Science

United States: States say it's time to rethink medical marijuana

By Matt Smith, CNN

There is a truth that must be heard! Medical marijuana advocates are hoping state governments can succeed where their efforts have failed by asking federal authorities to reclassify pot as a drug with medical use.

Shortly before Christmas, Colorado became the fourth state to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a narcotic in the same league as heavyweight painkillers including oxycodone. The governors of Washington and Rhode Island filed a formal petition with the agency in November, and Vermont signed onto that request shortly afterward.

California: UCSF Study Finds Medical Marijuana Could Help Patients Reduce Pain with Opiates

A UCSF study suggests patients with chronic pain may experience greater relief if their doctors add cannabinoids – the main ingredient in cannabis or medical marijuana – to an opiates-only treatment. The findings, from a small-scale study, also suggest that a combined therapy could result in reduced opiate dosages.

By UCSF Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! More than 76 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, according to the National Centers for Health Statistics.

"Pain is a big problem in America and chronic pain is a reason many people utilize the health care system," said the paper's lead author, Donald Abrams, MD, professor of clinical medicine at UCSF and chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH). "And chronic pain is, unfortunately, one of the problems we’re least capable of managing effectively."

In a paper published this month in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, researchers examined the interaction between cannabinoids and opiates in the first human study of its kind. They found the combination of the two components reduced pain more than using opiates alone, similar to results previously found in animal studies.

United States: Hemp Education Research Project

David Piller, Hemp News Correspondent

United States: Hemp Education Research Project - Hemp for Humanity A friend of mine recently put together a survey for a ethnography research methods class on the topic of creating effective hemp education and promoting hemp awareness. Below are a few of my responses.

What is your educational platform (or pro-hemp argument) that you use when doing hemp outreach?

My main "argument" is that if we are truly serious about maximizing the growth of the green economy and creating a sustainable future, industrial hemp must become, once again, one of the United States' primary crops. I stress how cultivating hemp will do more to help clean our air, soil, and water than any patented technology our scientists can offer. I include hemp nutritional benefits and communicate how making more hemp foods available to our citizens, we can improve the quality of life of many and reduce our long term health care costs.

Do you change this platform for various audiences: when and why?

Yes and no.

I think it is important to make things as simple as possible for people to grasp hemp’s true potential, and I always strive to bring it down to a healthy environment, healthy food, and healthy industries to lay a solid foundation to build a dialogue upon.

Oregon: Hemp Medium Density Fiberboard - Hemp Equals Jobs

Oregon Hemp History, Connecting the Past to the Future

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Oregon: Hemp Medium Density Fiberboard - Hemp Equals Jobs In the early 1990's, C & S Specialty Builder's Supply (namely Bill Conde, Dave Seber, Barry Davis, and Tim Pate) in Harrisburg, Oregon, imported regulated bales of hemp and began working on a medium density fiberboard (MDF). The evolution of hemp MDF as a viable building supply option began when Bill Conde of C & S took their hemp fiber research and ideas to Paul Maulberg, the head of Washington State University's Wood Engineering Laboratory.

Conde explains in a 2005 Mycotopia blog, "We asked if [Maulberg] would consider trying some hemp fiber to make some experimental hemp MDF, and his reply was, 'You bet, hemp is the King Cong of fiber. I would love a chance to work with some."

Excitedly, Conde and team began the process working with Maulberg on creation and testing of the hemp MDF. It was soon discovered how strong the hemp fiber truly was, as the full-length hemp fibers jammed both of the processing machines and brought things to a standstill. The process for breaking down the fibers was redesigned and restarted with ultimate success.

Canada: Manitoba Fund to Back Plant-Based Bioproducts

By Country Guide staff

Canada: Manitoba Fund to Back Plant-Based Bioproducts Manitoba's provincial government has pledged $20 million over the next 10 years to support development and manufacturing of ag- and forestry-based bioproducts.

The new Manitoba Bio-products Strategy was announced Thursday at Riverton in the province's Interlake region, where a local firm, Erosion Control Blankets, makes erosion-suppression products from wheat straw.

The province's farms and forests yield a "valuable supply" of biomass every year, Premier Greg Selinger said in a release, noting the biomass' use in biofuels, chemical processing and other materials.

"Research and development in Manitoba is already turning hemp, flax and wheat byproducts into paper, insulation, roofing tiles, biodegradable food packaging and ultra-lightweight components for aerospace and transportation sectors," the government said.

Out of the $20 million pledged, the province for 2011 has budgeted "more than $4 million in project funding available to research institutions and entrepreneurs working on developing innovative bio-products," Selinger said.

