WeedWorthy News Network

Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedWorthy News Network.

The common wisdom about cannabis enthusiasts is that they don’t have any common wisdom. The stereotype of the drooling guy “on” cannabis sitting in his parent’s basement playing video games for hours or Instagrammig nonstop is what many of the “straights” still imagine to be true.

Hardly.

In fact, smoking or vaping or eating cannabis—especially certain sativa strains—has quickly become the best way to energize getting chores done. Every busy chore hustler knows that choosing the right CBD/THC sativa combination, with the right terpene profile, can do the trick.

The cannabis connoisseur knows to go for certain strains that fire up their chores jets, such as Strawberry Diesel, Lemon Meringue, AK47, Panama Punch, Mountain Thunder, and Silver Haze, just to name a few.

These strains are generally carefully cultivated for their energizing effects.

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The health permanent secretary said the government plans to allow use of most parts of cannabis and hemp plants in food and cosmetics on Wednesday.

Kiattiphum Wongrajit said the Narcotics Control Committee resolved on Tuesday to exclude the leaves, branches, stems, trunks, bark, fibre and roots of cannabis and hemp from the government’s narcotics list.

This would not include shoots, including flowers, which have high drug content.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would draft a new public health regulation to this  effect. The public health minister would then approve it and the new regulation would take effect when the Royal Gazette publishes it, he said.

Dr Kiattiphum said use of hemp seeds and seed extract, as well as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), at a maximum 0.2% content, will also be included .

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Hemp is touted as a potential green solution for everything from building materials to plastics — and that's precisely where they have value in the automotive sector. A car entirely made from hemp would save a lot of non-renewable materials from their inevitable fate in the junkyard. 

Many would like to see cars become more sustainable overall, though they're surprisingly recyclable. Almost 95% of the materials used to build a car can be recovered according to the World Economic Forum. Though cars can be recycled, they are still not always used to their full potential. 

Cars themselves are also unpopular with the environment, churning out emissions like there's no tomorrow. If carbon pollution continues unchecked, soon there won't be an environment to write home about. The fuel to power cars is a primary source of these emissions, and the shift to electric power has not been large enough to peel back the greenhouse effect

What if all of these green innovation boxes could be ticked off with cannabis? According to one of the car's biggest backers, Henry Ford, it could be done. 

 

Ford, fuel, and renewable energy

Henry Ford set out to create a car loaded up with hemp and other fibers to reduce both the plastics and metals used to build it. One research paper looking back on this fiber research noted, “As early as 1940, Henry Ford produced a pioneering composite car from hemp fiber and resin under the motto: 'ten times stronger than steel.'” A 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics chronicled a future where hemp was used to make "fish nets, bow strings, canvas, strong rope, overalls, damask tablecloths, fine linen garments, towels, bed linen and thousands of other everyday items."

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You’re probably familiar with the words CBD and THC, but do you know what they are and how they can affect your health? Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two compounds found in members of the cannabis plant genus. They’re just two of many compounds called cannabinoids found in the plant.

While they both come from the same plant, they have vastly different effects and benefits. Knowing the differences between the two and learning as much as possible about the two compounds prior to use can help you see the potential health benefits and risks of each. Start by knowing what they are, followed by their risks, side effects and potential healthy uses.

What is THC?

THC (the abbreviated name for tetrahydrocannabinol) generates many of the psychological (or high) effects the body may experience when using marijuana. It is only one of a great deal of compounds in the cannabis plant, but it can have a range of psychoactive effects.

THC interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the human brain. The body’s cannabinoid receptors — associated with memory, pleasure, thinking and motor skills — are activated when THC touches them. This leads to some of the impairments in memory, senses and time perception associated with the compound. 

Per an in-depth report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the combination of all the changes in your system creates the high and causes it to differ from person to person.

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As we all know by now, the COVID-19 pandemic created a massive shift in the way consumers spend money. Specifically, it caused a massive increase in e-commerce sales and an equally drastic decrease in sales at brick-and-mortar locations. 

This changing dynamic affected every industry—from retail to consumer goods to groceries—but the way it affected cannabis is unique. 

The cannabis industry, unlike most other industries, had a virtually non-existent e-commerce presence prior to 2020. This was by design. Regulations made it illegal to buy cannabis any other way besides physically going to a dispensary, and impractical for businesses to get ahead of the curve. 

