for a related venture. And lots of small-time entrepreneurs have organized co-ops, cafes and storefront outlets with an eye toward a bigger opportunity ahead. With state and local budgets running huge deficits, the key will be figuring out how to harness a business awash in under-the-table cash so the tax man can get his cut.

Perlowin’s company is pushing a debit card that would automatically segregate tax revenues. “You make more money by paying your taxes and doing it legitimately,” Perlowin said. He also wants to introduce potency ratings, seminars for doctors and merchants, turnkey software systems and, yes, a clothing line.

So far, he has little competition. Walgreens, CVS and other major retailers routinely handle prescription narcotics recognized by the Food and Drug Administration, but not pot. “At this point, it’s not an issue for us,” said Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger.

As Perlowin sees it, that leaves an open field for his 2-month-old company: “It’s like the wild, wild West.”

By Greg Burns. Source.

May 28, 2009 – Cannabis plant. Marijuana plant. We’ve taken the caffeine out of coffee, the alcohol out of beer, and the smoke out of tobacco. What’s next?

Taking the fun out of pot.

GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company, has just requested European approval of Sativex, a “cannabinoid pharmaceutical product.”

What’s that? Do I hear you snickering at your keyboard? You think this is a backdoor way of legalizing weed?

For shame, says the company:

Sativex is a cannabinoid pharmaceutical product standardized in composition, formulation, and dose, administered by means of an appropriate delivery system, which has been, and continues to be, tested in properly controlled preclinical and clinical studies. Crude herbal cannabis in any form—including a crude extract or tincture—is none of those things.

So there. Sativex isn’t pot. It’s a carefully refined derivative: “Once the plants have matured, they are harvested and dried. GW then extracts the cannabinoids and other pharmacologically-active components … [to] arrive at a pharmaceutical grade material.” Patients are further expected to regulate their intake to separate pot’s approved effects—relief of pain and spasms—from its unapproved effects:

By careful self-titration (dose adjustment), most patients are able to separate the thresholds for symptom relief and intoxication, the ‘therapeutic window’, so enabling them to obtain symptom relief without experiencing a ‘high’.

Bummer, eh? The company knows exactly what you’re thinking:

Why not just let patients smoke cannabis?

In GW’s opinion, smoking is not an acceptable means of delivery for a medicine. We believe that patients wish to use a medicine that is legally prescribed, does not require smoking, is of guaranteed quality, has been developed and approved by regulatory authorities for use in their specific medical condition and is dispensed by pharmacists under the supervision of their doctor.

That’s a sensible approach. From the standpoint of medicinal as opposed to recreational use, it certainly makes more sense than letting everybody grow and smoke the herb, with all the resulting variability, fraud, and side effects. But GW’s anti-pot evangelism goes further:

GW has never endorsed or supported the idea of distributing or legalizing crude herbal cannabis for medical use. In both our publications and presentations, we have consistently maintained that only a cannabinoid medication—one that is standardized in composition, formulation, and dose, administered by means of an appropriate delivery system, and tested in properly controlled preclinical and clinical studies—can meet the standards of regulatory authorities around the world, including those of the FDA.

And don’t even think of breaking in and stealing the raw goods:

GW’s cannabis plants are grown under computer-controlled conditions in secure glasshouses at a secret location in the UK. … The facility is situated in the South of England but for clear security reasons we do not divulge the precise location.

In your wildest dreams, did you imagine that a recreational drug could be so thoroughly, piously sterilized? But here it is. First came Cesamet (a “synthetic cannabinoid”), then Marinol (also synthetic). Only one pesky side effect has remained: Cesamet produces “euphoria in the recommended dosage range,” and Marinol causes “easy laughing” and “elation.” We can’t have that. So the quest to “separate the thresholds for symptom relief and intoxication” continues. According to GW, delivery of Sativex as a spray “enables patients to titrate (adjust) their dose to achieve symptom relief without incurring an unacceptable degree of side effects.”

All of which underscores Human Nature’s basic question about the war on drugs. Namely: What do you mean by drugs? A war on cigarettes or on nicotine? A war on caffeinated but not alcoholic beer? Legalization of “cannabinoid medication” but not cannabis?

Drugs can be, and are being, re-engineered every day. Nicotine and caffeine appear in new forms. Cannabis is an herb, then a powder, then a capsule, and now a spray, with significant chemical adjustments along the way. (Update, May 28: The Marijuana Policy Project argues that the spray formulation has already been eclipsed by a better way to filter and deliver the drug’s therapeutic benefits: vapor.) How do you fight an enemy that keeps changing? How do you recognize when it’s no longer your enemy?

Every feat of re-engineering challenges our moral and legal assumptions. In the case of Sativex, two positions are under attack: the left’s lazy tolerance of recreational marijuana in the guise of legalizing medical marijuana and the right’s opposition to medical marijuana on the grounds that it’s just a pretext. By refining, isolating, and standardizing pot’s medicinal effects, pharmaceutical companies are showing us how to separate the two uses. Are you for symptom relief or getting stoned? That used to be a fuzzy question. Now it’s concrete: Do you want the reefer or the spray?

