This guide is an introduction to anyone looking to inform themselves about the reality of cannabis. It covers basic information about the marijuana plant, cannabis preparations, and the crucial elements of plant anatomy and science. This guide to marijuana also gives an overview of the most popular medical and recreational uses of cannabis. It offers a survey of the most important medical cannabis research while highlighting emerging trends in the legal cannabis market. The guide also introduces those new to cannabis to the many ways to consume marijuana, and much more.
Many countries differentiate between marijuana and hemp by the amount of THC produced per weight of a dry plant. In the U.S., industrial hemp is defined as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” The European Union has set the limit at 0.2 percent, while in Great Britain the limit is zero, unless you have a cultivation license to grow industrial hemp with no more than 0.2% THC.
Last year, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimated the total retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. at $620 million. Sadly, all of the raw hemp materials were imported from other countries. (More on that later.) Hemp is an attractive rotation crop for farmers. As it grows, hemp breathes in CO2, detoxifies the soil, and prevents soil erosion. What’s left after harvest breaks down into the soil, providing valuable nutrients.
However, because no tools existed for quality control, it was impossible to prepare a standardized medicine, so patients often received a dose that was either too low, having no effect, or too high, resulting in serious side effects. Moreover, Cannabis extract was not water-soluble and therefore could not be injected (in contrast to, e.g., the opiates), whereas oral administration was found to be unreliable because of its slow and erratic absorption. Because of such drawbacks, the medicinal use of Cannabis increasingly disappeared in the beginning of the twentieth century, and in 1937 Cannabis was removed from the US pharmacopoeia, a move that was followed by most other Western countries.27 Isolation and structure elucidation of the first pure active substances from Cannabis was not achieved until the 1960s.29
38 states and Puerto Rico considered legislation related to industrial hemp in 2017. These bills ranged from clarifying existing laws to establishing new licensing requirements and programs. At least 15 states enacted legislation in 2017 — Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, North Dakota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. At least four states — Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin — authorized new research or pilot programs.
Without arguing the merits of the above contentions, we point out that the legitimate use of hemp for non-intoxicant purposes has been inhibited by the continuing ferocious war against drug abuse. In this atmosphere, objective analysis has often been lacking. Unfortunately both proponents and opponents have tended to engage in exaggeration. Increasingly, however, the world is testing the potential of hemp in the field and marketplace, which surely must be the ultimate arbiters. De Guzman (2001), noting the pessimistic USDA report, observed that “Nevertheless, others point to the potential of [the] market. Hemp products have a growing niche market of their own, and the market will remain healthy and be well supported with many competing brands.”
The edible seeds contain about 30 percent oil and are a source of protein, fibre, and magnesium. Shelled hemp seeds, sometimes called hemp hearts, are sold as a health food and may be eaten raw; they are commonly sprinkled on salads or blended with fruit smoothies. Hemp seed milk is used as an alternative to dairy milk in drinks and recipes. The oil obtained from hemp seed can be used to make paints, varnishes, soaps, and edible oil with a low smoke point. Historically, the seed’s chief commercial use has been for caged-bird feed.
Cannabis, especially the cannabinoid CBD, has also demonstrated its abilities as a powerful anti-convulsant. This property is what accounts for cannabis’ ability to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures, especially for people with epilepsy. In the United States, epilepsy is the most widely adopted qualifying condition for medical cannabis use, especially for children.
This cannabinoid is known as cannabidiol (CBD) and is the second most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis on the market today. Research performed by G.W. Pharmaceuticals suggests that CBD could be used for treating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, diabetes, nausea, bowel disorders, and many other hard-to-control side effects. According to an research by Project CBD, CBD has even demonstrated neuroprotective effects, and its anti-cancer potential is currently being explored.
^ Advocates of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, such as Illinois state Senator Heather Steans, has said that legalizing it would help reduce such hazardous added drugs: "Over 95 percent are buying it on the black market. You don’t know what you’re buying. It’s not a safe product. We’ve seen it laced with rat poison, fentanyl, all sorts of things. It’s funding the cartels and other criminal activity."
Hemp plants are almost always cultivated outdoors, as opposed to marijuana plants, which are mostly planted in greenhouse or indoor settings. Because hemp is susceptible to the same predators diseases and insects that attack marijuana, the hemp industry employs a technique called crop rotation, in which alternating crops are planted in the same place, to avoid any buildup of these organisms and allow nutrients to return to the soil. The specific order of crop rotation and types of crops being rotated with hemp will depend on the location of the farm. Hemp is also used as a rotational crop at farms where it is not the primary agricultural product.
While it was originally believed that THC is a breakdown product of CBD, it is now known that both THC and CBD are actually metabolites of their decarboxylated acidic forms, THCa and CBDa. These acidic precursors are decarboxylated (essentially dried) by heat or extraction to produce THC and CBD; only then do they become psychoactive.The compound has medicinal benefits without the “high” that some patients do not desire. This makes CBD appealing to patients who are looking for an alternative to their current meds, which often have opiate-like effects.
The chamber also expressed support for reducing criminal penalties for marijuana-related activity, expunging prior cannabis convictions, implementing employment protections for consumers, ensuring that licensing empowers individuals from communities that have been hardest hit by the drug war, developing social equity programs and imposing a “reasonable tax structure” to curb the illicit market.
CBD Isolate is the purest supplement available. It’s a 99% pure CBD supplement derived from hemp oil. Despite its concentration, CBD isolate effects are similar to other CBD concentrates, and it can be used in a variety of ways. It can be consumed itself, added to foods and beverages, or vaporized. You can also add it to other CBD products to increase their potency.
Via CB1 receptor activation, THC indirectly increases dopamine release and produces psychotropic effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) also acts as an allosteric modulator of the μ- and δ-opioid receptors. THC also potentiates the effects of the glycine receptors. It is unknown if or how these actions contribute to the effects of cannabis.
Scott Shannon, M.D., assistant clinical professor at the University of Colorado, recently sifted through patient charts from his four-doctor practice to document CBD’s effects on anxiety. His study, as yet unpublished, found “a fairly rapid decrease in anxiety scores that appears to persist for months,” he says. But he says he can’t discount a placebo effect, especially since “there’s a lot of hype right now.”
Hash oil is a resinous matrix of cannabinoids obtained from the Cannabis plant by solvent extraction, formed into a hardened or viscous mass. Hash oil can be the most potent of the main cannabis products because of its high level of psychoactive compound per its volume, which can vary depending on the plant's mix of essential oils and psychoactive compounds. Butane and supercritical carbon dioxide hash oil have become popular in recent years.