But the pandemic changed that. Not only did states across the country classify dispensaries as essential businesses during the lockdown, but most of them authorized delivery in some way. Almost overnight, companies were forced to scale up online operations that were previously non-existent. 

This has resulted in a transformation of the industry, according to Erich Mauff, founder and co-president of multi-state operator Jushi Holdings.

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The gardening season is booming in North America, and it’s high time to start some tiny seeds that can grow into potent plants, says Jorge Cervantes, veteran marijuana cultivator and author of “The Cannabis Encyclopedia”.

1) Soak seeds overnight in a glass of plain water. They may float on the surface at first but should sink to the bottom in a few minutes. Make sure seeds get good and wet so that water penetrates the outer shell and growth is activated. Do not let seeds soak for more than 24 hours, or they might get too wet, suffer oxygen deprivation and subsequently rot.

2) Remove seeds from the water. Pour water out onto two paper (or cloth) towels on a dinner plate. Fold the towels over the seeds to cover them.

3) Drain the water from the dinner plate by tipping it to the side.

4) Place the seeds in a warm location (70°F–80°F; 21°C–27°C), making sure they are in darkness. Some gardeners go so far as to set the plate in a vertical position (so taproot grows downward). The seeds can also be set on a grate for drainage and air circulation.


Most of what’s gone on in the field of medicinal cannabis has been related to simply isolating and/or replicating a specific cannabinoid to get its benefits. In today’s world of cannabis medicine, the new thing is for a customer to order a premium blend of their favorite compounds, because today, you can actually customize your cannabinoids.

Isolating cannabinoids

There’s plenty in the worlds of medicinal cannabis and recreational marijuana that have nothing to do with isolating anything. If a person wants to smoke hemp flowers, or buy a few grams of high-THC weed, they’re getting the whole plant, no isolation needed. However, the fields of medical and recreational cannabis have been more and more reliant on the idea of isolated cannabinoids. CBD is the most popular right now, with CBD oil and vape cartridges flying off store shelves all over the world.

Much like with other forms of pharmaceutical medicine, where we often pop a pill without really thinking what that circular, chalky, perfectly-shaped tablet contains, where it came from, and how it got to be in the form we take it in, we don’t often question how our CBD oil came to be.

Cannabinoids don’t start out as cannabinoids, but rather as acids that must be heated – or decarboxylated – in order to form into the cannabinoids we are familiar with like THC, CBD, and even the rarer CGBV, and THCV. Solvents are then used to separate certain parts. These can include, ethanol, hydrocarbon (butane, propane…), chloroform, light petroleum, and CO2 – which doesn’t leave a residue.

After extraction with one of these solvents, the solution is filtered at least a couple times, generally through something like charcoal. Then it should be made more concentrated, down to about half the volume, using a 2% aqueous sodium sulfate solution. When the solvent is stripped out, and the solution is concentrated, its left as a crude oil. At this point it can even be purified further with redistillation or column chromatography.

personalized cannabis medications

In Italy, laws around the sale and use of cannabis remain in flux. But it’s still possible in many locations to buy what is known as "cannabis light," a low-dose THC product. A new study shows Italians are buying it up like de-caf espresso, using the cannabis light to replace pharmaceuticals.

The study, published in The Journal of Health Economics, found that legalization of cannabis light in 2017 led Italians to buy it in increasing numbers, while at the same time sales for anti-anxiety medications and sedatives dropped.

The product is comparable to CBD products in the United States that have exploded in popularity since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp. 

“The large-scale accessibility to the new product, which was advertised as a relaxant one, induced some patients to abandon traditional medicine to seek relief,” researchers wrote in the study. 

Cannabis light started because of a loophole in hemp legalization.

In 2016, a loophole in an Italian law legalizing hemp allowed entrepreneurs in the country to sell low-dose THC products in shops. The products could contain no more than 0.6 percent THC.

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Have you gotten swept up in the CBD craze? Careful. It may induce a positive drug test.

That’s according to findings from a clinic trial published last month in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. The findings, which comes via researchers at Harvard, “suggest that patients consistently using full-spectrum, hemp-derived products may have positive test results for THC-COOH on a urinary drug screen,” the authors of the study wrote.

“Despite limitations in sample size and diversity, these findings have important public health implications,” the researchers wrote in their conclusions. “It is often assumed individuals using hemp-derived products will test negative for THC. Current results indicate this may not be true, especially if assays are more sensitive than advertised, underscoring the potential for adverse consequences, including loss of employment and legal or treatment ramifications, despite the legality of hemp-derived products.”

