Switzerland considers making cannabis legal and approves pilot programs

Cannabis could soon be legal in Switzerland. The Swiss Council of States, Switzerland’s smaller chamber of parliament, unanimously approved a bill allowing studies and pilot programs in the landlocked Alpine nation. The Council called for an experimental article in the Swiss Federation’s Narcotics Act that would allow for scientific research projects including trials of a “coffee shop” system of cannabis distribution similar to that of Amsterdam. Five Swiss cities have already called for such coffeeshop pilot programs.

The Ministry of Health rejected requests until now, maintaining there’s no legal basis for carving such exceptions out of the Narcotics Act. After rejecting the idea in November 2017, the Ministry pointed out that the Narcotics Act must be amended by an “experiment paragraph.” This would provide for the City of Bern to review future applications.

“There was a need for scientifically based decision-making principles for the future regulation of cannabis,” according to MP Roberto Zanetti, representing the Social Democrats. The City of Bern had previously requested a cannabis pilot project several times. Under the proposed trial, 1,000 people who already use cannabis would be allowed to purchase it legally.The pilot project, which would allow cannabis purchases in pharmacies, would be scientifically evaluated and serve as a basis for future cannabis policies.

The bill now goes to the larger chamber of parliament, the National Council, where its fate rests. The Council of States has 46 members representing the Swiss cantons (federal states). It is the lesser chamber of parliament, analogous to the U.S. House of Representatives. The National Council has 200 members. Together, the two chambers make up the Swiss Federal Assembly, which meets in Bern.

Cannabis is already widely tolerated in Switzerland.

Possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis has been decriminalized. Between 200,000 and 300,000 Swiss use cannabis on a regular basis, according to government estimates. Possession of up to 10 grams isn’t punished in most cantons. Public consumption will get you a minor fine, 100 Swiss francs.

Numerous coffee shops are already open, legally selling CBD-dominant cannabis flowers with THC content of less than 1 percent. With the first CBD bars opening, cannabis has become hot news in Switzerland and is becoming part of the streetscape and culture.

CBD use is so widespread, the police in Zurich have started using a rapid test device to test for CBD to distinguish between low-THC legal cannabis and the high-THC illegal flower.

Switzerland’s 1 percent limit on THC means it has a higher threshold than the rest of Europe, Canada, and the United States. Anything up to 1 percent THC is defined as legal fiber hemp under Swiss Federation law. Because Switzerland isn’t a member of the European Union, it is free to set its own marijuana policies.

Switzerland almost legalized cannabis 20 years ago.

Back in the late 1990s, cannabis activists in Switzerland discovered a loophole in the Narcotics Act. The legal gap made it possible to grow and sell marijuana, both for personal use and on a larger scale. That’s because the law didn’t yet distinguish between cannabis and hemp on the basis of THC content. As long as the products were grown and sold for the stated use of “aromatherapy,” that made them legal.

A network of “Hanflädelis” (Hemp shops) rapidly sprang up where flowers and hash could be bought at reasonable prices. The shops first appeared in Zurich, and later throughout the country.

The Council of States even approved a legalization law in 2001. The National Council was expected to follow. But Switzerland, despite its famed neutrality (and, at the time, non-membership), came under heavy pressure from the United Nations. The U.N. was still unfortunately locked in is quixotic Drug War mindset. It demanded that Switzerland stick to its commitment to the 1961 Single Convention. That international agreement, seen through by the infamous American drug warrior Harry J. Anslinger, basically forced every country on earth to promise to keep cannabis illegal forever.

It didn’t help that neighbors France and Germany had started to loudly complain about the increasing amounts of cannabis coming across their borders. The weed was coming from, you guessed it, Switzerland.

In September 2002, Switzerland joined the United Nations. In short order, the National Council buckled to international pressure. They rejected the law that had been approved by the lower chamber of parliament the year before. Faced with the stark choice of legal cannabis or membership in the U.N., Swiss politicians chose the latter. So now it’s up to the National Council again.

A national referendum on cannabis legalization failed at the polls in 2008. In the decade since, the Swiss cities of Bern, Geneva, Basel, and Zurich have all repeatedly asked for regulated marijuana sales, starting with pilot projects. Many smaller towns also want to take part in such trials.

So in a replay of what happened in 2002 the final decision on cannabis legalization once again is up to the National Council. This time, the Grand Chamber of parliament is expected to at least partially go along with the Council of States. The vote, however, is expected to be a close one.

