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.
In September 2018, following its approval by the FDA for rare types of childhood epilepsy,[13] Epidiolex was rescheduled (by the Drug Enforcement Administration) as a Schedule V drug to allow for its prescription use.[14] This change applies only to FDA-approved products containing no more than 0.1 percent THC.[14] This allows GW Pharmaceuticals to sell Epidiolex, but it does not apply broadly and all other CBD-containing products remain Schedule I drugs.[14] Epidiolex still requires rescheduling in some states before it can be prescribed in those states.[66][67]
Cannabis lowers the pressure in the eye that causes optic nerve damage leading to glaucoma. Research has shown conclusively that marijuana users experience lower internal eye pressure while the body metabolizes THC. However, the psychoactive side effects of using THC to treat glaucoma make cannabis a nonviable medication for most people with the disease.
Despite advanced analytical techniques, much of the cannabis used recreationally is inaccurately classified. One laboratory at the University of British Columbia found that Jamaican Lamb’s Bread, claimed to be 100% sativa, was in fact almost 100% indica (the opposite strain).[82] Legalization of cannabis in Canada (as of October 17, 2018) may help spur private-sector research, especially in terms of diversification of strains. It should also improve classification accuracy for cannabis used recreationally. Legalization coupled with Canadian government (Health Canada) oversight of production and labelling will likely result in more -- and more accurate -- testing to determine exact strains and content. Furthermore, the rise of craft cannabis growers in Canada should ensure quality, experimentation/research, and diversification of strains among private-sector producers.[83]
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No ongoing clinical trials of Cannabis as a treatment for cancer in humans were identified in a PubMed search. The only published trial of any cannabinoid in patients with cancer is a small pilot study of intratumoral injection of delta-9-THC in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, which demonstrated no significant clinical benefit.[19,20] In a trial (NCT02255292) conducted in Israel, oral cannabidiol (CBD) was investigated as a single salvage agent for recurrent solid tumors. The study was projected to be completed in 2015; however, no results have been published. A small exploratory phase II study (GWCA1208 Part A [NCT01812603]) was conducted in the United Kingdom that used nabiximols, a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD in a Cannabis-based medicinal extract oromucosal spray, in conjunction with temozolomide in treating patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. The study enrolled 21 patients. Final results have not been published.
Hemp rope was used in the age of sailing ships, though the rope had to be protected by tarring, since hemp rope has a propensity for breaking from rot, as the capillary effect of the rope-woven fibers tended to hold liquid at the interior, while seeming dry from the outside.[42] Tarring was a labor-intensive process, and earned sailors the nickname "Jack Tar". Hemp rope was phased out when Manila, which does not require tarring, became widely available. Manila is sometimes referred to as Manila hemp, but is not related to hemp; it is abacá, a species of banana.
A 2016 review of animal studies indicated that cannabidiol has potential as an anxiolytic for relief of anxiety-related disorders and fear.[11] Reviews of preliminary research showed cannabidiol has potential for improving addictive disorders and drug dependence, although as of 2016, they indicated limited high-quality evidence for anti-addictive effects in people.[88][89][90]

