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Owen Smith blogs

by tedsmith » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:11 am

Owen has worked for the past 5 years as a writer and graphic designer who has focused on scientific and journalistic articles, making graphs and timelines to accompany them. He is a co-host on the internet radio channel Time4Hemp www.Time4hemp.com interviewing people from the Cannabis community every second Monday from 6-7PST. Owen helped lead a constitutional challenge to allow medical cannabis extracts that he highlights in detail. This challenge is ongoing but was successful at making extracts legal in British Columbia in 2012.
LEGALIZATION BY EDUCATION
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by papapuff » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:23 am

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Cannabis in Costa Rica – Part 1

BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE — 5 JUN, 2014

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Cannabis prohibition in Costa Rica

Earlier this year I visited beautiful tropical Costa Rica with my partner. The most bio-diverse country in the world, Costa Rica’s Sunny verdant slopes would be a sublime place to grow medicinal cannabis alongside some of the worlds’ finest coffee. However, like most of the planet, cannabis remains illegal and the attitude toward it is mired in decades of drugwar propaganda.

I was fortunate to speak with a former cannabis grower who told me of the severe anxiety he experienced growing in isolation with the threat of law enforcement looming. He described the 3 grades of cannabis that i would come across in Costa Rica: Columbian brick, Jamaican shwag and hydroponic that was commonly called “the creepy”. He expressed to me the limited genetics that were available and the dominance of Sativa strains. I wondered if the stimulating effects of the strong Sativa strains earned it this name due to the paranoia that draconian laws put into the consciences of ordinary cannabis users.

In contrast, a young Tico man offered me a joint while walking into a supermarket singing “I love marijuana’ at the top of his lungs. In some small towns the open use of cannabis was normal and one is described by Lonely planet as having “neo-Rastas hawking uplifting herbs”. However, like most places, while use might be tolerated, it also might not, and police are happy to parade any sufficient confiscation before the media.

Costa Rica has one major newspaper in English, the Tico Times, which reported that in response to the legalization of Cannabis in Uruguay the former President, Laura Chinchilla, would not consider legalizing general use but may consider medical marijuana. In North America medical cannabis legislation has preceded the passing of laws in states permitting its general use. It seems that once it is well known to help even the most ill in society, it becomes easier to accept its safety in general, especially when compared to other legal substances.

There are no medical cannabis dispensaries in Costa Rica although 53 percent support using Cannabis for medical purposes. I met people who were suffering from conditions that cannabis is known to help that often had no idea of its medicinal properties. People recited the same difficulties associated with high THC sativa strains as pateints I have spoken with in Canada. A common example is ‘I tried cannabis for my backpain but i don’t like to smoke or feel high when caring for my family’.

Among the achievements of a medicinal cannabis industry is to provide alternatives to smoking and offer products with more or less THC and CBD to suit individual needs. The recently elected president Luis Guillermo Solis voiced his support for medicinal marijuana during the candidate race.

In order to find out more i sought out medical cannabis organizations in Costa Rica. I contacted Gerald Murray, the spokesman for the Costa Rica Medicinal Marijuana Movement and invited him to be interviewed on my bi-weekly radio show on www.Time4Hemp.com. It turns out that Gerald was preparing to launch a referendum to legalize medical cannabis on May 5th, the same day as our interview.

With SensibleBC having recently fallen short of their signature gathering campaign to decriminalize cannabis in BC and the MMPR (Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations) under heavy criticism in Canada, I was interested to discover how likely it was that they would succeed in their campaign and what model they had designed for their country.

You can listen to the recording of the radio show here or wait until my next blog where i’ll describe the initiative to legalize medicinal cannabis in Costa Rica.



stay tuned for part 2 of Cannabis in Costa Rica by Owen Smith
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by papapuff » Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:28 am

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Cannabis in Costa Rica – Part 2


BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · WORLD — 12 JUN, 2014

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The Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement

Will they succeed?

In the last blog I introduced cannabis prohibition in Costa Rica from the perspectives I gathered while visiting earlier this year. My interview with Gerald Murray of the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement suffered some technical difficulties but I was still able to ask him a few key questions. Gerald Murray and the Medicinal Marihuana Costa Rica Movement have begun collecting signatures for a referendum vote to legalize medical cannabis in Costa Rica. Given the successful ballot initiatives in Washington and Colorado and the unsuccessful one in British Columbia last year, i wonder how likely they are to succeed in Costa Rica.

The Costa Rica medicinal cannabis movement in Costa Rica began in 2009 and has grown steadily from its grassroots. Gerald Murray was working with Presidential candidate Gary Johnson in 2010 when he witnessed the prosperous U.S. medical cannabis industry. He was inspired him to bring the positive ideas back to his country. Since then he has been changing points of view by presenting patient testimony’s, studies from doctors to both politicians and youth activists.

Gerald helps run the campaign using two facebook pages which are followed by 12,000 users. To reach the number requested by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) he is using a team of 750 volunteers and aims to collect 100,000 signatures by the end of July. Based out of the Capital City of San Jose, they started collecting signatures on May 5th by visiting some of the countries universities. They have surpassed there own expectations by collecting 12,000 signatures in the first day, 18,000 in the first week, 53,000 in the first of two months. If successful, the collection of signatures will result in a vote in october to have legal medicinal cannabis in Costa Rica by January of 2015.

Here In BC, the efforts of SensibleBCto gather around 300,000 signatures to trigger a vote to decriminalize fell short of its goal. However the referendum system existing in BC is the most difficult in the world next to Germany. Washington state needed only 250,000 signatures to force their referendum to legalize marijuana, that was state-wide not by riding, 6 months to do it (we three months) and with paid canvassers (we volunteer only). Colorado, the same as Washington State, but they only needed 150,000 signatures state-wide.

Costa Rica is a small country (20x smaller than BC) with a population around 4 million (about the same as BC). The close proximity of its citizens gives these history making activists a good chance at success, but what will the new law look like? I contacted Costa Rica’s sole drug policy organization ACEID, who are organizing the 5th Latin American and 1st Central American Conference on Drug Policy, this september. With their help, i will outline the proposed regulations for the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement in next weeks blog post.


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(photo of Monte Verde, Costa Rica by Owen Smith)

for the Cannabis Digest blog

By Owen Smith
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by papapuff » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:42 am

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Cannabis in Costa Rica – Part 3


BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · WORLD — 19 JUN, 2014

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What will the new law look like?

In the previous blogs I gave my personal impression of prohibition in Costa Rica and I looked at the likelihood that the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement would succeed in their attempts to trigger a referendum to legalize medical cannabis. If they gather all of the signatures they require, the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement will present their proposal for the new law in July. Once the Supreme Electoral Tribune has validated all of the signatures, the vote would be set to occur in October and the new law would take effect in January of 2015.

Duringmy interview with Gerald Murray I was able to ask a few key questions about what the new law would look like. Gerald also provided me with an unfinished draft copy of the proposal to regulate medicinal cannabis.

The proposed regulation has two aspects: public and private. In 1948 when Costa Rica abolished its military, it also made it a constitutional law that the government must provide good health services to all its citizens. With universal health care medicinal cannabis would be provided for free to patients in public hospitals, grown cheaply outdoors by members of the agricultural sector. There would also be private sales through dispensaries that would be subject to an initial tax of 20%. The tax revenue would be divided among Costa Rican Social Security (35%), Road Infrastructure (15%), Education (10%), Culture and Youth Programs (5%) and more.

