Why women will swap wine for weed when it’s legal

Sipping on a glass of wine, whether it be for relief after a long day or just for the buzz, is the norm for professional women, especially those living in states where cannabis is not accessible. That’s because going to the store for a bottle of Merlot, or ten, is permissible all across the U.S. whereas a gram of weed alone can cause you to lose your job, or worse, your entire career. In legal states, however, alcohol sales are already declining as consumers opt for the herb instead.

At the present time, recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, with the possibility of Michigan becoming the tenth come November. Not to mention, there are also 29 states with medical marijuana laws. With legalization on the rise, will more women convert from wine to weed? The experts over at Rabobank, the most substantial food & agribusiness bank in Europe, are convinced they will.

Why professionals believe legal weed may just be the new wine for women.

According to the experts from Rabobank, there are three solid reasons to believe that women will want to put down the wine glass once weed is legal across the continent. For one, weed is an attractive option for health-conscious women. A single glass of wine contains anywhere from 110 to 300 calories. Marijuana, on the other hand, comes with no calories whatsoever, making it ideal for women wanting to lose weight or embrace a healthier lifestyle in general.

It’s no secret that cannabis is better for you than alcohol. Not to mention, safer. Alcohol is responsible for thousands of deaths annually while weed is a cause for zero. Although smoking anything, including marijuana, isn’t that good for you, legalization has brought on numerous ways to consume the plant, many of which are smoke-free, like edibles, vaporizers, and infused beverages. Even though weed in any form can cause the munchies, aka a case of the “I need food and lots of it,” studies show it doesn’t increase your BMI. On the contrary, it turns out that people who consume cannabis have a lower BMI than those who don’t partake.

Older, wealthier women are also highly likely to swap weed for wine as it becomes legal, according to Rabobank analysts. The reason is that they have gained the most valuables throughout their lifetimes, such as beautiful homes and nice cars. These women also have high-paying careers and they don’t want to sacrifice it all for an illegal gram of weed. But if cannabis is legal, research shows, older wealthy women are most likely to give it a try than other demographics.

Should the wine industry be concerned?

Even in recreational states, you still have ladies who love their wine. But more people are also smoking weed in these states than before. Take Oregon, for example. According to Rabobank, before legalization, the growth rate of marijuana use was at 1.4 percent. Post-legalization, however, the growth rate has climbed significantly to 16.5 percent.

Despite legalization sweeping the nation, the wine industry isn’t likely to take a significant hit. After all, there are plenty of moments that call for a tall glass of wine, like a good meal or a night of Netflix and chill. But that doesn’t mean the wine industry shouldn’t be prepared for competition. Dispensaries no longer look like sketchy hole-in-the-wall joints, and women aren’t limited strictly to smoking cannabis. With that being said, there couldn’t be a more comfortable or opportune time for women to make the switch from wine to weed than now.

Source : Herb

 

How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

Growing cannabis from seeds is no more difficult than growing any other plant. It doesn’t take a magic touch or a green thumb, and it doesn’t require special knowledge of horticulture.
Growing cannabis from seeds is no more difficult than growing any other plant. It doesn’t take a magic touch or a green thumb, and it doesn’t require special knowledge of horticulture. For many reasons, growing cannabis plants from seed is a better, more reliable route to success than growing cannabis plants from clones, and the road to healthy plants yielding high-quality buds begins with the germination of the seeds.

WHAT IS GERMINATION?
If you’ve never grown any kind of plant before, germination is simply a term for the sprouting and initial growth of a seed. Every plant seed, though tiny, hard and dry in appearance, harbors a delicate plant embryo, water, and even stored food. All it needs is a jump start from you to sprout and begin its life, and there are several different methods for doing this. Each method can be successful, and you may decide to try one or two and see which technique brings you the best results. Think of it as a really fun science experiment, with the ultimate grand prize being a healthy, hearty cannabis plant.
Purchasing seeds online is the best way to get a good, reliable cannabis plant that will have the best chance of producing buds. You may find seeds in your regular product, but the chances are good that those seeds are either dead or dried out. Dry, old seeds are extremely difficult to germinate. Those seeds in your bag are probably pretty dark and dull looking, and that’s a sure sign that they are either dead, or old and dry. Healthy seeds bought online will look fresh and waxy, and that’s how you can tell that they are young, healthy and ready for germination.

