Is Barcelona the new Amsterdam?

Cannabis social club in Barcelona in 2001, the scene has slowly gained ground. Without doubt, Barcelona is the cannabis capital of Spain, but can it currently claim to have knocked Amsterdam off the top spot as the cannabis capital of all Europe?

Barcelona vs Amsterdam – Sensi Seeds Blog

What does Barcelona have to offer for cannabis tourists?

Barcelona currently has approximately 123 cannabis social clubs; there were previously as many as 300, but dozens were closed down in a wave of raids last year, often due to poor ventilation, illegal sales, or contraventions of the regulations banning advertising of the clubs. It seems several clubs benefited (knowingly or not) from ‘solicitation tours’, which essentially consisted of scouts rounding up tourists and bringing them in as new members, in return for money or cannabis gleaned either from the establishment or from the tourists themselves. Currently, a one-year ban on new licenses is in effect.

As well as the social clubs, Barcelona also has a few dozen head shops, a handful of glass shops, and some notable annual cannabis events, the most important of which is undoubtedly Spannabis, which occurs every year in late March. During the Spannabis period, a number of other events also now occur, including the much-lauded Secret Cup and Dab-a-Doo concentrates cup.

In 2012, Sensi Seeds came to Barcelona to establish the ‘Hash Marihuana Cáñamo & Hemp Museum’, which is devoted to providing information on the past and current uses of hemp and cannabis in societies throughout the world, and is an great way to pass a diverting hour or two if one happens to be in Barri Gòtic, Barcelona’s ancient and fascinating Gothic Quarter (it’s also well worth spending a few hours wandering through El Gòtic’s cool, narrow streets, which boast a plethora of quaint cafés and quirky, independent boutiques, including several head shops).

What’s the deal with the social clubs?

Barcelona currently has approximately 123 cannabis social clubs – Sensi Seeds Blog

Barcelona currently has approximately 123 cannabis social clubs.

The social clubs are members-only associations, and require a referral from an existing member for new sign-ups. Members must be over 21 and resident in Spain; however, some clubs may not require evidence of the latter stipulation. Membership generally costs €10-30 for one year (more often at the lower end of the scale, thankfully, as there are many clubs to join); there are also some clubs that offer membership deals for shorter durations, say €5 for three months.

The clubs themselves vary widely in terms of décor and comfort; some have clearly spent large sums on prettifying their interiors, while others have taken a far more rough-and-ready approach. In fairness, the latter are often considerably more homely and inviting than the stiff, formal atmosphere in some of the more upmarket clubs—although the latter do tend to have better fresh juices. Not necessarily better cannabis, however; in fact, some of the clubs that made the least effort on décor appear to be making the best efforts to supply their members with good-quality product. Which, to me, suggests that they have their priorities in order, although if I was hoping to impress a new friend or contact with the sumptiousness of the venues I frequent, I probably wouldn’t choose those particular establishments.

What’s the law on growing, smoking, and possessing cannabis?

A Barcelona resident clearly taking full advantage of the Spanish privacy laws – Sensi Seeds Blog

A Barcelona resident clearly taking full advantage of the Spanish privacy laws.

In a nutshell—privacy is key, under Spanish law. Using, possessing, and even growing is tolerated, as long as it is within the privacy of one’s own home (or within the private space of a members’ association). Outside, one runs the risk of arrest and steep fines. Tourist or resident, if one is detained in a public area for smoking or possessing cannabis, one can be given a summary fine of €600 (this was recently raised from €300, and is actually a minimum fine—the maximum (for “grave infractions”) may be as high as €30,000!).

Members of several associations have also mentioned that police occasionally swoop down on individuals or groups seen leaving the clubs; for this reason, it is generally advisable that sensitive items are placed securely in one’s underwear, as routine stop-and-searches may not intrude on intimate areas of the body.

If an individual is found to be cultivating or in possession of amounts of cannabis that a court later deems to be excessive, a charge of distribution may be upheld; in which case, a custodial sentence of one to three years’ duration is typically imposed (with much higher sentences for repeated or particularly serious offences).