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The estimated 100 million dollars in annual tax revenue would also help create the Costa Rican institute of cannabis research which would investigate, validate, monitor, and regulate the use of medical cannabis to treat, cure, reduce and prevent diseases. Specialized software and tools would be utilized to accumulate and monitor clinical data. A limited number of licences would be distributed for dispensaries, social clubs, agricultural production and medical tourism.

Patients would be permitted to grow up to 4 cannabis plants. They would also be allowed to produce all kinds of cannabis products for all methods of ingestion. A doctor would have to prescribe cannabis, much like the MMPR in Canada, but the proposition has received support from retired public health directors. A dozen doctors will be touring universities to support medical cannabis in July. There will be an age limit of 18 except when monitored by a doctor, which may be the case as we’ve seen in North America among children with epilepsy.

I don’t speak Spanish well, so most of what I’ve read has been thanks to online translator tools. Fortunately, both gentlemen I spoke with in San Jose spoke excellent English. On September 21st of this year, Ernesto Cortes and the drug policy group ACEID are helping to host the 5th Latin America Drug Policy Conference, the 1st in Central America. ACEID organized their second International Marijuana March in Costa Rica on May 3rd.

The Drug Policy conference draws government officials and policy groups from all over Latin America including representatives from Uruguay and Colorado to speak on panels about drug use of all kinds. There will be a special side-event dedicated to the discussion of cannabis that will include the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement. While developing a better understanding of the issues, drug policy reformers are crafting guidelines that integrate medicinal cannabis into modern health care systems. With the ability of cannabis to replace more expensive prescription drugs it is likely to lead to a healthier, wealthier society.

In my final blog on Cannabis in Costa Rica I will speak more with Ernesto about drug policy across Central America.

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Photo by Owen Smith, Costa Rican Sunrise, Montezuma
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by papapuff » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:43 pm

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Cannabis in Costa Rica – part 4

BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · WORLD — 26 JUN, 2014


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Photo from http://www.TicoTimes.net Costa Rica’s Sloth Kong enjoys some legal weed from
Uruguay after success at the World Cup

The 5th Latin America Drug Policy Conference

Costa Ricans (and mascot Sloth Kong) are doing a lot more than just knocking top teams out of the World Cup. In my previous blogs on Costa Rica I outlined the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movements campaign to legalize medical cannabis in their country. As the signature gathering campaign comes to a close and the proposed regulations are finalized for presentation to the Costa Rican public for a vote, a likeminded policy group prepare to welcome delegates from surrounding countries for the 5th annual Latin America Drug Policy Conference. There is a side event delegated to the discussion of medical cannabis that the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement will attend.

This is the first year that the conference is happening in Costa Rica. Among the attendees are reform groups Confredrogas, Intercause, T.N.I., and Syncotropicas. They also expect representatives from the states of Colorado and Uruguay, where cannabis is now legal. These drug policy reformers are putting pressure on their governments to examine their official position on drug policy and adapt to the lessons being learnt around the world. The previous president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla expressed a willingness to discuss medical cannabis, but was recently voted out of power.

The representatives are invited to participate in discussion panels on a variety of drug policy issues. Some countries have shied away from the spotlight as there is still much perceived political risk involved with engaging this controversial debate. It has only been over the past decade that public opinion has swayed in North America toward open debates and regulatory experiments. In Central and South America the movement is younger still, however there is a tradition of progressive reform in Costa Rica that makes it an ideal candidate to join the pioneers of modern drug policy.

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I spoke with Ernesto Cortes from the registered drug policy reform group ACEID, who are organizing the event, about what challenges Costa Rica face with other local governments. Ernesto notes that there has been no public discussion between governments about the possibilities of drug reform in the region and Costa Rica has seen no support for legal regulation of cannabis for general use.

There is a split of opinions amongst governments in Central and South America. Mexico, who have suffered the most civilian casualties in the War on Drugs, are known to be part of a block of countries open to the debate. The block includes Columbia, Uruguay and Guatamala. The Guatamalan president has come out in support of legalizing all drugs and the government will issue a report in October that outlines their plans for legalizing cannabis and opium crops in the future. Honduras has been an outspoken opponent of drug policy reform.

There is some concern that the countries on their borders (Nicaragua and Panama) would be recipients of illicit substances that are diverted to the black market. The U.S. Department of Justice has recently chosen to deal with this issue by focusing on those who attempt to cross the borders or break the State’s laws.

Costa Rica is subject to heavy cocaine traffic. It is used as a port between Columbia, Jamaica and the lucrative North American market. With no national military, an increased police presence on roads and a special task force is employed to fight back. While I was travelling through the country I passed through numerous checkpoints, some of which were operated by officers with assault rifles. Because Cannabis is placed into the same legal category as Cocaine, the two have become associated in the perception of the public.

As has been thoroughly debated in North America, the association between illicit drug use (see the Gateway theory) is a function of prohibition, not the substances themselves. A drug dealer who sells both Cannabis and Cocaine, is likely to offer the former to lure individuals into using the latter. This is especially troubling as medical patients may be more vulnerable to manipulation by these unregulated entrepreneurs. It is a too common tale that people who are suffering withdrawal from prescription medications will substitute with illicit versions from the black market. In my experience at the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, medical cannabis can act more like an exit drug for those seeking to withdraw from drug dependence.

Next week I will conclude my discussion with Ernesto Cortes and give a final report on the signature gathering campaign to legalize, tax and regulate medical cannabis in Costa Rica.

Read more from Owen here
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:43 pm

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Cannabis in Costa Rica – Part 5 – Conclusion


BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · WORLD — 3 JUL, 2014

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A future for Cannabis in Costa Rica

As we move into July, the Costa Rica Medicinal Cannabis Movement
signature gathering campaign has surpassed 100K and are now seeking more in case of invalid or duplicate signatures. Costa Rica has only had one successful referendum in the past. The citizens decided by vote that they wanted a Free Trade agreement with the United States. The only successful referendum in British Columbia, revoking the HST, was similarly economic. A medical cannabis law doesn’t immediately effect all Costa Ricans, so will they see the need to vote for it?

Costa Rica is a very religious country. There are a few features consistently found in every town, a soccer field and a church. Pictures of the Pope are about as common as pictures of Queen Elizabeth in Canada. Many of the taxi drivers i rode with in the country kept small crosses of the crucifixion hanging from their rear view mirror for good luck. The Pope recently decried marijuana legalization, saying ‘with an evil there can be no yielding or compromise’. It was unclear if Pope Francis is aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

Ernesto from the drug policy group ACEID admits that there is a lot of education that still needs to occur. There is need for the conversation to mature beyond the simple statements for or against, to include dialogue about how to treat drug use as a health care issue with respect to the different possible kinds of regulation. Jails are overcrowded with people who would be better suited under the supervision of health care professionals.

Ernesto believes that the stigma associated with drugs prevents officials from seeing the medical benefits through the smoky haze of the recreational culture. He feels that it is essential to distinguish medical from non medical use. The proposed law will allow growing a limited number of plants at home. Currently the cultivation of 2 plants can result in a jail sentence. Ernesto told me of an elderly woman who had been arrested for growing 2 plants that she used to treat the symptoms of her cancer, she died in jail.

Patients are the best representatives for the cause as they tell the true stories of unnecessary suffering caused by the current laws. It is important that Costa Ricans can witness the impact on families in their communities to make an informed decision. I believe that as people learn about the safety and effective use of this medicine, they will see the need for compassionate action.

Doctors are also critically important representatives as they hold the trust of many people and can help articulate answers to the many questions that will be asked. Public debate needs to occur at Universities so that many of the general misconceptions can be cleared up for the coming generation of professionals. Doctors are planning to visit some of Costa Rica’s Universities in July.

