Cannabis for Osteoporosis Prevention

Osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) is a degenerative bone disorder characterized by progressive loss of bone tissue followed by multiple, pathological fractures and related disabilities. Brittle bone disease is comparatively more prevalent in elderly women than in elderly men, possibly due to hormonal causes. Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. suffer with osteoporosis, and nearly 34 million people are at risk of developing this bone disease.

At present, bisphosphonates are the approved medications to prevent and treat osteoporosis. To treat osteoporosis, those afflicted with osteoporosis have to suffer moderate to serious side effects of these drugs, which include esophageal inflammation, nausea, abnormal heart beat, and even bone damage of the jaw. Even if someone is ready to tolerate these side effects, apparently there are no treatment benefits in the long run. Yes, after five years or so, the patient runs the risk of developing brittle bones or related bone fracture, even if the patient is put on bisphosphonates treatment.

Given these undesirable, serious side effects and inefficacy, a safer and effective alternative is being sought after by the patients, as well as the medical research community.

Cannabinoid Receptors and Bone Turnover

In most biological organisms, including humans, the presence of functional endocannabinoids and their potential physiological roles were discovered way back. Recently, researchers have discovered the presence of cannabinoid receptors in bone tissues. CB2 is predominantly expressed in osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells). It has been shown that cannabinoid receptors are vital for regulation of bone metabolism. Physiologically, the balance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts is vital for maintenance of optimal bone health. As we age, the balance gets impaired, and leads to bone density loss and osteoporosis.

Although bone structures are appreciably regulated by CB2 receptors, CB1 receptor-deficient experimental animals have been shown to suffer increased bone resorption with reduced bone formation. Similarly, CB2-deficient experimental animals remarkably suffer age dependent low bone density, trabecular bone loss and related fractures. Surprisingly, activation of CB2 receptors has inhibited bone resorption and stimulated bone formation.

CB2 is predominantly expressed in osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes. CB2 agonists, including cannabidiol, can modulate these receptors’ functions and notably, CBD does not possess psychotrophic effects. These agonists enhance osteoblast count and activity while inhibiting osteoclast precursor proliferation and expression of osteoblasts. These properties facilitate stimulation of endocortical bone formation, suppression of bone loss and help the body to maintain normal bone mass.

Among these receptors, Cnr2 is one of the main cannabinoid receptors that regulate bone metabolism. Deficits in expression of Cnr2 are linked with low bone mineral density and bone loss. Activation of CB2 receptors inhibits bone loss in experimental animals, while CB1 activation in sympathetic nerve terminals has resulted in suppression of noradrenaline release, and thus balancing tonic sympathetic restrain of osteogenesis. This evidence points to the irrefutable role of cannabinoid receptors in bone health and maintenance.

The positive role of cannabinoid receptor activation in bone cell differentiation and activity has been demonstrated in several studies. CB2 receptor activation has several effects in both precursor bone cells as well as mature osteoblastic cells. Cannabinoid receptors could elicit cell proliferating and differentiating effects in the bones.

Not only the presence of cannabinoid receptors, but also the synthesis of endocannabinoids in the bones, has been confirmed by research studies. These studies have found higher levels of endocannabinoids and ligands, including 2-AG and anandamide, in the bones than in brain cells. Anadamide directly influences bone tissue by binding with CB2 receptors.

Based on this evidence, a follow-up study has shown that activation of CB2 receptors significantly reduced experimentally-induced bone loss and improved bone formation. Researchers now confirm the functional involvement of CB2 receptors in the maintenance of bone metabolism and bone-protective benefits against age-related bone loss disorders, including osteoporosis.

Thus, the involvement of CB2 receptors and signaling in bone formation and maintenance is now clear, which may serve as a potential therapeutic target to treat osteoporosis.

CBD as a Treatment for Osteoporosis

Based on this review, we can see that CB2 modulation by agonists could be a potential therapeutic approach to treat bone disorders, including osteoporosis.

