There is certainly a need to utilize available germplasm sources in order to breed suitable cultivars for North America. A list of the 24 approved cultivars for the 2001 season in Canada is at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb-dgps/therapeut/htmleng/hemp.html. Most of these are regulated by the European Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These cultivars are “approved” for use in Canada not on agricultural criteria, but merely on the basis that they meet the THC criterion. Indeed, most of these are unsuitable or only marginally suitable for Canada (Small and Marcus 2000), and only a very few Canadian cultivars to date have been created. In Canada, every acquisition of hemp grown at a particular place and time must be tested for THC content by an independent laboratory and, under the industrial hemp regulations, fields of hemp with more than 0.3% THC may require destruction (a slight degree of flexibility is generally exercised). Importation of experimental hemp lines (i.e. other than the approved cultivars) requires importation licenses (as well as phytosanitary clearance of the shipment by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency), and the importation licenses require an indication that the THC contents are low.
For profitable hemp farming, particularly deep, humus-rich, nutrient-rich soil with controlled water flow is preferable. Waterlogged acidic, compressed or extremely light (sandy) soils primarily affect the early development of plants. Steep and high altitudes of more than 400 m above sea level are best avoided. Hemp is relatively insensitive to cold temperatures and can withstand frost down to −5 °C. Seeds can germinate down to 1–3 °C. Hemp needs a lot of heat, so earlier varieties come to maturation. The water requirement is 300–500 l/kg dry matter. This is around 1/14th that of cotton, which takes between 7,000 and 29,000 l/kg, according to WWF. Roots can grow up to 3 feet into the soil and use water from deeper soil layers.
Breeding for low THC cultivars in Europe has been reviewed by Bócsa (1998), Bócsa and Karus (1998), and Virovets (1996). Some researchers have claimed to have produced essentially THC-free strains, although at present no commercial cultivar seems to be 100% free of THC. THC content has proven to be more easily reduced in monoecious than in dioecious varieties. It should be possible to select THC-free strains, and there has been speculation that genetic engineering could be helpful in this regard. As a strategic economic and political tactic, France has been attempting for several years to have the European Union (EU) adopt legislation forbidding the cultivation of industrial hemp cultivars with more than 0.1% THC, which would mean that primarily French varieties would have to be cultivated in Europe. However, the Canadian government has found that some French material has proven to be excessively high in THC.
All this means that scientists can still only obtain marijuana-derived CBD from farms licensed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (which until this year meant only one farm owned by the University of Mississippi). As for whether you should have a preference for CBD that comes from hemp, marijuana, or a pure synthetically produced version, there are some theories that THC—and even the smell and taste of cannabis—might make CBD more effective, but Bonn-Miller says these ideas have yet to be proven.
Earliest reference to euphoric use of C. sativa appears to date to China of 5 millennia ago, but it was in India over the last millennium that drug consumption became more firmly entrenched than anywhere else in the world. Not surprisingly, the most highly domesticated drug strains were selected in India. While C. sativa has been used as a euphoriant in India, the Near East, parts of Africa, and other Old World areas for thousands of years, such use simply did not develop in temperate countries where hemp was raised. The use of C. sativa as a recreational inebriant in sophisticated, largely urban settings is substantially a 20th century phenomenon.
As noted above, hemp seed cake makes an excellent feed for animals. However, feeding entire plants is another matter, because the leaves are covered with the resin-producing glands. While deer, groundhogs, rabbits, and other mammals will nibble on hemp plants, mammals generally do not choose to eat hemp. Jain and Arora (1988) fed narcotic Cannabis refuse to cattle, and found that the animals “suffered variable degrees of depression and revealed incoordination in movement.” By contrast, Letniak et al. (2000) conducted an experimental trial of hemp as silage. No significant differences were found between yield of the hemp and of barley/oat silage fed to heifers, suggesting that fermenting hemp plants reduces possible harmful constituents.
Cannabis research suggests medical marijuana could become an effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a debilitating and sometimes fatal condition caused by diabetes. Diabetics suffer from high blood sugar due to insulin resistance, and this damages nerve cells in the body, causing severe pain. Patients who consumed THC as part of a study found they experienced less pain. Findings are not definitive, however, and further research into cannabis as a treatment for diabetes and associated symptoms is required.
In addition to positively affecting the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain to name few. For a more comprehensive look at these and other studies, visit our medical research and education page.