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These youthful, ambitious drug policy groups are part of a worldwide momentum to end prohibition. ACEID is currently promoting the Support not Punish campaign to “raise awareness about the harms being caused by he criminalisation of people who use drugs”. They are producing educational documents on drug policy and health care to be distributed on the 26th of June, during a day of action and cultural activity that they are planning.

Similarly to North America, new drugs in Costa Rica are required to pass FDA standards. The Internationally recognized General Health Law, that has been establish in Costa Rica for over 30 years, demands that doctors, hospitals and pharmacists be the only professionals permitted to distribute medical preparations. In Canada, legal challenges to the constitutionality of the law have made cannabis an exception to the rule. The United States federal government continues to keep cannabis in a class of drugs too dangerous to be administered in the presence of a doctor.

The United States has invested heavily in Costa Rica. U.S. cannabis reform opponents like S.A.M. have raised the question of whether a referendum is the best process to authorize the use of a substance. It is only after insufficient effort from normal regulatory mechanisms (like the FDA) that a referendum is called upon to exercise the democratic right of citizens to progress with a popular idea. It would be hypocritical for the United States to find fault in Costa Rica practicing their democratic right to a referendum, since more than 20 U.S. states already have, two making cannabis completely legal. The International narcotics control board, who have come out in opposition to U.S. and Uruguayan reform, would likely oppose the move.

The proposed Costa Rican model includes participation from public hospitals, private sales through dispensaries, social clubs (vapour lounges) and an allowance for visitors with medical cannabis licenses to medicate while on vacation.

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Photo: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica by Owen Smith

It was my pleasure to report about this beautiful country that I visited this year. I truly believe that medical cannabis would be a compliment to the Pura Vida (pure life) attitude of Costa Ricans.

By Owen Smith
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:49 am

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Doctors against the Drug war


BY OWEN SMITHIN ACTIVISM · BLOG · FEATURE — 10 JUL, 2014


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image: Dr. David Allen shakes hands

By Owen Smith

Cannabis Digest Blogger Dr. David Allen is a retired heart surgeon who moved to California after there medical cannabis referendum passed and started a medical office that recommended cannabis to patients. He left his fifty-acre property in Mississippi in the care of his sister and her husband. It was raided by the Jackson County narcotics task force, who found his brother in law in possession of a small amount of cannabis and hash. The task force then gave pictures of cannabis plants to the local news in an attempt to taint the jury pool by accusing the doctor of owning a cannabis production facility. Due to asset forfeiture laws in the U.S., persons under investigation are subject to the seizure of everything from their houses to their bank accounts. Dr. Allen spent 14 months in a Mississippi jail after being arrested while investigating the Jackson County Narcotics task force. (VIDEO) When he finally went to trial, a jury found him not guilty.

He was quoted in national news, saying, “Eat a bud a day to keep the stroke away.” (VIDEO) He has stated that by cleaning up oxygen free radicals and controlling inflammation, we could reduce incidences of stroke by a shocking 50 percent. Dr. Allen suggests this method as a preventative treatment, as strokes are difficult to recover from. It’s also a safer and healthier alternative to Aspirin.

Doctors like these are true heroes in this drug war. While under attack from U.S. federal authorities, they continue to stand beside science, reason, and their patients in the face of politics, law enforcement and the media. While the percentage is still small, the depth of these doctors’ influence on the direction of the cannabis culture is great. The lengths to which they can explain the details of this stigmatized plant, from their broad-reaching professional perspectives, is invaluable to its legitimacy and acceptance by society.

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image: Dr. Robert Melamede gets interviewed

I happened to bump into Dr. Robert Melamede in the coffee shop at the end of my street one sunny Dec. morning in Victoria last year. He was visiting as a guest lecturer for Greenline Academy, who held their conference at the University of Victoria later that day. The $350 price tag deterred me from attending, but fortunately the full lecture by Dr. Melamede is available for free on Greenlines’ website. (VIDEO)

Dr. Melamede, CEO of Cannabis Science Inc., teaches a course at Colorado University on Endocannabinoids and Medical Marijuana. He derives his understanding of life from his background in modern molecular biology and far from equilibrium thermodynamics, which deals with natural systems that change over time, engulfed in the flux of matter and energy, amidst other systems and chemical reactions. He proposes that life is a self-organizing process that is creatively adjusting to the flow of energy it is subject to from the environment. He explains how Cannabinoids assist us from birth till death to maintain homeostasis as we undergo various perturbations in biochemical flow.

Mother’s milk contains endocannabinoids that assist the child with stress, promote appetite, and protect cells from oxidation. During life, our immune system addresses potential threats by creating “reactive oxygen species” or free radicals. While protecting us, free radicals create inflammation that can cause damage to the body. It is the role of our bodies’ endocannabinoids to control free radicals and regulate this healing behavior. Dr. Melamede refers to free radicals as the friction of life and endocannabinoids as the oil.

Free radical chemicals are produced when animals use oxygen to burn food for fuel. Endocannabinoids are made by our bodies from omega-3 fatty acids found in many seeds (including hemp) and fish oil. Endocannabinoids are engaged in the balancing of forces: stimulating our appetites while protecting us against excitotoxicity and cell degradation. Omega-3 fatty acids are used today as a supplement to treat a wide range of conditions, which is in part due to the production and activity of our endocannabinoids. Tylenol (acetaminophen) works in part because it inhibits the reduction of the endocannabinoid Anandamide, allowing more to remain active longer.

Read more from Owen Smith’s blog here
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:01 am

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How Black Pepper relieves Cannabis Anxiety

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BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · SCIENCE — 17 JUL, 2014

By Owen Smith

While working at the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club I was able to teach some of the members about Black Pepper. While benefiting from the medicinal effects of THC, these patients suffered from bouts with anxiety while medicating. The Aug. 2011 British Journal of Pharmacology: Cannabinoids in Biology and Medicine, Part 1 includes numerous articles exploring the nature of the cannabis plants’ chemical dynamism. In the article “Taming THC,” scientists report having discovered more than a hundred terpenes that “may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts.” Terpenes create the many scents of cannabis and are shared among the plant kingdom. Scientists explored how these aromatic oils synergize and mitigate the active cannabinoids contributing to an entourage effect.

Cannabis in known to produce a wide variety of effects from rendering a individual wide-awake to sending them into a sound sleep. Growers have been tailoring their heirloom heritage varieties of cannabis to uniformly exhibit certain cannabinoid/terpene profiles to produce particular effects. CBD is quickly becoming an essential component to combat the unwelcome effects of using THC rich cannabis, such as anxiety. Another option may be to introduce terpenes from other plant sources to mitigate the effects.

Ed Rosenthal, author of many books on cannabis, relates that the myrcene in mangos can increase the quality of low potency cannabis when eaten one hour before medicating. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the terpene alpha-pinene is alerting, limonene is “sunshine-y,” and beta-myrcene is sedating. As the names suggest, pinene is abundant in pine needles and limonene in lemons. Traditional responses to cannabis induced anxiety include pinene-rich black pepper, limonene-rich citrus, and calamus root high in myrcene. Myrcene is also found in hops (Humulus), the only other member of the Cannabaceae plant family. “Cannabis terpenoids and flavonoids may also increase cerebral blood flow, enhance cortical activity, kill respiratory pathogens, and provide anti-inflammatory activity.”(source)


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(image: GreenHouse Seeds)

Scientists have discovered that beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which is another terpene that contributes to the aroma and flavour, also found in other herbs, spices, and food plants, activates the CB2 receptor and acts as a non-psychoactive anti-inflammatory. Because it binds to a cannabinoid receptor [...] and since it is an FDA approved food additive and ingested daily with food, it is the first known dietary cannabinoid.(source) Leading the way on terpene identification is Green House Seed Company in Holland who have performed spectral analysis of each of their strains and developed a flavour wheelidentifying 16 different terpenes to help individuals decide on their strain of choice.