Upon researching the scientific evidence, the potential use of cannabinoids to prevent the onset of osteoporosis began two decades ago. Since then, no notable study has been done to investigate the therapeutic benefit of cannabis for brittle bones.

Naturally, CB2 receptors are not associated with psychoactive effects and CB2-specific agonists could offer a reliable opportunity to treat or prevent bone loss without suffering side effects. In pre-clinical studies, CB2 agonists attenuated estrogen-dependent bone loss, prevented bone resorption and stimulated bone formation.

In vitro studies have demonstrated that minimal concentration of cannabinoids could activate osteoclasts via hemostatic regulation of endocannabinoid production and expression of CB2 receptors.

With these benefits, oral CB2 agonists could be potentially employed as an anti-resorptive and bone-forming therapy for osteoporosis patients.

Bone fracture (pathological) associated with osteoporosis is a problem that maims many of the elderly patients. Experimental research studies have shown that CBD can help fractured bone heal faster, and also halt the progression of osteoporosis.

As of now, no approved drugs are available to aid the healing of fractures. In accordance with the animal studies, cannabis hastened the healing process after bone fractures in humans. Additionally, the pain-relieving properties of cannabis could be helpful to calm down the ache, sharp pains and inflammation that accompany the broken bone.

Recently, an Israeli study has proven that CBD treatment has the ability to promote healing in broken bones. According to the study, CBD remarkably enhanced the biomechanical properties of healing femoral bone after 8 weeks of treatment. In the study, CBD was shown to achieve these benefits by stimulating mRNA expression of the bone-forming genes and enzymes, including lysyl hydroxylase, that are involved in collagen crosslinking and stabilization processes. These biochemical events aid the improvement of biomechanical properties of fractured bone. However, these benefits were not evident in THC-treated experimental animals

So, it’s now clear that CBD not only treats/prevents osteoporosis, but also the related complications, including pathological bone fracture as a result of bone loss.

Conclusion

Despite this positive evidence, we do see a few negative studies that contradict cannabis use. These studies concluded that cannabis use caused osteoporosis, but recent studies have concluded that the opposite is true.

This research evidence points out the key role of cannabinoid receptors in bone turnover and healing processes. Although human clinical trials are yet to be initiated in these patients, it appears that cannabis use or cannabinoids could be helpful for the prevention of osteoporosis. Compared to existing treatments, cannabis may be a safer and more effective treatment option for osteoporosis.

Although this research evidence is nascent and we have not exhaustively investigated the benefits and side effects of cannabis on osteoporosis patients, the strength of the available evidence is strong enough to support the positive claims, including prevention of brittle bones and preservation of bone health.

As there are no effective and safe treatments available for this unmet need, we are delighted to see these under-explored benefits of cannabis. Unfortunately, it is not possible for all to have access to medical marijuana treatment. But it’s catching up and the benefits of cannabis are being recognized, and legalization will follow.

For those who are unable to get medical marijuana treatment; rest assured, we’re not far away to get this treatment for all, and it will happen in next few years. For others, who can get legalized marijuana treatment, the hope is that osteoporosis will be included in the list of cannabis-treatable ailments.

Source: Marijuana Time Org.

Hemp Plastic is just ONE solution to a healthy planet

Plastics are big business. Look around and count the items within arm’s reach that are made from plastic. The substance has made life infinitely more convenient; people carry groceries in it, drink water from it, wrap foods in it, and even use it to build devices to access online blog posts about plastics. Its presence is as ubiquitous as its potential uses are endless. We need to use hemp plastic.

But the problem with plastics is that they never go away, ever. There is no global solution to the disposal of single use plastics such as grocery bags and water bottles. One trillion single-use plastic bags are consumed annually around the globe. One million bags are being used every minute. Each of these bags is used only for a matter of minutes, but take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

Every square mile of ocean, which takes up 70% of the planet, contains 46,000 pieces of plastic trash in various stages of decomposition, with the majority broken down into fragments which are consumed by sea life that is in turn consumed by humans, introducing toxic Bisphenol-A (BPA) into human diets, which may be the cause of fertility problems among women in countries reliant on the ocean for food, among other health concerns.