So how does all this compare to Amsterdam?

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s famous cathedral – Sensi Seeds Blog

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s famous cathedral.

Barcelona is cheap compared to many other European cities, but is among the more expensive Spanish cities. A basic hotel room costs around €40 per night, a few good plates of tapas can be had for €10-15, and cannabis is no more than €8 per gram. Those on a tight budget can find better deals on all of the above, with a little searching. Although uncomfortably humid in July and August, the climate is generally pleasant and the lifestyle is laid-back and comfortable.

In comparison, although one can find a hotel room for €40 per night in Amsterdam, one is likely to find oneself sharing with assorted species of rodents and/or fungi; food is generally more expensive and usually pretty terrible, and cannabis costs up to €16 per gram for the top-of-the-menu varieties. Alongside that, the weather in Amsterdam is unspeakably awful save for two weeks in September each year, and the Dutch are not exactly known for their sunny disposition either. Furthermore, Spanish laws are generally more favourable, and likely to continue relaxing even as Dutch laws tighten up.

So, in many respects, Barcelona does win out against Amsterdam as a destination for the discerning cannabis user. However, certain aspects of the cannabis scene in Barcelona ensure that it is just not quite ready to knock Amsterdam off the top spot as the Cannabis Capital of Europe—and if the system doesn’t change, it may never quite get there.

Ada Colau, current mayor of Barcelona – Sensi Seeds Blog

Ada Colau, current mayor of Barcelona.

The key difference is in the openness of the scene to welcome tourists. Although it is possible to wangle membership in some clubs by slightly bending the rules, one must be in possession of certain local knowledge to achieve this. Without that, the average tourist may not have any access to clubs, or even any knowledge of where they are, or that they even exist at all. Of course, this is what the authorities want—there is plenty of tourism in Barcelona anyway, and the powers-that-be see no need to create a new Amsterdam in any case. Indeed, while the new leftist mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, is undoubtedly pro-cannabis (her predecessor had promised to reduce the number of clubs to just 11; Colau promised to regulate “while taking into account the opinion of the sector”), one of her first moves in office was to implement a one-year ban on new tourist accommodation, in order to “rationalize the huge influx of tourists to the Catalan capital”.

This reality is starkly reflected in the fact that in Barcelona, the clubs are generally half-full at most; whereas in Amsterdam, despite the fact that the scene does show signs of being in its death throes, the coffeeshops are still heaving, and planeloads of tourists arrive every day to partake in a scene that they are still relatively sure will welcome them without discrimination.

World’s First Hemp Plane


 

Derek Kesek, Founder of Hempearth
Creator of the World’s First Hemp Plane
Derek creates the first hemp plane. Derek Kesek, CEO and Founder of Hempearth is doing great things in the world. He’s passionate about something and doesn’t give up until he gets what he wants – and what he wants is to help humanity discover hemp. The creation of a hemp plane is exciting. It would enlighten a lot of people to the many uses and benefits of industrial hemp.
In this interview you will meet a man working to create a more progressive society where everyone can live in a culture of abundance. His approach is to live by example and simply go create his vision . The creation of the world’s first hemp airplane is a labor of love. I hope as you listen you’re drawn to look at how to create more of what you want to see in the world. I also hope you visit hs website and consider having your name on the plane. It’s only $1. No, that’s not a typo. It’s really only $1 to have your name on the plane!
Hemp PlaneThe show opened with Derek sharing his background and how he became passionate about hemp. He shared how he first began Hempearth around hemp bio-fuel and ethanol to create clean energy. To this day Hempearth’s research and development of hemp bio ethanol continues. Derek also shared how how his passion for hemp and what it can do led him to the decision to create the first hemp airplane.
Around 75 percent of the plane will be constructed of industrial hemp and the four-seater plane will have a wingspan of 36 feet. In addition to being constructed of hemp, the plane will also be powered by hemp biofuel. If all goes as planned, the hemp plane will take its first initial flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the world’s first successful aircraft flight took place.
The plane will fly in 2016 – taking off from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where the Wright Brothers took their first flight. You can have your name on the plane with donation of as little as $1. Derek shared how everything is happening in divine timing and he likes it that way. He also said Hempearth is accepting investors of like mind with a passion for hemp.

