HEMP – A SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

“Every generation faces a challenge. In the 1930s, it was the creation of Social Security. In the 1960s, it was putting a man on the moon. In the 1980s, it was ending the Cold War. Our generation’s challenge will be addressing global climate change while sustaining a growing global economy.” – Eileen Clausen, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Fossil fuel consumption, and our meat industry can be considered the most responsible for climate change. Around 80% of the CO2 being added to the atmosphere each year currently comes directly from the burning of natural gas, and coal and oil deposits. Agriculture is another significant driver of global warming and causes 15% of all emissions, half of which are from livestock. One pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water for the growing of food and the rearing of the livestock.

While the nation states will be debating what can be done to control the situation, there is a simple solution that is being ignored and dismissed due to the politics behind it, and that is the awesome properties and power of the Cannabis plant.

“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and prosperity of the nation” — Thomas Jefferson.

Super Crop

Hemp can be considered a ‘super-crop’ that has been grown worldwide for at least 12,000 years. It is one of the most prolific, versatile and powerful bio-tools available to humanity to meet the enormous challenges of sustainability, climate change, environmental degradation and the destruction of eco-systems.

There are more than 25,000 known uses for hemp. It produces food, fibre, fuel and has unique medicinal properties. One hectare of hemp can produce as much usable fibre as four hectares of trees, or two hectares of cotton. It is the world’s most versatile natural product, potentially replacing wood, cotton, and petroleum products, including plastics.

Hemp grows in a short, flexible, summer window of the annual crop cycle and grows in diverse climates and soil types. It does not require pesticides or herbicides, as it grows tightly spaced, out-growing and blocking out weeds. This leaves a weed-free field for follow on crops while simultaneously conditioning and securing topsoil.

The Billion Dollar Crop

It was considered the ‘billion dollar crop’ by Popular Mechanics Magazine in 1937 before the USA began its campaign to suppress the hemp industry. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. In 1942 when US sources of “Manila hemp,” (a genus of the banana plant), were cut off by the Japanese in WWII, the US Army and US Department of Agriculture promoted the “Hemp for Victory” campaign to grow hemp in the US.

Hemp As Bio-Fuel

According to the IPCC between ten and fifteen percent of total global cropland is available for biomass production specifically for energy and transport. The greatest advantage of hemp cultivation, as a method of climate change mitigation, is the comparative ease with which it could be integrated into the existing fossil fuel economy.

With the ability to be grown at all but the very coldest latitudes, hemp could form the basis of an internationally distributed yet locally produced fuel industry. Hemp-based ethanol would not only be a complementary product to the oil economy (combining ethanol with gasoline increases quality of gasoline and produces significant environmental benefits), but could also be used as a direct replacement because it can be used with existing technologies.

It is also the only biomass crop that can add to the food production of land rather than replacing food production, as other biofuel crops, such as corn, triggered global food riots.

Solution to Agro Forestry

Hemp cultivation is 400% more efficient at CO2 absorption than agro-forestry per land use. Its rapid growth rate means it can provide the industrial quantities of biomass required in our modern society. Hemp can be processed into multiple sustainable raw materials solutions to suit the needs of local communities wherever it is grown, and save and preserve remaining forest resources and biodiversity.

Hemp is far less vulnerable to changes in climate, compared to slow and medium growth forests. It also shares many of the biochemical characteristics of hardwood and several metric tons of wood can be produced in a hectare, annually or bi-annually in hotter climates.

Growing hemp on deforested hillsides prevents landslides, run-off, and also prepares land for future crops or tree planting. In addition, it requires low-intensive management and can effectively replace all the goods and services traditionally supplied by depleted forest resources including fuel and shelter.

Water Efficient

An industrial hemp crop (80ha), planted in Nicaragua primarily for seed, survived Hurricane Mitch more or less intact due to its long tap roots and intricate root structures that held the plants securely to each other and the land. Over 60 chemicals called cannabinoids collectively serve to repel insects, improve water use efficiency, prevent water loss and also protect the plant from excessive UV-B radiation.

