Sunday, November 10, 2013

Still Believe Nature Got It Wrong? Top 10 Health Benefits of Cannabis.

There is no plant on Earth more condemned than Cannabis. We’re talking about a living organism which governments have taken upon themselves to designate as an illegal substance. Despite no existing evidence of anyone ever dying of a marijuana overdose, possession of this plant is still illegal in many parts. Cannabis has been found to suppress cancer, reduce blood pressure, treat glaucoma, alleviate pain and even inhibit HIV. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. Can you understand more now why it’s illegal?

No Independent Study Has Ever Linked Marijuana To Psychosocial Problems

Cannabis is one of the most powerful healing plants on the planet. Dozens of studies have made pseudoscientific attempts to indicate that young people who use cannabis tend to experience psychological, social problems and mental decline. However, there is no evidence that marijuana use is directly linked with such problems, according to the results of a study published in The Lancet.

“Currently, there is no strong evidence that use of cannabis of itself causes psychological or social problems,” such as mental illness or school failure, lead study author Dr. John Macleod of the University of Birmingham in the UK told Reuters Health.
“There is a great deal of evidence that cannabis use is associated with these things, but this association could have several explanations,” he said, citing factors such as adversity in early life, which may itself be associated with cannabis use and psychosocial problems.
Macleod and his team reviewed 48 long-term studies, 16 of which provided the highest quality information about the association between illicit drug use reported by people 25 years old or younger and later psychological or social problems. Most of the drug-specific results involved cannabis use.
Cannabis use was not consistently associated with violent or antisocial behavior, or with psychological problems.
In another study, Scientists from King’s College, London, found occasional pot use could actually improve concentration levels.
The study, carried in the American Journal of Epidemiology, tested the mental function and memory of nearly 9,000 Britons at age 50 and found that those who had used illegal drugs as recently as in their 40s did just as well, or slightly better, on the tests than peers who had never used drugs.
‘Overall, at the population level, the results seem to suggest that past or even current illicit drug use is not necessarily associated with impaired cognitive functioning in early middle age,’ said lead researcher Dr Alex Dregan.
Dr Dregan’s team used data on 8,992 42-year-olds participating in a UK national health study, who were asked if they had ever used any of 12 illegal drugs. Then, at the age of 50, they took standard tests of memory, attention and other cognitive abilities.
Overall, the study found, there was no evidence that current or past drug users had poorer mental performance. In fact, when current and past users were lumped together, their test scores tended to be higher.

The Age of Deception is Ending 

In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids. The reason? Because research into cannabinoids allowed pharmaceutical companies to acquire practical knowledge on one of the most powerful antioxidants and neuroprotectants known to the natural world.
The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.
In a historic and significant moment in American history, last November, Colorado became the first US state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The impact of the decision could ripple across the entire country with vast opportunities to educate millions on the top health benefits of marijuana.
With the passage of I-502 in the 2012 Washington State election, marijuana also became legal in Washington–not just for medical use, but also for recreational use. Weed is still illegal as far as the United States government is concerned, but Washington and Colorado both have yet to figure out how that will work. It’s certain that this issue will continue to evolve and smooth out as time goes by, but the remaining states will eventually follow suit or be left behind with outdated laws.

Top Health Benefits

It’s no surprise that the United States has decreed that marijuana has no accepted medical use 
and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. Accepting and promoting the powerful health benefits of marijuana would instantly cut huge profits geared towards cancer treatment and the U.S. would have to admit it imprisons the population for no cause. Nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana.

According to editor Richard Cowan, the answer is because it is a threat to cannabis prohibition “…there really is massive proof that the suppression of medical cannabis represents the greatest failure of the institutions of a free society, medicine, journalism, science, and our fundamental values,” Cowan notes.
Besides the top 10 health benefits below, findings published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers have now have now discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS.
Recent studies have even shown it to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia, a disease many other studies have inconsistently found it causing.

1. Cancer
Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals and also kill cancer cells. Western governments have known this for a long time yet they continued to suppress the information so that cannabis prohibition and the profits generated by the drug industry proliferated.
THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

2. Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by uncontrollable facial grimaces, tics, and involuntary grunts, snorts and shouts.
Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl of the Hanover Medical College in Germany led a team that investigated the effects of chemicals called cannabinols in 12 adult Tourette’s patients. A single dose of the cannabinol produced a significant reduction in symptoms for several hours compared to placebo, the researchers reported.