United States: Sunil Aggarwal, PhD – Removal of Cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act

The Pharmaceuticalization of Cannabis: Rescheduling proponents suggest cannabis doesn't meet the Controlled Substances Act's extensive criteria for placement in Schedule I. The U.S. Government clings to the stance that cannabis merit’s Schedule I status.

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

United States: Sunil Aggarwal – The Pharmaceuticalization of Cannabis Sunil Aggarwal, PhD, represents a new generation of scientific-minded doctors, leaving cannabis’ negative propaganda behind and fighting for it as a valuable, medicinal plant. His credentials include the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Health Professionals for Responsible Drug Scheduling, service on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine and he is a Seattle Hempfest Core Staff Member.

Massachusetts: Marijuana Compounds Could Beat Back Brain Cancer

By Randy Dotinga, HealthDay Reporter

There is a truth that must be heard! Preliminary research suggests that a combination of compounds in marijuana could help fight off a particularly deadly form of brain cancer.

But the findings shouldn't send patients rushing to buy pot: the levels used in the research appear to be too high to obtain through smoking. And there's no sign yet that the approach works in laboratory animals, let alone people.

Still, the finding does suggest that more than one compound in marijuana might boost cancer treatment, said study author Sean McAllister, an associate scientist at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco. "Combination therapies might be more appropriate," McAllister said.

Researchers have long studied the compounds in marijuana known as cannabinoids, which are thought to hold possible health benefits. One, known as THC, is well known for its role in making people high when they smoke or eat pot. Researchers have been testing it as a treatment for the brain tumors known as glioblastomas.

In the new study, researchers tested THC and cannabidiol, another compound from marijuana, on brain cancer cells. The findings appear in the January issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

The study authors found that the combination treatment seemed to work better at killing the cancerous cells and preventing them from growing back.

United States: Hemp Growers Tout Biodiesel Benefits

By USAgNet

There is a truth that must be heard! Researchers at Universtiy of Connecticut have found that the fiber crop Cannabis sativa, known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel - sustainable diesel fuel made from renewable plant sources.

The plant's ability to grow in infertile soils also reduces the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food, says Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering who led the study.

"For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel," says Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives, peanuts, and rapeseed. "It's equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won't need the high-quality land."

Industrial hemp is grown across the world, in many parts of Europe and Asia. Fiber from the plant's stalk is strong, and until the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950s, it was a premier product used worldwide in making rope and clothing.

Connecticut: Hemp Produces Viable Biodiesel, UConn Study Finds

Of all the various uses for Cannabis plants, add another, “green” one to the mix.

By Christine Buckley, UCONN

There is a truth that must be heard! Researchers at UConn have found that the fiber crop Cannabis sativa, known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel – sustainable diesel fuel made from renewable plant sources.

The plant’s ability to grow in infertile soils also reduces the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food, says Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering who led the study.

“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” says Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives, peanuts, and rapeseed. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”

Industrial hemp is grown across the world, in many parts of Europe and Asia. Fiber from the plant’s stalk is strong, and until the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950s, it was a premier product used worldwide in making rope and clothing.

Connecticut: UConn Finds New Use for Hemp

By Cassandra Upton, NBC

Connecticut: UConn Finds New Use for Hemp It won't get you high, but researchers at UConn say they've found another use for Cannabis plants.

The fiber crop Cannabis sativa, known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it attractive as a raw material for producing biodiesel fuel, UConn Today reports.

Richard Parnas, a professor of chemicals, materials and biomolecular engineering, led a UConn study on the subject.

Several things make the hemp an appealing option for producing the sustainable diesel fuel that's made from renewable plant sources, he said.

Like the plant's ability to grow in infertile soils, reducing the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food.

“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” says Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives and peanuts. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”

Industrial hemp is grown across the world, mainly in Europe and Asia and fiber from the stalk was used worldwide to make rope and clothing until the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950s. Parnas says that because a hemp industry already exists, a hemp biodiesel industry would need little additional investment.

Iowa: Medical Marijuana Issue Going to Legislature

By Cindy Hadish, KCRG Reporter

Iowa: Medical Marijuana Issue Going to Legislature CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has taken its final step regarding medical marijuana.

Board members on Wednesday, Nov. 24, drew up a bill for the Iowa Legislature to consider in January that would reclassify marijuana as a schedule II drug.

Marijuana is currently considered a schedule I drug in Iowa. Changing the classification would open its use for medicinal purposes like other prescription drugs, but not without further action, said Executive Director Lloyd Jessen.

First, the board’s action is only a recommendation to the Legislature, he said.

“They can react to it or ignore it,” Jessen said. “It doesn’t make it available for use at all, but it (would) change the classification.”