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(image: GreenHouse Seeds)

Cannabis Science Inc. is exploring the possibility that certain terpenes act as building blocks for the production of cannabinoids, with the hope that this will open up to cultivators the opportunity to manipulate cannabinoids to desired ratios. they are exploring how terpenes act synergistically with other terpenes to either catalyze or inhibit the formation of other compounds within a plant.

Up until now, drug companies have been focusing on single synthetic compounds that can be patented and brought to market. In light of these discoveries, scientists isolating cannabinoids into synthetic compounds have to consider the terpene interaction as another variable potentially responsible for the plants therapeutic effects. Cannabis grown with care and attention to the curing process will contain more terpenes. Many terpenes are FDA approved and therefore easy to obtain for testing.

[url=http://cannabisdigest.ca/author/owensmith/Read More from Owen Smith[/url]on the[url=http://cannabisdigest.ca/category/featured/blog/] Cannabis Digest Blogs[/url]
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by papapuff » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:07 am

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The Importance of THC free Cannabis


BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · SCIENCE — 24 JUL, 2014

by Owen Smith

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Dr. William Courtney is the co-founder of Cannabis International Foundation, who are helping pioneer a movement toward ingesting fresh, raw, non-psychoactive cannabis juice. When fresh, the plant contains a lot of non- psychoactive precursor Cannabinoids such as THC acid. THC acid (THCa) has recently been shown to have [url=anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. By nourishing our endocannabinoid system, the juiced leaves and buds help the body function more efficiently, effecting all 210 human cell types.

In their inspiring short film “Leaf, ” Dr. Courtney and his wife suggest juicing 10 to 20 fresh leaves daily. Proposing a mix of one part cannabis juice with 10 parts carrot juice to counteract the bitterness, he suggests selecting leaves around 70-90 days after sowing, and drinking the juice three times a day. When the leaves are processed through a fruit and vegetable juicer, a thick, dark green liquid is separated from the plant pulp. With this Cannabinoid-rich liquid, free of the psychoactive effects of THC, it is possible to increase the dose of Cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD) 100 times. In an average baked cookie, the tolerated dose of THC limits ingestion of other Cannabinoids to about 10 mg. In the raw juice, one can comfortably approach 1000 mg. The medical benefits activated in the higher dose range (500-1000 mg) include anti-diabetic, anxiolytic, and anti-eschemic properties for heart disease.

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(Image from Cannadad’s Blog)

While running for political office in California, Dr. Courtney is on a mission to obtain a United Nations consensus for cannabis as an essential dietary requirement for humankind. Dr. Courtney refers to this cannabis-specific collection of therapeutic compounds as Conditionally Essential Cannabinoid Acids.

On his Cannabis International website, he outlines his goals “to consolidate the science regarding the essential nature of the phyto-cannabinoid contributions to health maintenance and restoration. That akin to Essential Fatty Acids and Essential Amino Acids, there needs to be Minimum Daily Requirements established to guide worldwide adoption of raw cannabis as the single most important dietary element.” Then, “to develop a broad profile ruderalis type plant that is hardy across a wide range of environments and agricultural skill levels.” He is Partnering with Luxembourg C.I.F. to grow 1 billion pounds of seed.

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(Image from Cannadad’s Blog)

There are many people, even children, who are suffering unnecessarily due to unscientifically guided medical cannabis laws. To prevent somebody accessing a medicine that is free of any ‘high’ seems to lack any rationale, yet Health Canada continues to prevent medical cannabis producers and users from creating these THC free products. Oregon’s Brave McKayla is a 9 year old from Oregon who uses Raw Cannabis juice alongside a CBD rich cannabis extract to treat her Lymphoblastic Leukemia, you may never have seen a smile so wide (VIDEO). Liam McKnight is a 6 year old from Ontario who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. Under the current rules, he cannot legally access raw cannabis juice or a CBD rich concentrated extract, essentially limiting him to smoking or vaporizing. These are only two of a growing number of cases. I echo the sentiments of Liams father:

“I really hope that somebody at Health Canada or somebody in this government just finally stands up and says, ‘OK, this is ridiculous. We need to help these kids.’” (source)

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by papapuff » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:34 am

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Extracts on Trial: Health Canada Vs. Science

BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · LEGAL — 31 JUL, 2014

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For four weeks in February of 2012 I witnessed the demystification of Health Canada’s arguments against cannabis extracts in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The main showdown in this constitutional battle was between two scientific wizards, where the struggle for truth finally loosened this healing plant from governments’ steely grip.

Two years earlier I had been caught in the act of making cookies, lozenges, gel caps, and massage oils with cannabis infused vegetable oils. These products were intended for the members of the CBC of C, but they never made it and many patients had a sleepless night without medication, wondering if they’d ever get their medicine from the club again. However, as with previous raids, we re-opened the bakery the following day.

It has taken many hard fought court battles to establish a medical cannabis system as a constitutional right in Canada. These four weeks were our opportunity to challenge the scientific validity of the current marihuana laws and make available, to those with a government license, medically suitable methods of ingestion alternative to inhalation, specifically oral and topical. For this we would need a hero, a true expert in cannabis science who would be an irrefutable authority exposing the faults in our understanding as well as Health Canada’s. We knew the truth would set this plant free.

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(Dr. David Pate resembled Dumbledore from Harry Potter, surrounded by lawyers who looked like these kids)

Dr. Pate’s extensive experience with laboratory research involves the “upstream” development of products with medical potential. Upstream development takes feedback from the patient and attempts to find evidence to support or refute the claims being made. For example, when a number of patients tell there doctor that a topical cannabis product is working for them, that product could then become the basis for laboratory research. Dr. Pate has conducted many laboratory studies that support the claims for medical cannabis and helped G.W. Pharmaceuticals develop the recently introduced oromucosal cannabis spray Sativex which succeeded laboratory testing and passed clinical trials.

Dr. Abramovici continually expressed the need for “downstream” clinical trials for cannabis safety in the general population. Downstream development moves from producer to patient, involving human trials in clinical settings of substances that have shown success in “upstream” laboratory testing. Abramovici confirmed that the government has stopped all research into medical cannabis, and drug companies are the only groups with the resources to perform them. To complete the catch-22, Abramovici accused GW pharmaceuticals of having a bias and deemed the clinical studies they completed, with Dr. Pate’s assistance, scientifically invalid.

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(Dr. Hanan Abramovici resembled Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon, here with his boss at Health Canada)

Dr. Abramovici’s testimony was marked by stark contradictions in opinion. Where at first he suggested that topically administered cannabis can cause “detectable levels” of THC in the blood stream (thus causing psycho-activity), he later claimed that there is no evidence that it is an effective method of delivering those same cannabinoids into the bloodstream. Ironically, a study from Abramovici and Health Canada’s own information for health care professionals provided some clarity on the matter.

Studies measuring the nanogram per millilitre of THC in the bloodstream have shown that anywhere in the range of 7-29ng/mL is enough to produce the subjective “high” effect. (source) A study on trans-dermal cannabinoid delivery found that after an hour and a half exposure blood plasma levels reached only 4.4ng/mL. This evidence supports the testimony of patients who find benefit from topical cannabis but experience no ‘high’. The consumption of a chocolate cookie containing 20 mg THC resulted in peak plasma THC concentrations ranging from 4.4 to 11 ng/mL, (source) barely passing into the psychoactive range. Studies on very weak cannabis (1.6% THC) when smoked resulted in mean peak THC blood plasma levels of 77 ng/mL, (source) approximately 10 times that of eating a cookie, and 20 times the topical administration.

