November 24, 2009 – I’ve written about medical marijuana so often in the last couple years my mother must think I’m sitting around stoned out of my gourd half the time. The fact is, I don’t even like the stuff. Then again, I don’t much like the smell of Tiger Balm on my own skin but the benefits are well worth the odor when arthritis hits.

I’m a firm believer in old wives’ tales and various schools of holistic medicine. I believe that too many of our children are over medicated with synthetic drugs in order to keep them tractable or comforted. I’m also not one bit shocked that a family in Southern California is having great success with their troubled and autistic child due to the use of medical marijuana.

Recently, their autistic child was on 13 types of medication. He was acting out violently and literally starving himself to death due to a complete lack of appetite. Today, the child is on 3 types of medication, one to be used only as needed, and another that he’s being weaned off of. He’s beginning to show signs of actual verbal communication. The little boy is calm and sociable. He’s also put on a few pounds and is eating like a healthy child again. How is this possible? Through the consumption of a single pot brownie approximately the size of a quarter, administered once every three or four days. The child’s parents are surprised and thrilled.

A large portion of the medical community is not exactly standing behind the family or the family’s doctor who prescribed the medical marijuana. The arguments against it are primarily that there are concerns about giving marijuana to a child and that it hasn’t been tested for results regarding autism. Rather than ask why this mother is feeding her kid a fraction of a pot brownie instead of 13 ineffective pills a day, they ought to look at the results in the case and ask themselves why the heck they aren’t out there testing this today.

The parents have had to listen to comments such as, “Oh, you’re just getting your kid stoned so you don’t have to put up with him.” Right. A quarter-sized brownie wouldn’t keep a chipmunk stoned for three days. This is the reaction of a childless nitwit. When your own child goes through an ordeal and faces a very real possibility of death, you’ll do anything to help your child. Petty criticism doesn’t make a dent in a mom’s determination to save her baby, no matter how old that baby may be. A dad will knock down a gauntlet of pooh-poohers if they stand in the way of his child’s salvation. If my kid was dying and the only option I hadn’t yet pursued was a big old opium pipe, I’d light one up for him. When parents are afraid for their children, they will grasp at any straw. What a blessing when one of the straws actually works.

The Mayo Clinic has done research on the beneficial effects of medical marijuana on chemo patients. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Prior to the research, it was “privately tested.” The results were so good that it caught the attention of credible research groups. Here we have a case that merits exploration, and the torch bearers and pitchfork wavers are ready to camp on some poor mother’s doorstep rather than say, “Wow, this could help a lot of kids!” By Lily Robertson. Source.

Advertisements

A representative of HempOil Canada discusses the processing of hemp and materials made of hemp used in a myriad of products mainly destined for the United States:

November 18, 2009 – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – Hemp foods are one of the hottest health food trends in North America, and a fast-growing Canadian company is demonstrating that there is a healthy appetite for nutritious hemp foods overseas, too. Due to a vigorous international sales initiative over the past few years by Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils (www.manitobaharvest.com), exports of their hemp foods beyond North America have skyrocketed more than 500% over the past year. So far in 2009, the company has exported products to eight nations (in addition to the United States) including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.

Now that medical researchers, nutrition experts and chefs in the U.S. and Canada are demonstrating that hemp is a nutritious and eco-friendly superfood with vast culinary applications, the company is using this backing and their eleven years of experience educating consumers to cultivate interest in markets around the globe. Their success has not happened by chance. Manitoba Harvest employees have been busy traveling overseas to research market opportunities and to meet with retailers, food manufacturers, distributors and consumers.

This week, Manitoba Harvest is off to yet another major food event in Europe. The Food Ingredients Europe show held in Frankfurt, Germany from November 17th to 19th is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The Fi Europe show will be the fourth overseas international food show attended by Manitoba Harvest in 2009. Fi Europe is held once every two years in a major European city. The show brings together production and marketing specialists from the world’s leading food and beverage suppliers to showcase new and innovative ingredients and services.