Source : Herb

Cannabis Oil Capsules May Be Best Treatment For Fibromyalgia

Treatment For Fibromyalgia much like treatments for any and all disease., often starts with the management of symptoms. With this disorder, the symptoms create a string of tender points along the body. Coupling this with extreme fatigue and an inability to sleep and you have a concoction for a drastically poor quality of life riddled with pain and discomfort.

Medical Cannabis Treatment for Fibromyalgia

The prevalence of Treatment For Fibromyalgia goes up as a person ages, yet 80-90% of all cases are women. The symptoms are known to worsen with persistence as it progresses and it is worsened by the weather, illness and stress. One cannabinoid profile that is well suited for this disorder patients has been identified as CBD. It is suggested patients obtain CBD rich medicine. Synergistically coupling a cbd rich oil with one that contains Low THC, there is additional relief provided to patients.

According to a report conducted by the National Pain Foundation and National Pain Report, medical cannabis has been rated as one of the most effective treatment in reducing pain from Fibromyalgia.Many of the 1,300 fibromyalgia patients who responded to the survey said they had tried all 3 of the FDA approved drugs. One patient explained there were far more negative side effects to the FDA approved drugs than there were positive attributes.

When asked about the effectiveness of Cymbalta (Duloxetine), 60% of those who tried the medication stated that it did not work for them, whilst 8% reported it to be very effective. 32% reported Cymbalta helped slightly.Of those in the study who tried Pfizer’s Lyrica (Pregabalin) a whopping 61% reported that there was no relief. 10% reported Lyrica to be very effective whilst 29% said it helped slightly.

Rating Forest Laboratories’ Savella (Milnacipran), 68% of those trailing the drug stated that it didn’t work. 10% reported that it was very effective and 22% reported slight relief.

Comparing the study findings against those who had tried medical cannabis for their this disorder symptoms 62% said it was very effective. Another 33% said it helped slightly whilst only 5% reported no relief.

Source : Women With Fibromyalgia

 

Economic benefits of Hemp

Hemp is the same plant as marijuana, its scientific name is “cannabis sativa.” For thousands of years hemp was used to make dozens of commercial products like paper, rope, canvas, and textiles. In fact, the very name “canvas” comes from the Dutch word meaning cannabis, which is marijuana. That’s correct, real canvas is made from marijuana!

Many years ago hemp/marijuana was unjustly banned. However, hemp has recently been rediscoverd as a plant that has enormous environmental, economic, and commercial potential. What follows are some fascinating facts about hemp/marijuana – facts that will shock most people:

The potential of hemp for paper production is enormous. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees! All types of paper products can be produced from hemp: newsprint, computer paper, stationary, cardboard, envelopes, toilet paper, even tampons.
Paper production from hemp would eliminate the need to chop down BILLIONS of trees! MILLIONS of acres of forests and huge areas of wildlife habitat could be preserved.

Trees must grow for 20 to 50 years after planting before they can be harvested for commercial use. Within 4 months after it is planted, hemp grows 10 to 20 feet tall and it is ready for harvesting! Hemp can be grown on most farmland throughout where forests require large tracts of land available in few locations. Substituting hemp for trees would save forests and wildlife habitats and would eliminate erosion of topsoil due to logging. Reduction of topsoil erosion would also reduce pollution of lakes/rivers/streams.
Fewer caustic and toxic chemicals are used to make paper from hemp than are used to make paper from trees – LESS POLLUTION!

Hemp can also be substituted for cotton to make textiles. Hemp fiber is 10 times stronger than cotton and can be used to make all types of clothing. Cotton grows only in warm climates and requires enormous amounts of water. Hemp requires little water and grows in all 50 states! There are now many stores in the U.S. that sell hemp-derived products such as clothing, paper, cheese, soap, ice cream, cosmetics, and hemp oil. Demand for these products – not even in existence in 1992 – is growing rapidly.

Hemp naturally repels weed growth and hemp has few insect enemies. Few insect enemies and no weed problems means hemp requires NO HERBICIDES and FEW or NO PESTICIDES!

Cotton requires enormous pesticide use. 50% of all pesticides used in the U.S. are used on cotton. Substituting hemp for cotton would drastically reduce pesticide usage!

Hemp produces twice as much fiber per acre as cotton! An area of land only 25 miles by 25 miles square (the size of a typical U.S. county) planted with hemp can produce enough fiber in one year to make 100 MILLION pair of denim jeans! A wide variety of clothing made from 100% hemp (pants, denim jeans, jackets, shoes, dresses, shorts, hats) is now available.

Building materials that substitute for wood can be made from hemp. These wood-like building materials are stronger than wood and can be manufactured cheaper than wood from trees. Using these hemp- derived building materials would reduce building costs and save even more trees!

