WeedWorthy News Network
In the cannabis space, there are people who are passionate about the plant and there are people who came for the cash. When speaking with Morris Beegle, there is no doubt why he works with hemp; he believes it will save the world. And for my part, I hope he’s right.
Beegle is the president and co-founder of the We Are For Better Alternatives (WAFBA) family of companies, which include an array of hemp-centric businesses and events.
His NoCo Hemp Expo is among the largest hemp conferences in the world and is just one of the award-winning projects he spearheads each year.
Whether he’s creating hemp guitars and musical instruments, manufacturing commercial-grade hemp paper, or hosting his monthly podcast Let’s Talk Hemp, Beegle is consistently on the front lines of the hemp movement.
In this exclusive interview, Beegle shares his anger about the state of the world and his passion about hemp’s role in saving it.
As it stands, the FDA has been very vocally opposed to Hemp CBD products without imposing any real penalties.
On Wednesday, July 8, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent Congress a report on the CBD marketplace. Last year, Congress mandated that the FDA report on hemp-derived CBD in appropriations legislation. You can find the report linked at the bottom of this article from Marijuana Moment, which also provides an overview of the report.
The report itself is, in a word, underwhelming. It provides little new insight. Instead, the report is focused on the testing of CBD products and the fact that many products tested in the market do not contain the amount of CBD listed on the label. That fact has been well established. Here is a report from Penn Medicine back in 2017 on this same topic. In November 2019, Leafly compiled a ton of data on the inaccurate labels of many CBD products. The FDA has also brought up the issue of poorly labeled CBD products in warning letters the agency sends out to companies selling CBD.
This latest punt by FDA is extremely frustrating: after all, FDA is pointing to a problem that only it can solve. I understand that the FDA has to follow certain procedures in collecting data and the agency cannot just rely on the reporting done by companies like Leafly, but that does not absolve the agency for its years of inaction on CBD.
What should FDA have done? To start, the agency could have provided unofficial guidance to CBD manufacturers and distributors. This is what the Department of Justice did with the marijuana industry by issuing the now rescinded Cole Memo, which provided state-level marijuana businesses with guidance on the federal enforcement priorities to avoid in order to stay out of prison. The FDA also could have stayed quiet and left Hemp CBD regulations to the states. That is the approach the agency has taken with marijuana products. Finally, the FDA could send warning letters to state-level marijuana processors who are adding marijuana-derived THC and CBD to edible products. It hasn’t done so because the states have set up their own regulatory frameworks to ensure that marijuana edible products are safe.
Professor Raphael Mechoulam, also known as the “father of cannabis research,” revealed his latest discovery, cannabidiolic acid methyl ester (EPM301), only a few months ago. The introduction of this new, patented compound (synthetic, fully stable acid-based cannabinoid molecules) caused a wave of excitement around the future of medicinal cannabis.
The compound in question was presented to the world in partnership with EPM, a global biotechnology company based in the U.S. that aims to bridge the gap between the cannabis and pharmaceutical industries.
During a recent, exclusive conversation, CEO Reshef Swisa and Dr. Mechoulam, shared the history of the journey behind this revolutionary process and its significance in evolving the use of CBD as a pharmaceutical drug.
“EPM developed a method to work with the original substances of cannabis,” the Professor explained. “So, while everybody is discussing THC and CBD, these cannabinoids are actually a secondary substance; they only appear later in the plant.
“Originally there is an acid that appears in the plant, and those acids are these mysterious worlds of compounds that are much more potent than cannabinoids,” he added.
Hemp laws and regulations in Europe remain uncertain and variable. Much as in the USA, various jurisdictions apply different standards to the cultivation and use of industrial hemp.
The European Union recognizes industrial hemp as the plant Cannabis Sativa L with a THC content of 0.2% or less and there is strong support to increase that limit to 0.3%. While the increase is small, 0.3% is defaulting to the world standard even as some active groups and some countries, notably in Switzerland, a non-EU member, are permitting much higher THC content for Industrial hemp.
