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Herbology 101 - Herbal Remedies and Herb Information

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Marijuana (Hemp) (Cannabis sativa, C indica)
Photo: Marijuana (Hemp) (Cannabis sativa, C indica) Also known as: Canabis, Grass, Pot, Weed, Ganja, Maryjane
Parts used: Leaves, Flowers, Stems

Cannabis sativa has been cultivated for millennia, and is one of the oldest crops known. It has derived a controversial reputation based on the medicinal and social uses, but it also has commercial use outside of this arena.

Cannabis is the genus of plants from which both hemp and marijuana are derived. As "hemp", Cannabis sativa is valued for the prolific way in which it grows, its small ecological footprint, and the many uses of the resultant plant. Among the products hemp can be made into are: textiles, rope, oils that can be used to for fuel or to create food products (high in vitamin k), and the waste product from manufacturing these items can be used to make paper.

The euphoric effect of marijuana originates from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient. THC is most concentrated in the flowers of the various strains cultivated for this purpose. Its medicinal benefits include sedative, pain-killing, and anti-inflammatory.

Cannabis Indica differs from Cannabis Sativa in that it is a shorter plant with broader leaves, and it has less of a euphoric high. Indica is chosen for its medicinal properties, in particular the anti-epileptic, anti-inflammatory and stimulant properties.

Major Components of Cannabis

Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) -- It is the main psychoactive component of cannabis with mild to moderate painkilling effects. It also helps treat nausea associate with cancer chemotherapy and to stimulate appetite. It induces feelings of euphoria. Potential side effects include accelerated heartbeat, panic, confusion, anxiety and possible paranoia.

Cannabidiol (CBD) -- It is a major, non-psychoactive component of cannabis that helps shrink inflammation and reduce pain without inducing the euphoria effects of THC. It has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, psychotic disorders and epilepsy. Larger amounts of CBD can relax the mind and body without causing negative side effects associated with THC.

Cannabinol (CBN) -- It is a secondary psychoactive component of cannabis. It is not associated with painkilling effects of THC or CBD. CBN is formed as THC ages. Unlike the euphoria effects of THC, CBN can induce headaches and a sense of lethargy.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) -- It is found primarily in strains of African and Asian cannabis. THCV heightens the intensity of THC effects and the speed in which the component is delivered, but also causes the sense of euphoria to end sooner.

Used for:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Hysteria
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle Tension
  • Digestion
  • Joint pain
  • Indigestion
  • Headaches
  • Sedative
  • Gout

Lore:

Current (Western) Use Marijuana:
Although marijuana is illegal in Canada, the Narcotic Control Regulations was amended to allow for its use (on compassionate grounds) by people suffering serious and/or chronic ailments. Its use is strictly regulated by the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, which dictate the manner in which it can be acquired and what ailments are valid reasons for using it.

Other people caught in possesion of marijuana are subject to charges of possession, fines and even jail terms. More information about the regulations can be found at Health Canada's site: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/protection/marijuana.html.

Hemp:
There is a list of allowed cultivars of Cannabis which can be grown legally in Canada. These strains allowed are lower in THC (plants and plant parts may not contain more than 0.3%) than the ones grown for use as marijuana, but even so, possession of plant parts other than the stalks and "non-viable grains" is still considered grounds for a possession charge. Growers must hold a valid annual license, and all equipment used in the cultivation must be cleaned thoroughly, or the owner may be charged with possesion for stray leaves and/or oil.

Fabrics commonly produced from hemp fibres include: felt, carpet padding, wearable textiles, pet bedding, and rope. The fibre is resilient and withstands great wear and tear. Hemp seed oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, both polyunsaturated fats that are essential fatty acids but cannot be manufactured in our bodies. Additionally, the oil can be used in the manufacture of creams and lotions, and the meal byproduct of the oil-manufacturing process is usable as a food item. Very little of a hemp plant is wasted.

More information about the commercial production of hemp can be found at Health Canada's website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hecs-sesc/ocs/hemp/hemp_producers.htm.
Culinary Hemp seed oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, both polyunsaturated fats that are essential fatty acids but cannot be manufactured in our bodies.

Related studies, articles, and news items


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