Hemp seeds are a source of nutritious high-protien oil that can be used for human and animal consumption. Hemp oil is NOT intoxicating. Extracting protein from hemp is less expensive than extracting protein from soybeans. Hemp protein can be processed and flavored in any way soybean protein can. Hemp oil can also be used to make highly nutritious tofu, butter, cheese, salad oils, and other foods. Hemp oil can also be used to produce paint, varnish, ink, lubricating oils, and plastic susbstitues. Because 50% of the weight of a mature hemp plant is seeds, hemp could become a significant source for these products.

Most hemp-derived products are NONTOXIC, BIODEGRADABLE, and RENEWABLE!

Unlike virtually all hemp substitutes, growing hemp requires very little effort and very few resources. Most substitutes for hemp (sisal, kenaf, sugar cane) grow in limited geographical areas and none have the paper/fiber potential of hemp. Hemp can be grown in all 50 states!

Unlike many crops, hemp puts little strain on the soil and requires only moderate amounts of fertilizer. Less fertilizer use results in less runoff into waterways and groundwater; therefore, less water pollution.

Hemp produces more biomass than any plant that can be grown .This biomass can be converted to fuel in the form of clean-burning alcohol, or no-sulphur man-made coal. Hemp has more potential as a clean and renewable energy source than any crop on earth! It is estimated that if hemp was widely grown in the U.S. for fuel/energy, it could supply 100% of all U.S. energy needs!

Marijuana has dozens of proven medicinal uses. Marijuana is more effective, less toxic, and less expensive than alternative synthetic medicines currently used. A recent poll revealed that over 50% of U.S. physicians would prescribe marijuana to their patients if it was legally available. People who suffer from arthritis, AIDS, rheumatism, leukimia, multiple sclerosis, cancer, glauocoma, and other ailments can benefit from marijuana as medicine. But because of our insane marijuana laws, people in need of this medicine are denied it.

