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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 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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