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Paul von Hartmann

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What if the Cannabis plant was essential rather than illegal? Would prohibition of it be possible?

The boreal forests encircling the planet used to produce enough atmospheric aerosols (called "monoterpenes") to protect the planet from solar UV-B radiation. Half of the northern forest regions have been cut, mostly to make paper. The rest of the trees are dying from continued logging, insect pest infestation and global temperature increase.

The only agricultural crop that produces enough atmospheric monoterpenes to replace what's been lost, in the time that we may have left to avoid extinction, is Cannabis hemp. Cannabis makes four times as much paper of higher quality than do trees. Cannabis is also the only common seed with three essential fatty acids, and the best available source of organic vegetable protein on Earth. Once the relationship between Cannabis and climate change has been made, then it will become obvious that our species must achieve a polar shift in values, in record time.

Time is the limiting factor in the equation of survival. We have nothing to fear but the atmosphere itself. If we fail to resolve problems of climate change then it won't matter very much what we do mange to figure out.

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    Mar 16 2012: Nutrition, health and clothing benefits aside, ask an average news-consuming drone why one shouldn't smoke marijuana and they'll say "because it's illegal" and perhaps add some vague negative health effect study they heard about. But then ask them to discuss with you why it's illegal and the conversation often takes an interesting turn and actually can get folks to think more critically about how pointless and intrusive some laws can be into our daily lives and our ability to pursue our own happiness.
    Here's an interesting article that debunks one of my favorite myths about the outlawing of this plant but which brings up some other vey interesting points:
    http://moderate.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/debunking-the-hemp-conspiracy-theory/
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      Mar 16 2012: By characterizing Jack Herer as "...a somewhat cantankerous former marijuana-pipe salesman [who] deserves a lot of credit for his cannabis activism" the author of the article demonstrates a disappointing failure to acknowledge the enormous contribution made to human society by Mr. Herer.

      Jack was a courageous contemporary Cannabis scholar, a warm-hearted, passionate and charismatic leader of the grassroots movement. His life was dedicated to ending one of the most regressive social afflictions ever conceived by mankind, and he deserves a hell of a lot more respect than is afforded him in this article.

      Mr. Wishnia fails to mention that, according to Mr. Herer, in 1937, DuPont estimated 80% of their boxcar off-loadings would be the chemicals it takes to make paper from trees; and that W.R. Hearst owned several of the patents that used these chemicals. Hearst, DuPont and Mellon used their combined influence to choreograph political corruption into corporate profitability. No theory there...check the historical record.

      That is all really beside the point however. It doesn't take a calculator or an historian to figure out that the marijuana industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, while the industrial hemp industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry.

      Marijuana prohibition is based on many flaws in human nature: greed, fear, ignorance, prejudice...the point is that prohibition has to end soon if humankind is to avoid extinction.

      The short story is that Cannabis is ecologically unique and essential, so prohibition must end immediately.

      Everything else is details...
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    Mar 15 2012: Dear Janet,

    Cannabis is also a very beautiful plant -- but that's beside the point: Entire forest regions are being cut and dying from climate change, pest infestation, etc. because Cannabis is NOT being grown, to make paper, fuel, building materials, etc.

    I have been conversant on Cannabis fortwenty years, and can assure you that Cannabis seed nutrition makes soya protein obsolete, even if the soya being forced down our throats nowadays wasn't contaminated with GMOs.

    In fact, there are no harmful properties to Cannabis, only harmful policies surrounding it. Every problem anyone has ever had with marijuana has happened in the context of a so-called "drug war." People who lack respect for Cannabis make poor choices, but the plant cannot be blamed. The vast majority of people who use marijuana don't have a problem with it. People do have a problem with the other drugs that replace marijuana if it is eradicated.

    See
    Methamphetamine Use: An Exploratory Study
    http://christie-et-al.s3.amazonaws.com/necessity/Ice-Methamphetamine-Exploratory-Study.pdf

    It is not possible to "control" any plant or drug if it is prohibited. Remember alcohol prohibition in the 1920s? There is no difference except that it is easier to plant and harvest high grade marijuana than it is to make quality liquor. What we have now in the U.S. is the opposite of drug control; a vicious black market that would not otherwise exist if the price of marijuana wasn't artificially inflated by prohibition.

