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

Persimmon Hemp Tart

Ingredients:

persimmon fruit – 3 (really ripe hachiya ones will do best)
dates – 1 cup
walnuts – 1 cup
Hemp flour -1 cup
cocoa powder – 1 tbsp (or carob powder)
desiccated coconut – 1 tbsp + a bit more for the garnish

Method:
for the base:
add the dates, walnuts, desiccated coconut, cocoa powder and hemp flour into a food processor
run the processor until everything comes together and walnuts are broken up
now, dividing this into four portions, place the mixture into non-stick tart cases
spread them out well to cover the base and the sides of each tart case
place them in the freezer for atleast half an hour and then begin making the

filling
for the filling:
peel the persimmon fruits, chop into cubes and grind them to form a puree in the food processor or blender
take out the tart cases with the base filled in, from the fridge or freezer
using a spoon add the fruit puree to cover the base evenly upto the top
garnish with more desiccated coconut
again chill in the fridge/freezer for half an hour and serve!

Enjoy 

Pomegranate-Orange Tart

Ingredients:

1/4 cup minced dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
Baking spray with flour
1/2 cup fresh or frozen, thawed blueberries
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
Pomegranate arils (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place pistachios in a food processor; process until almost ground. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour, powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to processor; pulse to combine. Add butter; drizzle with oil. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. (It will be dry and slightly sandy.) Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Cool completely.

3. Place blueberries in a medium saucepan; mash with a potato masher. Add juice, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; simmer 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl; add 1/2 cup hot juice mixture to yolks, stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture into pan; bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook 1 minute or until bubbly and thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Strain through a sieve into a bowl; stir in rind. Place bowl in a larger ice-filled bowl for 20 minutes or until cooled, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into crust. Cover and chill 3 hours or until set.

4. Place egg whites in a large bowl. Add vanilla, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 250°. Gradually pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at medium-low speed, then at high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over tart. Garnish with pomegranate arils, if desired.

Enjoy 

Study: What Is The Best Cannabis Oil Extraction Method?

Cannabis extract medicine has been used for generations to help treat a variety of conditions, and its popularity has increased quite a bit in recent years. Much of this increased popularity can be traced to Rick Simpson‘s public campaign in favor of what he referred to as “hemp oil.”

Last year, a group of researchers from the University of Siena (Italy) and Leiden University (Netherlands) completed a study comparing some of the most commonly used extraction solvents. Their results were published in the journal Cannabinoids.
Cannabis Extraction Solvents Discussed By Caregivers, Researchers
cannabinoid medicinesAs previously reported, Rick advocated for the use of naphtha or petroleum ether – a fact for which he has taken criticism. The argument being made is not that these substances are ineffective as solvents, but that it creates an unnecessary danger for patients.
As noted by, Dr. Luigi L. Romano, lead author of the European study, naphtha and petroleum ether are mixtures of various hydrocarbons (benzene, hexane, etc.). He goes on to explain, “they are each considered cancer hazards according to their respective Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by manufacturers.”
There are a number of alternative extraction methods that have gained popularity in recent years – some intended for inhalation (butane, CO2, propane, etc), and others geared toward oral ingestion (ethanol, olive oil, coconut oil, etc.). It should come as no surprise that each substance reacts differently when used as a solvent, and the final product can be greatly affected by the process used to extract the highly coveted cannabis oil.
Researchers Test Efficacy Of Various Cannabis Extract Solvents
With this in mind, the European research team investigated the effectiveness of four extraction solvents – naphtha, petroleum ether, ethanol and olive oil. They performed a total of five extractions, including two slightly different methods of olive oil extraction. Lab test results from each final product were then analyzed for their respective cannabinoid and terpene content.
“Ethanol and olive oil were determined to be the most effective, largely because of their ability to produce an extract with a high terpene content. Perhaps more importantly, both substances are safe for consumption.”
Of the solvents used, naphtha showed the most significant difference. Naphtha-based cannabis oil displayed a lower concentration of terpenes and a much higher percentage of decarboxylated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compared to the other extracts.
On the other hand, ethanol and olive oil were determined to be the most effective, largely because of their ability to produce an extract with a high terpene content. Perhaps more importantly, both substances are safe for consumption.
Many developments are being made in the realm of cannabis oil and a movement is underway to end the use of harmful solvents like naphtha in the case of medical marijuana patients. In fact, a Colorado-based concentrate company named OG recently released a line of capsules filled with solventless RSO and patients have reported broad spectrum benefits.

Source : Medical Jane

New potent derivative of cannabidiol could be key in the development of more effective cannabis-based medicine

A considerable number of human and animal studies indicate that Cannabidiol (CBD) exerts therapeutic effects in a wide range of health disorders. These include anxiety disorders, neuropathic pain, epilepsy, cancer treatment-related symptoms, and possibly schizophrenia, psychosis, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Considering CBD’s general safety, it is somewhat surprising that it has not yet been marketed as a stand-alone drug (Sativex, which is available in Canada and some European countries, contains a 1:1 ration of THC and CBD). A reason for this might be due to its low potency, which requires that large doses be administered to achieve significant therapeutic effects. For instance, in human studies of anxiety, doses of 300 to 600 mg of CBD are needed to achieve effects comparable to those of 10 mg of diazepam (source).

In an attempt to overcome this hurdle, an international team of researchers from Israel and Brazil has been trying to create more potent molecules derived from CBD. The team focused on fluorination, a method employed by pharmacists worldwide to enhance endogenous and synthetic drugs, which is applied in nearly 20% of the new drugs released in the market. Using this method to add a fluorine atom to the “aromatic ring” of the CBD molecule, the researchers obtained a new and much more potent molecule (HUF-101). Their successful finding was published this July in the journal PLOS ONE.