THE PAPER TOWEL METHOD
Wherever you live, the springtime is when you see incredible plant growth and new, green life sprouting up all around you. The key to successful cannabis seed germination is to replicate a spring-like condition for the seeds, inducing them to vegetate. This means that seeds should be moist but not soaked, and warm but not hot.
An easy way to accomplish this is by placing seeds between layered, moistened paper towels. It’s best to use real rainwater for this method, and if you live in a rainy area you can collect rainwater in any receptacle left outside. If you don’t get much rainfall where you live, you can substitute bottled, distilled water instead. Moisten the paper towels with the clean water, making sure that they are not sopping or dripping, and place the seeds between the layers.
Next, you’ll want to place the towel-covered seeds into a plastic bag. This creates a humid, warm atmosphere, like a greenhouse. You can also place the paper towels on a glass plate or baking dish and cover them with plastic wrap. Find a dark place in your home to put them while they are getting ready to germinate. A drawer in your kitchen or a closet shelf would make an ideal germination environment.
Check the seeds daily to make sure that the paper towels have not dried. When they begin to dry, simply pour more water on them and squeeze it out gently. Do not let standing water accumulate in the bag or plate you have placed them in. This process should take between five to twelve days. Sometime in that period, you will see the seed casing burst, and a small but strong root will emerge.

THE STRAIGHT-TO-SOIL METHOD
Many growers believe that it is easiest and most natural to simply plant cannabis seeds directly into the soil in which they will grow and thrive. If you choose to use the soil germination method, remember that you should always keep the potted seeds indoors. Seeds planted outdoors will have very little chance of germinating, as the environment is too uncontrolled. The benefit to planting seedlings directly into the soil is that you will not have to transplant them after germination. The transplant process can be a shock to a young plant’s root system, and some people have difficulty nursing a cannabis seedling through this process.
For the soil method, you will need to purchase sturdy containers with drainage holes, potting soil, and a secondary plant fertilizer. Mix the fertilizer and potting soil together and fill the containers, tamping it down slightly. It’s best to start out with very small containers, no more than three inches wide. Moisten the soil with distilled water or rainwater, taking care not to drench it. Make a small hole with your finger approximately one and half inches deep, and place a seed into the hole. Try to position the seed with the pointed edge facing downward.
The containers with the newly planted seeds should be kept in a warm area indoors. A plant heating pad can be placed underneath the soil containers to help warm them, or you can create warmth and humidity by cutting plastic soda bottles in half and placing them gently over the containers, creating a greenhouse effect. It’s important that the seedlings remain undisturbed, so resist the temptation to uncover them to check if they’re sprouting. You should see plant growth sprouting out of the soil somewhere between seven and fourteen days, depending on the strain and age of the seeds.

ALTERNATIVE GERMINATION MEDIUMS
There are a few other substances that can be successful mediums for germinating cannabis seeds, and the technique used with any of these substances is the same as the soil method. Rockwool is a matted fiber material that is favored for its porous nature, and seedlings can be planted directly into it for germination. It can be purchased inready-made cubes for easy planting, and is readily available in home improvement stores.
Lava rock is another medium that has proven successful in germination and is notable for providing a large surface area for healthy root systems to grow. However, it does not hold water as well as regular soil or rockwool, and it may not be the best alternative for an inexperienced grower.

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

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

Philippines: Should your right to be healed be based on the location you live in?

The Philippines, a country where Medical Cannabis is strictly prohibited and where the punishment for Cannabis is more severe than being caught with hard drugs such as crystal meth, heroin, cocaine and the likes.