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(“Your shoddy science shall not pass”)

Dr. Pate, through his expertise in pharmacodynamiks, the study of the action or effect of drugs on living organisms, explained that because topical cannabis only minimally passes through the skin into the bloodstream doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. Cannabinoid ligands, like THC, bind to specific receptor sites in our bodies. CB1 and CB2 receptors have been located in nerve fibres of the skin, skin cells (keratinocytes), cells of the hair follicles, sweat glands, and other cells present in the skin. “Abundant distribution of cannabinoid receptors on skin nerve fibers and mast cells provides implications for an anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive action of cannabinoid receptor agonists.” (source)

Dr. Abramovici shared his expertise in pharmacokinetics, the study of how drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated by the body. He emphasized that oral doses are absorbed slowly, creating a longer period before one feels the effects and opined that this would make it harder for individuals to self-moderate their doses. In his literary review, Abramovici states that smoking is preferred over oral because the psychotropic effect or “high” occurs more quickly. Abramovici disregards that many patients use cannabis to help them to sleep, during which slow release is more logical than waking up once an hour to re-dose by inhalation.

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(“this plant is untested, choose a pharmaceutical regimen or choose oblivion”)

Abramovici held that without placebo controlled clinical trials there is no evidence that cannabis taken orally is safe or even works at all. He suggested that oral cannabis undergoing first pass metabolism on its way to the colon breaks down so significantly that it is ineffective. The crown suggested that to avoid this loss of medicinal content patients should grind their cannabis, wrap it up, and insert it in their rectum. While this is technically accurate, it’s insensitive to the point of absurdity. He was loathe to accept that cannabis has any proven medical application, challenging Dr. Pates use of the word “therapeutic”. He stuck closely to his script, dodging with “I don’t know” or “I guess” when pressed for answers.

He denied that anecdotal and laboratory research qualifies as scientific evidence wherever it supports cannabis’ safe profile, yet suggested the same kinds of research where a risk or harm was found. His only experience working with cannabis is in preparing the Health Canada document information for health care professionals, which is a literary review composed entirely of anecdotal and laboratory studies. Beyond the hypocrisy in his testimony, Health Canada’s senior scientific information officers’ bias appeared altogether unchallenged when it was revealed through a clever line of questioning his superior at Health Canada had actually written his conclusions!

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(ok, maybe that’s going a little too far)

Backpeddling, the crowns’ final argument was that there would be no problem with patients making edible products so long as the leaf used remains with the liquid, so that an inspector could guarantee that the amounts being stored were within the personal use limits of an authorized person under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations. This has the ridiculous implication of making people drink out of the teapot, as once it is poured into a teacup it becomes illegal. I doubt the Queen would approve of this suggestion by her council.

On friday the 13th of April, 2012, Justice Johnson agreed with us and found the law unconstitutional. Subsequent to his decision, patients in BC have been able to lawfully produce derivative cannabis products from their quantities of dried marijuana. The decision was met by a statement from the B.C. Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall: “By consuming cannabis in these ways, patients are able to avoid the negative health effects of smoking, which we know to be harmful to the lungs.” It is now over 2 years later and patients across Canada await the decision of the BC Court of Appeal, so that they too can make a preparation that better suits their medical condition.

Stay Tuned for Updates as they happen from the Cannabis Digest Blogs
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by papapuff » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:39 am

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Cannabis Extracts throughout History: Part 1

BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · MEDIA — 7 AUG, 2014

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In order to advance our understanding of the potential of cannabis as a medicine, it is helpful to look back through history at the many times and places that this plant has emerged into the local materia medica. Cannabis may be set for an archaic revival as modern science is now exploring the neuroprotective qualities discovered by emperor Shen Nung close to 4500 years ago.

This Article is complimented by short videos made by myself and Ted Smith to accompany his Textbook, Hempology 101: The History and Uses of Cannabis Sativa. You can find sources for all of the references to ancient texts that mention cannabis extracts here.

Shen Nung (the patron of pharmacists) may well have been a creation of Chinese folklore, as the Pen Ts’ao was compiled from ancient fragments around 150 BCE, however the recent archaeological discovery of a site of “789 grams of dried cannabis [...] buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China” dating back three millennia, adds credence to his legend. The Pen Ts’ao shares that “hemp grows along rivers and valleys at T’ai-shan, but it is now common everywhere.”

With wild cannabis growing in abundance, ancient medicine makers began to develop basic techniques to separate the desired ingredients from the crude plant matter. In the extensive review, History of Cannabis and Its Preparations in Saga, Science, and Sobriquet, Dr. Ethan Russo determines three categories of herbal cannabis: Bhang, Ganja, and Charas. Bhang is referred to as a mixture of flower, seed, leaf, and stalk; Ganja is the manicured, seedless, “feminized,” “sensimilla” flower buds alone; and Charas is resin collected by simple techniques, commonly known as hashish. Ancient methods of gathering Charas include washing or beating the plant over fabric screens, or just rubbing the plant to gather the resin on one’s hands or body.

Cannabis before the Common Era

Clay tablets found in the ancient city of Nineveh represent the collected medical knowledge of the first two centuries BCE in Mesopotamia. These document the early use of cannabis or A.ZAL.LA as an anticonvulsant taken orally, cutaneously, and as an enema. These ancient doctors utilized all parts of the plant to treat an extensive list of conditions from impotence to nocturnal epilepsy. In nearby India, an early Ayurvedic text, the Atharva Veda, exalts cannabis or bhanga as one of five herbs employed “to release us from anxiety.” The ingredients of the legendary Vedic holy drink Soma are hotly debated among academics. Author and historian Chris Bennett supplies compelling evidence for the inclusion of cannabis in his book Cannabis and the Soma Solution.

(SHORT VIDEO)

Cannabis drinks have been popular for tens of thousands of years. Chris uses archaeological and etymological evidence to illuminate cannabis as a consistent ingredient in ritual beverages—techniques advancing from ancient times when the oil from the seeded flowers of wild cannabis were crushed and pressed after becoming enriched with the oil soluble cannabinoids, to advanced techniques for cultivating feminine cannabis and extracting the cannabinoids into forms of hashish.

(FULL LENGTH DOCUMENTARY)


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The Perfume of the Pharaohs

In Ancient Egypt, incense cones of Kyphi (kief hash loaded perfume) placed on the head would melt in the sunlight and by body heat releasing fragrant cannabis onto the skin. (WATCH THIS VIDEO) In 2002, scientists from L’Oreal and C2RMF recreated the “perfume of the pharaohs” which included pistachios, mint, cinnamon, juniper, cannabis, and myrrh. French researcher Videault noted, “Kyphi will never be sold because some of the ingredients are illegal substances. In any case the smell is probably much too pungent for the modern world.”

It is still common in Egypt to use steam distillation to produce a cannabis flower essential oil rich with therapeutic terpenes as a scent for perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and candles, and to add sweetness to baked goods and candies. The essential oil is anti-fungal and can also be mixed with water and sprayed onto plants for protection. Although the varieties of cannabis used in today’s products are low THC, this method could be applied to medicinal grade cannabis.

Egypt provides us with rich insight into the medical practices of the ancient world from the extensive papyrus that have been discovered and decoded. Three notable entries from the second millennium BCE are the Papyrus Ramesseum III: “A treatment for the eyes: celery; hemp is ground and left in the dew over night. Both eyes of the patient are to be washed with it early in the morning.” This could have been used to treat glaucoma or for the anti-inflammatory effects. The Ebers Papyrus records cannabis used for obstetrics: “ground in honey; introduced into her vagina to cool the uterus and eliminate its heat,” further suggesting anti-inflammatory properties. The Berlin Papyrus prescribes cannabis as an “ointment to prepare for driving away fever” and as a “plaster.”