3. Seizures
Marijuana is a muscle relaxant and has “antispasmodic” qualities that have proven to be a very effective treatment for seizures. There are actually countless cases of people suffering from seizures that have only been able to function better through the use of marijuana.

4. Migraines 
Since medicinal marijuana was legalized in California, doctors have reported that they have been able to treat more than 300,000 cases of migraines that conventional medicine couldn’t through marijuana.

5. Glaucoma 
Marijuana’s treatment of glaucoma has been one of the best documented. There isn’t a single valid study that exists that disproves marijuana’s very powerful and popular effects on glaucoma patients.

6. Multiple Sclerosis 
Marijuana’s effects on multiple sclerosis patients became better documented when former talk-show host, Montel Williams began to use pot to treat his MS. Marijuana works to stop the neurological effects and muscle spasms that come from the fatal disease.

7. ADD and ADHD 
A well documented USC study done about a year ago showed that marijuana is not only a perfect alternative for Ritalin but treats the disorder without any of the negative side effects of the pharmaceutical.

8. IBS and Crohn’s 
Marijuana has shown that it can help with symptoms of the chronic diseases as it stops nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

9. Alzheimer’s 
Despite what you may have heard about marijuana’s effects on the brain, the Scripps Institute, in 2006, proved that the THC found in marijuana works to prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking the deposits in the brain that cause the disease.

10. Premenstrual Syndrome 
Just like marijuana is used to treat IBS, it can be used to treat the cramps and discomfort that causes PMS symptoms. Using marijuana for PMS actually goes all the way back to Queen Victoria.
Mounting Evidence Suggests Raw Cannabis is Best Cannabinoids can prevent cancer, reduce heart attacks by 66% and insulin dependent diabetes by 58%. Cannabis clinician Dr. William Courtney recommends drinking 4 – 8 ounces of raw flower and leaf juice from any Hemp plant, 5 mg of Cannabidiol (CBD) per kg of body weight, a salad of Hemp seed sprouts and 50 mg of THC taken in 5 daily doses.
Why raw? Heat destroys certain enzymes and nutrients in plants. Incorporating raw cannabis allows for a greater availability of those elements. Those who require large amounts of cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects need to look no further than raw cannabis. In this capacity, it can be used at 60 times more tolerance than if it were heated.
Raw cannabis is considered by many experts as a dietary essential. As a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, raw cannabis may be right u there with garlic and tumeric.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cannabis: The Forbidden Medicine With Health Benefits You Will Not Hear About On The News

You might think that if scientists found a cure to cancer it would be a HUGE STORY, right? It would make the top story during prime-time news of every major television network, as well as the headline of every newspaper across the country. The person who found the cure would be a hero and the world would be celebrating… Then why hasn’t that happened?

Cannabinoids Proven To Inhibit Tumor Growth

study done in Madrid, discovered that the cannabinoids in marijuana inhibit tumor growth. The experiments in 2000 were conducted by Manuel Guzman, and concluded that THC injected into incurable brain tumors in rats, either shrank, or destroyed the tumors in a majority of their subjects. They found that cannabinoids work to inhibit the growth of blood vessels supplying tumors by modulating key cell-signaling pathways, thereby inhibiting tumor growth, and promoting cancer-cell death. The process is called apoptosis, or programmed cell death (PCD), and it occurs naturally everywhere in your body except tumors. Lack of apoptosis in the body can result in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and viral infections.
The presentation of cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD, CBN, etc…, promotes apoptosis killing off gliomas, leukemias, melanomas and other cancerous cell types; this is exactly what chemotherapies aim to do. Guzman claims that cannabinoid treatment does not expose the patient to the toxic levels of radiation that current methods of chemotherapy do. In addition, Cannabinoids are selective anti-tumor compounds which means they have the capability to kill tumor cells without affecting healthy cells. In chemotherapy, both healthy cells and cancerous cells are attacked and killed imprecisely.
“In 1974 the National Institute of Health ordered the Medical College of Virginia to find evidence that smoking cannabis damages the immune system. Instead what they found, is that THC slows the growth of lung cancer, breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.”
The sad part is that most Americans have never heard about the Madrid studies, and the story was only ran once by the Associated Press and the United Press International. What you may find even more sickening is that this was not the first time medical findings about cannabis have been covered up and hidden from mainstream media.
In 1974 the National Institute of Health ordered the Medical College of Virginia to find evidence that smoking cannabis damages the immune system. When they tested the effects on mice, they found instead that cannabis is an ideal medication for reducing tumors, both cancerous and benign. THC was proven to successfully slow the growth of three types of cancer in particular: lung cancer, breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.