Several groups in the Philippines such as Porml, 420 Philippines, Internation Women’s Cannabis Coalition – Philippines (IWCC) just to name a few, are pushing for legalization of Medical cannabis to be granted to legitimate patients who suffer from debilitating disease such as epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, tumors, etc. The most active group is the Philippines Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS) who leads the movement and is active in lobbying to pass the bill in Congress. PCCS work side by side with the author of the bill, Congressman Rodolfo Albano. PCCS also shares the stories of their patients to open the minds and hearts of the Congressmen to co-author the bill. The bill has 104 co-authors as of this writing and the bill needs to have at least 200 signatures to be endorsed by the Senate.

Some of the patients who have the financial capability to migrate to other countries or import Medical Cannabis from other countries where it is legal have significantly improved their health and some have been cured totally. However, the patients who are less fortunate are left to suffer and eventually die due to the fact that they cannot afford the cost of importation and/or migration to another country.

This migration not only happens in the Philippines, same scenarios happen in the United States of America (USA), as families move to a different state where Medical Cannabis is legal and to be able to use it to their patients, however, they are not allowed to bring it to a different state, forcing families to leave their family, friends and work behind.

As per the data released by Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society in 2016, Philippines topped 197 countries with the most number of cases of breast cancer. It is also one of the countries worldwide with the highest prevalence rates of cancer.

183,000 people are affected by Epilepsy in the Philippines based on the data of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 and the numbers just continue to keep on rising.

These data only proves that not only a few will benefit from Medical Cannabis but millions of Filipinos. It can improve the lives of millions suffering every single day and it can provide them a livable life. Once the bill has been enacted into a law everyone who is qualified to avail Medical Cannabis can do so with the guidance of the Department of Health (DOH), Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and Dangerous Drug Board (DDB).

 

Write : By Anne Kristina Aguila

Cannabis Production in the European Union – Spectrum Denmark Granted Production Licence

ODENSE, Denmark, and SMITHS FALLS, ON, Dec. 18, 2017 /CNW/ – Further to a December 5th press release announcing plans to establish a 40,000 m2 facility in the Danish city of Odense, Spectrum Cannabis Denmark has been issued a cannabis production licence by Laegemiddelstyrelsen, Denmark’sMedicines Agency. Danish Health Minister, Ellen Trane Nørbye, announced the news today at a press conference. Spectrum Cannabis Denmark is a partnership between Danish Cannabis, one of Europe’s largest hemp producers, and Canopy Growth Corporation (“Canopy Growth” or the “Company”) (TSX: WEED).

To the Company’s knowledge, this is the first federal production licence issued to a Canadian cannabis producer anywhere in the European Union, a major milestone in an emerging market. With the announcement, Denmark has joined the Netherlands as the only two European countries with federally permitted medical cannabis production.

Speaking to local media, Minister Nørbye commented, “Medical cannabis has enormous potential and my role as Minister of Health is to help secure that the new medical cannabis law becomes a success for patients and for Denmark.”

Cannabis produced at the Odense facility is forecasted to exceed the needs of the Danish market and will be exported to other federally legal jurisdictions in the European Union.

“Entering Denmark was a strategic choice for us because we sensed the country would move fast to establish federal production capabilities. Using our expertise and in collaboration with excellent local partners, Canopy is now set to become the first ACMPR participant to also produce cannabis products in the European Union,” said Bruce Linton, Chairman and CEO, Canopy Growth. “In 2014 we began with a small Canadian patient group and grew it rapidly by offering high-quality products and actively engaging with the medical community. We intend to repeat this model of success on the other side of the Atlantic and solidify our position as the global leaders in the cannabis industry.”

Canopy Growth has stabilized an industry-leading selection of cannabis genetics in its Canadian facilities and will ship a variety of Spectrum Cannabis clones to Odense to begin growth cycles as soon as spring 2018 when the greenhouse retrofit is targeted to be complete.

The licence is being issued without conditions, meaning that Spectrum Cannabis Denmark will not be limited to a production cap or limited to the product formats it can produce. High quality oils and dried cannabis flowers will be produced in Odense and sold under the Spectrum Cannabis brand using the proprietary Spectrum colour-coded strain classification system.