The findings also help fill a gap in what the authors said has been a paucity of research on CBD.

“Despite the growing popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) products, specifically those derived from legal industrial hemp sources,” the authors said, “few studies have directly assessed whether the use of high-CBD products could yield positive results on urinary drug tests assessing cannabis use through the detection of [THC] metabolites.”

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While farmers are familiar with the uncertainty – never knowing for certain if their next harvest will be a good one or not – industrial hemp growers are faced with an added complication. This unknown resides in the levels of THC present in the cannabis sativa crop.

Industrial hemp growers monitor their plants throughout the season, sending samples off for chemical analysis, but THC levels peak at the plant’s maturity and can catch growers off guard. If the crop exceeds federal THC levels, the growers must destroy the crop.

But The University of Minnesota believes it may have a solution to quench farmers’ anxieties: a genetic test that can predict levels of THC versus CBD in cannabis plants.

“We validated a simple genetic test that can predict whether a plant will produce mostly the CBD or THC molecule, using a variety of Cannabis sativa plants,” said George Weiblen, who is a professor in the College of Biological Sciences and the Science Director & Curator of Plants at the Bell Museum.

The researchers studied three varieties of cannabis plants from industrial hemp growers, wild or feral cannabis known as ‘ditch weed’, and marijuana samples from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They compared their genetic markers with the ratio of THC versus CBD, and then verified that genetics were a good predictor of the ratio. 

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is extremely popular right now.

In fact, it is so popular that Google search data for the last few years shows that CBD is searched more often than THC.

For many decades THC was the cannabinoid that most scientists and cannabis enthusiasts focused on, however, that has clearly changed.

Products containing CBD are far more legally available in the global marketplace compared to products containing large amounts of THC.

That, combined with a growing body of peer-reviewed studies that find CBD to be an effective medicine, has resulted in exponential growth in the use of CBD worldwide.

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As more research finds that CBD can be a useful medicine for dogs and cats, the compound has become one alternative medicine that’s being considered much more now than ever before.

In the U.S. and many other countries, dogs and cats alike are adored as loving family members. The ASPCA has estimated that in the U.S., 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned and treated as pets. Similarly, 44% of all American households have a dog as a pet, and 35% have a cat. Due to the abundance of pet dogs and cats, the demand for medical and veterinary services is significantly high, and it keeps growing.

For decades, pharmaceutical medications and traditional treatment methods tended to be the norm. However, in recent years, cannabidiol (CBD) has been making a large splash within the veterinary medicine industry. So, stick around to learn about the unique relationship between cannabis, but specifically CBD and modern-day veterinary medicine. 

CBD Usage and Pet Mammals—What the Research Says

As more research findings are released about CBD’s medicinal properties that can be reaped by mammals including dogs and cats, the compound has become one alternative medicine that’s being discussed and/or considered much more now than ever before.

To date, publications from Colorado State University (CSU) and Cornell University have documented the pharmacokinetics of CBD in dog subjects. The study reported that orally administered CBD (by mouth) is absorbed more effectively than transdermally administered CBD (applied on the skin’s surface). The study also found that orally administered CBD was well tolerated, which supports CBD’s solid safety profile.

photo of man hugging tan dog

At this point we all know there are different ways to consume cannabis. The most common way is to simply light it up, but these days, more people are vaping, dabbing, drinking infused drinks, using skin creams, and of course, eating it. In fact, one of the strongest forms of marijuana, is the kind that comes when its eaten, and this explains the ultimate power of edibles. Plus, without causing the same kind of damage as smoking, eating cannabis edibles is becoming very popular.

If you’ve ever eaten a ‘special’ brownie, you know that it’s not like smoking a joint. There is no immediate feeling of anything, and when the high does kick in, sometimes 1-3 hours after ingestion, it doesn’t quite feel the same either. That’s because the compound producing the effects is not the same as the one in the dry flower of a joint. It’s a little bit different, and significantly stronger.

A lot goes on in the world of legal cannabis. Sign up to our newsletter so you’re up-to-date on all things cannabis-related.

What is 11-hydroxy-THC?