By William Saletan. Source.

Please watch this short video on reasons for legalizing industrial hemp and share your thoughts with us:

Picture 8

May 18, 12:59 PM – The active chemical compound in marijuana aggressively targets brain cancer cells, and helps to kill them by encouraging them to dissolve themselves, according to a recent report by Spanish
researchers.

Guillermo Velasco and a team of researchers at Complutense University in Spain have shown that the psycho-active chemical in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), encourages brain cancer cells to begin a process called autophagy, in which the cell basically dissolves itself.

The team noted that cannabinoids such as THC showed cancer-fighting effects in mice implanted with human brain cancer cells and in human patients with brain tumors. When mice implanted with human brain cancer cells that received the THC, showed significant reduction of tumor growth.

Two patients enrolled in a clinical trial received THC directly to the brain as an experimental treatment for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain tumor. A comparison of biopsies taken before and after treatment showed that that tumors showed increased autophagy activity after receiving the THC.

None of the patients showed toxic effects from the treatment. Earlier assessments of THC in cancer treatment have also shown the therapy to be well tolerated. The researchers say that these findings might lead to new approaches for fighting tumor growth in brain cancer. Source.

The findings appear in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Wed, 12/31/1997 – Cannabis Hemp really can provide all the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, clothing and medicine. It has been said that, “anything made from a hydrocarbon can be made from a carbohydrate.”

Hemp is the cousin of marijuana. They are from the same plant – Cannabis sativa L. There are over 400 strains of Cannabis Hemp bred for various uses. The term, “Hemp” refers to the industrial use of the stalk and seed. “Cannabis”, or “marijuana”, refers to the smoking of the flowers. Intoxication requires high levels of THC TetraHydroCannabinol. Industrial hemp contains only .3%-1.5% THC. By contrast, cannabis contains 5%-10% or more THC.

The plant itself is easy to grow in temperate climates, and requires good soil, fertilizer and water, but no pesticides nor herbicides. A hemp crop is usually harvested in 120 days after reaching a height of 10-15 feet. At that point one can make it into whatever suits their needs.

FOOD
The hempseed is the only source of food from the hemp plant. It is not really a seed, but an achene- a nut covered with a hard shell. Hempseed is used for people and animal food, medicinal preparations, and industrial use.

Whole Seed
The whole seed contains roughly 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 15% insoluble fiber, carotene, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, as well as vitamins E, C, B1, B2, B3, B6. Hempseed is one of the best sources of Essential Fatty Acids with a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-3 linolenic Acid, and Omega-6 linoleic Acid, good for strengthening the immune system. It is also a good source of Gamma linoleic Acid (GLA) which is otherwise available only from specialty oils like evening primrose oil or borage oils. Whole seeds are made into: snack bars, cookies, burgers and porridge, or they may be roasted and consumed alone or in a trail mix. Wild and domestic birds love hempseeds.

Seed Oil
Hempseed is 30% oil, and is one of lowest in saturated fats making it good for lowering cholesterol levels and strengthening cardiovascular systems. The oil has a pleasantly nutty flavor. Among the foods made with hempseed oil are: sauces, butter, condiments and pesto.
Processing of hempseed oil starts with drying the seeds to prevent sprouting. Hempseeds imported to the United States or Canada must be steam sterilized at 180F for 15 minutes to prevent further sprouting. The seeds are then pressed and bottled immediately under oxygen-free conditions. hempseed oil is very fragile, is not suitable for cooking, and must be kept refrigerated in dark, air tight containers.

Seed Meal and Cake
The meat of the seed is also highly nutritious and versatile as a seed “meal” and may be made into hemp milk and cheese, ice cream, and burgers. Left over from pressing the oil is press “cake” – high in amino acids and edistin protein. It can be crushed for animal feed or pulverized for flour to make breads, pastas, and cookies.
Throughout history, hemp has provided a nourishing food supply to many cultures around the world. In Asia, roasted hempseed is eaten as a snack, like popcorn. In Russia, hemp butter was used as a condiment by the peasants. In Poland, seeds are used for holiday sweets. Hempseed was eaten by Australians during two famines in the nineteenth century. The most famous hempseed consumer was Buddha himself, who ate them during his fast of enlightenment.

Non Food
Other nonfood uses for hempseed oil are: lamp lighting, printing, lubrication, and household detergents, stain removers, varnishes, resins and paints. In this area, hempseed oil is similar to linseed oil.

FIBER
One of the most valuable parts of the hemp plant is the fiber, commonly referred to as “bast,” meaning that it grows as a stalk from the ground. Other fibers such as sisal, manila hemp and jute are mistakenly referred to as, hemp, yet only Cannabis sativa is considered “true hemp.” Among the characteristics of hemp fiber are its superior strength and durability, and its stunning resistance to rot, attributes that made hemp integral to the shipping industry. The strong, woody bast fiber is extracted from the stalk by
a process known as decortication. Hemp fiber contains a low amount of lignin, the organic glue that binds plant cells, which allows for environmentally friendly bleaching without the use of chlorine. In composite form, hemp is twice as strong as wood. All products made with hemp fiber are biodegradable.