The consequences of all that plastic are steep and expensive. Nearly 50 percent of life, and therefore the entire food chain, exists the world’s oceans. All around the globe, beaches are buried in layers of plastic garbage, sometimes 5-10 feet deep. Scientists are at a loss as to how to clean up the damage already done, but agree that continued contribution to the plastic waste problem must stop.

The irony is that while solutions to the mounting problem of plastic garbage already exist, they are either dismissed as inconvenient (plastic bag bans or taxes, carrying reusable water bottles) or the means of their production are made illegal.

That’s right, illegal.

Hemp provides an excellent alternative to plastics yet remains illegal (and therefore cost prohibitive) due to its association with the drug marijuana. But there is no good reason for this. Even in the absence of international treaties or regulations requiring the end of plastic waste, taking concrete steps to implement hemp substitutions still make sense.

Currently, growing hemp in the United States is prohibited, but that may quickly change. Hemp reform has already made significant progress in the US Congress, and so a thriving domestic hemp economy may be just around the corner. And that will do more than just replace plastic bags.

Hemp plastics are destined to create an economic boom, slow the rate of plastic pollution in our oceans and air (they are flame retardant) and could be used on the exact same machinery already being used to create plastic goods like bottles and bags. Hemp plastics are not only 100% biodegradable, meaning they do not contribute to permanent pollution, but they are also 2.5 times stronger than standard use plastics.

Thus, a rapid switch can be made from a weak, disposable commodity which remains in a polluting form for thousands of years to a strong, organic, biodegradable alternative. And all that’s holding back a better future is bad public policy.

Source : Time for 4 Hemp

How Hemp Plastic Can Replace Plastic Products That Have A Negative Impact On The Environment

Hemp plastic is a bioplastic made by using industrial hemp, which is one of the strongest natural fibers known to man. There are a variety of hemp plastics manufactured today, from standard plastics reinforced with hemp fibres, to 100% biodegradable hemp plastics.

Hemp certainly is a versatile plant. Hemp seeds and protein powders are a valuable and nutritious food source, while the fibres can be made into textiles, ropes and a host of other products.

Hemp plastic is said to be five times stiffer and 2.5 times stronger than polypropylene (PP) plastic. It does not post the health and safety risks associated with certain plastics and it does not pollute the environment.

What can hemp plastic be used for?

The use of hemp in manufacturing is not new. As far back as 1941, Henry Ford used hemp-and-sisal cellulose plastic to build car doors and fenders, demonstrating that his hemp cars were stronger than steel-bodied cars, by hitting them with a sledgehammer.

These days, biogradable materials made from hemp and cornstarch can be injection or blow-molded into almost any shape using existing molds, the products of which include cosmetic containers, furniture, mobile phone cases, plastic bags, CD cases, children’s toys and numerous other applications. A hemp-plastic resin that was recently developed is used for musical instruments and loudspeakers.

Indeed, hemp plastic is the number one material of the future. Hemp grows easily and prolifically, making it an extremely efficient crop for these sustainable plastics known as bioplastics. They are lightweight, biodegradable and can replace many petrochemical plastics (oil-based plastics).

Much research still remains to be done to achieve the best sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based plastics. But nations throughout the world do realise that petrochemical usage needs to be reduced, and hemp is being recognised as a viable alternative to these plastics. Cost-effectiveness also needs to be addressed, especially since the hemp industry is tiny compared to the cotton, corn and sugar industries. (ethanol producing crops).

Sources:Medical Marijuana Update

 

Cannabis could hold the key to treating Alzheimer’s but drug laws stand in the way, say scientists.

Cannabinoids can help remove dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells, researchers say

Chemicals found in cannabis could be used to help treat dementia, early studies have shown – but further research into the findings is being stymied by restrictive drug laws, scientists say.

Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can aid the removal of dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells, according to researchers at the Salk Institute, a renowned biomedical research facility in California.