The DEA, created by Richard Nixon, shut down the Virginia study immediately, and in ‘76 President Gerald Ford halted all marijuana related research. President Ford granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies working to develop, and patent synthetic forms of THC (unsuccessfully).
  • Dr. Guzman commented on the Virginia study, “I am aware of the existence of that research. In fact I have attempted many times to obtain the journal article on the original investigation by these people, but it has proven impossible.”
This is probably because later in 1983, the Reagan/Bush administration tried to persuade American universities and researchers to destroy all of the studies from the Medical College of Virginia (with some success according to Jack Herer). Guzman’s studies in Madrid were the first time THC has been used to treat living animals with tumors since the 1974 Virginia study.

Researchers Continually Denied Access to Cannabis

The Medical College of Virginia has applied to receive grants for further research in both 1996 and 2006, both times being denied by the DEA. In addition, the Virginia studies never made headline news. One article titled, “Cancer Curb is Studied,” appeared in the Local section of the Washington Post in August of 1974. This was the only time the story was reported by any major news outlet until 2001, when the San Antonio Current put out a story titled, “Pot Shrinks Tumors; Government Knew In ’74.” However, even this story has since disappeared from the site, and is nonexistent aside from copies posted on marijuana forums.
  • Dr. Guzman responded to the small article in the Washington Post by saying, “It is extremely interesting to me, the hope that the project seemed to awaken at that moment, and the sad evolution of events during the years following the discovery, until now we once again draw back the veil over the anti-tumoral power of THC, twenty-five years later. Unfortunately, the world bumps along between such moments of hope and long periods of intellectual castration.”

Cannabis Success Stories Not On Mainstream Media

Last month we shared a story with you all about an 8-month year old with a, “very massive centrally located inoperable brain tumor,” was treated with cannabis oil. The child’s father applied cannabinoid oil on the baby’s pacifier twice a day, increasing the dosage over time. Within 2 months the tumor had reduced enough that the oncologist suggested they go ahead without pursuing traditional therapy. Within 8 months, the tumor was completely gone and doctors were calling the child a, “miracle baby.”
You heard about that on the news though, right? Oh, you didn’t? Hmm… did you miss that story too? Or was it not there at all? A simple Google search will show you that The Huffington post was the most prominent news company to even cover the story. Is this because ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, and CNN all missed the story? What’s the deal? Why didn’t this story make headline news on all of those major networks?
“If it turns out that cannabis is the cure for cancer, and the government suppressed this information for 25 years (and continues to suppress it), then the body count alone will make this the biggest holocaust in recorded history.” Raymond Cushing
It is clear that this censorship is still going on, and the people who are covering these stories up are to blame. Every editor in all the major news networks should be held responsible for restricting the free flow of medical knowledge. This might be the reason why a headline about cannabis curing cancer will never be a top story. It is amazing to us the amount of time they have been able to suppress this knowledge from the public.
The best question to ask is why? Why would someone want to prevent a possible cure to deadly brain tumors and other autoimmune diseases from being found? The war on cannabis has killed millions, and not one death has been a result of the actual ‘drug’.
While these two studies were the most notable examples of the suppression of medical cannabis knowledge, hundreds of other studies have been conducted with similar outcomes that will never be acknowledged. Apparently not even a cure for cancer is enough to replace horrible headlines about shootings and robberies these days. Now… ask yourself, which news would you rather hear more about?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hemp Declared Next ‘It’ Food; Finally Overcomes Marijuana Misnomer

Hemp does give a damn about its bad reputation. This particularly trusty strain of Cannabis has been besmirched by its illicit cousin marijuana, a cultivar of Cannabis that is smoked for recreational purposes. Hemp has a microscopic and harmless amount of THC—the chemical in marijuana that gets you high—and has an extremely versatile skill set.