Long Fiber
Extracted from the bark of the stalk, this type of fiber is called “long” because it
stretches the entire length of the plant. The length of the fiber enhances the strength and durability of the finished goods. Hemp can grow to 15 feet or more, making it excellent for textile production. Hemp is most similar to flax, the fiber of linen products. By contrast, cotton fibers are approximately 1-2 mm in length and are prone to faster wear. Hemp fiber also has insulative qualities that allow clothing wearers to stay cool in summer and warm in the winter. Long hemp fiber is used in twine, cordage, textiles, paper, webbing and household goods.

Short Fiber
The short fibers, or “tow,” are the secondary hemp fibers .. While not as strong as the long fibers, the tow is still superior to many other fibers. Tow is extracted from the long fibers during a process called “hackling,” a method of combing and separating the fiber from hurd. Short fibers are used to make textiles, non-woven matting, paper, caulking, auto bodies, building materials and household goods.

Hurds
Also known as shives, the hurd is the woody material found in the center of the hemp stalk. The hurd is rich in cellulose, a carbohydrate that can be made into paper, packaging and building materials, as well as plastic composites for making skate boards and auto bodies.
As long ago as 450 BC the Scythians and Thracians made hemp linens. The Chinese first used hemp for paper making in 100 AD. Hempen sails, caulking and rigging launched a thousand ships during the Age of Discovery in the 15th Century. Drafts of the American Declaration of Independence were printed on rag papers that undoubtedly contained hemp. The USDA calculated in 1914 that hemp hurds could make four times as much paper per acre as trees.

FUEL
Hemp biomass as a source of fuel is the most under exploited, yet potentially the biggest industrial use of the plant. Hemp stalks are rich in fiber and cellulose with potential for use in the generation of energy. The hemp stalk can be converted to a charcoal-like substance through a process called pyrolysis, and used for power generation and to produce industrial feed stocks. Auto giant Henry Ford was a pioneer in the pyrolysis process, and operated a biomass pyrolytic plant at Iron Mountain in northern Michigan.
Hemp as an auto fuel is another potential use. Almost any biomass material can be converted to create methanol or ethanol, and these fuels burn cleanly with less carbon monoxide and higher octane than fossil fuels. In fact, the diesel engine was invented to burn fuel from agriculture waste yet ended up burning unrefined petroleum. Hempseed oil can be refined to produce a type of hemp gasoline.

MEDICINE
The medicinal use of cannabis hemp is only now being understood and applied in spite of the fact that the herb has been a folk remedy for thousands of years.

Flowers
The consumption of high- THC cannabis flowers, or buds, through smoking or eating is used to treat a number of ailments:

* Nausea- for cancer patients while undergoing chemotherapy and AIDS patients, smoking cannabis is preferred over taking THC in pill form because it acts faster and patients are able to dose themselves more accurately.

* Intraocular pressure- for glaucoma suffers, cannabis relieves the pressure in their eyes that leads to blindness.

* Seizures- the cannabidiol in cannabis improves the condition of grand mal and partial seizure sufferers and allows them to reduce or dispense with conventional medications.

* Pain- for sufferers of migraine headaches, post-menstrual cramps, labor pains, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy, cannabis reduces muscle spasms and tremors and allows them to avoid conventional medications with serious side-effects.

* Depression- for patients who do not respond to or who want to avoid the side-effects of other medications.

* Asthma- cannabis smoke dilates the bronchial passages.

Historically, Indian doctors have used bhang (a preparation of cannabis, honey and milk) for the treatment of all kinds of ailments. In the mid-19th century, Or. William O’Shaughnessy helped introduce cannabis, or bhang, to western culture. This spawned a whole slew of over-the-counter cannabis medications marketed by Squibb, Parke-Davis, and Eli lilly. Queen Victoria herself used cannabis medicine for menstrual cramps.
One of the most enduring characteristics of cannabis as medicine is its inherent lack of toxicity. There has never been a recorded case of death from cannabis overdose in the thousands of years it has been used by mankind.

Seed and Seed Oil
Hemp has been a part of the Chinese pharmacopoeia for the past 4,000 years. Ancient Chinese folk remedies call for hempseed use to improve the “chi” or stamina of the body; to cure neurologic impairment due to stroke, urinary disorders, and blood deficiency.
Externally, hempseed preparations promote the healing of sores and dry skin. Traditional hemp oil formulas were applied topically to treat abscesses, boils, pimples and swellings. Currently marketed products include lip balm, moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, salves, perfumes, liniments. These hempseed oil mixtures do the same for the skin and hair that the oil does for the diet when taken internally. Full article here.

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