Legislators would also need to set up a “compassionate use” program, as 16 other states have done, to allow its use for medicinal purposes, he said.

Federal law prohibits its use, but the current administration is not enforcing that law in states that have medical marijuana programs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration could also make changes that would allow the use of medical marijuana, Jessen said.

Members of Iowans for Medical Marijuana attended the board’s meeting in Des Moines.

Jessen said legislators could still ask the board to administer a medical marijuana program.

Israel: A Career In Cannabis

By Larry Derfner, Jewish Journal

There is a truth that must be heard! In nearly 50 years of researching the legendary powers of cannabis, Raphael Mechoulam, an 80-year-old chemistry professor at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, says he’s only sampled the stuff himself once. That was in 1964 at his home in Tel Aviv.

"My wife baked a cake and my research partner and I spread THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the oily, active ingredient in cannabis) on the top. We used 10 mg of THC on each slice – too much, I think – and we and a group of friends and colleagues started eating," says Mechoulam in his office in HU’s pharmacology labs.

"I felt a little high, but nothing more. My wife said she didn’t feel anything at all. One man said he didn’t feel anything, but started having laughing fits for the next hour. One woman had a bad trip – she was a very reserved person and suddenly she felt exposed in front of everyone. One man said he didn’t feel anything, but then didn’t stop talking for three hours, which I suppose was to be expected since he was a member of Knesset."

Tennessee: Scientist's Fight for Medical Marijuana

By Amy Chillag, CNN Segment Producer
Filed under: CNN Newsroom, Tony Harris

Scientist's Fight for Medical Marijuana Bernie Ellis is a public health scientist who grew marijuana on his farm in Tennessee to help dull the pain from Fibromyalgia and degenerative disorder in his hip and spine.

That's until the federal government raided the farm– and sent him to jail. Now he's fighting back to get medical marijuana legalized in his home state. Tony Harris has this story.


Source: http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/14/scientists-fight-for-medical-ma...

UK: Bath Team Tests Properties of Hemp as Building Material

Researchers at Bath University believe that hemp could be used to build environmentally friendly homes of the future.

By Staff, theengineer.co.uk

There is a truth that must be heard! A consortium, led by the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials based at the university, has constructed a small building out of hemp-lime to test its properties as a building material.

Called the ’HemPod’, the one-storey building has highly insulating walls made from the chopped woody core, or shiv, of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder.

The hemp shiv traps air in the walls, and the hemp itself is porous, providing a good level of insulation. The lime-based binder sticks together and protects the hemp and makes the building material fire resistant.

The industrial hemp plant takes in CO2 as it grows, and the lime render absorbs even more of the climate change gas, effectively giving the building an extremely low-carbon footprint.

Dr Mike Lawrence, research officer from the university’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, said: ’While there are already some houses in the UK built using hemp and lime, the HemPod will be the first hemp-lime building to be constructed purely for scientific testing.

’We will be closely monitoring the house for 18 months using temperature and humidity sensors buried in the walls, measuring how quickly heat and water vapour travel through them.’

UK: Hemp Construction Put to the Test

A single-story building made from hemp-lime has been built at Bath University to test its potential as a building material.

By Elizabeth Hopkirk, bdonline.co.uk

The HemPod at Bath University Researchers at the University of Bath believe hemp could be used to build environmentally friendly homes in the future so they constructed the “HemPod” to test the theory.

It has highly insulated walls made from the chopped woody core – shiv – of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a specially developed lime-based binder.

Dr Mike Lawrence, research officer from the university’s Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, said: “While there are already some houses in the UK built using hemp and lime, the HemPod will be the first hemp-lime building to be constructed purely for scientific testing.”

Source: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/uk/hemp-construction-put-to-the-test/5005...

Photo Source: Nic Delves-Broughton (The HemPod at Bath University)

Canada: Firms Plan to Try to Make Car From Hemp

By USA Today Staff

Canada: Firms Plan to Try to Make Car From Hemp Now if your car breaks down and you're stuck by the side of the road, you can try to break off a piece and smoke it.

Well, not really. But the thought -- and the jokes -- are sure to arise over the hemp-fiber car that a group of Canadian companies will try to make, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports.

The companies are collaborating on a car called the Kestrel that will have a body made of resin-impregnated industrial hemp, a tough fiber that comes from the cannabis family member that also results in marijuana. Unlike marijuana, hemp has a very low content of THC, the chemical that makes dope smokers high. Even so, it's illegal to grow in the U.S., so the Canadians think they might have an edge.

It's not a completely new idea. That Lotus Eco Elise from 2008, shown above, also has a hemp body.