From nutritious foodstuffs to composite plastics for automobiles, hemp can be used for more than kitschy, hippy jewelry. In addition to its wide range of applications, the hemp crop is easily cultivated; its water and soil purification properties help to renew farm fields and can even kill weeds. Unfortunately, industrial hemp has been illegal to grow in the U.S. since 1958—save Colorado, of course—and can only be enjoyed legally by importing hemp products from Canada or other parts of the world.

There are thousands of possible uses for hemp, but the most beneficial purpose is hemp foods. Forty-four percent of the hemp seed is edible oils, and they’re chock full of essential fatty acids like Omega-6 and Omega-3

Sharon Palmer, RD, dietitian and author of The Plant-Powered Diet, told us that “Plant Omega-3s have heart health and anti-inflammatory benefits.” She explained the plethora of ways hemp can be infused in a diet, too. “With its soft, sesame seed-like appearance and nutty flavor, you can sprinkle hemp seeds into cereals, salads, breads, casseroles, and desserts.” 

Palmer said the hemp/weed confusion “was more prevalent in the past, but people are starting to get it more now. It’s a different breed of plant than marijuana.” The world’s largest hemp food manufacturer is Manitoba Harvest in Canada, where industrial hemp is legal to grow. They plant, harvest, and manufacture hemp for products like edible hemp seeds, hemp oils for cooking, and were the first to successfully develop water soluble hemp protein powder for shakes and smoothies. Manitoba Harvest offers both certified organic and natural hemp products with a THC content of less than 10 parts per million. 

Simply put, hemp is remarkably healthy and starting to break free from antiquated fallacies. Palmer thinks its been a long time coming. “I think hemp is the next ‘it’ food—it has been for a while,” she said. “I don’t think it will be a flash in the pan; it has historical, nutritional, and sustainable significance.”


Saturday, July 6, 2013

In Case You Missed It, Government Confirms And Reports That Cannabis Prevents Or Cures Certain Cancers

In a recent report, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the Federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that marijuana "inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines." The same report showed marijuana slows or stops the growth of certain lung cancer cells and suggested that marijuana may provide "risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer."

Referring to the NCI report, Patient Rights attorney Matthew Pappas said, "The Federal government's continuing attack on people prescribed medical cannabis by their doctors is hypocritical considering the benefits reported by its own National Cancer Institute." Pappas represents patients in defending their right to reasonably obtain medical marijuana. The patients contend the Federal government and various municipalities are trying to prevent them from obtaining cannabis for medical purposes in direct contravention of state laws. "Cities that ban dispensaries are denying patients the ability to obtain a medicine the Federal government's National Institutes of Health says fights cancer and they're doing it with the Obama Administration's help." Recently, the City of Los Angeles repealed its ban of medical marijuana collectives after Bill Rosendahl, a member of its city council diagnosed with cancer and prescribed medical marijuana said to fellow council members about the ban, "You want to kill me? You want to throw me under the bus?"

The NCI report also examined whether patients who smoke marijuana rather than ingesting it orally are exposed to a higher risk of lung and certain digestive system cancers. According to the government, 19 studies "failed to demonstrate statistically significant associations between marijuana inhalation and lung cancer." The report also identified a separate study of 611 lung cancer patients that showed marijuana was "not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer or other upper aerodigestive tract cancers and found no positive associations with any cancer type." In the area of prostate cancer, the NCI report was inconclusive and suggested further research was necessary. In its report, the National Cancer Institute also identified a "study of intratumoral injection of delta-9-THC in patients with recurrent glioblastoma" that showed tumor reduction in the test participants.

Despite the Federal government sanctioned and authorized NCI report, Pappas said Congress and the Obama Administration have continued to thwart marijuana research. In an announced effort to displace state medical marijuana laws, the Office of National Drug Control Policy described "medical" marijuana as a "myth" fueling "troubling misconceptions" in documents found on its website. The Federal government appears to be focused on creating more chemical drugs, many of which are the subject of various attorney television commercials seeking out those adversely impacted by those drugs. Pappas said both the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy continue to assert marijuana lacks any medicinal value despite the research showing cannabis reduces certain cancer risks and inhibits the growth of tumor cells. He also commented that the Federal government's anti-marijuana position contributes to and encourages prejudice and public misconception about the legitimate use of medical cannabis as treatment for seriously ill patients.

