Retting is generally done in the field (Fig. 46, 47). This typically requires weeks. The windrows should be turned once or twice. If not turned, the stems close to the ground will remain green while the top ones are retted and turn brown. When the stalks have become sufficiently retted requires experience—the fibers should have turned golden or grayish in color, and should separate easily from the interior wood. Baling can be done with any kind of baler (Fig. 48). Stalks should have less than 15% moisture when baled, and should be allowed to dry to about 10% in storage. Bales must be stored indoors. Retted stalks are loosely held together, and for highest quality fiber applications need to be decorticated, scutched, hackled, and combed to remove the remaining pieces of stalks, broken fibers, and extraneous material. The equipment for this is rare in North America, and consequently use of domestically-produced fiber for high quality textile applications is extremely limited. However, as described above relatively crude fiber preparations also have applications.
"Industrial hemp" means a fiber or oilseed crop, or both, that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. having no more than three-tenths of 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops, whether growing or not; the seeds of the plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin produced therefrom.
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To make matters more confusing, nine states (including California, Washington, and Colorado) let residents buy cannabis-based products with or without THC. Nearly two dozen other “medical marijuana states” allow the sale of cannabis, including capsules, tinctures, and other items containing CBD or THC, at licensed dispensaries to people whose doctors have certified that they have an approved condition (the list varies by state but includes chronic pain, PTSD, cancer, autism, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis). Sixteen more states legalized CBD for certain diseases. But because all these products are illegal according to the federal government, cannabis advocates are cautious. “By and large, the federal government is looking the other way,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the Washington, DC–based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but until federal laws are changed, “this administration or a future one could crack down on people who produce, manufacture, or use CBD, and the law would be on its side.”
Cannabis smoke contains thousands of organic and inorganic chemical compounds. This tar is chemically similar to that found in tobacco smoke, and over fifty known carcinogens have been identified in cannabis smoke, including; nitrosamines, reactive aldehydes, and polycylic hydrocarbons, including benz[a]pyrene. Cannabis smoke is also inhaled more deeply than is tobacco smoke. As of 2015, there is no consensus regarding whether cannabis smoking is associated with an increased risk of cancer. Light and moderate use of cannabis is not believed to increase risk of lung or upper airway cancer. Evidence for causing these cancers is mixed concerning heavy, long-term use. In general there are far lower risks of pulmonary complications for regular cannabis smokers when compared with those of tobacco. A 2015 review found an association between cannabis use and the development of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs), particularly non-seminoma TGCTs. A 2015 analysis of six studies found little evidence that long-term or regular cannabis smoking was associated with lung cancer risk, though it could not rule out whether an association with heavy smoking exists. Another 2015 meta-analysis found no association between lifetime cannabis use and risk of head or neck cancer. Combustion products are not present when using a vaporizer, consuming THC in pill form, or consuming cannabis foods.
Hemp production has been legalized in North Carolina, but only as part of the state's pilot program as allowed under federal law. As such, it will still be awhile before the first fields are planted. The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 in 2015, allowing the Industrial Hemp Commission to develop the rules and licensing structure necessary to stay within federal laws. The law was modified in 2016 in House Bill 992. The Industrial Hemp Commission adopted temporary rules for review in February 2017. The Rules Review Commission of the Office of Administrative Hearings voted to approve these rules Feb. 16.
Cannabis is predominantly dioecious, having imperfect flowers, with staminate "male" and pistillate "female" flowers occurring on separate plants. "At a very early period the Chinese recognized the Cannabis plant as dioecious", and the (c. 3rd century BCE) Erya dictionary defined xi 枲 "male Cannabis" and fu 莩 (or ju 苴) "female Cannabis". Male flowers are normally borne on loose panicles, and female flowers are borne on racemes.
In Europe and Asia, hemp farming has been conducted for millennia. Although most countries ceased growing hemp after the second word war, some didn’t, including France, China, Russia, and Hungary, so that essential knowledge of how to grow and process hemp was maintained. When commercial hemp cultivation resumed in Canada in 1997, many farmers undertook to grow the crop without appreciating its suitability for their situation, or for the hazards of an undeveloped market. Hemp was often grown on farms with marginal incomes in the hopes that it was a savior from a downward financial spiral. The myth that hemp is a wonder crop that can be grown on any soil led some to cultivate on soils with a history of producing poor crops; of course, a poor crop was the result.
CBD’s potential usefulness in treating certain conditions is yet another argument in favor of legalizing the entire cannabis plant. Removing cannabis from the federal list of Schedule I narcotics that are illegal under the Controlled Substances Act would allow scientists to research its full medical potential and pharmaceutical companies in the United States to develop marijuana-based drugs and submit them for FDA approval. Government-regulated labs could test products like CBD oil to ensure safety and quality. Doctors could prescribe marijuana- based medicines with full knowledge of potential side effects and drug interactions, and without fear of losing their medical licenses or being thrown in jail.
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.
Neuropathic pain is a symptom cancer patients may experience, especially if treated with platinum-based chemotherapy or taxanes. Two RCTs of inhaled Cannabis in patients with peripheral neuropathy or neuropathic pain of various etiologies found that pain was reduced in patients who received inhaled Cannabis, compared with those who received placebo.[58,59] Two additional trials of inhaled Cannabis have also demonstrated the benefit of Cannabis over placebo in HIV-associated neuropathic pain.[60,61]
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