After the chemical synthesis of HUF-101, different concentrations of the compound were tested in mice under four behavioral assays. These testrd for the presence of any protective effects against anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and compulsive behavior.

Overall, the experiment revealed strong protective effects of HUF-101 in the four assays. More importantly, when the data were compared to previous studies, it was obvious that similar effects to those of CBD were being achieved at much lower concentrations of HUF-101. In the anxiety and depression tests, comparable effects were observed at a tenth of the concentration; while in the schizophrenia and compulsive behavior tests, concentrations ranging from a twentieth to a third were holding the same effects.

In a subsequent manipulation, the researchers found that when they blocked CB1 or CB2 receptors, both CBD and the derivative HUF-101 lost their efficacy in preventing compulsive behavior. This suggests that an indirect activation of these receptors by both drugs was likely mediating the behavioral effect. The authors did not attempt to test what mechanisms were responsible for the remaining behaviors due to logistical limitations. Considering the many mechanisms of action known for CBD and the fact that none is likely to singlehandedly explain all the effects observed, such an endeavor would have been prohibitively long.

Several other issues remain to be tackled in future research, including the tracing of HUF-101 toxicity profile in different animal models, the study of its pharmacodynamic parameters, and assessing how well these effects generalize to other types of assays that measure similar aspects of behavior. Only after addressing these issues will any prospects of clinical human trials be feasible. For now, this new compound remains an interesting scientific finding with potential applications in the development of more effective cannabis-based medicines.

Source : New Lift

Cannabis Appears to Affect Emotional Response to Pain

New study finds that the use of cannabis does not affect major brain changes in regards to pain, but does appear to provide emotional relief.

Chronic pain affects millions of people around the world. The cause of pain can be very hard or even impossible to detect, and it can be difficult to find an effective form of therapy. Even when the cause is clear, it can be a challenge to find a way to effectively combat ongoing pain.

For some patients who struggle with chronic pain, cannabis (also known as marijuana) and cannabis-based medications have been found to be effective. However, others find that it fails to reduce their pain, only bringing about the side effects associated with its use, which, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, include “distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.”

A new study by the University of Oxford, published in the journal Pain, aims to get a better look at what exactly occurs in the brain when someone uses cannabis as a therapy for pain relief. Researchers found that, although some people reported changes in their levels of pain, there appeared to be no significant changes in the parts of the brain that account for the experience of pain. It did, however, appear that cannabis affects the emotional response the patients to pain, but it does not do so in a consistent fashion.

The Expert Take
Dr. Michael Lee of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB), who was involved with the study, spoke with Healthline about how the study was conducted, as well as its implications for patients suffering from chronic pain.

Although the study was limited to a small group of men and examined only one possible THC compound, the study was intended to begin scratching the surface of what occurs in the brain during the use of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis).

“Patients may be prescribed multiple doses and for much longer periods of time to help them manage pain,” explains Lee. “We studied effects from a single dose of THC in healthy, drug-naïve volunteers for ethical and scientific reasons.”

Source and Method
The study involved 12 men in good health, who were each given a 15mg tablet of either THC or a placebo. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in cannabis that produces a high, and accounts for the popularity of cannabis’ use as a recreational drug.

“THC is the main psychoactive compound of cannabis,” explains Lee. “It has been prescribed in the form of Marinol (US) or Dronabinol (Europe) and also as part of Sativex for chronic pain.”

In order to produce a mild amount of pain in these healthy individuals, one of two types of cream was rubbed into the skin of one leg. One type was a dummy cream that did not elicit pain, while the other contained one percent capsaicin, which causes a painful, burning sensation.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was conducted four times on each participant—once for each possible combination of cream, placebo, and THC. They were asked to explain to researchers the intensity of their pain, as well as how much it bothered them.

The Takeaway
It was not clear that cannabis had any actual effects on the parts of the brain that signal pain, but it did appear to aid some study participants in their emotional experience of that pain.

“Cannabis may influence the emotional aspect (‘the hurt’), rather than the sensation of pain,” explains Lee. “This sort of pain relief may depend on how the amygdala (the brain region linked to fear) reacts to the drug. That means that not everyone can benefit from the effects of cannabis on the brain.”

The researchers found an apparent correlation between the effectiveness of THC for pain relief and a certain connection in the brain—namely, the strength of the connection between the right amygdala and the primary sensorimotor area, which is part of the brain’s cortex. If this correlation is, in fact, present, it may allow doctors to determine in advance whether THC will be effective as a form of pain relief for certain patients. This will, however, require long-term studies, and would also require the participation of patients suffering from chronic pain.

Researchers determined that, although the burning sensation did not appear to change, THC did appear to make the pain less bothersome in some patients. However, out of the 12 participants, only six said there was an actual change in the degree to which their pain bothered them.

Other Research
A 2002 study in Pain Research & Management took a look at therapeutic cannabis use among patients experiencing chronic pain. Most of the patients surveyed in the study reported improvement in pain, mood, and sleep.

Future studies will need to examine the effects of THC over a longer period of time, and in patients who actually experience chronic pain, as opposed to the healthy men surveyed in the Oxford study.

“We do need longer-term studies to help predict which patients, or what sort of pain, might respond positively to cannabis-based medicines,” says Lee. “We also need to understand the long-term risks of cannabis in these patients.”

Although the findings of the Oxford study will likely impact future research on THC and pain relief, it is unclear how the findings will affect the dialogue surrounding the use of cannabis. “The findings are of interest scientifically, but it remains to be seen how they impact the debate about use of cannabis-based medicines,” says Lee in a press release for the study.

Source: Health Line