Compared to cotton that requires about 1400 gallons of water for every pound of produce, hemp requires half that or even less and produces 200-250% more fibre on the same amount of land. The Aral Sea in Russia, once the world’s fourth largest inland lake with a thriving healthy ecosystem is now only 15% of it’s original size due to the cotton industry and the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides. Hemp in comparison, aerates the land, rejuvenates soil, needs no herbicides or pesticides, and creates a thriving ecosystem.

Hemp as Food

Hemp protein contains all twenty-one known amino acids, including the eight essential ones adult bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities and ratios to meet the body’s needs.

It can supply any diet with a vegetarian source of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, chlorophyll, and a complete, balanced gluten-free source of the essential amino acids.

Versatile

Hemp is so versatile because, it is seasonal, it increases the nutritional output of the land, it increases yields from other crops in the rotation cycle, and bio-remediates and protects soil, while providing highly useful, versatile biomass and sustainable, biodegradable end products.

The Cannabis plant has been suppressed by the dominating industries that see it as a threat to their monopoly, such steel, pharmaceuticals, cotton, petroleum, plastics and construction. However, it can no longer be ignored as the global environmental crisis we are facing is much greater than the need to profit these unsustainable and destructive industries.

How much longer are we going to sit back and watch our planet go up in smoke while one of the major solutions, Cannabis remains relegated to the sidelines…? it’s time for a Hemp Revolution…

Source: Rebekah Shaman

Cannabis Topicals: A Beginner’s Guide

Cannabis topicals have been steadily increasing in popularity over the years, and for good reason. When used on the skin, cannabis-infused products like lotions and creams can have many benefits.

The main advantage of using cannabis topically is that you do not experience any psychological effects. Topicals are also incredibly easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

It’s as simple as rubbing a topical product onto any area that might be in pain, including sore muscles post-workout, itchiness from skin conditions such as eczema or even joint pain from arthritis.

If you’ve ever wanted to get the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the “getting high” part, topicals might be the answer you’re looking for.

What are Cannabis Topicals?

Cannabis topicals are products like lotions, salves and oils made for external use, and are most often used to treat inflammation, pain and skin conditions.
When used on the skin, the effect of cannabis is localized to the area of application, unlike the widespread effect when it is eaten or smoked. Another key difference between topicals and other forms of cannabis is that topicals do not produce a mental high.

“If you have tennis elbow and your elbow hurts, you can eat a cannabis brownie and it’ll go through your digestive system and enter your bloodstream and reach all parts of your body,” explains Ramona Rubin, founder of the topical cannabis company Doc Green’s in California.

“Or you can rub lotion on your elbow where it hurts and almost instantaneously you get a localized effect—very quickly and very effectively, and without any psychoactive effect.”

Different forms of cannabis topicals have been used throughout history. In early Indian medicine, for instance, cannabis was mixed with other ingredients to make a surgical anesthetic.

According to the East West School of Planetary Herbology, other ancient examples include a Tibetan treatment for itchy skin and traditional Arabic remedies for skin ailments and hair growth.

Despite being one of the safest and easiest methods of using cannabis, topicals are also one of the lesser known and utilized.

“The prohibition mentality has shifted things,” Rubin says. “I think we’ve forgotten a lot of the common uses. So we see what we do as a big education campaign. [Topicals are] one of the first forms of cannabis people should be exposed to.”

How Do Topicals Work?

When topicals are used, the chemicals from cannabis are absorbed through the skin and garner a response from the endocannabinoid system, a biological system that helps regulate many of the body’s functions.

Cannabinoids are the chemicals that activate our endocannabinoid system. They include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other compounds found in the cannabis plant.

CB1 and CB2 Receptors

We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our body that receive these chemical signals.

