Cannabulletin: Your source for Aggregated Cannabis News View this email in your browser (http://us12.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6f95bb3d20482a8e9e013f802&id=1f69721d8e&e=d756ab8267) 10/06/2016
** Welcome to Cannabulletin
Cannabis News that Informs, Intrigues & Captivates.
** A New Study Suggests Cannabis Could Treat Cervical Cancer (http://motherboard.vice.com/read/a-new-study-suggests-cannabis-could-treat-cervical-cancer) - Vice's Motherboard
A new study suggests that cannabis might be useful in treating cervical cancer.
Through in vitro, or test tube/petri dish, analysis, researchers (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5009497/) from the biochemistry department at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa found that the non-psychotropic cannabinoid, or chemical compound, CBD (cannabidiol), taken from a Cannabis sativa extract, could hold anticarcinogenic properties. They pointed out that cannabis acted on the cancerous cells through apoptosis, or a process of cell death, causing only the cancerous cells to kill themselves, and inhibiting their growth.
Cervical cancer is no longer a leading cause of death as much as it used to be in the United States, thanks in large part to the widespread use of pap smears, but it's still a widespread threat. And in Sub-Saharan Africa, it kills 250,000 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5009497/) women every year. "This makes it the most lethal cancer amongst black women and calls for urgent therapeutic strategies," the study's authors wrote (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5009497/) in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal. "In this study we compare the anti-proliferative effects of crude extract of Cannabis sativa and its main compound cannabidiol on different cervical cancer cell lines."
It will take much more research before cannabis can be integrated into official cervical cancer treatments in sub-Saharan Africa. But earlier studies also shows that cannabis has been useful in treating not only the symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy, but also the cancer itself.
One study (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/ccp/2010/00000005/00000004/art00006) from the journal of Current Clinical Pharmacology found that cannabis served as a preventative agent, reducing inflammation, which researchers also said was useful in reducing the likelihood of cancer. Another study (http://www.dolor.org.co/articulos/Bowles%20Cannabis%20use%20in%20Cancer%20Review%202012.pdf) from Oncology Hematology also noted cannabis' anti-cancer effects, explaining how the plant's cannabinoids inhibited tumor growth in vitro, such as in a petri dish or test tube, and in vivo, or a living organism.
A handful of other studies have also looked into cannabis as a treatment specifically for cervical cancer. Another (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15047233) from the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, found that the cannabinoids, including the body's own endocannabinoids, offered "attractive opportunities for the development of novel potent anticancer drugs."
At the same time, there could also be carcinogenic effects of cannabis smoke, especially for cancer patients. One study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16054989) in France found that "increased risks of lung or colorectal cancer due to marijuana smoking were not observed, but increased risks of prostate and cervical cancers among non-tobacco smokers...were observed."
With that said, often medical marijuana is ingested via capsules, tinctures, vaporizable oils, and other non-smokeable, more pharmaceutical-style forms. Should cannabis eventually become approved for cervical cancer treatment in Africa, it may be up for debate whether whole plant therapy (in which all the cannabinoids work synergistically through the "entourage effect") or specific cannabinoid therapy is best.
** National Guard Declares Victory Over Grandmother’s Cannabis Plant (https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/national-guard-declares-victory-over-grandmothers-cannabis-plant/)
The Massachusetts National Guard and the Massachusetts State Police teamed up last month to eradicate a pernicious threat to public safety: a single cannabis plant tucked away in an 81-year-old grandmother’s raspberry patch.
“All that remains,” reported the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “is a stump and a ragged hole in the ground.”
Crack work, team. Mission accomplished.
The story, first reported by Gazette writer Scott Merzbach, ran under the headline “Raid! National Guard, State Police descend on 81-year-old’s property to seize single pot plant” — a headline that Vox said (http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/5/13172898/massachusetts-marijuana-raid) “perfectly demonstrated why so many people have turned against keeping marijuana illegal.” Massachusetts is one of five states that will vote on adult-use cannabis legalization next month.
Here’s the rundown from the Gazette:
Margaret Holcomb said she was growing the plant as medicine, a way to ease arthritis and glaucoma and help her sleep at night. Tucked away in a raspberry patch and separated by a fence from any neighbors, the plant was nearly ready for harvest when a military-style helicopter and police descended on Sept. 21.
In a joint raid, the Massachusetts National Guard and State Police entered her yard and cut down the solitary plant in what her son, Tim Holcomb, said was a “pretty shocking” action — one that he argues constitutes unlawful surveillance and illegal search and seizure.
“It’s scary as hell,” said Tim Holcomb.
The raid was part of a broader operation that seized 44 plants from Massachusetts residents. No criminal charges were filed, but it’s not clear any charges would’ve stood up in court, anyway, as the surveillance and seizures appear to have occurred without a warrant. According to the Gazette, “Holcomb said he was told that as long as he did not demand that a warrant be provided to enter the property or otherwise escalate the situation, authorities would file no criminal charges.”
Police confiscated and destroyed the plants, they said, because they were in “plain view” and thus illegal even for registered medical patients. Margaret Holcomb does not have a medical recommendation, reportedly because she’s concerned about obstacles to obtaining a doctor’s authorization.
The raids were planned and executed as top officials, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, railed against Question 4, which would legalize adult cannabis in the state. They’ve repeatedly warned that legal, regulated cannabis is the real threat to public safety—and not, say, overzealous policing.
Holcomb, who lives in Amherst, Mass., told the Gazette she’s “not a huge social activist” but feels her civil rights were violated by the warrantless raid. And if she’s not able to get medical cannabis through other means, she said, she might simply grow another plant.
“I’m prepared to take actions if I need to,” Holcomb said. “I don’t picture them out here and putting an 81-year-old woman in jail.”