While initial findings published last year raise hopes cannabis compounds could one day form the basis of a new medicine to help treat Alzheimer’s disease, the next steps are proving slow.

Professor David Schubert, who led the study, told CNBC legal issues were a “major roadblock” preventing him and his team from conducting further research into the medicinal properties of marijuana. “It’s so blatantly obvious that this plant should be studied in greater detail,” he said. “It’s hard enough to get funding without having to worry about legal issues on top of it.”

Professor Schubert said the institute had submitted an application to the US Drug Enforcement Agency for permission to use cannabis extracts for tests on mice in December, but had not yet received a response.

The researchers used a small amount of synthetically-produced cannabinoids in the first study, which was found to stimulate the removal of a toxic plaque associated with dementia in the brain.

Dementia, which mainly affects older people, causes a deterioration in memory, thinking and behaviour and can impede someone’s ability to perform everyday activities.

It affects around 47.5 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and it recently overtook heart disease to become the leading cause of death in England and Wales. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

A protein called amyloid beta creates a harmful plaque in the brains of people with dementia that can destroy nerve cells.

Research is ongoing into the role amyloid beta plays in the disease, but scientists believe the protein begins to accumulate in brain cells well before Alzheimer’s symptoms manifest themselves.

The team at the Salk Institute showed that THC reduced the amount of amyloid beta in nerve cells with high levels of the protein, allowing the cells to survive.

The US Alzheimer’s Association have said marijuana is a legitimate area of research into possible treatment for the disease, but some experts have been sceptical, reported CNN.

“It is difficult to say what, if any, effect this might have in humans, even if it would successfully promote clearance of [amyloid beta plaque],” Donovan Maust, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said.

There are currently three nobel laureates on the Salk Institute’s faculty, and among the scientists who have trained or worked there, 11 have won nobel prizes overall.

It is based in La Jolla, near San Diego in California, where marijuana was made legal in November.

However, as it receives funds from the US government, the institute is prohibited from using cannabis in experiments without authorisation. Applications can take six months to approve.

The Alzheimer’s Society acknowledged the results of the early research on its website, but warned “there is no evidence that cannabis can help to prevent the underlying causes of the disease in people”.

It also said heavy use of the drug has been linked to memory and cognitive problems.

Source: The Independent

How Cannabis Treats Asthma

Studies show that cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant actually protect your lungs, and relieve the constriction and discomfort of asthma.
It is estimated that one out of twelve people suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory disease that typically becomes present during childhood. While many people experience minimal symptoms with treatment, asthma is still linked to over 3,000 deaths per year.

Naturally, many asthmatics choose to stay away from smoking cannabis for fear of exacerbating their symptoms. But contrary to popular belief, studies have shown cannabis has little to no long-term impact on the lungs. In fact, recent research is actually showing cannabis is helpful rather than harmful for asthma patients.
Cannabis opens rather than restricts the airways.
A study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics showed just how cannabinoids protect the lungs. Using guinea pigs, the researchers measured the ability of cannabinoids to inhibit bronchoconstriction. The researchers in the study specifically looked at THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, CBD-A, and THC-V cannabinoids. Surprisingly, the study revealed that THC and THC-V were the only cannabinoids to inhibit constriction, with THC being the most effective. Essentially, cannabis acts a bronchodilator rather than a bronchoconstrictor.

The results from this study are astonishing considering that bronchoconstriction is one of the biggest problem plaguing asthma sufferers. During an asthma attack, the bronchioles (air passageways in the nose and mouth) become constricted. As a result, the rate of oxygen flow is severely restricted. But as this study suggests, cannabis helps to open up these airways. Several other studies have also shown that cannabis improves bronchoconstriction while resting and during an asthma attack.

Dr. Rachel Knox, co-founder of The Canna MDS and current Medical Chair of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, talked to Green Flower about the plant’s efficacy for asthma patients. She says:

“THC is actually a very potent bronchodilator and that’s exactly what we need when we’re treating asthma. When we are suffering from an asthma attack, those bronchioles are squeezing on themselves, making it very hard to breathe. Well, enter THC. It opens those bronchioles right up and we can breathe better.”