Cannabis before Christ

Although our translations of these ancient writings are subject to speculation, it is clear that the knowledge of this medicine was widespread throughout Ancient Egypt. It is a curious note that Moses, the leader of the Hebrew people, receives the recipe for a holy anointing oil containing large amounts of cannabis or Kaneh Bosm soon after leaving Egypt. The highly revered anointing oil is later applied topically by Jesus and his followers to fight epilepsy, skin diseases, eye, and menstrual problems. (ANOTHER SHORT VIDEO)

Greek historian Herodotus wrote detailed accounts of Scythian vapour hotbox rituals around 450 BCE. “First they anoint and rinse their hair, then for their bodies, they lean three poles against one another, cover the poles with felted woollen blankets, making sure that they fit together as tightly as possible, and then put red-hot stones from the fire on to a dish which has been placed in the middle of the pole-and-blanket structure [...] the Scythians take cannabis seeds, crawl in under the felt blankets, and throw the seeds on to the glowing stones. The seeds then emit dense smoke and fumes, much more than any vapour-bath in Greece. The Scythians shriek with delight at the fumes.” (SLIGHTLY LONGER VIDEO)

This is only the start of a four part journey through the history of Cannabis Extraction. Stay tuned to the Cannabis Digest Blogs and watch out for Part 2 by Owen Smith next week.
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by papapuff » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:29 am

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Cannabis Extracts 2 – Health Canada 1: A Win for Patients!

BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · CANADA · FEATURE · LEGAL · UNCATEGORIZED — 15 AUG, 2014

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(image of Ted Smith, Owen Smith and Kirk Tousaw from Times Colonist)

It has been almost 5 years since I was arrested as the baker of the Cannabis Buyers Club in Victoria. It has been over two years since we won in the BC Supreme Court, removing the restriction to “dried marihuana” for patients who are authorized to possess cannabis in BC. Today, the BC Court of Appeal delivered their decision on my constitutional challenge to legalize cannabis extracts for patients. They voted 2-1 in my favour, sending a message to parliament that the cannabis laws need to be redefined within a year; and to patients that in the meantime it is within their constitutional rights to produce extracted products from the plants bulk to better suit their particular conditions.

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(Timeline of the Owen Smith VCBC Bakery Trial)

The majority ruled that: “a person of reasonable sensibility would find the restriction to dried marijuana to have a serious and profound effect on their physical and psychological integrity.”

“Where the state interferes with an individual’s capacity to make decisions concerning the management of those health problems by threat of criminal sanction, the state is depriving that individual of the power to make fundamental personal choices”

concluding that: “the limitation in the MMARs is of no force and effect under s. 52 of the Charter to the extent that a person who has been granted an ATP is permitted to possess only dried marijuana.”


This decision was about patients having the dignity to take care of their own health. Licensed Producers will have to wait for the government to create new regulations and lobby while patients can now make better medicine from whatever they can access. This decision validates dispensaries who offer these products to their members. At the V-CBC, the club that launched this challenge, they are inexpensive, diverse and organized to guide patients toward an effective dosage plan. The court suggested that “Presumably the behaviour of the VCBC can be regulated in ways that do not infringe the rights of seriously ill Canadians.”

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If you are still growing your own plants under the MMAR Coalition injunction, you have access to your own trim you can make affordable edible products by cooking it into a vegetable oil or reducing it safely into a concentrate. Patients of the MMPR Licensed Producers will not be able to purchase extracted products, however they may now make edible products from the dried marijuana that they legally purchase.

I read from a patient on the rollitup forum that the Licensed Producer Mettrum has offered to sell their trim at a reduced price “for those who want a prepared product” which made many patients upset as trim is often not considered suitable for inhalation and discarded if not transformed into edible products, which up until now was prohibited. Buying dried trim with low medicinal content doesn’t seem possible as the MMPR regulations limit patients to a maximum of 150 grams per month.

It is counterintuitive that while it is now legal to make an extract in your own kitchen, it is still illegal to pay a company with sophisticated, analytical equipment to do it for you. My lawyer Kirk related that “If my grandma wants to use medical cannabis to deal with arthritis pain, I think she should be entitled to go and purchase it from someone who can say, ‘Look, eat half a cookie and you’re ingesting 14 mg of THC, … Then she can know for herself what the appropriate dosage is.” (source)

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(Kirk Tousaw lookin’ sharp)

The decision is binding on trial level courts across Canada, persuasive on provincial appellate courts. If there is an appeal launched by either side, the issue could reach the highest court in the country, the Supreme Court of Canada. There are other cases that are also headed to Canada’s top court, including the MMAR Coalition’s injunction, where the case for legal extracts will be made again.

It is now safe to make healthy, nourishing, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, sugar free, vitamin enriched, wholesome, medicinal cannabis cookies if you’ve got a license to possess, you could also make smores or something really delicious like ice cream but only on your birthday :P just kidding.

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I am very thankful for the patient witnesses and the expert witnesses and our lawyer Kirk Tousaw and quarterback Ted Smith, all the patients, caregivers, supporters and ultimately for the gifts that this tremendous plant offers humanity. I am glad the two female judges had the reasonable sensibility to see the unjustified interference with patients dignity, independence and autonomy to make decisions concerning the management of their health problems.


Read more from Owen Smith on the Cannabis Digest Blogs
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by papapuff » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:32 am

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Cannabis Extracts throughout History – Part 2


BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · FULL · WORLD — 21 AUG, 2014

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Cannabis in the Common Era

In the first part of this series on Cannabis Extracts in History I looked at references from Before the Common Era or 1CE. In China, where we find the earliest advancements in cannabis/hemp production (5000 BCE), physicians beginning with Hoa-Tho (200 CE) prescribed cannabis mixed with wine as an analgesic during surgical procedures.1 The (570 CE) Taoist encyclopaedia Wushang Biyao (Supreme Secret Essentials), recorded adding cannabis into ritual censers. Sinologist and historian Joseph Needham believed that the founding scriptures of the Shangqing School of Taoism were written by Yang Xi (330-386 CE) during alleged visitations by Taoist immortals, “aided almost certainly by cannabis.”2

In the earliest known compendium of pharmacology in Arabic (9th Century), cannabis juice extract from the flowers and seeds is to be administered through the nostril to treat migraine, aching pains including uterine, and to prevent miscarriage.3 During this same period, the renowned physician and scientist Al-Kindi gave the first report of its muscle relaxant properties in relation to what was known as “the trembling.”4

One of the first of the great English botanists, John Parkinson, writes in 1640 that cannabis roots in a poultice are effective for treating tumours and other inflammation. “[...]the same decoction of the rootes, easeth the paines of the goute, the hard tumours, or knots of the joynts, the paines and shrinking of the sinewes, and other the like paines of the hippes: it is good to be used, for any place that hath beene burnt by fire, if the fresh juyce be mixed with a little oyle or butter” (source)

By the dawn of Western medicine, it was clear that cannabis was being used as a medicine in diverse ways for a wide range of conditions: successfully treating cholera,6 tetanus,7 and bubonic plague.8 Queen Victoria’s personal physician, Sir Russell Reynolds, prescribed cannabis for her menstrual cramps. He claims in the first issue of The Lancet, that cannabis “When pure and administered carefully, is one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”9

The popular method of directly inhaling the smoke from crushed cannabis flowers didn’t begin until the 16th century, and the introduction of tobacco from the new world. Cannabis cigarettes were only smoked as a treatment for asthma. Inhaling the smoke from Ganja flowers is now the most common method patients use to medicate. This is in part due to the risk associated with processing cannabis and the de facto moratorium on phytocannabinoid research.