Small change isn’t small
Arguably the small change isn’t small at all; it would allow European hemp cultivators and processors to compete with the USA and Canada more easily and there are a variety of products and foods that are more easily obtained with the higher THC content.
Importantly, the THC levels don’t matter much for industrial uses of hemp such as textiles, building materials or plastics, so why be so restrictive especially in the face of a developing world standard that is different?
Finally, the limitation on strains and varieties at 0.2% devalues genetics and increases the use of pesticides. It is also claimed that the influence of climate change makes it more difficult to grow at 0.2% THC in hotter conditions. Since no one is getting high at 0.3% THC, what is the reason to limit European farmers?
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in long periods of isolation, social distancing mandates and disruption to lifestyles across the globe.
According to a new United Nations (U.N.) report, this has caused an increase in the worldwide demand for cannabis, with notable sale surges on the dark web. The U.N. also noted that cannabis remains the main drug that causes people to enter the criminal justice system.
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently released its World Drug Report for 2020 and found that about 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, a 30 per cent increase from 2009.
But because COVID-19 has closed multiple borders and disrupted drug supply chains, the pandemic may lead to drug shortages on the streets. The concern is that this could cause dangerous implications, including impure drugs and price hikes.
“Vulnerable and marginalized groups, youth, women and the poor pay the price for the world drug problem,” noted UNODC executive director Ghada Waly. “The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to compound drug dangers further still, when our health and social systems have been brought to the brink and our societies are struggling to cope,” Waly added.
Expanding the boundaries of medical cannabis clinical evidence; removing barriers to medical cannabis practice.
In this article, Amit Sade, of Sade Group, discusses expanding medical cannabis clinical evidence and removing barriers to practice.
Science and technology are essential tools for innovation. Harmoniously engaged, they play a crucial role in bettering quality of life, sustaining health and prolonging longevity. We live an era where emerging technologies have profound impact on almost every industry; thus, key players need to refocus their strategies in order to stay relevant and thrive.
Alongside these challenges, and amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare ecosystem is facing exciting opportunities to transform vision into reality for the benefit of patients, healthcare providers and society as a whole.
New approaches to medical development
For the past half century, medical developments have relied on clinical trials to demonstrate safety and efficacy.
The Schedule I status of marijuana stunts America’s ability to contribute to worldwide cannabis research. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, these limitations became that much more apparent.
Today, much of the world remains in the dark when it comes to understanding cannabis, according to Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, Medical Director of the Dent Neurological Institute in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Mechtler told High Times that most people, at best, have a rudimentary understanding of the plant and its benefits.
The medical professional, whose roles include chief of neuro-oncology at the Roswell Park Center Institute, credits media outlets like High Times for disseminating information. However, he said that a lack of research prohibits a robust flow of information to the public.
”It is my opinion that much of this lack of understanding stems from the lack of research that has been done on cannabis, which is rooted in marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government,” said Dr. Mechtler.
The Impact of Marijuana’s Schedule I Classification
The doctor’s sentiment is shared by much of the cannabis community, and those seeking to legitimize a burgeoning industry and medication further.
Monday, June 29, West Virginia officially announced the plan to reopen their application process for medical cannabis testing labs so that more labs can get registered and their medical cannabis testing program can get off the ground.
“The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health today announced its Office of Medical Cannabis will resume accepting permit applications for medical cannabis laboratories,” their press release explains about the new change and what to expect. “Laboratory permits are not limited in number and the application process will remain open indefinitely.”
As of now, the state will be accepting applications for an undefined amount of time, and there is no cap on the amount of licenses they will offer. It is not clear if there will eventually be a cap, but the problem currently is not too many applicants, but rather a lack thereof.