“Our early discovery efforts indicate that there is great potential for further hemp foods sales growth in the environmental- and health-minded European marketplace,” says Mike Fata, co-founder and President. “We are a hemp foods ingredients supplier to manufacturers and we have our own line of branded products, so our export business is a two-pronged approach,” he adds.

In addition to exhibiting at major international food events, another of the co-founders of the company, Alex Chwaiewsky, has been a hemp globetrotter over the past month visiting with retailers in several cities in the European Union (EU) including London, Glasgow (Scotland), Cologne (Germany) and Amsterdam (Holland). “The Anuga Food Fair in Cologne is the world’s largest food show and it is truly a gathering of the global village,” said Chwaiewsky. “At the event and during my other travels, it was exciting to discover that although many people in the EU were not aware of the many culinary and health benefits of hemp foods, they quickly grasped the concept and were eager to learn more and to purchase our products,” he added.

An international food policy issue that might benefit Manitoba Harvest is the recent controversy over exports of flax, a grain that competes with hemp due to their mutual high content of omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids. Canadian flax foods are increasingly made from genetically modified seeds (GMOs), an engineering concept which the European Union marketplace is opposed to using in food products. So it appears that this GMO health and environment issue might open up even more opportunities in the EU for Manitoba Harvest hemp foods.

During the past 5 years, Manitoba Harvest’s sales have grown more than 1,000% earning them a spot on the Profit 100 list of the fastest growing businesses in Canada. Growth in exports has helped the company reach new heights, with average monthly sales of nearly $1 million.

“Foods that offer omega-3 essential fatty acids like hemp are hot because medical evidence touting the health benefits continues to grow,” says Fata. Hemp seed also offers an impressive digestible protein profile and an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Manitoba Harvest produces Hemp Bliss – an award-winning line of organic Hempmilks, organic cold-pressed Hemp Oil, Shelled Hemp Seed, Hemp Seed Butter and a line of innovative Hemp Protein Powders.

Founded in 1998, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils is the world’s largest vertically-integrated, farmer owned hemp food manufacturer. The company strives to create the healthiest hemp foods, to educate the public about healthy lifestyle choices, and to support sustainable and organic agriculture. Manitoba Harvest is proud to partner with Renewable Choice Energy to reduce their environmental impact through wind power and carbon offsets. For more information, please visit http://www.manitobaharvest.com.

Picture 22November 16, 2009 – Slinky, soft bamboo fabric has made its way into my wardrobe in the form of a number of buttery shirts and dresses. When I came across the eco-label Viridis Luxe, it wasn’t Uma Thurman and Laura Dern’s patronage of the brand that attracted me. It was the clothes’ luxurious feel and comfortable styling.Picture 23

Indeed, bamboo has had the most success among all the new “eco-textiles” on store shelves—fabric billed as environmentally friendly and made from materials such as soybeans, corn, milk, seaweed and recycled plastic. Bamboo shows up in clothes sold in Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as sheets sold at Target, and it bears such deluxe labels as Ermenegildo Zegna, Rag & Bone and Ralph Lauren, as well as more eco-focused brands. Because it is so exotically soft, bamboo is often marketed alongside luxury fibers like silk and cashmere.

Bamboo’s story sounds clear and appealing: like hemp, the plant grows quickly Picture 24without the irrigation, pesticides or fertilizer often used to grow cotton. It’s often sold as “biodegradable,” and the plant’s antimicrobial properties have been used to market athletic clothes made from the fiber. “People are switching from cotton to bamboo,” says Aarti Doshi, regional manager for bamboo-fabric distributor Doshi Group, based in Mumbai, India.

When I looked below the surface, though, I found that bamboo fabric is less “eco” and “sustainable” than it seems. The bamboo used in textiles has to be heavily manipulated to go from stem to store. To create fabric, it’s chopped up and dissolved in toxic solvents—the same process that recycles wood scraps into viscose or rayon. Indeed, bamboo fabric technically is rayon.

