This guide is an introduction to anyone looking to inform themselves about the reality of cannabis. It covers basic information about the marijuana plant, cannabis preparations, and the crucial elements of plant anatomy and science. This guide to marijuana also gives an overview of the most popular medical and recreational uses of cannabis. It offers a survey of the most important medical cannabis research while highlighting emerging trends in the legal cannabis market. The guide also introduces those new to cannabis to the many ways to consume marijuana, and much more.
In Western Europe, the cultivation of hemp was not legally banned by the 1930s, but the commercial cultivation stopped by then, due to decreased demand compared to increasingly popular artificial fibers. Speculation about the potential for commercial cultivation of hemp in large quantities has been criticized due to successful competition from other fibers for many products. The world production of hemp fiber fell from over 300,000 metric tons 1961 to about 75,000 metric tons in the early 1990s and has after that been stable at that level.
Fig. 6. ‘Finola,’ the first cultivar of Cannabis sativa bred exclusively for grain. (Courtesy of the breeder, J.C. Callaway, Univ. Kuopio, Finland.) Fig. 7. ‘Anka,’ the first registered North American bred cultivar of Cannabis sativa. This variety is best suited for grain production. (Courtesy of the breeder, P. Dragla, and of the Industrial Hemp Seed Development Company, Chatham, Ontario.)
Industrial hemp contains, by weight, far less CBD than CBD-rich cultivars such as Harlequin or Sour Tsunami. This means that producing a single 10 mL dose of CBD would require the cultivation and extraction of far more hemp than it would from whole-plant marijuana; thus raising the risk of exposing users to more contaminants. Hemp is classified as a “bioaccumulator,” or a plant that naturally absorbs toxicants from the soil.
Hemp was made illegal to grow without a permit in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act passed in 1970 because of its relation to marijuana, and any imported hemp products must meet a zero tolerance level. Some states have made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal, but farmers in many states have not yet begun to grow it because of resistance from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, making "large-scale hemp growing" in the United States "not viable" as late as 2013. In 2013, after the legalization of cannabis in the state, several farmers in Colorado planted and harvested several acres of hemp, bringing in the first hemp crop in the United States in over half a century. Colorado, Vermont, California, and North Dakota have passed laws enabling hemp licensure. All four states are waiting for permission to grow hemp from the DEA. Currently, Oregon has licensed industrial hemp as of August 2009. Congress included a provision in the Agricultural Act of 2014 that allowed colleges and state agencies to grow and conduct research on hemp in states where it is legal. Hemp production in Kentucky, formerly the United States' leading producer, resumed in 2014. Hemp production in North Carolina resumed in 2017, and in Washington State the same year. By the end of 2017, at least 34 U.S. states had industrial hemp programs. In 2018, New York began taking strides in industrial hemp production, along with hemp research pilot programs at Cornell University, Binghamton University and SUNY Morrisville.
As more people start paying attention to hemp, more facts are shared to demonstrate the power of this plant—hence why it’s often called the “Miracle Crop.” What has really been highlighted is the hemp seed’s nutritional benefits and its fiber’s durability. Hemp has been known to have over 25,000 applications. The key benefit of hemp is that it is such a sustainable and eco-friendly crop as well as being so useful. Hemp will be a key ingredient as we fight global warming and climate change.
A study by Henquet and colleagues (2004) substantially replicated both the Swedish and Dutch studies in a 4-year follow-up of a cohort of 2437 adolescents and young adults between 1995 and 1999 in Munich. They found a dose–response relationship between self-reported cannabis use at baseline and the likelihood of reporting psychotic symptoms. As in the Dutch cohort, young people who reported psychotic symptoms at baseline were much more likely to experience psychotic symptoms at follow-up if they used cannabis than were cannabis-using peers without such a history.
Although always sold at a premium price, hemp clothing has a natural appeal to a sector of the population. Hemp clothes are resistant to abrasion, but are typically abrasive. However, appropriate processing and blending with other natural fibers has significantly improved the “feel” of the product, and in China hemp textiles indistinguishable from fine linens in texture are available. Weaving of hemp fibers into textiles and apparel is primarily done in China, Hungary, Romania, Russia, and the Ukraine. Processing costs are higher for industrial hemp because the fibers vary from the standard specifications for fiber length and diameter established for the equipment used in most textile and apparel factories, necessitating the use of specialty machines. The North American hemp apparel industry today is based on fiber, yarn, and fabrics imported from Eastern Europe and China. The extraction technology and spinning facilities, to say nothing of much lower labor costs, make it very difficult for the potential development of a hemp textile industry in North America. The fact that spinning facilities for natural fibers are so concentrated in China is making it increasingly difficult to competitively produce hemp fabrics elsewhere. This of course lessens the value-added future of growing hemp for a potential textile industry in North America. It is possible, however, that new technologies could change this situation, and especially in the EU development is underway to establish a fledgling domestic hemp textile industry. In addition to textiles used in clothing, coarser woven cloth (canvas) is used for upholstery, bags, sacks, and tarpaulins. There is very little effort in North America to produce such woven products, and non-woven material (Fig. 15) can be more easily produced. Hempline in Ontario, the first firm to grow hemp for commercial purposes in North America since the second word war (starting with experimental cultivation in 1994), is the exception, and is concerned with production of fiber for upholstery and carpeting.
CBD is famous for the promise it holds for treating treatment-resistant forms of childhood epilepsy. A number of clinical trials, testing the efficacy of CBD in human epilepsy patients, are currently underway. But there is also evidence, mainly from animal studies and in vitro experiments, that CBD may have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, and potential therapeutic value in the treatment of motivational disorders like depression, anxiety, and addiction.