Lab Tests Show Hemp Fabric Stops Spread Of Deadly Bacteria

hemp fabric bacteriaMost people have become aware of the fact that hemp is a diverse plant, with a multitude of uses. The newest discovery of use for hemp could save lives.

Staphylococcus Aureus, more commonly known as staph, is a bacteria that causes thousands of deaths each year – specifically the drug resistant strain, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA. A study conducted by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology showed that each year an estimated 2 million Americans contract MRSA during hospital stays, and at least 90,000 die from it. It has been determined that MRSA is a, if not the, leading cause of hospital-bourne infections.

New research has found that hemp fabrics actually kill bacteria, including MRSA. In a test conducted on a hemp-blend fabric (60% hemp / 40% rayon), where the fabric was infected with staph, researchers found that the hemp material killed the staph bacteria at an incredible rate – the material was found 98.5% bacteria free upon the first measurement. The same material was also infected with Klebsiella Pneumoniae (pneumonia). At first measurement, the pneumonia-infected material was 65.1% bacteria free.

The impact these results could have are immense; staph/MRSA spreads through contact, and by touching items that are infected – such as hospital gowns, towels, privacy curtains, etc.. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology tested both methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant staphylococci on common hospital materials (clothing, towels, scrub suits, lab coats, privacy drapes and splash aprons), and found the bacteria survived on every material for at least 1 day, and in some instances as long as 90 days. Replacing any number of these items with hemp-based materials could severely reduce transmission of these deadly bacterias.

Beyond the standard arguments offered to push the legalization of hemp cultivation (eco-friendly bio-fuels, heart-healthy foods, etc.), this new research presents evidence that not only can hemp help the economy and the environment, it can also prevent the spread of dangerous illnesses, and save thousands of people from infection and even death.

Source: The Weed Blog 

New investments in Hemp

$30 Million Hemp Factory Coming To Alberta
planning to move its manufacturing operations from China to southern Alberta.

Cylab International says it is finalizing plans for the construction of a $32 million factory, where hemp fibre will be processed into various products, including construction materials, animal bedding and biofuel.

“It’s definitely going ahead,” Cylab chief executive officer Brett Boag told The Western Producer last month.

The new Alberta location is expected to be operational by 2015 and employ 70 people.

Cylab has operated a plant in China for eight years, where product is manufactured for the U.S. market. The company hopes to reduce transportation costs by relocating to Canada.

Canadian farmers planted a record 66,671 acres of hemp last year.

Alberta is one of the top hemp-producing provinces, and supports new biomaterials through organizations like Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF).

Another hemp processor, Stemia, is also looking to set up a new facility in southern Alberta. The site would manufacture products for the construction, automotive and paper industries.

Canada’s primary market for hemp, the U.S., recently approved hemp cultivation for research purposes in 10 states. However, commercial hemp cultivation remains banned.

Neuroscience study points to possible use of medical marijuana for depression

Neuroscience study points to possible use of medical marijuana for depression

“Chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression.”
Samir Haj-Dahmane, senior research scientist, Research Institute on Addictions
University at Buffalo
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Scientists at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) are studying chronic stress and depression, with a focus on endocannabinoids, which are brain chemicals similar to substances in marijuana.

The findings raise the possibility that components of marijuana may be useful in reducing depression that results from chronic stress.

“In the animal models we studied, we saw that chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids, leading to depression-like behavior,” says RIA senior research scientist Samir Haj-Dahmane, PhD.