Cannabis possesses powerful anti-inflammatory effects
how-cannabis-treats-asthma-cannabinoids-crystals
These mushroom-shaped crystals are the trichomes, which contain most of the plant’s active cannabinoids.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the lungs’ airways. Essentially, this inflammation of the air passages causes a temporary narrowing of the lungs, which reduces the amount of oxygen carried throughout the body. For asthma sufferers, this makes breathing difficult, to say the least.

However, inflammation is not only present during an asthma attack but also when resting. Low-level inflammation can also be found in bronchi and bronchioles of asthma sufferers. And when an asthma attack does occur, inflammation increases further. In severe cases, inflammation can even cause total loss of breath.

Cannabis is a well-known anti-inflammatory, interacting with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, including the lungs. For example, a study in the journal Mediators of Inflammation revealed that the cannabinoid CBD contains potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory responses. In addition, the findings also showed that CBD reduces mucus hypersecretion – a hallmark characteristic of asthma. While the study has not yet been replicated on humans, the researchers concluded CBD could be a powerful treatment for asthma as it regulates exaggerated inflammatory responses in the body.

Cannabis reduces muscle spasticity
how-cannabis-treats-asthma-alpha-pinene
Alpha-Pinene is a terpene found in specific strains of cannabis. It is also found in the oils of many coniferous trees, like the pine tree, and is also found in rosemary essential oil.
Bronchospasm, otherwise known as bronchial spasms, are a sudden constriction of the muscles in the lungs. Causing difficulty in breathing, reactions range from mild to severe. For those with asthma, this likely comes as no surprise. Bronchospasms are a hallmark symptom of the condition.

But cannabis has shown to be incredibly effective for alleviating, and even eliminating muscle spasms. How is this possible? By relaxing the muscles in the lungs, the airways expand, allowing for an increase in airflow. According to Dr. Jessica Knox, it has to do with two components in specific cannabis strains – CBD and alpha-pinene. Knox says:

“Alpha-pinene and CBD have some muscle spasm relief effect which is crucial to hitting those bronchial muscles and helping them relax so that you can breathe better.”

A study in 2014 also indicated cannabis’ effectiveness for alleviating muscle spasms in the lungs. In fact, the researchers believe this mechanism may explain the acute bronchodilation (expansion of the bronchial air passages in the respiratory tract) produced when ingesting cannabis.

Cannabis alleviates asthma-related pain

An asthma attack may not only cause difficulty in breathing, it can also be painful.
While pain is not a primary symptom associated with asthma, over 75% of people who experience an asthma attack also experience chest pain. For those with severe forms of asthma, this pain can be uncomfortable and even debilitating.

However, it is important to note though that there are no pain receptors in the lungs. Asthma sufferers primarily experience pain because they are unable to breath properly. When normal airflow is interrupted, additional stress is placed on accessory muscles such as the sternocleidomastoid and scalene. During an asthma attack, these muscles must contract to help expand the ribcage. Because there is additional stress on these muscles, asthma sufferers often experience pain. This is primarily due to the fact that these muscles are rarely (if ever) used for normal breathing. It is essentially the same principle that applies after a tough workout for the first time. When a muscle is worked that has not been used, pain ensues.

While there have yet to be any studies that specifically address whether or not cannabis is effective at treating asthma-related pain, we do know that cannabis can reduce pressure and muscle spasticity in the lungs. This in turn allows for better airflow, causing less stress on accessory muscles. Not to mention the numerous studies indicating the powerful pain-relieving effects of cannabis.

Best method for treating asthma with cannabis?
how-cannabis-treats-asthma-vaporizing
Vaporizing is much gentler on the system and can deliver the medication without increasing irritation.
The positive impact of cannabis for asthma patients is evident. However, many asthma suffers are still hesitant to try cannabis. After all, isn’t smoking cannabis the last thing someone with asthma should do?