Much like the name implies, its simply a form of THC. In standard cannabis consumption, when the plant is lit on fire and inhaled (or vaped and inhaled), the THC – which becomes what it is through a decarboxylation process from the heating – has this chemical structure: C₂₁H₃₀O₂. This chemical structure is not found in an actual living cannabis plant in high amounts, but instead starts as this: C22H30O4 which is tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. As stated, this compound is transformed into delta-9 THC by a heating process which creates a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group (COOH), hence the name decarboxylation.

The explanation above leads to delta-9 THC, but that’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is what happens when delta-9 THC is ingested. When cannabis is smoked, THC is taken in through the lungs, transferred to the bloodstream, and then onto the brain, and the rest of the body. When cannabis is eaten, it goes directly to the bloodstream where it is absorbed, and then to the liver, the rest of the body, and the digestive system where its broken down even further. A part of this whole process is that delta-9 THC (C₂₁H₃₀O₂) is transformed into 11-hydroxy-THC (C21H30O3). As you can see from the chemical formulations, it’s not a huge difference. But one of the things we know about chemistry is that slight tweaks in chemical formulas can mean entirely different compounds that do entirely different things.

THCA

Every serious grower has a set of tools that are used every day to monitor and tend to their crops. If you’re thinking about taking the step from curious cultivator to master grower, there are a handful of tools that will be essential to the plant’s success and using them on a daily basis will ensure that the next (or first) crop will be healthy and bountiful. Check out this list of suggestions below for resources to get you growing with the best of them.

pH Meter

There are a few ways to measure the pH of the nutrient solution with effective pH meters that are inexpensive yet simple to use. You may purchase a vial of litmus fluid to test the pH. Simply take a sample of the nutrient solution and put a few drops in the vial. After shaking it to mix it thoroughly, the color of the nutrient solution changes. Compare this color with the gauge that’s included and that’s the pH.

A more effective but costlier method is to purchase a pH meter, which is recommended if there’s more than one crop being grown. It’s a simple meter to use and can be found at any hydroponic supply store. Fast-growing leafy plants generally like a lower PH in the range of 5.2 to 5.9.

PPM Meter

The concentration of the nutrient solution is measured in parts per million (PPM). This indispensable tool is used every day to monitor and mix the nutrient solution to make sure there aren’t any nutrient deficiencies. Young, established seedlings or rooted clones are generally started at 500 to 600 PPM. This value is increased to 800 to 900 PPM during the peak foliage growth period. During the flowering period, the PPM is raised even higher to 1000 to 1200 PPM. That’s a lot of nutrient. And it’s needed – every drop. It’s at the flowering time that the plant will need the most resources.

24 Hour Timer

In order to have a healthy crop, a lighting cycle must be religiously adhered to. The norm is to have a cycle that has 18 hours with light and six hours without it. This is accomplished with an automatic timer. It’s important to have a setup that allows the night cycle to be absolutely black. It’s recommended to not even enter the room they’re being grown in to check on them during their night cycle.

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Down a rural farm road on the outskirts of Bergheim, 40 minutes north of San Antonio, lies the green pasture nurturing Texas' first legal hemp farm. At Texas First Hemp, visitors can take a look inside the farming operation, demystifying some of the stigma and buying samples on their way out.

Owners Jennifer and Austin Ruple were some of the first to receive hemp-growing permits after the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1325 in June 2019, legalizing hemp farming in Texas. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains less than .3% THC, a compound known to produce psychoactive effects. The Ruples primarily focus on cannabidiol, or CBD, a naturally occurring extractable compound found in hemp plants. Hemp has been used in everything from soaps, clothing, and diapers to paper, foods, and building materials.

The Ruples became licensed in spring 2020 just after COVID-19 hit, and they were the first in the state to have seeds planted that would grow into the first legal hemp plants in Texas.

“People think of this industry, and they think long hair and beanies, but it’s all about integrity,” Austin says. “It’s all above-board. It is becoming more popular and so much more mainstream.”

Now that those seeds have blossomed into 8-foot plants with leaves and buds, they’re ready for harvest, and the Ruples have opened the farm to tours. While nearby Fredericksburg attracts wine lovers, people with an appreciation for hemp can go behind the scenes of the process.

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The global cannabis industry has seen an explosion of new infused beverages, confections and topicals over the past few years. As cannabis is increasingly normalized, these trustworthy, accessible and mass-marketable products are bringing in diverse consumers and facilitating steady and promising growth for the industry as a whole.