In addition to anti-cancer properties, separate research reported marijuana appears to have "profound nerve-protective and brain-enhancing properties that could potentially treat many neurodegenerative disorders." In its report, the National Cancer Institute stated cannabis effectively treats insomnia and referenced a placebo-controlled study in cancer patients showing increased quality of sleep and relaxation in those treated with tetrahydrocannabinol, an active component in marijuana.

Responding to a White House statement that only a small percentage of patients prescribed medical cannabis under state laws use it to treat cancer, Pappas said "marijuana isn't just for cancer or AIDS patients – it can also treat, for example, sleeplessness." Although generally not a life threatening condition, Pappas referred to insomnia as a health issue regularly treated with prescription drugs zolpidem (brand name Ambien) and eszopiclone (brand name Lunesta). According to their manufacturers' websites, zolpidem and eszopiclone have been shown to cause severe side effects including aggressiveness, hallucinations, confusion, or suicidal thoughts. Pappas noted that, unlike those drugs, studies on insomnia similar to those reported by the National Cancer Institute show medical marijuana effectively treats insomnia at a far lower cost and with fewer side effects. Marijuana has also been prescribed for glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and a variety of other physical and mental conditions.

Addressing the White House website statement that medical marijuana should remain criminally illegal under federal law, Pappas said that "with every drug, the doctor must consider the benefits versus any possible side effects. In its 3000-plus year history of medicinal use, there has never been a known, confirmed death caused by overdose of marijuana. To suggest that prescription drugs known to have severe negative side effects are alright and that marijuana can only be used for cancer or AIDS is nonsensical. It demonstrates how the Federal government's decision to usurp state sovereignty is harming people because burdening citizens with federal criminal records based on medical marijuana provided for under state law is simply wrong. To continue outlawing the use of a drug shown to have life-saving, anti-cancer benefits that has been used safely as a medication for thousands of years is irresponsible."

Jan., 2013 National Cancer Institute PDQ® report on cannabis:
July, 2009 NIH report on cannabis reducing neck and head squamous cell carcinoma:
Nov., 2012 NIH report on cannabis breast cancer treatment:
Report on study showing smoked marijuana does not cause cancer:
Report on neuroprotective benefits of marijuana:
White House "Fact Sheet" on Marijuana Legalization:
Office of National Drug Control Policy documents:
For more information, contact Advocates for the Disabled and Seriously Ill at (213) 531-1788.

Source: Globe News Wire

Monday, April 22, 2013


The following is a transcript of a remarkable commentary on hemp, the world's premiere renewable natural resource, by journalist and commentator Hugh Downs speaking for ABC News radio out of New York in November, 1990. Mr. Downs did his homework exceedingly well for this report--he succeeded in including a great deal of useful information in the short timespan of only nine minutes, forty seconds. Seeking to leverage off the clarity of his research, nine footnotes have been added to the text to provide people with a cross-section of the reference material substantiating the facts Mr. Downs articulates.

It is my hope that people will be motivated and inspired by the facts contained herein. Since the mid-1930s, this society has been reduced to an infantile status concerning an appreciation of the tens of thousands of uses of the vegetable hemp. Simply by changing the way we have been taught to think about this plant, we can clear away the stagnant, constipated, tired and inappropriate thinking inhibiting some of the very best qualities of human innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness for more than half century.

As the documentation below explains, the uses of cannabis hemp are as varied and multi-faceted as any of us could ever possibly imagine or hope for. This plant can indeed provide us solutions to MANY of the critical imbalances we as an industrial culture have created in the brief span of the past few hundred years. From the production of all forms of paper products, to plastics as tough as steel, to fuel that can replace all oil, gas, coal and nuclear power consumption, to a rich source of vegetable oil and protein, to all manner and form of fabrics and textiles, to medicinal products for the management of pain, chronic neurologic diseases, convulsive disorders, migraine headache, anorexia, mental illness, and bacterial infections, to 100% non-toxic paints and varnishes, to lubricants, to building materials that can replace drywall and plywood, to carpets, rope, laces, sails, . . . the list rolls on and on and on.