“This is a key step in the process to make medical cannabis available to West Virginians with serious medical conditions,” said Jason Frame, Director of the Office of Medical Cannabis, when questioned about the new program. “We and many others continue to work toward a goal of providing eligible West Virginia residents the ability to procure quality-tested medical cannabis.”
Originally, the application process was open for two months, ending February 18 of this year. West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports that during that time, only one business applied for a license, so the process had to be reopened.
Maine marijuana regulators have created new rules about sample collections that are expected to make the state's testing system less burdensome.
Maine approved adult use marijuana in 2016 and has been in the process of crafting rules and regulations about sales since. The coronavirus pandemic has slowed the rollout in recent months.
The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy said the state now has the ability to license and regulate sample collectors. The collectors will be workers who collect samples of marijuana and marijuana products for testing on behalf of marijuana testing facilities and other adult marijuana use establishments, the office said.
The testing facilities themselves were previously responsible for the collection of samples. The marijuana office said that would have been burdensome because of the size of the state.
The rules were emergency adopted and are effective until at least Sept. 22, the office said.
The legal cannabis market is growing exponentially every single year. Experts estimate that the industry will be worth more than $73.6 billion by 2027. Despite its popularity, this swiftly growing sector is missing out on one of its biggest potential markets — e-commerce. Can you sell cannabis online? Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to sell cannabis online legally in the United States.
Your average e-commerce transaction goes something like this — a shopper finds something they want and puts it in their virtual cart. From there, they enter their information, input their credit card number, and click the complete order button. In a couple days, the ordered item gets shipped straight to their door. E-commerce has become one of the easiest ways to get just about anything sent directly to you without the hassle of going to the store.
Unfortunately, shipping cannabis is not an option, even in states where it’s legal for medical or recreational use. According to the federal government, which still considers cannabis a dangerous Schedule I drug, shipping an order from a dispensary via USPS, UPS or FedEx constitutes drug trafficking, a costly felony charge.
This issue limits your ability to ship online orders to customers and makes e-commerce difficult for cannabis businesses. On the bright side, it also prevents people from placing an order from states where cannabis is still illegal.
A Solution: Courier Delivery
While sending a cannabis order through the mail might be illegal, that doesn’t mean dispensaries can’t deliver their customers’ online orders. Instead, many companies rely on couriers to deliver these packages in person.
In 2019, analysts at Barclays estimated drone use would result in commercial cost savings of some $100 billion. Moreover, just prior to the global pandemic, Grand View Research reported that the commercial drone market was expected to reach $129 billion by 2025, representing a 56.5 percent CAGR.
Given my experience in technology, biosciences, food, and agriculture, I recognize that drone technology is proving capable of greatly improving efficiencies and helping to stabilize and advance commercial markets. Moreover, expansive and nimble aerial surveillance data is positively —and, in some cases, profoundly—impacting the point-to-point logistics supply chain in numerous industries.
Below, are some of the transformational changes business leaders should expect to see in four major industries during the next five years. Preparing for these changes now will put your cannabis business in a strong position in the near future.
Imagine a world where the entire supply chain from seed-to-sale uses real-time or near real-time data for pricing and planning.
Drones are nimble data collection instruments that can gather and deliver complex analytics ranging from weather impact and crop health to accurate yield forecasts. Even complex monitoring focused on remotely assessing the health of livestock to identify potential animal-human virus transmission, or monitoring a specific field to discern the gender of plants or tightly regulated compounds such as cannabinoids in hemp fields or pesticides on food, can and will be possible. Expect greater levels of accuracy and analysis with drones coupled with remote sensing technology and advanced software.
The coronavirus crisis has resulted in many people starting to use or using more disposable wipes. While very convenient, the problem is the nonwoven textiles used for wipes generally aren’t particularly environmentally friendly.
Disposable wipes are used in all sorts of applications, including hand sanitising, makeup removal, baby care and general cleaning. They are often made with synthetic materials that aren’t biodegradable; winding up in landfill and aquatic environments. These products are also notorious for clogging up sewage lines and subsequently creating “fatbergs“. The fatbergs, aside from being totally gross, are expensive and time-consuming to clear.