Short-term use increases both minor and major adverse effects.[103] Common side effects include dizziness, feeling tired, vomiting, and hallucinations.[103] Long-term effects of cannabis are not clear.[105] Concerns including memory and cognition problems, risk of addiction, schizophrenia in young people, and the risk of children taking it by accident.[102]
Hemp is a bast fiber crop, i.e. the most desirable (“long”) fibers are found in the phloem-associated tissues external to the phloem, just under the “bark.” The traditional and still major first step in fiber extraction is to ret (“rot”) away the softer parts of the plant, by exposing the cut stems to microbial decay in the field (“dew retting,” shown in Figs. 46 and 47) or submerged in water (“water retting, ” shown in Fig. 13). The result is to slough off the outer parts of the stem and to loosen the inner woody core (the “hurds”) from the phloem fibers (Fig. 14). Water retting has been largely abandoned in countries where labor is expensive or environmental regulations exist. Water retting, typically by soaking the stalks in ditches, can lead to a high level of pollution. Most hemp fiber used in textiles today is water retted in China and Hungary. Retting in tanks rather than in open bodies of water is a way of controlling the effluents while taking advantage of the high-quality fiber that is produced. Unlike flax, hemp long fiber requires water retting for preparation of high-quality spinnable fibers for production of fine textiles. Improved microorganisms or enzymes could augment or replace traditional water retting. Steam explosion is another potential technology that has been experimentally applied to hemp (Garcia-Jaldon et al. 1998). Decorticated material (i.e. separated at least into crude fiber) is the raw material, and this is subjected to steam under pressure and increased temperature which “explodes” (separates) the fibers so that one has a more refined (thinner) hemp fiber that currently is only available from water retting. Even when one has suitably separated long fiber, specialized harvesting, processing, spinning and weaving equipment are required for preparing fine hemp textiles. The refinement of equipment and new technologies are viewed as offering the possibility of making fine textile production practical in western Europe and North America, but at present China controls this market, and probably will remain dominant for the foreseeable future.
If you decide to cut back or stop after using cannabis regularly, you may experience psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sleep difficulty, vivid dreams, and decreased appetite. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your plan to change, and ask them to look out for and support you. Alternatively, call Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797 for confidential, non-judgmental advice and referral to a local service provider.
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.
On Oct. 22 and 23, KDA participated in four informational meetings about Industrial Hemp in Manhattan, Salina, Colby and Garden City hosted by Kansas Farmers Union. The presentation shared by KDA at those meetings can be seen here: KDA Industrial Hemp Presentation. Information on the event, including the video of the guest presenter, can be found on the Kansas Farmers Union website. 
Based on studies of sex reversal in hemp, it was first reported by K. Hirata in 1924 that an XY sex-determination system is present.[25] At the time, the XY system was the only known system of sex determination. The X:A system was first described in Drosophila spp in 1925.[28] Soon thereafter, Schaffner disputed Hirata's interpretation,[29] and published results from his own studies of sex reversal in hemp, concluding that an X:A system was in use and that furthermore sex was strongly influenced by environmental conditions.[26]
No ongoing clinical trials of Cannabis as a treatment for cancer in humans were identified in a PubMed search. The only published trial of any cannabinoid in patients with cancer is a small pilot study of intratumoral injection of delta-9-THC in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, which demonstrated no significant clinical benefit.[19,20] In a trial (NCT02255292) conducted in Israel, oral cannabidiol (CBD) was investigated as a single salvage agent for recurrent solid tumors. The study was projected to be completed in 2015; however, no results have been published. A small exploratory phase II study (GWCA1208 Part A [NCT01812603]) was conducted in the United Kingdom that used nabiximols, a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD in a Cannabis-based medicinal extract oromucosal spray, in conjunction with temozolomide in treating patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. The study enrolled 21 patients. Final results have not been published.
The US Office of National Drug control Policy issued a statement on industrial hemp in 1997 (www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/policy/hemp%5Fold.html) which included the following: “Our primary concern about the legalization of the cultivation of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is the message it would send to the public at large, especially to our youth at a time when adolescent drug use is rising rapidly... The second major concern is that legalizing hemp production may mean the de facto legalization of marijuana cultivation. Industrial hemp and marijuana are the product of the same plant, Cannabis sativa... Supporters of the hemp legalization effort claim hemp cultivation could be profitable for US farmers. However, according to the USDA and the US Department of Commerce, the profitability of industrial hemp is highly uncertain and probably unlikely. Hemp is a novelty product with limited sustainable development value even in a novelty market... For every proposed use of industrial hemp, there already exists an available product, or raw material, which is cheaper to manufacture and provides better market results.... Countries with low labor costs such as the Philippines and China have a competitive advantage over any US hemp producer.”
In recent decades, the neurobiology of cannabinoids has been analyzed.[12-15] The first cannabinoid receptor, CB1, was identified in the brain in 1988. A second cannabinoid receptor, CB2, was identified in 1993. The highest expression of CB2 receptors is located on B lymphocytes and natural killer cells, suggesting a possible role in immunity. Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) have been identified and appear to have a role in pain modulation, control of movement, feeding behavior, mood, bone growth, inflammation, neuroprotection, and memory.[16]

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Cannabis is indigenous to Central Asia and Indian subcontinent,[183] and its use for fabric and rope dates back to the Neolithic age in China and Japan.[184][185] It is unclear when cannabis first became known for its psychoactive properties; some scholars suggest that the ancient Indian drug soma, mentioned in the Vedas, was cannabis, although this theory is disputed.[186]
In recent decades, the neurobiology of cannabinoids has been analyzed.[12-15] The first cannabinoid receptor, CB1, was identified in the brain in 1988. A second cannabinoid receptor, CB2, was identified in 1993. The highest expression of CB2 receptors is located on B lymphocytes and natural killer cells, suggesting a possible role in immunity. Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) have been identified and appear to have a role in pain modulation, control of movement, feeding behavior, mood, bone growth, inflammation, neuroprotection, and memory.[16]

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