The Federal Trade Commission sued four small bamboo-clothing manufacturers in August, citing them for false labeling, among other concerns, under the 1958 Textile Fiber Products Identification Act. The companies had used language such as “natural,” “biodegradable,” and “antimicrobial.” But bamboo fabric isn’t natural, the FTC said, since it’s a textile developed by chemists. The agency also said the biodegradable and antimicrobial qualities of the plant don’t survive the manufacturing process.

In a bulletin titled “Have You Been Bamboozled by Bamboo Fabrics?” the FTC said that bamboo fabrics “are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air.”

The FTC’s four cases are close to being settled without penalties, but with the requirement that fabric be labeled as viscose or rayon, and without the claims about biodegradability and antimicrobial properties, says FTC staff attorney Korin Ewing.

Of course, rayon doesn’t have the same all-natural ring as bamboo. Salvatore Giardina, a designer and adjunct professor in textile development and marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, says he works with hemp and linen but stopped using bamboo several years ago after a manufacturer told him it should be labeled as viscose. “I manufacture a very high-end product—there’s no way I can put on my label 100% viscose,” he says.

Bonnie Siefers, founder and designer of Jonäno, one of the apparel makers sued by the FTC, says she has stopped marketing her bamboo line as biodegradable or antimicrobial. She is also working with newer fabrics made from corn sugars—which technically make something like polyester, but without the petroleum base.

But a quick search on the Web shows hundreds of apparel makers still market bamboo fabrics as eco-friendly. Ms. Ewing notes they probably have good intentions. “We have to be sure that sellers do their homework,” she says. Most bamboo is grown in China, where it’s harder for U.S designers to monitor suppliers.

Of course, bamboo doesn’t have to be processed heavily—witness the many home items, from furniture to flooring, on the market—to be used in products.

But some wearers have other gripes about bamboo. Mr. Giardina, the FIT professor, says he found that bamboo fabric is unstable and likely to stretch out of shape in damp weather. Uniform Knitters Ltd., a Hong Kong apparel manufacturer, abandoned bamboo fabrics because they tend to shrink and have odd variances in color, according to a company spokeswoman.
Picture 25
My bamboo clothes also proved somewhat unstable. After a few washes, tiny holes began to appear randomly in my new bamboo wardrobe. Hala Bahmet, the designer of Viridis Luxe, says the holes were the fault of too-thin yarn.

“Brands—us included—cranked out these delectable, lightweight, creamy garments that don’t have the durability,” she says. She now adds organic cotton to her clothes to improve durability, and she labels them “viscose from bamboo.” She has had better success mixing hemp and cashmere in her sweaters, which are gorgeous.

Ms. Bahmet says she hopes the FTC concerns lead to research on better bamboo production, because it doesn’t involve diverting an important food source such as corn to fabric production. She is optimistic that the FTC action will encourage scientists to research truly eco-friendly production methods for bamboo.

“Bamboo is just in its infancy as a fiber,” she says. “It’s not even a teenager yet.” Source.

September 28, 2009 – A realistic, globally scalable plan to transfer CO2 from the atmosphere into soil and raw materials is already available – it’s called industrial hemp…PD*28303500

Our basic premise is that hemp is far more productive than typical agro-forestry projects, producing annual, versatile biomass alongside more rapid CO2 uptake. It can produce a vast range of sustainable raw materials with an overall low environmental impact, as well as improving soil structure, using low fertilizer and no other chemical inputs (i.e. reduced agrochemical residues).

Hemp can be grown on existing agricultural land (unlike most forestry projects), and can be included as part of a farm’s crop rotation with positive effects on overall yields of follow on crops. This, along with super versatility in diverse soil conditions and climates, makes hemp cultivation a viable and genuine potential large scale contributor to GHG mitigation.