And the only thing that prevents us from once again employing this premiere raw raw material is the way we have learned to think about hemp:

"You can't use it--it's illegal."
"Even if we could save the planet's life systems by changing that?"

"That's right." This is the kind of frozen, devolutionary thinking we must expand our conscious awareness out beyond to once again encompass the capacity for hopes and dreams of the kind of world we want to, and can, provide our great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren with.

Trust your own infinite intelligence and creativity. There is NO LIMIT to what we as sentient beings can do to change the world for the betterment of all. All we need to appreciate is that any and all change starts with how we consider or think about the world. We can stop cutting down ALL trees used for making paper and fuel; stop extracting and consuming petroleum we continue to spill into the oceans, as well as be partially consumed and end up forever in the atmosphere destroying the protective screen from the sun that has existed for millions of years; we can stop burning coal and begin to end the recently created phenomenon of acid rain; we can stop unearthing uranium and transmuting it into the most deadly man-made substance known to human beings. None of these limited, dirty and expensive forms of energy sources need be relied on anymore. The choice and decision is all of ours to make and implement.

Teach yourselves and all you know or meet about this lifeline to our collective future. Send copies of this post to elected/appointed officials asking them why cannabis hemp/marijuana prohibition laws are allowed to stand when this premier natural resource can truly save the planet, ourselves and all future generations of all life on Mother Earth. The "leaders" will eventually have to follow and change course from the current going `alternative' of "lemming death." (As always a PostScript version of this file is available for any wanting "prettified" page-defined hardcopy.)
                                             -- ratitor
                                                version 1.1

. . . the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our "original mind" includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few. 
-- Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind,
Weatherhill, 1985, p. 21.


transcript of Hugh Downs' commentary on hemp, for ABC News, NY, 11/90:

Voters in the state of Alaska recently made marijuana illegal again for the first time in 15 years. If Alaska turns out to be like the other 49 states, the law will do little to curb use or production. Even the drug czar himself, William Bennett, has abandoned the drug war now that his "test case" of Washington, D.C., continues to see rising crime figures connected with the drug industry.
Despite the legal trend against marijuana, many Americans continue to buck the trend. Some pro-marijuana organizations in fact tell us that marijuana, also known as hemp, could, as a raw material, save the U.S. economy. That's some statement. Not by smoking it--that's a minor issue. Would you believe that marijuana could replace most oil and energy needs? That marijuana could revolutionize the textile industry and stop foreign imports? Those are the claims.
Some people think marijuana, or hemp, may be the epitome of yankee ingenuity. Mr. Jack Herer, for example, is the national director and founder of an organization called HEMP (that's an acronym for "Help End Marijuana Prohibition") located in Van Nuys, California. Mr. Herer is the author of a remarkable little book called, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, wherein, not surprisingly, Mr. Herer urges the repeal of marijuana prohibition. 
Mr. Herer is not alone. Throughout the war on drugs, several organizations have consistently urged the legalization of marijuana. High Times magazine for example, The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws or NORML for short, and an organization called BACH--the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp.
But the reason the pro-marijuana lobby want marijuana legal has little to do with getting high, and a great deal to do with fighting oil giants like Saddam Hussein, Exxon and Iran. The pro-marijuana groups claim that hemp is such a versatile raw material, that its products not only compete with petroleum, but with coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, pharmaceutical, timber and textile companies.[1]
It is estimated that methane and methanol production alone from hemp grown as biomass could replace 90% of the world's energy needs.[2] If they are right, this is not good news for oil interests and could account for the continuation of marijuana prohibition. The claim is that the threat hemp posed to natural resource companies back in the thirties accounts for its original ban.
At one time marijuana seemed to have a promising future as a cornerstone of industry. When Rudolph Diesel produced his famous engine in 1896, he assumed that the diesel engine would be powered by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils. Rudolph Diesel, like most engineers then, believed vegetable fuels were superior to petroleum. Hemp is the most efficient vegetable.
In the 1930s the Ford Motor Company also saw a future in biomass fuels. Ford operated a successful biomass conversion plant, that included hemp, at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan. Ford engineers extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl-acetate and creosote. All fundamental ingredients for modern industry and now supplied by oil-related industries.[2]
The difference is that the vegetable source is renewable, cheap and clean, and the petroleum or coal sources are limited, expensive and dirty. By volume, 30% of the hemp seed contains oil suitable for high-grade diesel fuel as well as aircraft engine and precision machine oil.
Henry Ford's experiments with methanol promised cheap, readily renewable fuel. And if you think methanol means compromise, you should know that many modern race cars run on methanol.
About the time Ford was making biomass methanol, a mechanical device[3] to strip the outer fibers of the hemp plant appeared on the market. These machines could turn hemp into paper and fabrics[4] quickly and cheaply. Hemp paper is superior to wood paper. The first two drafts of the U.S. constitution were written on hemp paper. The final draft is on animal skin. Hemp paper contains no dioxin, or other toxic residue, and a single acre of hemp can produce the same amount of paper as four acres of trees.[5] The trees take 20 years to harvest and hemp takes a single season. In warm climates hemp can be harvested two even three times a year. It also grows in bad soil and restores the nutrients.
Hemp fiber-stripping machines were bad news to the Hearst paper manufacturing division, and a host of other natural resource firms. Coincidentally, the DuPont Chemical Company had, in 1937, been granted a patent on a sulfuric acid process to make paper from wood pulp. At the time DuPont predicted their sulfuric acid process would account for 80% of their business for the next 50 years.
Hemp, once the mainstay of American agriculture, became a threat to a handful of corporate giants. To stifle the commercial threat that hemp posed to timber interests, William Randolph Hearst began referring to hemp in his newspapers, by its Spanish name, "marijuana." This did two things: it associated the plant with Mexicans and played on racist fears, and it misled the public into thinking that marijuana and hemp were different plants.
Nobody was afraid of hemp--it had been cultivated and processed into usable goods, and consumed as medicine, and burned in oil lamps, for hundreds of years. But after a campaign to discredit hemp in the Hearst newspapers, Americans became afraid of something called marijuana.
By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed which marked the beginning of the end of the hemp industry. In 1938, Popular Mechanics ran an article about marijuana called, "New Billion Dollar Crop."[6] It was the first time the words "billion dollar" were used to describe a U.S. agricultural product. Popular Mechanics said,

. . . a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6,000 years old. . . .The machine . . . is designed for removing the fiber-bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without a prohibitive amount of human labor.
Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products ranging from rope, to fine laces, and the woody "hurds" remaining after the fiber has been removed, contain more than seventy-seven per cent cellulose, and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane.
Well since the Popular Mechanics article appeared over half a century ago, many more applications have come to light. Back in 1935, more than 58,000 tons of marijuana seed were used just to make paint and varnish (all non-toxic, by the way). When marijuana was banned, these safe paints and varnishes were replaced by paints made with toxic petro-chemicals. In the 1930s no one knew about poisoned rivers or deadly land-fills or children dying from chemicals in house paint. People did know something about hemp back then, because the plant and its products were so common.
All ships lines were made from hemp and much of the sail canvas. (In fact the word "canvas" is the Dutch pronunciation of the Greek word for hemp, "cannabis.") All ropes, hawsers and lines aboard ship, all rigging, nets, flags and pennants were also made from marijuana stalks. And so were all charts, logs and bibles.
Today many of these items are made, in whole or in part, with synthetic petro-chemicals and wood. All oil lamps used to burn hemp-seed oil until the whale oil edged it out of first place in the mid-nineteenth century. And then, when all the whales were dead, lamplights were fueled by petroleum, and coal, and recently radioactive energy.[7]
This may be hard to believe in the middle of a war on drugs, but the first law concerning marijuana in the colonies at Jamestown in 1619, ordered farmers to grow Indian hemp. Massachussetts passed a compulsory grow law in 1631. Connecticut followed in 1632. The Chesapeake colonies ordered their farmers, by law, to grow marijuana in the mid-eighteenth century. Names like Hempstead or Hemphill dot the American landscape and reflect areas of intense marijuana cultivation.
During World War II, domestic hemp production became crucial when the Japanese cut off Asian supplies to the U.S. American farmers (and even their sons), who grew marijuana, were exempt from military duty during World War II. A 1942 U.S. Department of Agriculture film called Hemp For Victory extolled the agricultural might of marijuana and called for hundreds of thousands of acres to be planted.[8] Despite a rather vigorous drug crackdown, 4-H clubs were asked by the government to grow marijuana for seed supply. Ironically, war plunged the government into a sober reality about marijuana and that is that it's very valuable.
In today's anti-drug climate, people don't want to hear about the commercial potential of marijuana. The reason is that the flowering top of a female hemp plant contains a drug. But from 1842 through the 1890s a powerful concentrated extract of marijuana was the second most prescribed drug in the United States. In all that time the medical literature didn't list any of the ill effects claimed by today's drug warriors.[9]
Today, there are anywhere from 25 to 30 million Americans who smoke marijuana regularly. As an industry, marijuana clears well more than $4 billion a year. [This must have been a misreading of his notes--for 1990, the minimum figure would have been at least $40 billion for the entire nation. (phone interview with Jack Herer)] Obviously, as an illegal business, none of that money goes to taxes. But the modern marijuana trade only sells one product, a drug. Hemp could be worth considerably more than $4 [$40] billion a year, if it were legally supplying the 50,000 safe products the proponents claim it can.
If hemp could supply the energy needs of the United States, its value would be inestimable. Now that the drug czar is in final retreat, America has an opportunity to, once and for all, say farewell to the Exxon Valdez, Saddam Hussein and a prohibitively expensive brinkmanship in the desert sands of Saudi Arabia.

