Until 2017, products containing cannabidiol that are marketed for medical purposes were classed as medicines by the UK regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and could not be marketed without regulatory approval for the medical claims. CBD oil with THC content not exceeding 0.2% was legalized throughout the UK in 2017. Cannabis oil, however, remained illegal to possess, buy and sell.
Hemp is plagued by bird predation, which take a heavy toll on seed production. The seeds are well known to provide extremely nutritious food for both wild birds and domestic fowl. Hunters and birdwatchers who discover wild patches of hemp often keep this information secret, knowing that the area will be a magnet for birds in the fall when seed maturation occurs. Increasingly in North America, plants are being established to provide habitat and food for wildlife. Hemp is not an aggressive weed, and certainly has great potential for being used as a wildlife plant. Of course, current conditions forbid such usage in North America.
As detailed below, the development of hemp as a new legal crop in North America must be considered in relation to illicit cultivation, so it is important to appreciate the scope of the drug situation. Up until the first half of the 20th century, drug preparations of Cannabis were used predominantly as a recreational inebriant in poor countries and the lower socio-economic classes of developed nations. After World War II, marijuana became associated with the rise of a hedonistic, psychedelic ethos, first in the United States and eventually over much of the world, with the consequent development of a huge international illicit market that exceeds the value of the hemp market during its heyday. Table 3 shows the “economic significance” (dollars generated in the black market plus dollar cost of control measures) of the illicit drug industry associated with C. sativa, and contrasts this with the estimated dollar value of major categories of legitimate uses. In the Netherlands, the annual value of narcotic hemp cultivation (ca. $10 billion) exceeds the value of tulips (Collins 1999). Marijuana has become the most widely disseminated illicit species in the world (Schultes and Hofmann 1980). With the exception of alcohol, it is the most widely used recreational euphoric drug. About 25% of North Americans are believed to have used Cannabis illegally. According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/marijuana.html), more than 72 million Americans (33%) 12 years of age and older have tried marijuana. Cultivation, commerce, and consumption of drug preparations of Cannabis have been proscribed in most countries during the present century. The cost of enforcing the laws against Cannabis in North America is in the billions of dollars annually. In addition, there are substantial social costs, such as adverse effects on users, particularly those who are convicted. Tragically this includes some legitimate farmers who, faced with financial ruin because of the unprofitability of crops being grown, converted to growing marijuana.
Hemp is used in a variety of products we carry. The industrial hemp seed that is used in the products we carry today is not marijuana, although the two are from the same species (Cannabis Sativa). Hemp seeds are sterilized, removing any traces of THC – the mind-altering compound found in the drug. Industrial hemp can be grown with relatively little fertilizer and without the pesticides that have been known to pollute ground water and river systems.
CBC is another lesser-known yet still crucial cannabinoid in marijuana, especially from a therapeutic perspective. While bereft of the psychoactive quality of THC (and to a lesser extent THCV), CBC is gaining popularity as an anxiety reducer. While research on cannabichromene lags behind others, there’s good reason to continue looking into its potential as a medicine.
The genus Cannabis was first classified using the "modern" system of taxonomic nomenclature by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, who devised the system still in use for the naming of species. He considered the genus to be monotypic, having just a single species that he named Cannabis sativa L. (L. stands for Linnaeus, and indicates the authority who first named the species). Linnaeus was familiar with European hemp, which was widely cultivated at the time. In 1785, noted evolutionary biologist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck published a description of a second species of Cannabis, which he named Cannabis indica Lam. Lamarck based his description of the newly named species on plant specimens collected in India. He described C. indica as having poorer fiber quality than C. sativa, but greater utility as an inebriant. Additional Cannabis species were proposed in the 19th century, including strains from China and Vietnam (Indo-China) assigned the names Cannabis chinensis Delile, and Cannabis gigantea Delile ex Vilmorin. However, many taxonomists found these putative species difficult to distinguish. In the early 20th century, the single-species concept was still widely accepted, except in the Soviet Union where Cannabis continued to be the subject of active taxonomic study. The name Cannabis indica was listed in various Pharmacopoeias, and was widely used to designate Cannabis suitable for the manufacture of medicinal preparations.
Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in the world, for no reason other than the fact that it produces a psychoactive chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol. Still, recreational marijuana use, which involves pursuing the euphoric sensations produced by cannabis consumption, is steadily becoming more and more legal, both in the United States and abroad.
Throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses. The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for making rope and sail canvas. In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing or, as indicated in Mount Vernon records, used in repairing the large seine nets Washington used in his fishing operation along the Potomac.
The confusion between industrial hemp and marijuana is based on the visual similarities of widely differentiated varieties of plants. By definition, industrial hemp is high in fiber and low in active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes some cannabis varieties a valued drug. Canada and the European Union maintain this distinction by strictly regulating the THC levels of industrial hemp, requiring it to be less than 0.3 percent, compared to THC levels of between 3 to 30 percent in marijuana.