All of this makes CBD remarkably difficult for even the most dedicated health care providers to manage safely. Dr. Kelly Knupp, an associate professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Colorado, and the director of the Dravet Syndrome program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said families of epileptic children have tried to bring CBD oils to the hospital for testing. “They’re just concerned that they don’t know exactly who’s growing [the hemp],” Knupp said. “They know it’s not being regulated.” But because CBD is a Schedule I controlled substance, high-tech, regulated laboratories, like those at the University of Colorado, can’t accept, store, or test CBD oils, lest they risk prosecution. “There is no such lab that can take that product,” Knupp said, which leaves any testing up to the unregulated testing centers that cater to the cannabis industry.
The Department has policies and procedures in place for the commonwealth's hemp research program, which can be found in the 2019 Pilot Program Parameters. Researchers from institutions of higher education or growers who would like to be considered for participation in the 2019 program must submit a 2019 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program Permit Application prior to the application deadline of December 17, 2018. Researchers who participated in the 2018 Pilot Program may submit a Permit Renewal form by December 17, 2018 to continue their projects in the 2019 growing season.
To this point, CBD oil has existed in a kind of liminal space— at once an illegal drug, a legal medication, and some kind of “dietary” supplement. It’s possible this could change in the coming years, however. GW Pharmaceuticals, a U.K.-based firm, has developed a “pure CBD” medication called Epidiolex that has shown promising test results. It is currently on a fast-track to receive FDA clearance. For some patients, Epidiolex could be a miracle cure. This summer, in Wired magazine, writer Fred Vogelstein chronicled his family’s own struggles to find an effective treatment for his son’s epilepsy—including experiments with hemp oil— and the immense hurdles they overcame to gain access to Epidiolex prior to its FDA approval. The drug could be for sale on pharmacy shelves in the near future, though exactly how near is hard to say.
Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a nearly 500-page report on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. A committee of 16 experts from a variety of scientific and medical fields analyzed the available evidence — more than 10,000 scientific abstracts in all. Because so few studies examine the effects of CBD on its own, the panel did not issue any findings about CBD specifically, but it did reach some conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids more generally. The researchers determined that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” supporting the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain in adults, multiple sclerosis-related spasticity (a kind of stiffness and muscle spasms), and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The committee also found “moderate” evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can reduce sleep disturbances in people with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis, as well as “limited” evidence that these substances can improve symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, increase appetite and stem weight loss in people with HIV/AIDs, and improve symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.
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.
Cooper recently got funding from the National Institutes of Health for a study looking at cannabinoids — including CBD in isolation — as a substitute for opioids, and numerous other clinical trials of CBD are underway. It will be several years before results are available, but these studies should help clarify both what benefits the substance may provide and any side effects it may come with. Most of the adverse effects so far associated with cannabis, such as impairments in short-term memory, coordination and judgment,2 come from products that contain THC as well as CBD, Cooper said, but we need to do more studies to find out for sure whether CBD has fewer risks. Studies are also needed to identify the best way to administer and dose CBD. “I get emails from people asking me what dose of CBD to use, and the truth is, we really don’t know,” Cooper said.
A combination of global overproduction of milk and increasing demand for non-dairy alternatives have crippled farmers whose livelihoods are often built on familial farms, passed down between generations. For many red-blooded farmers living in America's heartlands, agribusinesses are not just a means of putting food on the table. The legacy of farming runs through their veins, and the devastation happening within the industry is just as much a personal blow as it is a financial one.
Public heath insurance programs would be required to cover medical marijuana in New York if a new Assembly bill is enacted. “Cost is the primary barrier to patient access in New York’s medical marijuana program,” reads a memo attached to the legislation. “Medicaid, other public health plans, and commercial health insurance plans do not cover … Continue reading New York Bill Would Require Medical Marijuana Be Covered By Public Health Insurance
Will hemp commercial cultivation resume in the US in the foreseeable future? This is difficult to judge, but the following considerations suggest this might occur: (1) increasing awareness of the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana; (2) growing appreciation of the environmental benefits of hemp cultivation; (3) continuing demonstration of successful hemp cultivation and development in most of the remaining western world; all the G8 countries, except the US, produce and export industrial hemp; and (4) increasing pressure on state and federal governments to permit hemp cultivation by farmers, particularly wheat, corn, and tobacco farmers in desperate need of substitute crops, but also for rotation crops to break pest and disease cycles.
There have been ten clinical trials on the use of inhaled Cannabis in cancer patients that can be divided into two groups. In one group, four small studies assessed antiemetic activity but each explored a different patient population and chemotherapy regimen. One study demonstrated no effect, the second study showed a positive effect versus placebo, the report of the third study did not provide enough information to characterize the overall outcome as positive or neutral. Consequently, there are insufficient data to provide an overall level of evidence assessment for the use of Cannabis for chemotherapy-induced N/V. Apparently, there are no published controlled clinical trials on the use of inhaled Cannabis for other cancer-related or cancer treatment–related symptoms.