The use and retail possibilities of cannabis in medicine, industry, and to some extent recreational use is rapidly growing more obvious every day. Like every natural medicine, cannabis is being found to have some benefits and side effects. Recreational use assumes nothing done on a heavy daily basis or for a great length of time.
However, there is a kicker – there always is.
First, not a great deal of clinically sound study has been done on long-term effects or dependency. For instance, in some cases elevated heart rate can exacerbate heart conditions and yet in seriously ill patients it has been found beneficial especially over more dangerous, drastic, or synthetic remedies. Second, drug cartels have no plans to lose a “cash cow” that helps fund other activities so they become more prone to rebelling against intrusion by more “business oriented” companies growing or selling cannabis which then escalates into further serious issues.
Cannabis comes in two varieties. Cannabis has just as much to do with these industrial hemp products as it does with the recreational drug better known as marijuana or pot. While marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical. CBD. Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC, while marijuana produces more THC than CBD. Interestingly, research has shown that CBD acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, separating hemp further from marijuana.
Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. The strict laws surrounding both forms of cannabis — hemp and marijuana — makes any research very difficult. Developments in hemp technology continue to reveal new and intriguing ways that this industrial plant can contribute to society in the future.
“Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America”- excerpts from paper written and presented by Ernest Small and David Marcus at Purdue, 2002:
Hemp fiber can potentially replace other biological fibers in many applications. One desirable feature of hemp fibers are strength and durability (particularly resistance to decay), which made hemp useful in the past for rope, nets, sail-cloth, and oakum for caulking. Interestingly the oldest surviving paper is over 2,000 years of age, from China, and was made from hemp fiber. During the early days, Henry Ford constructed a car with certain components made of resin stiffened with hemp fiber.
Recently, researchers at the University of Alberta created a supercapacitor using raw hemp material, making the manufacturing of cheap, fast-charging batteries from hemp a real possibility. Hemp fibre is also being used to develop new forms of renewable plastic, which has made it a common material in the car parts industry. Thermal insulation products are the third most important sector of the hemp industry of the EU. Flax, jute, kenaf, hemp, and wheat straw can be used to make composite board or molded fiberboard products. Hemp fibers added to concrete increase tensile strength while reducing shrinkage and cracking.
First Kicker – Studies vs Retail Cannabis Advocacy
LiveScience by Tia Ghose, January 13, 2015
Medical marijuana advocates tout the drugs’ medicinal qualities to ability to soothe nausea and increase appetite, quiet pain, soothe anxiety and even reduce epileptic seizures. However, because research on the drug is so tightly restricted, few studies have tested these medical claims.
Short-term use of the drug impairs thinking and coordination, and in long-term studies, teens who smoke marijuana have lower IQs later on, as well as structural differences in their brains, though scientists debate whether this is an effect of the drug or a result of habitual pot smokers seeking out less intellectually stimulating pursuits. Marijuana use has been linked to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, according to NIDA. Marijuana smokers are also likelier to suffer from bronchitis, according to a 2014 New England Journal of Medicine review of marijuana’s health effects.
Numerous states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, with 23 states currently allowing some form of either medical or recreational use of the drug as of November 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In August 2013, the Department of Justice stated that while marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, they would decline to enforce federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington state, assuming that these states would set up their own rigorous regulatory schemes.
Cannabis grown for industry is called industrial marijuana, or hemp. Hemp has many uses. The seeds can be crushed for oil, food and beauty products. Hemp fibers can be used for paper, sturdy fabrics and rope. People have grown hemp for millennia. Current U.S. federal law prohibits hemp farming with few exceptions. Hemp products, however, are legal and are imported from Canada, Russia, China and other nations that allow industrial marijuana farming.
“Although marijuana may be addictive for some, 91 percent of those who try it do not get hooked. Further, marijuana is less addictive than many other legal and illegal drugs. In glaucoma patients, it can reduce the dangerously high eye pressure that can lead to vision loss. Pot can provide relief from chronic pain, reduce nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy, and limit the severe weight loss that results from AIDS and other diseases. Scientific American (Obviously I assume this is not laced with any other substances such as cocaine.)
Benefit and Pitfalls Articles (of which there are many according to what one wants to hear vs studies):
—Stroke, Heart Failure Linked to Marijuana by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, March 10, 2017
—Marijuana Compound Shows Some Potential for Treating Opioid Addiction by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, February 2, 2017
—Can Marijuana Treat MS Symptoms? by Thorsten Rudroff, Colorado State University, January 17, 2017
—Cannabis Use in HIV for Pain and Other Medical Symptoms – Abstract April 2005
—Patterns of Marijuana Use Among Patients With HIV/AIDS Followed in a Public Health Care Setting – Abstract, January 1, 2004
Second Kicker – Cartels
Cartels however are in it for the immediate gratification of filling their pocketbooks. They don’t have a problem with functioning as a shadow group raking in tons of money that is until someone ticks them off, then their heavy-handed “cartelness” comes out. Nor can one envision them going legitimate with quality control standards, laws, rules, transportation fees, and taxes cutting into their profit. They are known for their “additives” which move users over into more “profitable” avenues like cocaine and designer drugs. Just as they are known for eliminating competition or terrorizing smaller growers because the profits are reduced.
This past week, Breitbart reported on huge plantation of Marijuana in Texas. Members of the Los Zetas Cartel managed to establish a series of large-scale marijuana plantations in east Texas. Authorities have been able to locate 15 marijuana plantations and seize 77,000 plants with an estimated worth of more than $101 million.
So the big kickers are the cartels and the pesky abuse of weed for “recreational” purposes. Remember the old drug advertisement where the frying pan holds a cooking egg? It really is that simple. People can and will indulge beyond common sense on anything that they see as “illegal” or “against establishment” or “self-gratifying” to the point of stupidity.
As old as I am, I have had a long time to observe the effects of long-term use by people around me. Granted most went on to more dangerously addictive and destructive drug use, still a few did not but did continued the “illegal use” of weed over the years. Their cognitive abilities may have been reduced (these were back country folk who had no need for highly tuned skills) but the slowing of thinking and muscular skills were still evident. Since no studies had been made following them from childhood to late in life, there is no evidentiary means of firmly establishing if the weed did in fact create the issue or if circumstances, heredity, and environment were the real culprits.
This issue is one that is now in the hands of Jeff Sessions, DoJ, FBI, and congress to handle. On the one hand many potential investments have been made in the retail and growth end in states where it has become legal. On the other is federal and most state laws that maintain a Class 1 drug restriction. Then there is the organized crime and cartel element. Rival gangs and anger at losing such a potentially profitable crop could easily be seen as further escalation of gang violence and an uptick in more dangerous sales items.
I find it odd that we can in essence buy hemp from out of country sources but can’t legally grow or sell from within most of the US. Still for third world countries the growth and sales of hemp for industrial use could become a viable means of income which is a boon for them. The problem with any new or reintroduced product is the same – weigh the benefits against the kickers and consider the utter lack of common sense on the human user side to decide.