Replacing Unsustainable Raw Materials

The vast quantities of hemp derived products and raw materials created by large scale cultivation could replace many oil-based unsustainable products and materials, particularly in construction, locking in captured CO2 and creating secondary benefits to the global environment. In particular, hemp could be used to replace significant quantities of tree-derived products, allowing reduced use of existing tree populations, thus maintaining their CO2 uptake.

Hemp also produces much higher quantities of stronger and more versatile fibre than cotton, and many other fibre crops, which often have very high chemical residue and water footprints. Extra processing required by hemp is also at least partially offset by its recycling potential.
Carbon Absorption of Hemp – HGS Preliminary Conclusions

Our carbon uptake estimates are calculated by the examining the carbon content of the molecules that make up the fibres of the hemp stem. Industrial hemp stem consists primarily of Cellulose, Hemicellulose and Lignin, whose chemical structure, carbon content, (and therefore absorbed CO2) are shown in the following section:

* Cellulose, 70% of stem dry weight:

Fig 1: Chemical structure of Cellulose (Hon, 1996).

Cellulose is a homogeneous linear polymer constructed of repeating glucose units. The carbon content of cellulose accounts for 45% of its molecular mass.

* Hemicellulose, 22% of stem dry weight:

Fig 2 : Chemical structure of Hemicellulose (Puls and Schuseil, 1993).

Hemicellulose provides a linkage between cellulose & lignin. It has a branched structure consisting of various pentose sugars. Based on an example of hemicellulose structure like the acetylated xylan chain with ? – 1, 2 bond to 4 – O – methyl glucuronic acid & an ? – 1, 3 bond to L – arabinofuranose pictured above the carbon content of hemicellulose accounts for 48% of its molecular mass.

* Lignin, 6% of stem dry weight:

Fig 3. Chemical structure of Lignin (Hon, 1996).

Lignin is a strengthening material usually located between the cellulose microfibrils. The lignin molecule has a complex structure that is probably always is variable (3). Using the example above, the carbon content is calculated to be 40% of the molecular mass.

To summarise the above, one tonne of harvested stem contains:

0.7 tonnes of cellulose (45% Carbon)
0.22 tonnes of hemicellulose (48% Carbon)
0.06 tonnes of lignin (40% Carbon)

It follows that every tonne of industrial hemp stems contains 0.445 tonnes Carbon absorbed from the atmosphere (44.46% of stem dry weight).

Converting Carbon to CO2 (12T of C equals 44T of CO2(IPCC)), that represents 1.63 tonnes of CO2 absorption per tonne of UK Hemp stem harvested. On a land use basis, using Hemcore’s yield averages (5.5 to 8 T/ha), this represents 8.9 to 13.4 tonnes of CO2 absorption per hectare of UK Hemp Cultivation.

For the purposes estimation, we use an average figure of 10T/ha of CO2 absorption, a figure we hold to be a reasonably conservative estimate. This is used to predict carbon yields, but CO2 offsets will be based on dry weight yields as measured at the weighbridge.

The roots and leaf mulch (not including the hard to measure fibrous root material) left in situ represented approximately 20% of the mass of the harvested material in HGS’ initial field trials. The resulting Carbon content absorbed but remaining in the soil, will therefore be approximately 0.084 tonnes per tonne of harvested material. (42% w/w) (5).

Using Hemcore’s UK yield estimates (5.5 – 8 T/ha) this represents 0.46 to 0.67 tonnes of Carbon per hectare (UK) absorbed but left in situ after Hemp cultivation.

That represents 1.67 to 2.46 T/ha of CO2 absorbed but left in situ per hectare of UK Hemp Cultivation.

Final figures after allowing 16% moisture (Atmospheric ‘dry’ weight) are as follows:

CO2 Absorbed per tonne of hemp stem 1.37t
CO2 Absorbed per hectare (stem) (UK) 7.47 to 11.25t
CO2 Absorbed per hectare (root and leaf) UK) 1.40 to 2.06t

Hemp ‘Self Offsetting.’