A 2015 meta analysis found that, although a longer period of abstinence was associated with smaller magnitudes of impairment, both retrospective and prospective memory were impaired in cannabis users. The authors concluded that some, but not all, of the deficits associated with cannabis use were reversible. A 2012 meta analyses found that deficits in most domains of cognition persisted beyond the acute period of intoxication, but was not evident in studies where subjects were abstinent for more than 25 days. Few high quality studies have been performed on the long-term effects of cannabis on cognition, and results were generally inconsistent. Furthermore, effect sizes of significant findings were generally small. One review concluded that, although most cognitive faculties were unimpaired by cannabis use, residual deficits occurred in executive functions. Impairments in executive functioning are most consistently found in older populations, which may reflect heavier cannabis exposure, or developmental effects associated with adolescent cannabis use. One review found three prospective cohort studies that examined the relationship between self reported cannabis use and intelligence quotient (IQ). The study following the largest number of heavy cannabis users reported that IQ declined between ages 7–13 and age 38. Poorer school performance and increased incidence of leaving school early were both associated with cannabis use, although a causal relationship was not established. Cannabis users demonstrated increased activity in task-related brain regions, consistent with reduced processing efficiency.
During my visit, Penny showed me how she administers Harper’s CBD oils. We stood in her kitchen, where a window opened onto a vista of green grass and a wooden swing set out back. After carefully mixing and measuring Harper’s oils, Penny poured the liquid into a jumbo-sized plastic syringe. “We put this all online,” she told me, referring to the several YouTube videos she has made to help other parents administer hemp oil. Penny leaned down over her daughter to fit the tip of the syringe into her gastronomy tube, and I stood by silently. Harper looked at Penny, and Penny smiled back at her, and eased the plunger down.
In the United Kingdom, cultivation licences are issued by the Home Office under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. When grown for nondrug purposes, hemp is referred to as industrial hemp, and a common product is fibre for use in a wide variety of products, as well as the seed for nutritional aspects and for the oil. Feral hemp or ditch weed is usually a naturalized fibre or oilseed strain of Cannabis that has escaped from cultivation and is self-seeding.
What is cannabis?Cannabis is a drug that comes from Indian hemp plants such as Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The main active chemical in cannabis is THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol).Cannabis is a depressant drug. Depressant drugs do not necessarily make you feel depressed. Rather, they slow down the activity of the central nervous system and the messages going between the brain and the body. When large doses of cannabis are taken it may also produce hallucinogenic effects.For information on synthetic cannabinoids, see our "Legal high" facts page.Other namesCannabis is also known as grass, pot, hash, weed, reefer, dope, herb, mull, buddha, ganja, joint, stick, buckets, cones, skunk, hydro, yarndi, smoke and hooch.What does cannabis look like?Leaves from the cannabis plant are bright green and have a distinctive shape with five or seven leaflets. The flowering tops and upper leaves are covered in a sticky resin.Cannabis is used for the psychoactive (mind and mood-altering) effects of THC and other active ingredients. THC is the chemical in cannabis that makes you feel “high”.There are three main forms of psychoactive cannabis: marijuana, hashish and hash oil.Marijuana is the most common and least potent form of cannabis. Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the plant.Hashish (“hash”) is dried cannabis resin, usually in the form of a small block. The concentration of THC in hashish is higher than in marijuana, producing stronger effects.Hash oil is a thick, oily liquid, golden brown to black in colour, which is extracted from cannabis. Hash oil is the strongest form of cannabis.How and why is it used?The different forms of cannabis are used in different ways:Marijuana is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), or in a pipe (a bong).Hashish is usually added to tobacco and smoked, or baked and eaten in foods such as hash cookies.Hash oil is usually spread on the tip or paper of a cigarette and then smoked.Cannabis and hash can also be smoked in a vaporiser. Vaporisers heat cannabis to temperatures that release its active ingredients while minimising the toxins associated with burning.The THC in cannabis is absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the lungs (if smoked), or through the walls of the stomach and intestines (if eaten). The bloodstream carries the THC to the brain, producing the “high” effects. Drugs inhaled get into the bloodstream quicker than those eaten. This means that the effects of cannabis when smoked occur more rapidly than when eaten.Paper and textilesSome species of cannabis have few psychoactive effects. These plants are used to produce hemp fibre for use in paper, textiles and clothing.Medical usesCannabis has been used for medical purposes for many centuries. It has been reported that cannabis may be useful to help conditions such as:nausea and vomiting, particularly when associated with chemotherapywasting and severe weight loss, in people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or anorexia nervosa, as it may be used as an appetite stimulantpain relief, for example in people with cancer and arthritisrelief from symptoms of some neurological disorders that involve muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuryglaucomaepilepsyasthma.For more information, please click on the Australian Drug Foundation's DrugInfo Clearinghouse web site link below.
Cannabis (also called pot, marijuana, weed, dope, grass, mull, dak, hash, smoke, buds, skunk, cabbage, ganja, reefer) is the most commonly used illegal drug in New Zealand. Cannabis comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant and is used both for recreational and medicinal purposes. As a recreational drug, it can be used in a dried plant, resin, or oil form. The potency of cannabis depends on it's concentration of THC, which is higher in resin and oil than in the dried plant. The psychoactive potency of cannabis depends on its concentration of THC, which is higher in resin and hash oil. Cannabis is widely available in New Zealand.
Hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. The bast fibers can be used to make textiles that are 100% hemp, but they are commonly blended with other fibers, such as flax, cotton or silk, as well as virgin and recycled polyester, to make woven fabrics for apparel and furnishings. The inner two fibers of the plant are more woody and typically have industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter. When oxidized (often erroneously referred to as "drying"), hemp oil from the seeds becomes solid and can be used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds have been used in bird feed mix as well. A survey in 2003 showed that more than 95% of hemp seed sold in the European Union was used in animal and bird feed.