Perhaps industrial hemp may be the solution, or part of it, for more environmentally friendly disposable wipes. A company pursuing this is Canada’s Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. (BFTi), which is working with plant-based natural fibres such as hemp and flax to create sustainable nonwoven materials.
According to the company:
“Our products are 100% compostable, contain no microplastics and contain no toxins. Products made with 100% Bast fibre can be composted in the same soil used to grow new bast fibre plants – a true representation of a circular economic model.”
Stephen J Wyatt, founder and CEO of Hemp Futures, based in Estonia, tells MCN about the importance of customer engagement and accountability.
Estonia-based CBD producer Hemp Futures was founded in 2019 with the goal of creating ‘clean, green and organic’ products; and operates across more than 68 hectares of certified organic land.
“Estonia is a hidden jewel,” explains Hemp Futures founder and CEO Stephen J Wyatt, a former US Marine. “The environment is very pristine; the water is good; the soil is organic. We’re lucky in that we don’t have a lot of native pest insects, which means we don’t use pesticides at all for growing hemp.”
Finola, the variety of auto-flowering organic hemp which Hemp Futures cultivates was bred specifically for climates like Estonia’s.
Hemp Futures, which prides itself on the quality of its CBD products, plans to take advantage of a niche in the wider medical cannabis market, Wyatt adds: “We know, both through research and through our own experience, that there are a lot of companies representing their products CBD; and they’re not what they claim to be. Our focus is to grow our own product and produce CBD oil using CO2 extraction technology; manage the entire process in-house from seed to consumer to guarantee a superior product.
In 2020 it’s possible to buy hemp rope, soap, shoes, and even beer. The question is, are these hemp products moving us to a more sustainable future?
Hemp an eco-friendly fibre
There is often an underlying confusion in society between hemp and marijuana, and whether they are the same thing or not. They do both indeed derive from the cannabis plant. However, hemp plants contain very small amounts of THC. The industrial cultivation of hemp has been legal in Canada since 1998 but it’s been around for thousands of years prior to this. Additionally, it is one of the first plants to be spun into usable fibre. Hemp has been labelled as one of the eco-friendly fibres in our world today.
What is an eco-friendly fibre? I’m glad you asked. Eco-friendly fibres are alternative to two things; petroleum-derived fibres and GMO cotton.
It depends on which products you compare hemp to, but hemp is a lot better for the environment than most, if not all of it’s alternatives. A large portion of textiles comes from petroleum-based products. The source of synthetic fibres like polyester, nylon and acrylic is from fossil fuel crude oil.
The combination of words, crude oil, is becoming a swear word in many households. In reality, the movement away from petroleum-based products can’t happen overnight as many of the world’s industries are essentially propped up on the use of crude oil. Can you guess what isn’t derived from crude oil? You guessed it, hemp products.
It’s hard to back away from the fact that yes, hemp is definitely more sustainable than its two alternatives. Some benefits of growing and using hemp are;very resistant to bugs and disease/does not require pesticideshemp regenerates soilgrows well everywheremechanically processedgrowing hemp is carbon negativebiodegradable.
With that being said, I’m a believer in stepping back and looking at both sides of the argument with a unbias opinion. Some downfalls of hemp include;higher maintenance than alternative productssometimes needs to be blended with other fibreshemp fabric comes from Romania or Chinarougher, less comfortable than other fibres.
The hemp industry is moving the world to a more sustainable future. If anything, it’s pushing the envelope for developers of other eco-friendly fibres to create more sustainable practices. Canada is still relatively new in the hemp industry but does have a head start on its neighbour down south who just legalized hemp cultivation in 2018.
As more states legalize their medical and/or recreational cannabis markets, the demand for jobs in the emerging industry has exponentially increased. According to a 2018 study by top cannabis researcher ArcView, the space is poised to create 414,000 jobs by 2021. Making employment prospects even more enticing is a recent forecast by San Francisco-based business consulting firm Grand View Research, which predicts that the sector will be generating $73.6 billion by 2027.