According to Defra, UK Farming emits a total CO2 equivalent of 57 millions tonnes in GHG’s. UK agricultural land use is 18.5 million hectares. This amounts to an average of around 3.1 tonnes of CO2 per hectare total embodied emissions. As a low fertiliser and zero pesticide/herbicide crop, with little management input, the carbon emissions of hemp cultivation is well below the average. Therefore we can assume the matter remaining in soils roughly offsets the cultivation and management emissions.

References

1. Hon, D.N.S. (1996) A new dimensional creativity in lignocellulosic chemistry. Chemical modification of lignocellulosic materials. Marcel Dekker. Inc. New York.(5)

2. Puls,J., J. Schuseil (1993). Chemistry of hemicelluloses: Relationship between hemicellulose structure and enzymes required for hydrolysis. In: Coughlan M.P., Hazlewood G.P. editors. Hemicellulose and Hemicellulases. Portland Press Research Monograph, 1993. (5)

3. Bjerre, A.B., A.S. Schmidt (1997). Development of chemical and biological processes for production of bioethanol: Optimization of the wet oxidation process and characterization of products, Riso-R-967(EN), Riso National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark. (5)

4. Anne Belinda Thomsen, Soren Rasmussen, Vibeke Bohn, Kristina Vad Nielsen and Anders Thygese (2005) Hemp raw materials: The effect of cultivar, growth conditions and pretreatment on the chemical composition of the fibres. Riso National Laboratory Roskilde
Denmark
March 2005. ISBN 87-550-3419-5.

5. Roger M Gifford (2000) Carbon Content of Woody Roots, Technical Report N.7, Australian Greenhouse Office.

These figures do not include the additional carbon dioxide that is saved by substituting unsustainable raw materials, to end products derived from harvested hemp that effectively locks in CO2. Such products include, building materials, plastics, cosmetics, composite boards and insulation materials. According to Limetechnology Ltd, Hemcrete locks up around 110kg of CO2 per m3 of wall, compared to the 200kg of CO2 emitted by standard concrete. It also excludes the carbon savings of replacing tree-derived products and leaving trees to continue to absorb CO2

Accurate Validation

Biomass is produced by the photosynthetic conversion of atmospheric carbon. The carbon uptake of hemp can be accurately validated annually by calculations derived from dry weight yield. This yield is checked at the weighbridge for commercial reasons prior to processing.

Highly accurate figures for total biomass yield and carbon uptake can then be made, giving a level of certainty not available through any other natural carbon absorption process.

Sources: http://mrgreenbiz.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/hemp-co2-the-science/
http://www.hempglobalsolutions.com/science2.php

September 16, 2009 – Scientists at the University of Minnesota have identified the genes in cannabis that allow the plant to produce THC. Finding the genes opens the path to either create drug-free hemp plants dankestgearfor industrial purposes, or to develop plants with much higher concentrations of the psychotropic chemical.

Publishing in the Journal of Experimental Botany, the researchers note that they specifically targeted the genes responsible for generating the drug-filled hairs highlighted in many a High Times photo spread. By impairing or encouraging the growth of those hairs, scientists could gain precise control over the level of THC in the crop.

This development has important consequences for both the medicinal and industrial use of hemp.

On the industrial side, states like North Dakota have been looking to change state law to allow them to raise hemp as a cash crop, for oil and rope production. The ability to create hemp that doesn’t contain any banned substances would allow Dakotans to sow the crop without any changes in the law.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, precise control of the doses of THC found in pot could greatly enhance the medicinal marijuana industry. Currently, dosage is controlled through haphazard breeding and selection, not precise measurements as with most other medications.

It should also be noted that THC is not the only psychoactive compound found in marijuana, so more research is needed before the University of Minnesota scientists can completely control the potency of their crops.

Finally, how this new discovery will affect the pizza delivery business remains to be seen. Source.