This is Hugh Downs, ABC News, New York.

Friday, March 22, 2013

3 More Reasons to Legalize Industrial Hemp

There are numerous undeniably beneficial reasons to legalize hemp. U.S. imports of hemp and hemp products increased more than 300% over the last decade. We are spending millions (or more) on the plant when we could be making millions instead. The problem, however, is that industrialized hemp remains banned by the federal government while hemp products do not. This means we must buy our hemp from other countries – countries who are seriously profiting from our growing demand. I gave you some reasons for hemp legalization last week. But, if that wasn’t enough, here are some more:

Hemp was Once Grown in Every Household

Did you know hemp was grown by the founding fathers of this nation? It was. In 1619, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law requiring every household to grow the crop. It’s value was undeniable and it was even used as legal tender in early colonies. As recently as World War II, the federal government subsidized the plant. This means they actually paid U.S. farmers to grow it. For fuel, textiles, rope, animal bedding and feed—hemp’s use in the United States is far from a new occurrence. While hemp remains illegal, the U.S. government is subsidizing much safer (sarcasm) GMO crops.
Not all age-old practices are acceptable, but this one is.

Hemp is Green

In addition to being historically cultivated (and prized), hemp production is measured “greener” than many other crops. It’s sustainable and can be grown in the same plot of land year after year, not depleting the soil like some other crops. It can actually be used as a rotation crop, helping to regenerate the soil normally used to grow things like soybeans. Further, the plant doesn’t need as much fertilizer as corn, nor does it need to swim in pesticides. When planted with other crops, the roots can prevent runoff and erosion while the leaves can protect paired plants from the elements.
Hemp actually removes soil contaminants. Phytoremediation removes a variety of toxins from the soil including pesticides, metals, oil, and even nuclear contaminants. Its system of roots acts as a filter, stabilizing contaminants within the soil. Hemp was even planted at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to help remove nuclear toxins.

More Jobs

Finally, with the national unemployment rate hovering somewhere near 8% (an estimate quite low in reality), legalizing industrial hemp could bring jobs back to the country. Currently, we are employing workers in other countries to supply hemp products to meet our demands—to the tune of $400 million in retail sales alone in 2010. Not only could legalizing hemp give farmers another source of viable income, it could create an hemp production, manufacturing, and distribution industry.
We aren’t talking about marijuana here, the plant that gets you high (though that should be legal too). This is hemp – the cannabis plant that doesn’t offer psychoactive effects. And while there are sufficient reasons for legalizing pot, the legalization of this particular plant offers reasons of its own, namely as a potential windfall for a beleaguered economy and a return to what the originators of this country rightfully saw as a crucial natural resource. And of course, our rights and freedom.