As in Canada, Canopy Growth will use its experience to engage the physician community in Denmark to ensure that physicians are able to access fact-based information pertaining to dosing, and prescribing to appropriate patients.

The licence announced today is valid through 2021.

Here’s to Future Growth.

About Canopy Growth Corporation
Canopy Growth is a world-leading diversified cannabis and hemp company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms. From product and process innovation to market execution, Canopy Growth is driven by a passion for leadership and a commitment to building a world-class cannabis company one product, site and country at a time.

Canopy Growth has established partnerships with leading sector names including cannabis icon Snoop Dogg, breeding legends DNA Genetics and Green House seeds, and Fortune 500 alcohol leader Constellation Brands, to name but a few. Canopy Growth operates seven cannabis production sites with over 665,000 square feet of production capacity, including over 500,000 square feet of GMP-certified production space. The Company has operations in seven countries across four continents. The Company is proudly dedicated to educating healthcare practitioners, conducting robust clinical research, and furthering the public’s understanding of cannabis, and through its partly owned subsidiary, Canopy Health Innovations, has devoted millions of dollars toward cutting edge, commercializable research and IP development. Through partly owned subsidiary Canopy Rivers Corporation, the Company is providing resources and investment to new market entrants and building a portfolio of stable investments in the sector. From our historic public listing to our continued international expansion, pride in advancing shareholder value through leadership is engrained in all we do at Canopy Growth. For more information visit www.canopygrowth.com

Notice Regarding Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Canopy Growth Corporation, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Examples of such statements include future operational and production capacity, the impact of enhanced infrastructure and production capabilities, and forecasted available product selection. The forward-looking statements included in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and Canopy Growth Corporation does not undertake an obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect new information, subsequent events or otherwise unless required by applicable securities legislation.

Neither the TSX Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE : Canopy Growth Corporation

India: Reviving Old Hemp History by Making Way for New Hemp Industry

India, a place where anyone who cultivates Cannabis invites a prison term of up to 10 years. For over half a century now, Indian hemp or cannabis has been outlawed in India because of the intoxication substances contained in the plant’s flowers and resin. Some of the world’s most fables hashish and ganja were said to be found in India.

In an article published by Scroll, it seems that India may soon turn over a new leaf and allow farmers to grow hemp. It aims to encourage the use of hemp to produce paper, rope, clothing – and even be eaten as a crunchy snack.

“For the last 50 years, the government has looked at cannabis cultivation only from the narcotic angle due to the rising pressure on global war on drugs,” said Avnish Pandya, the head of research and development of hemp at Bombay Hemp Company, which has been lobbying for industrial cultivation of hemp in India. But, says Pandya, “there is another side to cannabis which is harmless and of high economic value, lying untapped. Why not legalise that?”

International hemp production is at an estimated $1.5 trillion per year and is currently dominated by China, France and Germany. Allowing Indian farmers to cultivate hemp could create an industrial hemp textile market in India that could be valued at an estimated Rs 240 million (about $ 3.7 million), according to the central government’s Ministry of Textiles.

Hemp fibre, along with banana fibre, pineapple fibre, flax, sisal, and nettle was identified by the textile ministry’s 2010 Natural Fiber Policy and it recommended special policies to encourage development of these natural fibres. Due to its tradition of growing hemp, Uttarakhand, has been declared a nodal state for nettle and hemp promotion by the ministry.

Though there is a growing advocacy all over the world to decriminalise cannabis for recreational and medical use, BOHECO (Bombay Hemp Company) made it clear that its efforts are focused solely on cannabis sativa. This strain of Hemp is mostly used for industrial purposes as this cannot be misused as a narcotic due to the small portion of the substances that causes intoxication.

In 1985, under the pressure from the US (Single convention on narcotic drugs), a new bill has been passed, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and signed by the then President Giani Zail Singh on 16 September 1985, and came into force on 14 November 1985, India banned the consumption, production and cultivation of Cannabis though it does permit the cultivation of hemp for horticulture and industrial purposes. However, no licences have been issued to farmers since the act was passed. Adding to the confusion, each of the states in India prohibits cannabis cultivation under their Excise Acts.