“The body contains two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1, the psychoactive receptor that also mediates pain and many other functions, and CB2, a non-psychoactive receptor that mediates pain and inflammation,” says Ethan Russo, MD, a cannabinoid researcher and the former president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society(ICRS).

“Both are operative in the skin and affect pain, itch and inflammation associated with many dermatological conditions.”

CB1 and CB2 receptors are abundant in our skin’s epidermal cells and sensory nerves, according to a study in the Journal of Dermatological Science. They are also found on mast cells, which are linked to inflammatory and allergic responses.

When topicals are applied, cannabinoids bind to the receptors in the skin, muscle tissue and local nerves. THC binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the skin, says Dr. Russo.

CBD does not work by binding to CB1 receptors, but rather by inhibiting production of the enzyme that breaks down an important endocannabinoid called anandamide, thus allowing that therapeutic neurotransmitter to flourish.

Non-Psychoactive Effect

“THC and CBD work through independent mechanisms in a complementary fashion,” says Dr. Russo. “Both work well on the skin, but are poorly absorbed via this route.”

This is why topicals work differently in the body than cannabis that is eaten or inhaled, producing a targeted, localized effect on the afflicted area and not resulting in the user becoming stoned.

“The skin is a difficult barrier to broach with medications,” Dr. Russo explains. “There are layers that require a drug to be water-soluble and others that must be lipid (fat) soluble. Cannabinoids are lipophilic (fat-loving) and do not penetrate readily into the bloodstream.”

For THC to have a psychoactive effect, it needs to enter the bloodstream and pass the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain.

A study published in the journal Forensic Science International found that THC does not show up in blood or urine tests after consistent use of THC-based topical products.

Types of Cannabis Topicals

Topicals come in many forms, including body lotions, salves, balms, oils, body sprays, and transdermal gels and patches. They can be made with CBD, THC, or THCA (the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw plants).

The most common types of topicals are fat-based products like oils and salves, or alcohol-based products, such as lotions and tinctures.

Extraction Process

Heating methods, such as a process called decarboxylation, are typically used to heat and activate the THC in cannabis. However, some brands—like Doc Green’s—opt for a raw, heat-free extraction method.

Doc Green’s Healing Cream uses an ethanol, pure alcohol extraction. Its CannaBalm, which is about five times as potent, is made from a CO2 concentrate.

“Carbon dioxide is a gas in the air at normal temperatures and pressures, and when it’s warmed and pressurized it goes from a gas state to something more like a liquid state,” Rubin says of the process.

In this “supercritical CO2 state,” it acts as a solvent on the cannabis—passing through the plant material, dissolving the cannabinoids, terpenes, resinous compounds, polyphenols, and more, before passing into another chamber where the CO2 is restored to a gas form.

“You’re leaving behind the chlorophyll, the ligands, and the plant structural elements, and getting a very pure, very clean, concentrated resin of the cannabis medicine,” explains Rubin.

Another benefit of using raw THCA is that there is no cannabis smell in the end product.

Popular Brands/Products

The topicals market is expanding, and Doc Green’s is joined by popular brands including Colorado’s Mary’s Medicinals, which is best known for its transdermal patches and transdermal gel pens that offer a slow, constant release of cannabinoids.

The company offers CBD and CBN-based products which are non-psychoactive. The THC versions of these products, on the other hand, do have a psychoactive effect.

Other popular brands include Whoopi & Maya (Whoopi Goldberg’s line of products aimed at relieving menstrual pain), Veda Balm, Mary Jane’s Medicinals, and HerbaBuena, in the Bay Area.

Although topicals are non-psychotropic, they are still largely treated like other cannabis products under the law. As such, availability and legal status depend on the laws in the state/country in which they are being sold.

Legalization in the U.S. would likely boost the use of topicals. In a survey, 79 percent of American Herbal Guild members said they would use cannabis clinically if federal law didn’t prohibit it.

Benefits and Uses of Topicals

Alicia Rose, with HerbaBuena, says the company has found THC to be most helpful for pain relief and THCA for fighting inflammation.