That’s a whole lot of coin. Unsurprisingly, several colleges and universities have launched special programs in the last few years, either degree or non-degree, which target students keen on entering this booming market. The latest one is Excelsior College's newly launched Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control. Where some programs focus on the business of cannabis or cultivation, for example, this unique online program focuses on educating students on how to navigate the complex regulatory landscape of the legal cannabis market.
To enroll in this graduate-level certificate program, prospective students should have already completed their bachelor's degree. The three-course, nine-credit certificate "takes an interdisciplinary approach and can be taken alone for college credit and career advancement or applied toward four of Excelsior College’s master’s degree programs,” said the news release touting the program. The three courses in the certificate program are: “Implications of Legalization of Cannabis: Policy and Compliance”; “Interstate/International Commerce: Policy and Regulatory Environment”; and “Risk Assessment in Cannabis Control.”
Work on the program, which began in September 2019, has been methodical and thorough. “We started our work conducting a scan of the market, developing a concept paper, and having early conversations with experts and leaders in the industry,” said Scott Dolan, dean of Excelsior College’s School of Graduate Studies. “The three themes that emerged were around policy and compliance, interstate and international regulation, and risk assessment. After identifying a need for education and training, we conducted a full market research study and worked on aligning the curriculum with our existing programs and areas of expertise.”
Initial response to the program “has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Dolan. “[It] has reinforced what we suspected: There is a need for education around the regulatory aspects of cannabis. All industry experts we have talked with have agreed that the three courses we identified for inclusion in the cannabis control certificate are in demand in the field. Understanding policy and compliance is critical to success in the cannabis industry, as is understanding the complexities of intra- and inter-state regulation as it relates to cannabis and the supply chain.”
Data for recent years show a steady climb in the global cannabis market. More and more countries have decided to go green and legalize cannabis in order to weaken the illicit market strength and help the economy. To grow, sell, and distribute the best products, manufacturers use lots of modern technologies. It doesn’t only help them to stay competitive in today’s market, but it also helps to optimize the production process.
A lot of people grow marijuana at home for recreational or medical purposes, or perhaps they have a chance to drop by a 24-hour dispensary to purchase their cannabis of choice. In the countries where it is legal, companies have the same growing processes but just on a large scale with improved technology. Let’s take a look at a number of trends that have taken hold in the cannabis industry:
Cannabis fans have been using light-emitting diodes for years. However, LED fixtures look much different these days. For example, programmable LED fixtures can give more control during the growing process than any other technology.
Almost all fixtures have light-sensing equipment inside that helps to coordinate the output and maintain a set routine. Some of the best cannabis companies in the United States use this technology to improve the quality of their products as well as their revenues.
Also, programmable fixtures allow marijuana fans to create light recipes that can help the strains to grow. With the help of this technology, cultivators can mimic sunrise, sunset, and even midday lighting. Needless to say, it allows growers to take care of their products anywhere in the world. The best thing is that anyone can get this technology for personal use.
Women tend to experienced the same acute effects of cannabis as men at a lower dose of THC, according to new research published in Psychopharmacology which sought to mimic real-world smoking practices.
“We know from population survey data that men are more likely to use cannabis than women, but it seems like women experience more severe cannabis-related harms,” said study author Justin Matheson, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto.
“Research in animals suggests that this is because females are more sensitive to the effects of THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and that this might be due to differences in the way THC is metabolized in females. However, there has been relatively little human laboratory evidence to suggest sex differences in the acute effects of THC.”
In the double-blind study, 91 healthy cannabis users smoked a single cannabis cigarette (12.5% THC or placebo) before completing subjective effect scales and cognitive tests. The researchers also monitored their vital signs, such as blood pressure and body temperature. The participants used cannabis about 1 to 4 times per week and were 19 to 25 years old.