If infused products are gaining traction, it’s first and foremost because they actually work. That’s where emulsion technology comes in.

Emulsion 101

Raw cannabinoids are extracted from the plant in the form of distillate or isolate, which are highly oil soluble (hydrophobic) but not water-soluble. Infusing these raw cannabinoids straight into a beverage, edible or topical (usually hydrophilic) often involves an intensive manufacturing process, but results in inconsistent product quality and user experience.

Emulsification is the key processing step between raw cannabinoids and infused products that help avoid these inconsistent results. The emulsification process applies physical energy to break up the cannabinoid oil into tiny droplets and immediately stabilizes them with an ingredient called an emulsifier. The emulsifier is designed to lower the surface energy between oil and water, thus stabilizing the finished emulsion system. By this transformation, the cannabis emulsion can then be infused into a water base, creating stable and consistent infused products.

Harold Han is the Founder and Chief Science Officer at Oakland-based infusion technology company Vertosa. PHOTO BY VERTOSA


While the cannabis industry and regulators have focused on testing the concentrates in vaporizers, they have done minimal testing on the actual aerosol (or vapor) produced by these devices. Shouldn't we also be making sure that the vapor users inhale is safe? 

Thankfully, one state is taking the lead on this issue: Colorado. The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division recently announced new regulations that will go into effect at the start of the year requiring testing on emissions. Here is why that is so important.

You don't know what you're vaping.

The combination of fluid mechanicsthermodynamics, and chemistry causes a change of state called vaporization. 

A simple example of vaporization is boiling water. When water reaches its boiling point of 212ºF, the molecules move so rapidly that they break free of the attractions that hold them together in the liquid state. The result is vaporization, as the liquid becomes a gas. The temperature of the boiling water remains constant until all the liquid turns to steam.

Now let's go back and compare this process to heating cannabis oil. Oil is composed of big organic molecules containing long carbon chains. Unlike water, heating oil does cause molecules to stop attracting each other. Instead, the larger, fragile molecules break up. Oil has no boiling point, which makes it impossible to turn it into gas. But you can produce something similar to oil vapor, which consists of tiny droplets of liquid oil. We call this aerosol.

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In 2018, Denmark started a four-year programme to assess cannabis-based medicines and build a base of what could become a domestic medical cannabis supply framework.

According to the new FW European Medical Cannabis Ecosystem report by First Wednesdays, Denmark’s programme is two trials running parallel: one for domestic medical use and another for domestic cultivation.

In Denmark, cultivation has an open-ended system. This means there is no cap on production volumes or limits on licensed businesses.

The aim is to achieve a certain high standard in cannabis cultivation, with the help of a clear framework that would see producers being engaged with plant scientists, breeders, AgTech, and pharma engineering firms.

Hybrid

The Danish cannabis model is a hybrid model. While exporting the drug is vital for the economy, domestic patients and doctors are prioritised.

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A new cannabis vending machine, called Anna, has hit the market in Colorado, with other states on the horizon, but the automated dispensers must overcome a host of challenges to become a regular part of the marijuana retail landscape, according to a Marijuana Business Daily report.

The machines can improve customer throughput and reduce wait times, and can serve as additional sales venues in stores and as points of sale in remote areas that can't support a full dispensary.

Challenges for marijuana vending machines include:

Regulations favoring human oversight of cannabis transactions.Technical issues such as integration with point-of-sale systems.Limited product capacity,.Costs that might make cheaper solutions more attractive.
 
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Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will receive $4.2 million in federal, provincial and industry funding to study enhanced cannabis cultivars, with a particular focus on disease resistance.

In partnership with Aurora Cannabis, the project, titled Fast-Tracking Breeding of Powdery Mildew-Resistant Cannabis, is led by UBC researchers Loren Rieseberg and Marco Todesco.

“Our plan is to develop a genomics-enabled breeding pipeline that will increase the speed and precision of cannabis improvement and bridge the gap in genetic knowledge and breeding resources that currently separates cannabis from other modern crops,” Rieseberg told UBC News.

“In collaboration with Aurora Cannabis, we’ll apply this pipeline to solving a major limiting factor to large-scale cannabis production, susceptibility to powdery mildew.”

Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that is difficult to eradicate and can destroy cannabis crops if left untreated. The goal is to establish a breeding pipeline of cultivars with “superior agronomic performance” that are less susceptible to disease and are better suited for large-scale production.

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