Currently, India is the world’s largest producer of legal opium for medical and scientific purposes, however, it has had no legal hemp cultivation. Despite this, significant numbers of villagers in Uttarakhand, Kashmir and Kerala Travancore grow hemp to obtain fibre from the stems and oil from the seeds. Some even roast the seeds to eat as food or use them as religious offerings. But their crops are frequently destroyed by the police, who confuse this strain of hemp with the narcotic variety.

Since 2013, BOHECO, which works out of Mumbai, has been lobbying the textile ministry to create a regulatory framework for industrial hemp cultivation and draft an industrial hemp policy. It is also aiming to develop a germ hemp seed suitable for Indian climatic and soil conditions. The firm is working in collaboration with the GB Pant Agriculture and Technology University in Uttarakhand to synthesise seeds that have less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis. They hope to have the first batches of seed ready early in 2016.

Hemp plant grows between 6 feet-16 feet in a period of four months. The plant does not require chemical fertilisers and captures large quantities of carbon, yield eight-ten tonnes for fibre and up to two tonnes of seed per acre.

Chirag Tekchandaney, director of sales and marketing at BOHECO said “There are over 25,000 end products of hemp. Internationally its fame is rising as an organic and eco-friendly plant, with hemp shirts and clothing being very popular. We are already flooded with queries and orders about hemp textile.” The firm is already selling hemp seeds sourced from Australia, hempcrete (hemp fiber blended with lime to make strong and lightweight concrete used in construction) and hemp fibre sourced from the farmers of Uttarakhand through its online portal.

The firm has been generating enthusiasm for hemp fabric by giving presentations at the Lakme Fashion Week in March and the INK/TED conference in February. “Hemp is a super crop and versatile,” said Yash Kotak, BOHECO’s marketing officer. “It’s a shame we banned its use due to ignorance and confusion with marijuana. We want to make hemp farming a sexy option for the younger generation while also uplifting local farmers and industry to produce cool hemp products.’’

Write : By Anne Aguila

While Cannabis remains as a Schedule I Drug, Syndros, a form of synthetic THC received a Schedule II

While Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I Drug. Syndros (generic name: c-x dronabinol oral solution, a synthetic THC oral solution) manufactured by Insys Therapeutics, a Chandler, Arizona based pharmaceutical firm, receive the approval of Food and Drug Administration to be classified as Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow doctors to prescribe it.

Schedule II is the second-most restrictive drug classification category which is described as substances with a “high potential for abuse” but having some form of currently accepted medical use which includes Vicodin, cocaine, oxycodone, Adderall and Ritalin.

In 1985, FDA approved and regulated Marinol as a less-restrictive Schedule III substance. Marinol (dronabinol) is a man-made form of cannabis (also known as marijuana). Marinol is used to treat loss of appetite that causes weight loss in people with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Marinol is also used to treat severe nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. It is usually given after medicines to control nausea and vomiting have been tried without success.

According to GlobeNewswire, Syndros is a liquid formulation of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid dronabinol. Syndros is a new drug product indicated for use in chemotherapy patients to help alleviate their nausea and vomiting and AIDS patients with anorexia-associated weight loss, respectively,”

Saeed Motahari, President and Chief Executive Officer of INSYS, made a statement that “The launch of Syndros represents a pivotal milestone for us,”

“Syndros is the second product entirely developed and commercialized by INSYS. We are excited to make Syndros available to those patients in need and look forward to bringing additional novel therapeutic solutions to even more patients in the near future.”

Stephen Sherman, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs of INSYS said, “Syndros is the first and only FDA-approved liquid dronabinol. It represents a viable alternative for the delivery of dronabinol and will fulfill a significant unmet need for both cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who fail traditional antiemetics and AIDS patients who experience weight loss,”

According to The Cannabist, Health and Human Services officials said that liquid dronabinol has a higher potential for abuse than Marinol because the liquid formulation could be manipulated to produce extracts for vaping or edibles, according to the notice in the Federal Register.