Endocannabinoids are naturally produced chemical compounds in the brain that affect motor control, cognition, emotions and behavior. As the name suggests, they are similar to the chemicals found in marijuana (Cannabis sativa) and its active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“Chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression,” Haj-Dahmane says. “Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression.”

He cautions this is preliminary research. “Our research thus far has used animal models; there is still a long way to go before we know whether this can be effective in humans,” he says. “However, we have seen that some people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder have reported relief using marijuana.”

Haj-Dahmane says the next step in the research is to see if using a marijuana extract, cannabidiol (CBD), restores normal behaviors in the animals without leading to dependence on the drug.

The study, co-authored by Roh-Yu Shen, PhD, RIA senior research scientist, was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. It appeared in the fall issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Medical marijuana remains a controversial issue. Although 23 states and the District of Columbia have approved its use to provide relief for health problems such as glaucoma, nerve pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and nausea from chemotherapy, some experts are concerned that medical use of marijuana may normalize attitudes about the drug and lead people — especially youth — to believe it is completely safe.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence. To learn more, visit buffalo.edu/ria.

– See more at: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/02/004.html#sthash.u3YF0pru.dpuf

The Brain Needs Cannabinoids And Dietary Hemp Is The Answer

There are over 400 phytonutrients that exist in Hemp Plants. Hemp is often mistaken for its cannabis cousin, marijuana, even though smoking an entire garbage bag of hemp would not produce an altered state of consciousness. Optimal brain health is achieved when linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (ALA) are consumed in a ratio only naturally found in hemp.

The brain also has a requirement for cannabinoids, which regulate most of the major functions of the body including alertness, emotions, inflammation and cancer defences. The brain can make a small number of its own cannabinoids, but as 4,000 years of history and decades of scientific research indicate, it operates optimally when supplied with dietary cannabinoids, such as those found in hemp.

The brain can build itself from saturated and monounsaturated fats but it has a preference for Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Research on humans and animals suggests that optimal brain health is achieved when linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (ALA) are consumed in a ratio of between 3.5:1 and 4:1–a ratio only naturally found in hemp.

Like other oil seeds, the hemp nut consists mainly of oil (typically 44%), protein (33%) and dietary fiber and other carbohydrates (12%, predominantly from residues of the hull). In addition, the nut contains vitamins (particularly the tocopherols and tocotrienols of the Vitamin Ecomplex), phytosterols and trace minerals. Overall, hemp’s main nutritional advantage over other seeds lies in the composition of its oil, i.e. its fatty acid profile, and in its protein which contains all of the essential amino acids in nutritionally significant amounts and in a desirable ratio. More and more people are discovering the nutritional benefits of hemp seed, nut and oil.

Chocolate Hemp Protein Cake with a Casein & Yogurt Protein Frosting

Chocolate Hemp Protein Cake with a Casein & Yogurt Protein Frosting

Ingredients:

2 small cooked beetroots
3/4 cup chocolate hemp protein powder
3/4 cup liquid egg whites
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

1. Blended and baked for ~1 hour at 180 C (356 F) in a rectangular brownie pan (stab it and remove it from the oven when your knife comes out clean, it might be a bit over or a bit under 1 hour)

2. When the cake was done, I cut three circle out of it using a cake ring. I let it cool and, when it cooled, I made the frosting by mixing 1/2 cup of unflavored casein + half a tablespoon of stevia + 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence + one small pot of 0% Greek yogurt (170g).

3. Yeah, that is IT f or the frosting! I mixed this all together with a spoon and stuffed it into a sandwich bag with a pipping nozzle sticking out of the end.

4. Then, I just tried to do my best at adding some frosting between the layers and then some on top the cake and around it until BOOM: done: fully dressed!

Now, you CAN eat it right away BUT it’s actually a lot nicer if you let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Why? Because the frosting kind of sets and the whole thing just comes alive beautifully. Ahhhhh, I had a slice of it next to a pick-me-up cup of tea and my soul was considerably soothed with the cabooming deliciousness of this cake: it was moist, chocolatey, sweet, creamy?