While studies as early as the 1970s suggest smoking cannabis widens rather than restricts the airways, thanks to modern technology, there are more treatment options than ever before.

One of those options is vaporization. Dr. Dustin Sulak, a leading medical cannabis physician, finds that vaporizing cannabis is a highly effective solution for asthma patients. Dr. Sulak says this is because a good vaporizer provides superior temperature control:

“Probably 90% of people with asthma can take a single vaporize inhalation… If they do it right, they’re going to be able to breathe deeper, expand their lungs, and relieve constriction.”

Dr. Sulak recommends a daily dosing to get a baseline level of medication in your system for better overall asthma control.

For quick onset relief, such as in the case of an asthma attack, he recommends a tincture or vaporizer. These are much gentler on the system and can deliver the medication without increasing irritation.

Above all, Dr. Sulak suggests that patients listen to their bodies. “It’s very important to realize that your body talks to you. So if you are using a vaporizer as a method to treat your asthma and it’s causing you to cough or worsening your symptoms, vaporizing may not be for you,” he adds. In those cases, Dr. Sulak recommends an edible or tincture (best administered sublingually).

Source: The Green Flower

Medical Marijuana and Acute Pain Study

A new study is being conducted by Dr. Fenney out of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical center in Hartford Connecticut. The trial is state funded and will compare opioids and medical marijuana for treating acute pain, (ie a broken bone)

There are studies that suggest that medical marijuana is effective for chronic pain, which is pain that continues after an injury should have healed. Dr. Feeney wants to test marijuana for acute pain, where opioids have long been the drug of choice for physicians.
“The big focus from my standpoint is that this is an attempt to end the opioid epidemic,” he says. Overdoses from opioids, killed more than 30,000 people in 2015.
Schedule 1 Status

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which makes it very difficult for researchers to study. Scientists first have to apply for a license from the DEA, which can take years and the only available supply for researchers is the government’s marijuana grow facility at the University of Missipipi, which has limited supplies.

Feeney’s research on acute pain is able to get around the issues associated with marijuana’s scheduling. Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Connecticut. Instead of directly supplying the patients with marijuana, a doctor certifies a patient to use marijuana, and the patient then picks it up at a dispensary or pharmacy.

“The strains I have to select from are so pure and so potent that the stuff they get from the University of Mississippi pales in comparison,” says Feeney.
The trial includes 60 patients with rib injuries in total—30 on marijuana, 30 on opioids. Because of the study’s design, patients get to choose whether they use opioids and marijuana to control pain. So far, the hospitals have enrolled a quite a few patients. They’ve all chosen marijuana.

More Studies

Dan Clauw, who runs the pain lab at the University of Michigan, and his colleagues published a survey of patients who started using medical marijuana to alleviate pain. They cut their previous opioid use by two-thirds.

“They felt a lot better when their pain was being controlled by cannabis rather opioids because opioids have a lot of side effects,” he says. “Those side effects include dizziness, constipation, sexual dysfunction and—in the case of overdoses—breathing problems. That’s because opioids receptors are also in the brainstem, the part of the brain that regulates breathing. Marijuana acts on a different set of receptors.”

Source: Medical Marijuana 411.

CHEW HEMP PROTEIN BAR

Ingrediends:

Dry
1½ cup hemp protein powder, chocolate flavor (or original just add more cocoa)
½ cup hemp seeds shelled
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup walnuts, ground into a coarse flour
½ cup pumpkin seeds, whole
¼ cup chia seeds, ground
¼ cup dried mulberries
2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
2 tablespoons spirulina powder
¼ teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
dash of ground cinnamon
Wet
1½-2 cups dates, about 20 pitted
½ cup dried tart cherries
5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
½ cup water (start with ¼ and add gradually)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:
Dry
Coarsely grind walnuts and chia seeds. Pour into a large mixing bowl and combine all remaining dry ingredients (hemp powder, seeds, cocoa, pumpkin seeds, mulberries, cacao nibs, and seasonings). Set aside.
Wet
Combine all wet ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. This mixture is very thick and sticky so you’ll need a powerful kitchen appliance or mix in small batches. Start with ¼ cup of water in this mixture.
Pour wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl with dry ingredients. This is where you can adjust the water and pay close attention to how much you use.
Using your hands (the best tools for this!), massage and combine the mixture until everything has come together to form a large ball.
If the mixture gets too wet, simply add more cocoa or hemp protein powder. If the mixture isn’t wet enough, try adding more coconut oil or a few more dates. The desired texture is a thick, chewy, sticky bar.
In a 8×8 or 9×9 inch parchment lined pan, evenly spread the protein bar mixture into the pan. Using your hands and fingertips firmly press the mixture into an even layer until it’s even and smooth on top.
Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
Cut into small pieces or 12 whole bars.
Keep some for later in the freezer by wrapping individually in clear wrap or keep in the fridge for later use that week.