September 7, 2009 – Henry Ford believed in using Hemp products to make cars. He was green 50 years before GREEN was cool.Picture 6

Henry Ford predicted back in 1925 that the future fuels used to power automobiles, trucks, planes, and power boat engines would come from sustainable and more eco-friendly resources than fossil fuels. He even aggressively supported the use of hemp products to create bio-degradable auto parts.

With so many changes happening in the auto industry, companies like Fisker and Tesla working on electric models, motorsports competitors participating in Formula 3 Racing looking closely at bio-fuels, big name exotics company leaders like Ferrari — who participate in Formula 1 and are planning to release hybrid exotics on the market soon as alternative power source vehicles, sportscar companies like BMW releasing Hydrogen cars, and luxury car companies like Lexus promoting hybrid model daily drivers are finally beginning to provide consumers that are making life more green while keeping owners on the go.

Fuel of the Future
When Henry Ford told a New York Times reporter that ethyl alcohol was “the fuel of the future” in 1925, he was expressing an opinion that was widely shared in the automotive industry. “The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust — almost anything,” he said. “There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.”

Ford recognized the utility of the hemp plant. He constructed a car of resin stiffened hemp fiber, and even ran the car on ethanol made from hemp. Ford knew that hemp could produce vast economic resources if widely cultivated.

Ford’s optimistic appraisal of cellulose and crop based ethyl alcohol fuel can be read in several ways.

First, it can be seen as an oblique jab at a competitor. General Motors had come to considerable grief that summer of 1925 over another octane boosting fuel called tetra-ethyl lead, and government officials had been quietly in touch with Ford engineers about alternatives to leaded gasoline additives.

Secondly, by 1925 the American farms that Ford loved were facing an economic crisis that would later intensify with the depression. Although the causes of the crisis were complex, one possible solution was seen in creating new markets for farm products. With Ford’s financial and political backing, the idea of opening up industrial markets for farmers would be translated into a broad movement for scientific research in agriculture that would be labelled “Farm Chemurgy.”

Why Henry’s plans were delayed for more than a half century
Ethanol has been known as a fuel for many decades. Indeed, when Henry Ford designed the Model T, it was his expectation that ethanol, made from renewable biological materials, would be a major automobile fuel. However, gasoline emerged as the dominant transportation fuel in the early twentieth century because of the ease of operation of gasoline engines with the materials then available for engine construction, a growing supply of cheaper petroleum from oil field discoveries, and intense lobbying by petroleum companies for the federal government to maintain steep alcohol taxes.

Many bills proposing a National energy program that made use of Americas vast agricultural resources (for fuel production) were killed by smear campaigns launched by vested petroleum interests. One noteworthy claim put forth by petrol companies was that the U.S. government’s plans “robbed taxpayers to make farmers rich”.

Gasoline had many disadvantages as an automotive resource. The “new” fuel had a lower octane rating than ethanol, was much more toxic (particularly when blended with tetra-ethyl lead and other compounds to enhance octane), generally more dangerous, and contained threatening air pollutants.

Petroleum was more likely to explode and burn accidentally, gum would form on storage surfaces and carbon deposits would form in combustion chambers of engines. Pipelines were needed for distribution from “area found” to “area needed”. Petroleum was much more physically and chemically diverse than ethanol, necessitating complex refining procedures to ensure the manufacture of a consistent “gasoline” product.

However, despite these environmental flaws, fuels made from petroleum have dominated automobile transportation for the past three-quarters of a century. There are two key reasons: First, cost per kilometer of travel has been virtually the sole selection criteria. Second, the large investments made by the oil and auto industries in physical capital, human skills and technology make the entry of a new cost-competitive industry difficult.

Until very recently, environmental concerns have been largely ignored. All of that is finally changing as consumers demand fuels such as ethanol, which are much better for the environment and human health. By Kae Davis. Source.

More Information on Hemp:

Why Can’t We Grow Hemp in America?
Hemp Facts
The Case for Hemp in America
The Versatility of the Incredible Hemp Plant and How It Can Help Create a More Sustainable Future