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The scarcity of accurate information has previously isolated the cannabis culture into small groups preventing the development of articulated guides to cannabis medicine. The rising availability of the internet and discussion forums has given the culture a place to build upon their collective knowledge despite the slippery persistence of the drug war mythology.

Cannabis prohibition is nearing its centennial in Canada, and the conditions it has created are now apparent. The persistent eradication of wild growing cannabis by law enforcement has driven gardeners to cultivate feminized Ganja indoors, in small spaces, for as much potency in as little time as possible, then either discarding or quickly processing the Bhang material into Charas. Due to the legal risks and scarcity of supply, the once free and abundant Charas is now valued in some forms at more than twice the price of gold.

Stronger than it used to be?

Prohibitionists currently claim that they are protecting society from high THC cannabis that is “much stronger than it was years ago,”13 however, the move to high THC cannabis strains began in 1840 when western physicians such as W.B. O’Shaughnessy began to draw wide attention to its use. Tests from the 1970s show THC levels as high as they are today.14 The recent rise in THC is consistent with the retreat of the plant into highly controlled, indoor grow operations.

Studies of sifted trichomes in Morocco and Afghanistan have revealed that “Cannabis fields in [...] generations past would tend to yield equal proportions of THC and CBD.” This prohibitionist war cry is further diluted by their advocacy of pure synthetic THC pills, which have consistently been shown inferior to whole plant cannabis in medical applications.In past articles I have explained how CBD competes with THC for the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, effectively protecting vulnerable individuals from an undesirable THC dominant experience.

In the third part of the Cannabis Extract in History Series I will catch us up to the present and look to the horizons at the modern revival of this ancient art.



Read More from Owen Smithon the Cannabis Digest Blogs



References:

1. M.S. Julien, C. R. Hebd. Seances Acad. Sci. 1849, 28, 223.
2. J. Needham, L. Gwei-Djen, 1974, ‘Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology; Part 2, Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Magisteries of Gold and Immortality’ Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
3. Didier M. Lambert, 2009, Cannabinoids in Nature and Medicine, 38
4. W. P. Farquhar-Smith, M. Egertova, E. J. Bradbury, S. B. McMahon, A. S. Rice, M. R. Elphick,
2000, Mol. Cell Neurosci.15, 510.
5. J. Parkinson, T.Bonham, M.d.L’Obel, 1640, Theatrum botanicum: The theater of plants; p.[16], 1756 http://www.scribd.com/doc/76626218/Russ ... rsity-2007 6. E.B. Russo, Cannabis in India: Ancient lore and modern medicine, Ed. R. Mechoulam,
BirkhUuser Verlag, Basel, 2005, pp.1–22.
7. 1972 National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse – Appendix, Chapter One, Part I
8. L.R. Aubert-Roche, De la peste, ou typhus d’Orient, Paris, 1843, p.400.
9. J.R. Reynolds, Lancet 1890, 1, 637.
10. forums.cannabisculture.com/forums/
11. U.S.D.E.A., 2010, Speaking out against drug legalization, http://www.justice.gov/dea/demand/speakout/index.html
12. http://www.cannabisdispensary.ca/node/13
13. J. Kabelik, Z. Krejei, F. Santavy, Bull. 1960, Narcotics 12, 5.
14. D. C. Perry. 1977, Pharm.-Chem. Newsletter 6, 1.
15. Russo, 2007, History of Cannabis and its Preperations in Saga, Science, and Sobriquet onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbdv.200790144/pdf
16. Smith, 2011. Cannabis Digest, Issue 30, Eating Cannabis as Medicine http://www.cannabisdigest.ca/cms/2011/0 ... s-medicine
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by papapuff » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:35 am

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Cannabis Extracts throughout History: Part 3


BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · FULL — 28 AUG, 2014

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Cannabis in the Modern Era

In the [url=http://cannabisdigest.ca/extract-history-cannabis-common-era/second part of this series[/url]on Cannabis Extracts in History I looked at references from 1CE to the 17th century when cannabis began to emerge in the west as a prominent medicine. The modern era is dominated by prohibition. Check out this ‘[url=http://cannabisdigest.ca/history-marijuana-law-usa/]History of marijuana law in the U.S.A[/url].’ Graphic Timeline by Dr. David Allen and Cannabis Digest editor Judith Stamps new timeline on the Absurdities in the Drug War.

Our modern era war on cannabis has been declared a failure by successive teams of scientists from around the world(1). Criminal punishments have not effectively deterred individuals from seeking out this undeniably useful medicine. The DEA’s own Judge Francis Young concluded at the end of a lengthy legal process in 1988 that “Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”(2) I find it strangely ironic that modern day drug warriors celebrate a successful bust in the same manner that our primitive ancestors celebrated a successful boom, by openly burning large amounts of cannabis.(3)

Politicians and physicians continue to address the issue with lacklustre, pointing to the problem of smoking and reciting the carcinogenic properties of burnt vegetable matter. It has become apparent on our historical journey that not only is cannabis a diverse and effective medicine, but that this has been well known by diligent individuals since time immemorial. With even the most basic of techniques, these individuals separated the active ingredients from the vegetative mass, averting these feared pitfalls, to create medicines superior to their modern synthetic counterparts.

Whole Plant Horizons

With the recent BC Court of Appeal decision opening the door to patients who make whole plant medicinal cannabis extracts, the Canadian government has been given a year to adapt their regulations. Health Canada’s attempt to treat cannabis more like a pharmaceutical has been a slow and expensive process that leaves those presently suffering at a loss and in pain. The inherent difficulty in studying this complex and dynamic plant for the purpose of isolating and synthesizing patented products for the pharmacy lingers in the background of the Canadian Medical Associations’ lament for more research. For the great number of people who have an immediate need for a steady supply of cannabis extract, but can’t make it for themselves, the only options are a local dispensary or a compassionate caregiver.

Community dispensaries like the V-CBC are always trying to meet the diverse needs of their growing membership by focussing and expanding their product lines. The creation of seven different massage oil combinations (cannabis + Arnica, Comfrey, St. John’s Wart) has created an array of topical options for members seeking to treat circulation, respiratory, bone, deep muscle, nerve, and hormonal conditions. Publishing all of the methods and recipes online (4) has helped members make their own medicine as the demand for the club’s products expands.

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Chinese medicine may be poised to offer unique insights into the use of cannabis in herbal remedies, recipes for which may stretch back thousands of years. Dr. Luc Duchesne, an Ottawa-based businessman and biochemist, wrote in InvestorIntel, “Chinese traditional medicine is poised to take advantage of a growing trend. The writing is on the wall: Westernised Chinese traditional medicine is coming to a dispensary near you.”

In the 1990s, scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system (5) and the receptor sites for THC in our brain.(6) In 2000, a study in Spain showed cannabis to “inhibit the growth of tumour cells in culture and animal models.”(7) With research breaking out in areas where cannabis laws are loosening, there is a great deal of anticipation as to the miracles of healing that phytocannabinoid therapeutics still has to offer.

23 U.S. states now have medical cannabis legislation, and the states of Colorado and Washington have legalized its use for adults. A wave of support has followed the revelation of cannabis as a treatment for rare forms of epilepsy in children. In my final blog on the history of cannabis extracts I will explore some potentials achievements for medicinal cannabis extracts in the 21st Century.


