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Cannabis 101

When you hear the word “Cannabis,” you probably don’t think of it as a biological miracle.  Images of hippies and smoky attics most likely come to mind, but don’t let these conditioned responses cloud your perspective; the cannabinoids found in Hemp are among the most biologically active and beneficial compounds found in nature.  Let’s explore the true nature of this super-plant.

What is Hemp?

Hemp and Cannabis are the same thing; common names for one of three species belonging to the Genus Cannabis: Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Ruderalis.    All three species produce varying levels of cannabinoids, and the differences in these levels contribute to the identification of different strains of Cannabis. Some of these strains are bred to have high levels of THC (delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the most psychoactive of the cannabinoids. Every strain has several cannabinoids present, and they combine synergistically to produce the varying effects of the different strains, including low-THC strains that have many other positive therapeutic benefits besides the high.

Technically, hemp is cannabis that has less than 0.3% THC content by weight.  Most industrial hemp plants are members of a subspecies of sativa which produces very little THC, grows relatively high, and has very fibrous stalks from which 90% of the current industrial value of hemp is derived.  However, that number is quickly changing as more research is conducted on the medical uses of hemp with no THC content.  Among the more than 113 cannabinoids found in Hemp, CBD, Cannabidiol, which has no psychotropic effect unlike THC, has actually been found to provide the most therapeutic benefit for the body.

Is Hemp Legal?

This is a tricky question.  There was heavy interest to outlaw the cultivation and possession of the Hemp plant in the early 20th century because of its literally hundreds of uses across a range of industries. And also, because it gets you high.  This time period occurred when both the industrial revolution had become the new societal norm and the enormous potential of the hemp plant was becoming fully realized. These factors “combined synergistically” to form a death sentence for cannabis, and it has since been criminalized throughout the overwhelming majority of developed countries.  Only recently has the invaluable utilization of hemp been reconsidered, and arguably the use that has the greatest potential for widespread acceptance is the medicinal application of CBD, which conveniently is already legal.

Why take CBD?

In addition to suppressing nausea and chronic pain, CBD can also regulate blood glucose levels, regulate serotonin reuptake which reduces depression and anxiety, reduce inflammation and suppress psoriasis and other autoimmune deficiencies.  These are just a few of the vast number of biological functions that CBD performs.  When taken with a small number of other cannabinoids including CBG, Cannabigerol, and CBC, Cannabichromene, there is strong inhibition of cancer cell growth, and nearly instantaneous regulation of the “mood hormone” Serotonin, the imbalance of which is related to depression, anxiety, ADHD and many other mental conditions.  Humans and other mammals have endocannabinoid systems, which are believed to have developed over hundreds of thousands of years as our species used Hemp in many ways.  Some researchers even believe that many homeostatic and chronic conditions have arisen over the past century due to a lack of cannabinoids in our diet thanks to prohibition.  The cannabinoids found in Cannabis react with receptors already present in the body to produce their effects, and the effects are many. In short, CBD and the other cannabinoids have tremendous health effects, both preventative and active, that humanity as a whole has been missing out on since the prohibition of Hemp began in the 1930s.

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