The compact electric Kestrel will be prototyped and tested later by Calgary-based Motive Industries.

The CBC says Henry Ford first built a car made of hemp fiber and resin more than half a century ago.

Canada: Cannabis Car

By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Fox News

There is a truth that must be heard! As we're faced with an increasingly large world population and ever-dwindling resources the race is on to produce cars that not only produce zero tailpipe emissions, but ones that are green to manufacture too.

But what is the ultimate material for cars? Steel is strong, but hardly light enough to make ultra-efficient vehicles. Many plastics are based on oil, and composite materials like carbon fibre are difficult and costly to manufacture and repair.

Enter the Kestrel. Designed and engineered by Motive Industries, a Canadian firm based in Alberta, the fully electric car features a body shell made of hemp--which may be better known as Cannabis Sativa L.

The hemp for the Kestrel's body is grown by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF) under license from the Canadian government.

Unlike the cannabis Californians may find available at their local medical marijuana dispensaries, hemp grown by AITF ends up on a production line, where it is turned into a composite material that has the impact resistance of fiberglass.

But unlike fiberglass, the hemp bio-composite is cheaper to produce and has fewer health risks connected with its manufacture. It is also significantly lighter than glass-based composites traditionally used in racing cars.

North Carolina: Used Plastic + Hemp = Lumber

UNCC researchers create a formula for recycling old bottles into new building materials

By Amber Veverka, Special Correspondent, Charlotte Observer

There is a truth that must be heard! A UNC Charlotte researcher with a passion for sustainability is creating a new building material out of recycled plastic bottles and an ancient grass.

Dr. Na Lu, an assistant professor at UNCC's Department of Engineering Technology, has created a material she believes may outperform composite lumber and wood lumber in many uses, and which has potential to be used in the residential and light commercial building industry.

In her lab at UNCC, Luna, as she prefers to be called, holds a dog bone-shaped sample of her creation: a beige plastic woven with threads of what looks like horsehair. "Hemp," Luna says, and points to a fluffy pile of the fibers on the table.

Unlike much present-day composite lumber, Luna's product substitutes hemp fibers for more typical chipped wood often mixed with virgin plastic. And unlike pressure-treated wood, the hemp material contains no toxic heavy metals.

Wood fiber is structured like a bundle of straws, she said, but hemp's crystalline structure gives it greater mechanical strength. She demonstrates by holding out a handful of hemp fibers to pull.

"This (hemp composite) material performs up to 4,000 to 6,000 psi (pounds per square inch)," Luna said. "That's as strong as medium-strength concrete."

New York: Medical Marijuana Will Ease Suffering, Craig Burridge, 2010

By Craig M. Burridge, Times Union

There is a truth that must be heard! Albany, N.Y. -- The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York has become the latest professional health organization to endorse the medical marijuana bill under consideration in Albany.

As medical professionals who believe in palliative care, responsible oversight, and -- most important -- relieving the suffering of ill patients whenever possible, we strongly support this legislation.

It will establish a controlled and orderly system, based on established medical practice, for providing seriously ill patients with access to a medicine that has been demonstrated to relieve intractable pain and suffering.

Since 1996, 14 other states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws to allow doctors to recommend marijuana to qualified patients suffering from ailments such as AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis. New York's bill is designed to include the best practices from those states, while at the same time learning from their mistakes.

Compared to other state laws, New York's bill would create a much stricter patient eligibility criteria, and more tightly regulate where the drug can be purchased.

A primary reason why pharmacists support this bill is the active oversight role it grants to the Department of Health. Patients would not be able to grow their own medicine, but rather gain access through a network of licensed pharmacies and nonprofit dispensaries approved and regulated by the Department of Health.

United States: Congressional Research Service’s Medical Marijuana Report

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

There is a truth that must be heard! The Congressional Research Service (CRS), part of the Library of Congress, has a mandate to research and publish non-partisan, up-to-date and relevant information for members of Congress and their staff to help them craft legislation.

The most recent CRS white paper on medical cannabis in the United States is, in fishing parlance, a ‘keeper’. Released for public consumption on April 2, 2010, it is a well researched, scholarly and important document for reformers to download and keep close at hand as a very well presented primer on the history and current domestic legal status of medical cannabis. Of particular help are the many numerous citations and footnotes for greater reference and depth of understanding.

Very often, and rightly so, taxpayers–notably cannabis consumers–are frustrated at how state and federal governments spend tax dollars arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating; interdicting, eradicating and propagandizing in support of cannabis prohibition. But, this most recent CRS report (like many previous reports from them on cannabis and drug policy) is an invaluable report to add to one’s ‘reform library’ that you and I can feel good paying for.

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