Study Shows Cannabis Protects the Liver From Alcohol Damage

We hear a lot about the effects of cannabis on the brain and body, but rarely do we consider its effects when used in combination with other drugs, like alcohol. Studying the health impacts of both alcohol and cannabis on their own is valuable, but it doesn’t always reflect the public’s use patterns. Therefore, it’s important to understand the impact that the combination of alcohol and cannabis has on health outcomes. A recent study took up this challenge by investigating the effect of cannabis consumption on alcoholic liver disease.
What Is Alcoholic Liver Disease?
Drinking a lot of alcohol over many years causes liver disease by consistently elevating levels of inflammation. Alcohol directly damages liver cells and causes an inflammatory response. Additionally, alcohol disturbs the walls of the intestine, leading to a recruitment of inflammatory cells to repair the damage. These inflammatory cells make their way through the intestine to the liver where they contribute to liver inflammation. Alcohol also disrupts the microbes in the gut, causing them to release toxins into the blood stream that the liver tries to break down and becomes inflamed in the process.
These processes lead to the onset and progression of alcoholic liver disease:
The progression of alcoholic liver disease often brings a disruption of normal gut function, leading to an excess of fat deposits in the liver. This creates a condition known as “steatosis,” or “fatty liver.”
The increase in the cellular stress by the excess of fat cells in the liver leads to a state of constant inflammation of the liver, even in the absence of alcohol. This state is called “alcoholic hepatitis.”
Eventually, this inflammation leads to irreversible liver cell damage. The damage reaches a point where few healthy cells remain and the liver becomes scarred with non-functioning tissue. This stage is called “cirrhosis,” and liver function is severely compromised.
Lastly, the ongoing inflammation for years, if not decades, also increases risk for liver cancer, called “hepatocellular carcinoma.”
These four manifestations characterize the devastating alcoholic liver disease, which turns out to be quite common. Nearly 29% of individuals have had an alcohol use disorder in their lifetime, and among them, 20% develop liver disease. And it can kill you. In fact, those with an alcohol use disorder are 23 times more likely to die from a liver disease. What if there was a way to reduce the risk of alcoholic liver disease in those with an alcohol use disorder?
Indeed there may be, and cannabis may hold the key.
Ten percent of individuals with an alcohol use disorder also have a cannabis use disorder, while even more use cannabis but aren’t classified as dependent consumers. Could cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties protect against the development of alcoholic liver disease?
Study Findings: The Effects of Cannabis on Alcoholic Liver Disease
In a massive study that included 320,000 individuals with an alcohol use disorder* (of which over 26,000 were non-dependent cannabis users and 4,300 were dependent cannabis users), the scientists revealed that cannabis use protected against developing alcoholic liver disease. The scientists found that regardless of whether people were frequent or infrequent cannabis consumers, cannabis protected against developing each of the four stages of liver disease. Notably, the heaviest cannabis consumers had the greatest protection against alcoholic liver disease.
Specifically, cannabis use was associated with (note: percentages are for combined dependent and non-dependent cannabis consumers):
45% reduction in alcoholic steatosis (fatty liver)
40% reduction in alcoholic hepatitis (inflamed liver)
55% reduction in alcoholic cirrhosis (scarred liver)
75% reduction in hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer)
It must be noted that cannabis was most protective in individuals who met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse. Cannabis had less of a protective effect in those who presumably consumed more alcohol and met the criteria for alcohol dependence. Broadly speaking, alcohol abuse is drinking too much too often, while dependence is the inability to quit. In most cases, those who are dependent end up consuming more alcohol throughout their lives. So it appears that cannabis is only protective against alcoholic liver disease to a point; the more you drink, the less cannabis can help.
Cannabis Protects Against Liver Cancer by Reducing Inflammation
Despite the growing excitement of certain cannabinoids in cancer treatment, the scientists concluded that cannabis’ protection against liver cancer mostly came from its ability to prevent cirrhosis. This is therefore a different protective mechanism than halting or killing the cancer directly. Since 90% of hepatocellular carcinoma stems from cirrhosis, cannabis’ block of this critical step illustrates its substantial therapeutic potential to prevent the onset of these life-threatening conditions.
But their results still leave open the possibility for cannabis’ direct anti-cancer effects. The scientists report that cannabis use was associated with a similar reduction in liver cancer in both alcohol abusers and those who were dependent. Since cannabis was less effective at preventing cirrhosis in those with alcohol dependence, it leaves open the possibility that cannabis directly blocked the development of liver cancer independent of its effects on cirrhosis. Additional studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of cannabis’ anti-cancer properties in the liver.
Alcohol Increases Inflammation
Alcohol damages the brain and body by increasing inflammation, and this inflammation contributes to liver disease. The anti-inflammatory properties of the primary cannabinoids, THC and cannabidiol (CBD), lead one to predict that cannabis consumption could reduce inflammation caused by alcohol, and therefore help prevent the development of liver disease.
However, cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects are not so straight forward in the liver. THC activates cannabinoid type I and type II receptors (CB1 and CB2), while CBD blocks THC’s actions at CB1 receptors and activates CB2 receptors. This distinction is important considering that activating CB1 receptors has pro-inflammatory effects in the liver and leads to liver disease, while CB2 activation has anti-inflammatory effects and protects against liver disease. These effects have been identified in laboratory models of liver disease, but cannabis’ effect on alcoholic liver disease in humans had not yet been assessed.
Cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties are already being utilized for pain relief as well as treatment for colitis (inflammation of the colon), multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. Balanced THC/CBD strains or CBD-dominant strains may provide even greater anti-inflammatory effects, and hopefully better prevent alcoholic liver disease.

Source : Leafly

 

2,500-year-old marijuana discovered in an ancient tomb

A 2,500-year-old stash of whole marijuana plants have been unearthed from an ancient tomb in northwest China. This discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that ancient people used marijuana for its psychoactive properties, and incorporated it into their rituals.A team of archaeologists, led by Hongen Jiang with the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, discovered 13 marijuana plants that were still largely intact, if yellowed and desiccated after millennia underground. In a first for funerary marijuana, the plants were found lying like a burial shroud atop the body of a man who had died in his mid-30s. Their roots lay below the man’s hips and the tips — which had been trimmed to remove the flowers — extended up around his face, according to the publication of the find in the journal Economic Botany.
This stash was found in one of 240 tombs that archaeologists had excavated in a desert region of the Turpan Basin in northwest China. The area had probably once been a stop along the Silk Road, and pastoral people called the Subeixi had lived and traded here, Kristin Romey for National Geographic reports. Three other tombs in this cemetery also contained marijuana fruits, leaves, stem fragments, and seeds. Scientists have wondered whether the marijuana plants came in via trade, or whether they had been farmed or grew wild in the region. Since the burial shroud marijuana plants were whole, uprooted plants, that suggests local growth.