During the decarboxylating process, THCA becomes THC. Rubin, with Doc Green’s, explains that THCA products are still medicinally active, even though they are not psychoactive.

“They are so amazingly versatile,” Rubin says, adding that customers use Doc Green’s for treating injuries, aches, pains, cramps, spasms, sore muscles, headaches, insect bites and stings, pain from gout, menstrual cramps, and more.

Research on the efficacy and mechanization of topicals is lacking due to cannabis’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States and its status as only medicinally legal in Canada.

While a spike in this research in recent years has demonstrated the promising health potential of topical cannabis, there is still, in Rubin’s words, “a real need for more research and understanding.”

Studies on Cannabis Topicals

Existing research has focused on their potential for treating inflammation, pain and uncomfortable skin conditions (such as psoriasis and dermatitis).

A study on THC’s use for allergic inflammation out of the University of Bonn’s Department of Dermatology and Allergy concluded that cannabinoids should be “harnessed …for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.”

A 2009 study published in the journal Experimental Dermatology found that cannabinoids “seem to have immunosuppressive properties and could be considered as potential anti-inflammatory drugs.”

Additionally, the researchers concluded that topically administered cannabis has potential for its antipruritic (anti-itching) effect and pain relief.

“On the basis of the current knowledge, therapeutic possibilities of cannabinoid usage in skin diseases seem to be unquestionable,” wrote the study’s authors. “Possibly, in the future, cannabinoids will be widely applied to treat pruritus, inflammatory skin diseases and even skin cancers.”

According to the organization Americans for Safe Access, in addition to pain relief and reducing inflammation, “anecdotal reports on topical treatment efficacy” include superficial wounds, herpes, hemorrhoids, menstrual pains, migraine pain and more.

For links to additional studies, see MJCreams.ca’s list.

How To Use Cannabis Topicals

Topicals should be used as directed on a product-by-product basis, but, generally, they can be used liberally and often because there is no risk of overuse or abuse.

Doc Green’s recommends new users start with a small fingertip of its Healing Cream to gauge how much they need.

The effects last one to four hours, but Rubin says it can be reapplied as much as needed thanks to “a complete lack of side effects”—unless you count “very soft skin” as a side effect.

Since every person’s endocannabinoid system is unique, reactions may vary.

“Each person has an endocannabinoid tone that is a function of the number of cannabinoid receptors, levels of endocannabinoids, and prior experience with cannabinoids drugs, if any,” explains Dr. Russo, the researcher and former ICRS president. “On the skin, they may also have different reactions.”

Many cannabis lotions, oils and balms are made with a variety of other essential oils and ingredients. With this in mind, people with allergies and sensitive skin should take caution when trying a new topical.

Additionally, people with sensitivity or allergic reactions to airborne plant pollens may develop hives or itchy skin from contact with cannabis. Individuals who cannot use alcohol-containing products should avoid those made with pure alcohol extracts.

For everyone else, Rubin says the most important directive for using topicals is to remember to use them. Rose, of HerbaBuena, gives similar advice: “Use them liberally when and where it hurts.”

Source : Laef Science

BANANA & BERRY HEMP SEED PUDDING

Ingredients :

2 just ripe (not overripe) bananas, peeled (if too ripe, the flavor can be overwhelming)
2 cups (300 g) organic berries
2 Tbsp (30 ml) light coconut milk (or almond milk)
optional: maple syrup or pitted dates to taste
2 Tbsp (20 g) hemp seeds*
2 Tbsp (24 g) chia seeds
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Method :
Add bananas, berries, and coconut milk to a food processor and mix to combine. Then taste and adjust sweetness if needed, adding either maple syrup or pitted dates (optional) and blending to combine.
Next add hemp seeds, chia seeds, and cinnamon (see photo), and pulse to combine. Transfer to 3-4 serving dishes (I love these ones from World Market).
Cover and refrigerate to chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Enjoy