Vetticaden told the Cannabist last year that chemically synthesized drugs are highly reliable and thus could meet the rigorous testing demands and standards from the FDA. A synthetic approach could mitigate any potency issues that patients could encounter when buying products from dispensaries.

Insys, has expressed concerns about “natural cannabis” in regulatory filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the legalization of marijuana:

“Moreover, our cannabinoid products may compete with non-synthetic cannabinoid drugs, including therapies such as GW Pharmaceuticals’ Sativex and Epidiolex, especially in many countries outside of the United States where non-synthetic cannabinoids are legal. In addition, literature has been published arguing the benefits of natural cannabis, or marijuana, over dronabinol, and there are a number of states that have already enacted laws legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana. There is some support in the United States for further legalization of marijuana. We also cannot assess the extent to which patients utilize marijuana illegally to alleviate (Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting), instead of using prescribed therapies such as approved dronabinol products.”

Last fall, Insys contributed $500,000 to the campaign against marijuana legalization in Arizona. The $500,000 donation from Insys Therapeutics, amounts to more than one-third of all money raised by Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, the group opposing legalization. According to campaign finance records maintained by ballotpedia.com, Insys is one of the largest single contributions to any anti-legalization campaign ever.

Insys is facing multiple complaints, investigations and lawsuits related to its Subsys fentanyl spray (under-the-tongue spray intended for cancer patients that contains fentanyl, a highly addictive and regulated synthetic opioid). It has been reported that Insys was accused of off-label marketing of the opioid painkiller and has faced allegations of providing kickbacks to doctors to prescribe it.

In a report by Reuters, Insys has been accused of paying doctors sham speaker fees in exchange for writing prescriptions of Subsys and of misleading insurers into believing patients who were prescribed the opioid had cancer when they actually did not.

Brnovich also sued three Arizona doctors, Steve Fanto, Nikesh Seth and Sheldon Gingerich, whom the lawsuit said Insys paid on average $200,000 while they wrote prescriptions that generated over $33 million in sales of Subsys from March 2012 to April 2017.

Brnovich said in a statement that, “We need to put a stop to the unethical and greedy behavior in the pharmaceutical industry that is fueling the opioid crisis in our state,”.

Insys is in talks with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve the federal probe. Investigations are held by attorneys general in Oregon, New Hampshire and Illinois, Insys previously agreed to pay a combined $8.95 million to resolve any investigations.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction, restitution for customers and the disgorgement of any illegally gained profits.

 

Write By Anne Kristina Aguila

Israel: The Epicenter Of Medical Cannabis

Raphael Mechoulam | Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) | ResearchGateIsreal: The Grandfather of Medical Marijuana: Raphael Mechoulam, a professor, and researcher at Hebrew University, the man behind the discovery of tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC; the psychoactive compound in Cannabis. It all started in 1963 when Mechoulam secured 11 pounds of Lebanese hashish, which he used to identify, isolate and synthesize THC and study its medical use. He was also the first to decode the structure of CBD, the plant’s primary non-psychoactive ingredient. In 1992, Mechoulam and his team at Hebrew University in Jerusalem made a groundbreaking discovery on the physical reason why humans get high when using Cannabis, now known as the endocannabinoid system, and that the human brain produces its own cannabinoids – compounds that stimulate the body almost exactly the way THC does. “It turned out that the cannabinoids in the plant actually mimic the compounds that we form in our brain,” says Mechoulam.

Over the past 50 years, Israel conducts the world’s largest number of clinical trials testing the benefits of medicinal cannabis and has become a global destination for medical cannabis research and development. Israel was among the first countries to legalize the medicinal use and is one of just three countries with a government-supported medical cannabis program. On the other hand, recreational use remains illegal, however, the Israeli government has approved the export of medicinal cannabis products making it an offshore greenhouse for American cannabis companies seeking to overcome the federal roadblocks standing in their way.