ANCIENT PEOPLE USED MARIJUANA FOR ITS PSYCHOACTIVE PROPERTIES

Ancient people in Siberia and northwestern China have been putting pot in tombs since at least the first millennia BCE. An open question has been whether these plants were used for fruit, for their hemp fibers to make rope and clothing, or for what we use them for today: to get high, or to cut pain. So far, archaeologists have found 6,000 to 7,000-year-old hemp fabrics in Northern China, but haven’t unearthed any evidence of hemp clothing near the Turpan Basin before 2,000 years ago. While it’s possible that the clothes may simply have rotted over time, it’s also possible that the main purpose of marijuana wasn’t fiber.

In 2006, archaeologists found a large cache of marijuana fragments in a grave from around the same time period, at a nearby settlement. When scientists later analyzed the plants, they detected compounds that form when the main source of marijuana’s high — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — breaks down. That means these plants were probably prized for their psychoactive properties. This latest discovery of marijuana plants used as a burial shroud as well as the many previous findings of marijuana in the region’s tombs suggests that marijuana was used either medicinally or ritually, the authors write.

VIA: National Geographic
SOURCE: Economic Botany, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, and Journal of Experimental Botany

The future is Hemp

There are certain global changes, which we do not welcome. Deforestation, global warming, over population, loss of diversity, and the poisoning of seemingly every ecosystem alive.
We need to act now! Analyzing these problems and creating solutions should be our PRIORITY. Alternative crops such as hemp offer a wide range of benefits, not only to the environment but to local and world economies alike. Hemp is as valuable to the small farm communities as it is to the big industry (a balance not often found these days). The overall benefits include: bio-safe alternatives to the products depended upon now, and a sustainable fiber source to meet the worlds extreme demand. The benefits to the world would be phenomenal. Farmers worldwide could utilize this amazing universal plant. The key word here is adaptability. Hemp can thrive virtually anywhere in the world, due to the fact that it is essentially a weed.

Agriculturally, hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a superb rotational crop. It also has the ability to resist drought as well as insects and fungus. Requiring little to no fertilizer it would greatly improve water quality by potentially reducing cancer causing agents in well water and runoff into rivers, lakes, and streams.

Economically, opportunity is knocking! The amount of jobs that would be created by the major upsurge in hemp production, would be a welcome blessing to small rural communities where jobs are scarce. Why are we sending millions of dollars each year to foreign economies when there are plenty of farmers as well as manufacturers and consumers right here in America? Prior to 1890 the world depended on hemp fiber so much it was the universal standard. In colonial times it was required by law to grow the hemp plant, for the survival of the colonies. You could pay your taxes with hemp. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew, and strongly advocated the hemp plant to stabilize our new country. Washington himself once said, “Make the most of the hemp plant – sow it everywhere.”

The pros most definitely outweigh the cons (if there are any). Hemp is not in production today because of laws written in 1937 by politicians involved in big industry. Cultivation of hemp posed a direct threat to the petrochemical industry, as well as cotton growers, and paper producers with large timber holdings. Therefore laws were designed to create so much red tape it would hinder and eventually stop production of the plant. Big industry does not want hemp relegalized, and they are the ones with the money and the lobbying power to maintain this red tape. By avoiding natural solutions, Industry continues to deplete our earth’s resources.

Propaganda was published nationwide in the Hearst Newspaper, the largest paper in the country, during the 1930’s. Enough people read or heard these lies that it has become incorporated into our culture to think of hemp as marijuana the “killer weed”. This is entirely untrue, and only through proper education can we counteract the effects of the “campaign of lies”.

Cannabis sativa L., otherwise known as hemp, contains less than one- percent (.2%) tetrahydracannabinol (THC), the active ingredient, which causes the “high” effect when smoking pot. This TRACE of THC would only be present in the leaves, and would be of no pharmaceutical value. Even if one were to try to smoke hemp they would only get a headache or become nauseous. You CANNOT get high on hemp! Hemp products DO NOT contain THC. It is perfectly legal to possess hemp products as well as sterilized seeds. You cannot cultivate it because law enforcement officials claim they could not distinguish between hemp and marijuana. This is also untrue. The two varieties of cannabis grow completely different. A field of hemp is planted in rows four inches apart, and is grown for its fibrous stalks. Hemp grows to a mature height of 10 to 12 feet; marijuana is a short, bushy plant, which grows to an average height of four to six feet. Additionally, smoking grade marijuana is planted two feet apart and grown for its potent flowers.

By using hemp products you are saying, “It’s time to make a change.” Bio-safe products need to become an everyday thing, not a trend. The earth is our life support system, and the only one we have. Let’s fix what has already been done. Please support Industrial Hemp, and pass on the truth to anyone who laughs, jokes, or just doesn’t know.

Written by: Travis Elble