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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Miracle of Hemp



Is Hemp a Miracle Plant that can Save the World
By Jeffrey Green

Hemp is perhaps the answer to most problems in the world. Ambitious, yes.  An exaggeration, no.
If grown extensively, its diverse uses can be of significant value to the environment, the economy, world hunger, personal health, and so much more.
For the environment, hemp can reduce deforestation, pesticide use, provide a sustainable biofuel, and replace GMO cotton among other benefits. It grows like a weed without the need for pesticides or heavy fertilizers.
Hemp does just about anything wood can do and it only takes 6 months to renew, not 20 years. It can be used to make paper, to build homes with, and as fuel for fire.
Hemp clothing is far more durable than cotton, which is an industry still operating a form of slavery from cultivation to production. GMO cotton has led to indentured servitude for Indian farmers where failed crops and debt result in shockingly high suicide rates. Hemp is simply a better material for clothing.
The oil in the hemp seed can be made into biodiesel just like any vegetable oil. Most arguments against biofuels are that their crops take up too much valuable farm land that should be used for food, and it takes more energy than it gives back when all things are considered (fertilizer, pesticides, planting and harvesting machinery, refining).
With hemp, biofuel is merely a bi-product of this crop, not it’s main use. The fiber of the plant is still an extremely valuable commodity. Whereas corn ethanol needs a lot of land with tons of intensive chemicals, and the process of turning corn into ethanol is then a net energy loss.
As today’s economy falters due to a variety of systematic problems, the world is in desperate need of a new industry. Worldwide hemp legalization and promotion would lead to a revolution in nearly all major industries. Entrepreneurs would have a field day with textiles, plastics, body care, construction, etc.
Industrial hemp’s female counterpart, marijuana, provides effective natural medicine for a number of ailments. Cannabis is one of mankind’s oldest recorded healing plants. As its prohibition lessens, modern man is only just beginning to discover the exciting medical uses of marijuana, which are provably vast already.
Cannabis can ease pain, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, PTSD, arthritis, and has even been proven to have anti-cancerous properties. When eaten or vaporized, cannabis is entirely beneficial as a natural alternative because any unwanted tars are not inhaled. Furthermore, juicing raw cannabis has many benefits and zero psychoactive effects.
Hemp alone is powerful enough to be a game changer for the environment and for human society as a whole. It’s time to unleash the hemp seed.
About the Author
Jeffrey Green is a self-sufficiency practitioner and hemp legalization activist. He writes forNaturalBlaze.com. Follow at Facebook. This article originally appeared at Activist Post.

Who is Trying to Patent Marijuana?
By Kent Mao

The secret is out: marijuana is medicine. And not to the surprise of the pharmaceutical industry, who is slowly but surely gaining exclusive rights to the medical properties of this age-old plant.
But wait. How can a company, other than Monsanto, patent a plant? That’s not a serious question, but it brings up a serious point. Patents on marijuana have yet to cover genetic modifications of the plant itself, but rather involve the cannabinoids found in marijuana that are responsible for its medical effects.
Phytocannabinoids in the treatment of cancer (Patent No. US20130059018)
The most recent patent filing on cannabinoids comes from none other than GW Pharmaceuticals – the UK-based company that manufactures Sativex. Sativex is an oral spray that contains cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant itself, specifically THC and CBD. Although Sativex is not yet available in the U.S., it has already gained approval in Canada, the UK and eight other European countries.
GW Pharma has been quick to recognize the market potential of cannabis and their most recent patent application makes this more than clear. Just from the title of the patent, one gets a good sense of what GW Pharma has been trying to claim as their own. “Phytocannabinoids” simply means cannabinoids derived from plants, referring to the cannabis plant in this case.
Unsurprisingly, it appears as though GW Pharma encountered difficulties in trying to claim such a broad “invention”. In fact, the updated version of their patent application shows that more than half of their original patent claims were retracted, and for good reason too. Looking back in time, GW Pharma made claims to just the use of isolated cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer, which is no more of an invention than it is a theft from individuals who first proclaimed marijuana’s cancer-fighting abilities decades ago.
On the other hand, GW Pharma’s remaining claims might just pass through the Patent Office without further questioning. GW Pharma seems to be familiar with the pharmaceutical industry’s shrewd patent strategies, which involves modifying pre-existing compounds that have already been proven to work.
In this case, all GW Pharma had to do was claim that they invented a cannabis-based botanical drug substance for treating cancer – botanical drug substance meaning any form of marijuana prepared by methods as simple as aqueous or ethanolic extraction. There you have it. GW Pharma invented neither cannabis nor a method of extraction, but still consider themselves to be inventors of “phytocannabinoids in the treatment of cancer”.
Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants (Patent No. US6630507)
Perhaps the most infamous marijuana-related patent belongs to the U.S. federal government themselves. Indeed, while federal agents have been keeping busy trying to defend their stance on pot prohibition, they also made sure to file patents on the medical components of the very same Schedule I drug. The funny thing is, this particular patent dates all the way back to 1998 when Bill “didn’t inhale” Clinton was still president.
Although federal patent writers made sure to include a long list of synthetic cannabinoids within their claims, carefully tucked away is none other than cannabidiol, also known as CBD. Once again, the inventive step in this patent seems to be severely lacking, but maybe the federal government gets more flexibility with their patent filings.
Regardless, it seems as though the use of CBD for the treatment of “stroke and trauma”, “Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia” and a “wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases” all belongs to the White House, at least for the next 10 years until their patent expires.
Private funding matters more
It might be easy to blame an outdated patent system for what seems to be just another one of the many injustices that plague the private health care system. But the truth is, it’s not really the Patent Office’s fault that marijuana is being taken over by capital-backed corporations and government agencies.
Rather, the fault lies in the restrictive nature of medical marijuana research, which is overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – the only source of legal marijuana in the U.S.
According to researchers who have attempted to conduct clinical trials on cannabis, the NIDA is simply uninterested in supplying cannabis for medical studies, in accordance with a mandate from Congress that limits NIDA researchers to investigating the marijuana’s dangers. And being the overwhelmingly benign substance that it is, marijuana hasn’t been the subject of many NIDA studies for a while now.
But perhaps the worst outcome of this situation is not the fact that clinical research on medical marijuana is severely lacking. No, the worst part is that the gap in research is eagerly being filled by corporations like GW Pharma. Indeed, while there were a total 37 clinical studies conducted on cannabinoids between 2005-2009, only 8 of them involved actual marijuana. On the other hand, 9 of the 37 studies involved Sativex, with the rest consisting of a variety of synthetic THC formulations, no doubt sponsored by their respective manufacturers as well.
So where does this leave the rest of us? Not too far from where we started off it seems, since it’s no surprise to anyone that healthcare will continue to be driven by privately funded research, even in the case of marijuana. But all that research money has to come from somewhere, and you can bet it’s not coming from the deep pockets of GW Pharma’s executive board.
As it turns out, a couple of shrewd businessmen with knowledge of medicine realized long ago that sick and dying individuals will pay almost any price for the promise of relief, even if it happens to be all of their life savings and then some. What happened to these businessmen? Oh, they’re still around. We just call them Big Pharma.
About the Author
Kent Mao is a contributor to Waking Times and the editor of TruthOnPot.com, an online resource for medical marijuana facts, information and research. TruthOnPot.com actively engages in the online discussion of marijuana research and policy. You can learn more by visiting www.truthonpot.com. Kent is also a contributor to Waking Times.