While importing cannabis into the United States remains illegal under federal law, companies can still import from Israel by acquiring drug approval from the FDA by meeting the agency’s requirement for drug approval. The FDA has approved 3 drugs containing synthetic cannabinoids but it has never approved a product derived from botanical cannabis. According to the agency’s guidelines, “Study of marijuana in clinical trial settings is needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical use.” Since initiating a clinical trial in the US is difficult, US companies resulted in partnering up with Israel’s pharmaceutical company to use their medical research facilities in Israel and conducting clinical trials there and applying for FDA approval of the botanical cannabis drug they are developing.

With one million square feet of cultivation fields, a 35,000-square-foot production plant, and 30,000 square feet of grow rooms and labs, Dr. Tamir Gedo’s company, Breath of Life Pharma (BOL), is about to open the world’s largest medical marijuana production, research, and development facility. According to Gedo’s estimates, BOL will produce 80 tons – more than 175,000 pounds – of cannabis per year.

Israel’s research on Cannabis has a great impact on the US cannabis industry, medical marijuana is now legal in 29 U.S. states and this is a direct result of Israeli research which made the study and research on Cannabis legitimate. Paul Armentano, deputy director of the D.C.-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said. Without this research, “We wouldn’t have the scientific interest we have now around the world,”. He also added, “That really opened the door to making the study of cannabis and cannabinoids a legitimate avenue for more conventional scientists and researchers.”

Even if U.S. companies want to do a clinical trial on U.S. soil it is nearly impossible and time-consuming. In Israel, a cannabis clinical trial can get off the ground in a matter of months. “There’s a lengthy and arduous regulatory process for getting approval for doing studies, and limited resources at these agencies for processing those requests,” says Pollack, of Thomas Jefferson University. “It’s deliberately made very difficult for us.”

“I think they have approached the issue in a more even-handed and genuine way than the U.S. government has,” says Armentano of NORML. “There are onerous restrictions on conducting this research in the U.S. that don’t exist in Israel.”

“There’s a lengthy and arduous regulatory process for getting approval for doing studies, and limited resources at these agencies for processing those requests,” says Pollack, of Thomas Jefferson University. “It’s deliberately made very difficult for us.” In Israel, on the other hand, a cannabis clinical trial can get off the ground in a matter of months.

“I think they have approached the issue in a more even-handed and genuine way than the U.S. government has,” says Armentano of NORML. “There are onerous restrictions on conducting this research in the U.S. that don’t exist in Israel.”

Dr. Gedo is optimistic but, on the other hand, he is also realistic. He knows that the FDA will never get behind cannabis the plant as medicine, since it can’t be controlled as a consistent drug given that there are 140 active compounds in cannabis, and the composition of the flowers plucked from one branch can fluctuate wildly, by up to 300 percent and can’t have the same effect day in and day out.

“The experience of a user will vary a lot with the same strain,” says Gedo. “So even if you have the best-grown product, it will never become a scientific pharmaceutical product.”

Source :  By Anne Kristina Aguila

China: A New Frontier For The Green Rush

Hemp brings in more than 10,000 Yuan (US$ 1,500) per hectare compared to just a few thousand yuan for more common crops like corn that is why Jiang Xingquan, a farmer in Northern China, sets aside part of his farm in northern China to grow cannabis every year in April. The size of the plot varies with market demand but over the last few years, it has been about 600 hectares. Since Heilongjiang province is near the Russian border, Jiang is growing the plant legally like every other hemp farmer in Hexin.

The growers sell every part of the plant and nothing goes to waste as the stems of the crop is being sold to textile factories to make high-quality fabric, the leaves to pharmaceutical companies for drugs, and the seeds to food companies to make snacks, kitchen oil, and drinks.