    Try to keep an open mind by realizing we've all been brainwashed to dismiss Cannabis without really looking into the science that presents a very different story of the plant.

    California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute
    Sean D. McAllister, PhD
    "Our research team is studying the potential of the endocannabinoid system to control cell fate with the goal of developing therapeutic interventions for aggressive cancers."
    http://www.cpmc.org/professionals/research/programs/science/sean.html
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    Mar 16 2012: I think it would be easier to simply recognize 'marijuana' as posing no real danger to society. For all of the hysteria surrounding 'pot' there really isn't anything about the plant that truly warrants "protecting" people from it, even if that were possible. People do need to be protected from losing their civil liberties and having their lives ruined by the predatory judicial system, over a plant that offers so many benefits for health, nutrition, and environmental balance.
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    Mar 15 2012: Having spent a career in the belly of bureacracy, I have an aversion to any policy based on dogma. I have witnessed the effects of such policies, and it is never good. I understand how the "war on drugs" may have brushed aside a plant wtth potential beneftis. On the other hand, it is just as extreme and ill-informed to replant our boreal forests with hemp. Monoculture is BAAAAAD.

    The nutritional content above fails to put it in context, that is "Serving Size". I've done a quick browse through the internet and compared the nutritional content of the contenders I mentioned against Hemp seed. Each one, however, has a different serving size: Hemp - 56 g, Soya 86 g, Avocado 164 g, and Chickpea 150 g. I think the different serving size has to do with the various fat content and total calorie counts. It turns out Hemp is loaded with fat. Not a good idea to eat a half-cup at a sitting, as we can happily do with an Avocado. When I compensated the various nutritional contents to the same serving size (114 g), Hemp is the winner for protein content (25 g) compared to the Avocado, (10 g). But the total fat content is also higher for the hemp, (35 g) compared to the Avocado, (3 g).
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      Mar 15 2012: While the fat content is quite high, they will be unsaturated fats so are nutritionally a good thing. Your only concern is caloric intake. What is the total energy available from each? It's very easy to get distracted by avoiding fats and not notice the great piles of carbohydrates in many "healthy" foods.
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        Mar 20 2012: There is no such thing as a perfect food. As omnivores, we benefit from variety. Each of the examples provided have a different ratio of protein to fat, fiber content, and so on. All of the examples have good fat. The energy available by weight is much higher for the hemp, because of the high fat content. So one would eat it like a nut (in small doses) rather than a meal (as in an avocado sandwich).
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          Mar 21 2012: Yes variety is the key. And being aware of what you are eating, as you obviously are. You don't need to avoid any foods as long as you are aware of what, and how much, and eat them appropriately. I just get concerned when the media go on about counting grams of fat as this by itself is pretty pointless.
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    Mar 15 2012: I recommend

    Cannabis International Foundation
    www.cannabisinternational.org

    for insights into ingesting raw Cannabis for the non-psychoactive, smokeless, high-dose approach to prevention and treatment of a wide variety of health conditions.


    Cannabis International Foundation

    Cannabis provides highly digestible globular protein, which is balanced for all of the Essential Amino Acids. Cannabis provides the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. Critically, cannabis is the only known source of the Essential Cannabinoid Acids. It is clear that all 7 billion individuals would benefit from access to cannabis as a unique functional food.

    Cannabis International seeks to assemble a coalition of countries to propose an amendment to Convention One Treaty to remove cannabis. Then, to develop a broad profile ruderalis type plant that is hardy across a wide range of environments and agricultural skill level. Cannabis International will partner with Luxembourg for high volume seed production I order to provide 1 billion pounds of seed to those subsisting on $1/day.

    Cannabis International recognizes the need for reagent grade standards so that labs can focus on the synergistics of the complex interactions of 525 molecules, comprised of 80+ cannabinoids, a unique array of Terpenes, balanced Essential Fatty Acids and the uniquely digestible plant protein Edestin.

    Cannabis International is currently conducting and presenting scientific studies on the Endogenous Cannabinoid System and Phytocannabinoids. CI’s research focuses on fresh, raw cannabis. CI works to preserve strains with unique medicinal profiles and educate patients other health professionals, courts, elected officials, and to restore safe access to cannabis worldwide in the name of public health.