The researchers found that female participants tended to smoke for just as long a duration as males. However, women tended to smoke less of the cannabis cigarette.
Today’s consumer knows very little about hemp. Most mistakenly think hemp is the same plant as marijuana. It is a relative to marijuana, but the temperate cousin. (THC is the chemical that causes the psychological effects in marijuana. The THC level is so low in hemp that it is almost impossible to get high from smoking the plant. Hemp actually contains a chemical called CBD which blocks the effectiveness of THC.)
What is Hemp?
Grown from the Sativa plant, hemp is a type of “bast fibre.” That is one of the many fibers derived from the stalk of plants such as flax, jute, ramie and stinging nettle. It has been cultivated for thousands of years and on almost every continent. The bark of the hemp stalk contains bast fibers, which are among the earth’s longest natural soft fibers. When spun, it has an appearance similar to flax but thicker and coarser. Hemp is one of nature’s oldest fibers. It is also one of nature’s most sustainable and renewable fibers.
History of Hemp
The usage of hemp in the day-to-day life of ancient civilizations was substantial. Hemp was used for bandages, bed sheets, corpse shrouds, sailcloths, sacks, tents, ropes, papers and garments. Even today, hemp’s versatility and durability make it a fiber prized for use in miscellaneous products such as apparel, accessories, footwear, furniture and home furnishings.
Christopher Columbus voyaged to America on a ship rigged with hemp. Hemp was grown as a cash crop in Colonial America by farmers, including the founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag from hemp. The first pair of Levis Strauss jeans was fabricated from hemp. The garments that were designed from hemp ranged in quality from homemade peasant clothing to elaborate ceremonial robes for kings and emperors.
Production of Hemp
Most of the production of hemp is grown and produced in China with small pockets in other regions of Asia and Eastern Europe. Currently, the U.S. does not produce many hemp textiles. Past government regulation has kept hemp out of the fashion supply chain. In 1937, the cultivation of hemp became illegal under the Marihuana Tax Act in the U.S. Since then, there has been a widespread viewpoint that hemp was a forbidden crop and largely earned a bad reputation among established fashion brands. The 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp research and opened the pathway for farmers to recover a forgotten agriculture crop. The 2018 Farm Bill further opened that pathway for cultivation of U.S. hemp.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, comes in a variety of forms, including topical creams, lotions, and salves. And if you are suffering from a skin condition or muscle pain and inflammation, applying CBD directly to the skin is a great alternative to ingesting it. So what is all the fuss about? Here is all you need to know about CBD creams for pain relief.
What is CBD
CBD is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as marijuana. Unlike its relative, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is also found in the plant, CBD does not change your mental state. This is because most CBD products contain less than 0.3% of THC to comply with legislation. Best of all, CBD has all the benefits of cannabis without its side effects.
How Do CBD Topicals Work
One of CBD’s numerous benefits is alleviating both skin conditions and muscle soreness. This is because CBD penetrates the dermal and subdermal skin layers, reaching further than just the surface of the skin. So how do CBD topicals actually work?
We soon got used to cooking and eating exotic proteins and grains like chickpeas, couscous and quinoa. Now, attention has turned to hemp in the search for other productive, environmentally friendly food crops.
Hemp has had a slightly shady image, which is undeserved. It’s a type of cannabis plant but "industrial" hemp has miniscule levels of the psychoactive THC component – officially less than 0.35 per cent.
The legal impediment to growing hemp for food has largely been removed, though to the annoyance of growers, they still have to apply for a licence to cultivate it.
Hemp’s small oily seeds are high in protein and the fibre from its stalks can be used for an astonishing range of goods from concrete to clothing.
Its environmental credentials may be second to none. It absorbs four times more carbon dioxide than the same acreage in trees, and it matures quickly. So in sunny New Zealand, between October and March, it is possible to harvest hemp in rotation with another crop.