Jiang’s farm is located in China’s frosty north and is one of the country’s major centers for the legal crop. It has been revealed in an article published by South China Morning Post that authorities in the province turned a blind eye to its production before legalizing and regulating it last year. Another major growing area is in Yunnan province where the plant’s production has been regulated since 2003. Jiang said he and his family had tasted the vegetable oil made from hemp seeds. “It has a very strong fragrance and tastes good, but we felt dizzy after dinner,” he said. “We dare not try it very often,” he added.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, these areas account for about half of the world’s legal commercial cropland under hemp cannabis cultivation. Thanks to government support and a long tradition, China has quietly become a superpower in the plant’s production and research.

Plantations are flourishing both for commercial and illicit drug use since there are no official figures for the amount of the plant China produces each year. Government-funded scientists who study the plant’s military uses, including as medication and fabric for uniforms has been an integral part of this growth.

“Over the decades, researchers developed various hybrid species that not just survived but thrived in China’s disparate environments, from the Arctic conditions in Heilongjiang to Inner Mongolia’s Gobi Desert to the subtropics of Yunnan.”

In 2014, the Ministry of Public Security said it found a large number of unregistered hemp and marijuana plantations across the nation, particularly in Jilin and Inner Mongolia.

Hemp cannabis is one variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, which also includes types better known as marijuana. Hemp only has traces of THC, the psychoactive compound in Cannabis. Both the hemp and marijuana strains of the plant contain cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive compound that has been used to treat a wide range of conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

For centuries, Cannabis Sativa has been cultivated in China, mainly for the plant’s strong fibers which can be turned into rope, fabric, and paper. Other parts of the plant, such as seeds and leaves, have been used in Chinese traditional medicine – but with warnings of side effects. Hemp fabric has dated back more than 3,400 years and has been found in Shang Dynasty tombs in Hebei, and the fiber is believed to have been the basis of the earliest forms of paper made in the country.

The Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica, a pharmaceutical text compiled in the first or second century AD, warns: “A person will see a ghost after an overdose, [and] run around like mad … After moderate long-term intake, [he or she] will be able to communicate to God.”

In 1949, the People’s Republic of China has been established and led by a Communist government, the government has classified the plant as an illicit drug and introduced some of the world’s toughest rules against its production, trade, and consumption. Under Chinese criminal law, anybody with more than 5 kg of processed marijuana leaves, 10 kg of resin, or 150 kg of fresh leaves can face the death penalty.

“Despite the tough laws, authorities have usually turned a blind eye to farmers growing their own low-THC varieties because they were an important source of income for some farmers. Farmers have largely been spared in drug crackdowns but in some areas such as Xinjiang bans on the crop – even the low-THC types – have been strictly enforced, due to concerns about drug abuse in the region.”

In the late 1970’s when China went war with Vietnam, the research of the plant really took off according to some scientists as the military needed to develop a fabric that could keep soldiers clean and dry in Vietnam’s humidity, and cannabis hemp offered the fiber that breathed and was antibacterial. Other studies explored the plant’s use as a drug in field hospitals.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, more than half of the world’s patents related to the plant are now held in China. The Western pharmaceutical industry has prompted concerns that the Chinese government or Chinese firms might take advantage of the patent barriers.

“We have seen the growing enthusiasm of farmers, and they are indeed planting low-THC varieties. But cannabis is cannabis. However low the THC concentration, massive plantations can increase the risk of drug abuse and lead to many social problems,” said Yun Chunming, a professor in the Institute of Bast Fibre Crops at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Hunan.

On the other, Tan Xin, the president of Beijing-based Hemp Investment Group, one of the largest Chinese companies advocating the commercial pharmaceutical use of the plant, said the company had partnered with the People’s Liberation Army to take the Chinese technology and product to the world.

A drug to treat traumatic stress disorder jointly developed by the company and the Chinese military was nearing completion of clinical trials, and it was just one of the many products from the plant with global market potential, according to a statement on the company’s website.

With offices in the United States and plans to branch out into Canada, Israel, Japan and Europe, Tang said the company was taking the plant to all member countries in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, an infrastructure scheme to link China with the rest of Asia and beyond.

“We expect the sector will grow into a 100 billion yuan industry for China in five years’ time,” he said.

Source : Cannabis Connects Global

Write by Anne Kristine Aguila