Read More from Owen Smith on the Cannabis Digest Blogs


References

1. Global war on drugs a failure, high-level panel says http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/ ... XW20110602
2. US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, “In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition,” [Docket #86-22], (September 6, 1988), pp. 6, 58, 68.
http://www.iowamedicalmarijuana.org/pdfs/young.pdf
3. 58 held in Mexico’s biggest marijuana farm bust http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011 ... xico_n.htm
4. http://www.cbc-canada.ca/recipes/cbcoc- ... ecipe-book
5. http://www.jaoa.org/content/108/10/586.full
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2165569
7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14570037
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by papapuff » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:57 am

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Cannabis Extracts throughout History: Part 4

BY OWEN SMITHIN BLOG · FEATURE · FULL — 4 SEP, 2014

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Cannabis in the 21st Century

During the past three blogs I have swept over the history of cannabis extracts to show that simple extraction techniques were common knowledge among medicine makers in ancient times. From Taoist sages to the Queens personal physician; from Egyptian Papyri to the labs of modern scientists at L’Oreal: the lineage of cannabis extraction offers up many potentials for the future of our relationship with this bountiful plant. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has uniquely linked cannabis to the health of all vertebrates since time immemorial.

I am acutely interested in the future uses of cannabis as over the past 5 years I have been attempting to relay the critical importance of basic extraction for any cannabis based medicine in court to the Canadian federal government. My victory in court in 2012 was recently upheld by the BC Court of Appeal, which has given the government 1 year to regulate the production of cannabis extracts. The government claims that due to the lack of double-blind, blue-ribbon, placebo-controlled, clinical trials, cannabis is not proven safe. My expert witness, Dr. David Pate suggested that “cannabis has undergone a multiyear open-label clinical trial by virtue of being in such popular use both medically and recreationally for an extended period of time, essentially hundreds of years.” (source)

At the same time as my trial, extracts were becoming widely available in the United States. With two states (and more to come) now permitting their legal production for recreational use, the future of cannabis culture is about to be blown wide open. Among recent revelations are the use of cannabis extracts for various emerging forms of cancer and epilepsy as well as it’s superior nutritional value when juiced raw. A 9th century Arabic compendium of pharmacology recommended the use of cannabis juice extract and the renowned Arabic physician Al-Kindi recognized the plants’ use for a condition known as ‘the trembling’ which resembles the recent revelation of its’ anti-spasmodic properties among children with seizure disorders.

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(Charlotte Figi’s story is covered in detail by CNN’s Sanjay Gupta)

Studies of sifted trichomes in Morocco and Afghanistan have revealed that “Cannabis fields in [...] generations past would tend to yield equal proportions of THC and CBD.” The 1:1 ratio has become a popular choice for patients with epilepsy as cultivars are disseminated through the emerging distribution networks. The semi-cultivated cannabis of ancient times is probably closer to modern hemp than the indoor grown, manicured, feminized, seedless clones that have dominated the black market for decades.

In Canada, industrial hemp is grown specifically to contain very little THC, so it can’t get you stoned. However, hemp seed oil has been found to contain CBD and terpenes likely as “the result of contamination from glandular hairs during oil processing.” CBD is among many cannabinoids currently being explored for a wide range of medicinal effects. Although the levels of CBD within hemp seed oil are typically small, many health benefits may still be gained from its presence. A recent H.P.L.C. analysis indicated that the juiced leaves of Saskatchewan hemp contained five times as much CBD as THC and showed ten times as much CBDa.

The modern era has suffered from a failed global effort at cannabis prohibition which has stalled the cannabis culture while science and technology have advanced massively. 1 Billion grams of potentially life-saving medicine from this years Canadian hemp harvest will go to waste in the fields. Although setback by the destruction of useful cultivars at the dawn of prohibition, the hemp industry is utilizing the modern advances in science and technology that have it poised to grow beyond anything possible in ancient times.

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(image: Dixie Botanicals)

A former U.S. Navy nuclear submarine technician designs and sells supercritical CO2 extraction machines that isolate the cannabinoid oils from the plant material (source) . While these machines are far more expensive than the Naptha and a rice cookermethod used by Rick Simpson, they have zero potential for toxic solvent residue.

The supercritical CO2 extraction machine is currently being used to ceate concentrated oils from naturally grown hemp stalk and seed that contain high amounts of CBD. This oil is used to make ‘Real Scientific Hemp Oil’, which is an 18% CBD extract of hemp, administered in syringes. Dixie Botanicals science director, Tamar Wise asserted in 2012 that “the hemp oil we use is biologically created in hemp plants and our methodology isolates and extracts it”. Wise later criticized Dixie for using hemp that is “contaminated with microbial life, residual solvents and other toxins”(source). As detailed in my trial, CBD is stored in the head of glandular trichomes that protrude from the surface of the plant like blades of grass topped by beads of dew. The removal of the precariously dangling resin heads (called trichomes) from the plant prior to extraction greatly reduces the presence of contaminants that reside in the body of the plant.

Medical Marijuana Inc. in the U.S. are harvesting 1,000 Acres of European Hemp into 2,000 kilograms of raw hemp oil to be used in DixeX high CBD Hemp products. On their website, DixieX presents “A revolution in Hemp-Powered Wellness Products” (source) with a salve, a pill and a tincture “manufactured from non-THC, high CBD concentrate [...] industrial Hemp products ranging from 100-500 milligrams”. These products can be shipped to consumers in all 50 states in the U.S. The FDA considers industrial hemp as a food or dietary supplement product and Medical Marijuana Inc. imports its raw CBD oil under approved tariff codes to its FDA registered facility.” (source)

Some of the elements needed to start a high-CBD medicine in Canada have been embedded in the developing hemp industry and medical marijuana movement over the past decade. In 2003 Canada grew 66,700 acres of hemp. CMH biotech, who currently test for THC levels in hemp, have been developing analytical methods to test other cannabinoid compounds, including CBD (cannabidiol), CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBL (cannabicyclol), CBC (canna- bichromene), Δ8-THC, THCV (Δ9- tetrahydrocannabivarin), and their acid forms.


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(Manitoba hemp harvest under mandatory inspection for THC)

Creating CBD-rich products just became a recognized charter protected right for federally registered patients in Canada. Licensed Producers under the MMPR have laboratories to test the purity and potency of their products and many are invested in Research and Development. I see potential for the medical cannabis industry in utilizing the rolling fields of industrial hemp. With ingenuity and modern technology, farmers may someday be able to separate and collect mountains of hemp hash to be processed into clean and effective medicine.

A recent Canadian hemp industry report out of Alberta states that a “License to grow industrial hemp for grain or fibre is issued for one calendar year for crops of four hectares (10 acres) or more, and if cultivating for seed not less than one hectare. There is no minimum plot size for plant breeding.” The report also shows a gradual increase in hemp production in correspondence with the emergence of processing facilities and entrepreneurs to market and sell hemp products. On Apr. 1, 2012 Hemp Oil Canada Inc. based in Manitoba announced that it is first in the world to gain international food safety accreditation for hemp foods ( source ).

This plant continues to unfold medical wonders from its symbiosis with human beings. From the better-known effects of medical cannabis to the hidden secrets of raw industrial hemp, the offerings continue to emerge. With international support growing and people from all over the world uniting over our need for economic independence, industrial hemp shines behind the green high beams of the medical cannabis movement. When thinking of the tens of thousands of acres of hemp, whose leaves lay to compost, I am reminded of the passage from Revelation 22:2 and feel we are witnessing the return of this tree of life, where “The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations”.

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Read More from Owen Smith on the Cannabis Digest Blogs
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