    Here you'll find peer-reviewed scientific articles about the latest research, updates on Cannabis’ ever-changing legal status in the US and elsewhere, interviews with important figures...
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    Mar 15 2012: Happy to be corrected, Peter. Hemp is being grown in Queensland, though apparently under controlled conditions and you must have a license. http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/26_14356.htm

    This is the nutritional content of hemp seed

    Essential fatty acids ------------------------- 18.5 g
    Omega 3 ------------------------------------ 5.0 g
    Omega 6 ------------------------------------- 13.5 g
    Trans fat/cholesterol -------------------------- 0.0 g
    Protein --------------------------------------- 16.5 g
    Carbohydrate --------------------------------- 3.5 g
    Vitamin E ------------------------------------- 125%
    Thiamine ------------------------------------- 60%
    Niacin ---------------------------------------- 25%
    Riboflavin ------------------------------------- 430%
    Magnesium ------------------------------------ 115%
    Manganese ------------------------------------ 145%
    Phosphorus ------------------------------------ 60%
    Zinc ------------------------------------------- 45%
    Copper ----------------------------------------- 45%
    Iron -------------------------------------------- 45%

    "Australia is the only country in the world where Hemp seed is not officially recognised as a human food, although they are recognised as a beneficial ingredient in beauty and skin care products. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) are currently preparing regulations to amend this. In the meantime, to comply with local regulations, the seeds must be labelled “not licensed for internal use“.
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      Mar 15 2012: Maybe we need the botanists to give industrial hemp another name. Then people might drop the hysteria and see it as just another plant that you can use for stuff. Afterall we don't seem to have trouble differenciating between ornamental poppy plants or even poppy seed plants and opium.
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        Mar 16 2012: Changing the name of industrial hemp would confuse & concede historical knowledge of the true value of ALL strains of Cannabis. Why would anyone choose to distance themselves from an herbal therapeutic that is effective in prevention and cure of cancer and other serious illnesses?


        The Longest Most Educational Cannabis Hemp Documentary on YouTube!
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx9U4GuAbuI
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    Mar 14 2012: Trees are prettier. Besides, they grow taller. To answer your introductory question with another question, what if the Nightshade plant were essential rather than illegal? You are asking the wrong question. Plants can have both beneficial properties and harmful properties. Is it not prudent to control some plants?

    I am not conversant on all the special properties of cannabis, but I am pretty darn sure it is not the premier source of protein. Surely Soya, Avocado, and Chickpea are in the running.
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    Mar 14 2012: since when hemp is illegal? only THC-rich hemps are illegal, and the uses you listed here does not require THC. is that supposed to be funny, and i missed it?
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      Mar 14 2012: Dear Krisztián,

      Perhaps you live in a country that has a more reasonable agricultural policy...

      In the United States, federal law has prohibited cultivation of the entire Cannabis genus since 1937, regardless of THC content. You will be disappointed to learn that 98% of the money allocated to eradicating 'marijuana' is spent on pulling up low-THC strains of "ditch weed," (the feral hemp growing wild in the midwest states since hemp was used for the war effort in WWII).

      Even though there are 15 states that allow cultivation of high-THC medicinal 'marijuana' for personal use, there are no states that allow cultivation of industrial hemp for any reason.

      Knowledge of hemp and its many uses has been a victim of the so-called "drug war." Consider that the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization doesn't even recognize hemp seed as food for humans. Low-THC hemp is also illegal to grow in countries that impose US-style drug policy, such as Australia.
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        Mar 14 2012: your country keeps surprising me. i can buy hemp seeds in shops here, it boasts a long list of health benefits on the bag.
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          Mar 15 2012: Yes, indeed, my country keeps disappointing me as well. Human rights violations have become commonplace, as due process of law falls victim to 'marijuana' prohibition. The "drug war" being waged against the world's most healing, nutritious and useful plant is devastating to people all over the world, and in the US.
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        Mar 15 2012: It's actually quite legal to grow industrial hemp in Australia. You can even buy hemp clothing in stores. It is still being held down by the cotton growers though. I'm not so shure it can be used for food.