Enjoy

Hemp: how one little plant could boost America’s economy

Image a plant that cuts cholesterol, reduces our exposure to toxins, can ease joint inflammation, proves more durable than concrete, and can provide the economy with much-needed jobs for farmers and manufacturers. This wonder of the world exists – it’s hemp. But it is illegal to grow in America.
Hemp and marijuana both are cannabis plants – in fact, both are cannabis sativa. Hemp, however, contains virtually no THC (the psychoactive ingredient in pot), so smoking it will not get you stoned. Yet industrial hemp has endured 80 years of purgatory and prohibition at the hands of the government.
Hemp has been hailed as the little plant that could for centuries – for making fabric, rope, sails, paper and canvas. Hemp plants require less chemical spraying than cotton, soy, corn and wheat. It can help reduce soil degradation by faring better with less water and in drier climates. Paper made from hemp could help reduce deforestation, and requires fewer chemicals for processing than wood pulp. Hemp fabric has antibacterial qualities that can help it fight staph infections in hospitals.
That’s not all. Hemp seeds and oils offer more and better proteins than soy, along with the highest percentage of essential fatty acids and the lowest percentage of saturated fats compared with other oils. The cannabinoids (CBD) in hemp can reduce inflammation and may even protect against anxiety and depression, seizures and brain injuries, according to recent studies.
Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer became a promoter of hemp in general after he discovered that CBD oil from hemp alleviated headaches and post-football aches. If he was still playing, however, he’d be forbidden from using it. “We need to change the perceptions about hemp,” he says, adding that he’d love to see the stodgy NFL “lead that charge” by funding research into the oil’s benefits. “The NFL needs to help get players off prescription meds as much as possible, and hemp could help.”
A political battle
America already safely consumes $580m worth of products made from imported hemp every year – from milk to T-shirts to soaps. Yet because it has been illegal to import or cultivate seeds, the farming, processing and manufacturing jobs associated with hemp belong to the 30 countries growing it, from Canada to France to China.
“We are the only industrialized nations not to allow it,” says Joseph Yost, a Republican member of Virginia’s state legislature and hemp supporter, who points out that hemp could replace tobacco as a cash crop and bring back some of the manufacturing jobs that have left his state.
But after years of lobbying, Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp and executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, says efforts to legalize it are having an impact. The first breakthrough came in 2014, when Congress allowed for hemp to be grown for research purposes in states that permitted it. In 2016, 9,649 acres of hemp were planted across 15 states, and 30 universities conducted research on the crop. It allowed skeptical legislators to see the plant’s potential up close, and “helped demystify it for some”, Steenstra says.
The next, more politically daunting, step is persuading Congress to remove hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, where it was added by Richard Nixon’s administration.
“Only kneejerk drug warriors are still against hemp and every month that becomes increasingly more absurd,” says David Bronner, CEO of Dr Bronner’s, the popular health product company. Bronner positioned his company as an ardent backer of the cause. “I never dreamed the process of making it legal to grow hemp would take this long,” he said.
Growing and dissent
Alex White Plume, a former tribal president of the Oglala Sioux, began trying to grow hemp nearly two decades ago but was repeatedly persecuted by the federal government. He recently returned to South Dakota from the Standing Rock pipeline protests and equates the two struggles. “They are exactly the same,” he says. “We need to heal the earth and hemp can be used to replace many of the things we use today that [are harmful].”
In 1998, White Plume realized hemp could help break the Pine Ridge reservation’s cycle of deep poverty. He persuaded the tribe to legally adopt an ordinance differentiating between industrial hemp and marijuana, and thought tribal sovereignty would protect him from federal incursions.
His family researched the farming and business side – he envisioned as many as a dozen different businesses arising from the different parts of the hemp plant – and in 2000 they planted the crop not far from Wounded Knee Creek. “The Bureau of Indian Affairs had long tried to turn us into farmers, and I thought hemp was the way to do it,” White Plume says.
Then US officials showed up with guns, bulletproof vests … and weed-whackers. They decimated his plants. White Plume tried again in 2001 and 2002, until the government got an injunction against him for growing hemp without DEA permission. Despite help from Vote Hemp, White Plume says he nearly went broke appealing and still lost the case.
“It is awful and oppressive,” White Plume says. “The state won’t do diddly squat for our people but the government comes in and takes away my plants.”
Vote Hemp – backed by money from Bronner – recently hired a new lawyer and last year a federal judge finally lifted the federal court order. White Plume, 65, is still not allowed to grow hemp, but can now be paid to consult on hemp projects in other states.
“The whole thing makes me angry,” says White Plume, who adds that he no longer has the energy to become a hemp mogul but that his sister and daughter are developing business plans. “The United States should honor the treaties and our sovereignty.”
Ryan Loflin, a Colorado alfalfa and sorghum farmer, followed White Plume’s footsteps. In 2013, he planted 60 acres of hemp without government permission as an activist statement. “This is a political movement,” he says.
Loflin got media coverage, successfully daring the government to step in. “It was just time for this to happen,” Loflin says. “My community has been struggling for 30 years and lost a lot of farms but hemp can be beneficial to society and valuable to my community.”
A long political battle
Hemp’s demise traces back to the 1937 Marihuana Act, which imposed taxes and bureaucratic burdens on farmers. The culprit was the First Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner, Harry Anslinger, whose department needed a worthy project when alcohol was legalized.
“After Prohibition politicians needed their next new enemy to fight against,” says Dan Ratner, co-founder of Healthy Brands Collective, which owns the Tempt line of hemp-based food products. Ratner believes that the DuPont company (which made nylon, a new rival for hemp) and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (who owned many paper and timber interests) slandered hemp by playing up its cannabis roots, but it’s also plausible that hemp got accidentally caught up due to indifference and misunderstanding.
During the second world war, with Filipino imports cut off by Japan and the war machine desperate for hemp products such as tow lines, parachutes and aviation lubricant, the government produced a short film called Hemp For Victory, encouraging farmers to return to the plant; with federal aid thousands of acres of hemp were grown. Afterward, hemp faded back into obscurity until 1970 when Nixon put marijuana on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act – and industrial hemp was again lumped in with it.
Yost, who sponsored a Virginia bill legalizing hemp, says years of educational efforts have made inroads. These days, both Steenstra and Bronner are optimistic about legalization, thanks to changing perceptions and the demand for farming and manufacturing jobs.
“Outsourcing American jobs is not a popular concept right now,” adds Polis. “There’s so much potential for the economy it would be crazy not to move forward,” Steenstra says, adding that it is also a states’ rights issue that should appeal to conservatives.
He says Iowa senator Charles Grassley, the judiciary committee chair, has repeatedly bottled up hemp bills to prevent a vote but Bronner says Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky see the crop’s commercial potential and have been “amazing champions who may finally liberate hemp”.
Legalization is just the first step. “We need infrastructure,” Bronner says, so hemp can be processed and manufactured on a large scale. Legalization will attract investors and banks but supporters also hope for government grants and subsidies to create a market for hemp.
Loflin, the Colorado farmer, agrees: “We need to build this industry from the ground up.”
Source : The Guardian