Don’t be too sure, Margaret. As the New York Times Editorial Board noted earlier this year, we’ve seen a lot worse (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/14/opinion/outrageous-sentences-for-marijuana.html) .
** Where Did Dabs Come From? A History of Cannabis Extracts (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/where-did-cannabis-dabs-come-from/)
Solvent-based cannabis extracts (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/the-many-types-of-solventless-cannabis-extracts/) , often referred to as hash oils (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-cannabis-oil-shatter-and-wax/) or dabs (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/is-dabbing-good-or-bad-or-both/) , have completely dominated cannabis concentrate markets over the last several years. With the advancements in solvent extraction technologies and methodologies, new products are constantly circulating the shelves of dispensaries. Budders and shatters, once prized as the holy grail of hash oils, are now sharing retail space with new flavor-enhanced distillates and highterpene (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/terpenes-the-flavors-of-cannabis-aromatherapy/) full spectrum extracts (HTFSE’s), products that were virtually unheard of just five years ago.
These processes, now being hailed as the future of concentrate manufacturing, owe credit to decades of botanical extraction advancements that preceded them.
Cannabis concentrates (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/the-great-wide-world-of-cannabis-concentrates/) are said to have been around (in some form) since the 1940s, adapting from the pre-20th century botanical extraction technologies that are responsible for bringing cannabis to the U.S. pharmacopeia throughout the 1800s. However, the revival and adaptation of solvent-based extraction practices as we know it today is somewhat new, taking shape only over the last several decades. Needless to say, the story of how hash oil came to popularity is a bit hazy and shrouded in anecdotes, but there are a few major players in the movement that are worth mentioning.
** World War II and the MK Ultra Program
Infused concoctions involving extracted cannabinoids (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/cannabinoids-101-what-makes-cannabis-medicine/) are nothing new and have been used for thousands of years. Over time, many of these recipes have evolved into the potent oral medicinals (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/cannabis-tinctures-101-what-are-they-how-to-make-them-and-how-to/) that once lined the shelves of U.S. pharmacies into the 1800s, before cannabis prohibition. Although these practices laid the foundation for solvent-based cannabis extraction, manufacturing a product intended for oral consumption through vaporization (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/how-does-vaporization-work/) first appeared in the 1940s.
Confirmed and declassified World War II intelligence documents point to an agency, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), that incorporated a THC acetate “serum” into its controversial biochemical interrogation program. The man responsible for this program, George White, used hash oil-laced tobacco cigarettes, along with LSD preparations, to interrogate various prisoners and unsuspecting persons. These controversial techniques would later be used by White throughout the ’50s and into the ’60s under the the highly publicized CIA program “MK Ultra” (and yes, there’s a strain named after it (https://www.leafly.com/indica/mk-ultra) ).
** Hash Oil in the ’70s
In part 8 of D. Gold’s 1973 (2nd ed. 1989) book Cannabis Alchemy: The Art of Modern Hashmaking, a brief overview is given on the preparation of a translucent cannabis “honey” oil. The solvents used pure alcohol and activated charcoal. After an evaporation procedure, the remaining byproduct described is a translucent amber oil that takes on the appearance of a dark honey.
Author Michael Starks elaborates on this methodology considerably in his 1977 (2nd ed. 1990) book, Marijuana Chemistry: Genetics Processing and Potency, with an in-depth overview of hash oil preparation. His analyses comprise of information pertaining to various solvents used, which include chloroform, ethanol, petroleum ether, and isopropanol, among others. Various extraction apparatuses and purification procedures are also described in detail, making this one of the earliest and most detailed accounts of the origin of modern hash oil.
** Inventing the Closed Loop System
Erowid, a popular online psychoactive library that surfaced in the mid-1990s, put out an article in 1999 titled “Hash Honey Oil Technique,” offering arguably the first detailed description of butane hash oil (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-does-good-bho-look-like-dabbing-and-hash-oil-myths-part-one/) extraction procedures to the Internet. The controversial methods described in the article would later be known as “open blasting,” a dangerous extraction method that exposes the highly flammable butane used.
Nevertheless, the process of feeding butane though a vertical column packed with ground cannabis would later inspire the invention of closed loop systems (CLS), which heavily refined this method by containing the highly flammable hydrocarbon solvents and then recycling them back through the system.
** The Advent of Budder and Dab Rigs
In 2005, a Cannabis Culture article was released online titled “Beautiful Budder,” where a Canadian man who uses the alias Budderking is interviewed about his proprietary hash oil “budder.” Budderking describes working with a colleague in the early ’90s out of British Columbia to create an amber glass substance by using a series of refinements involving alcohol.
After leaving an amber glass sample in a windowsill for a prolonged period of time, Budderking and his colleague witnessed their sample “buttering up.” Once they tweaked their findings, they were able to develop a product that made its debut on the shelves at Da Kine dispensary in 2003.
With this, Budderking also introduced a small unit designed to make vaporizing the concentrate easier, the precursor for what we now call dab rigs (https://www.leafly.com/news/strains-products/the-best-dab-rig-for-any-situation/) . This product would only be available for a brief amount of time, but word of the procedure quickly caught on and made its way to other markets, namely Colorado and Southern California.
Several years later in 2009, cannabis connoisseurs were beginning to create an online buzz in the forums about high quality solvent-based hash oils. By the next year, in 2010, hash oil products made their debut at the High TimesCannabis Cup, and shortly thereafter, dispensaries were beginning to carry early versions of budders, saps, and waxes at a much more fervent rate.
** Cannabis Extracts Today
With the onset of medical cannabis and recreational legalization in more states, companies began to focus heavy R&D on improving extraction technologies. This led to advanced CLS systems, C02 supercritical extractors, and an array of organizations leading the way in creating safer and cleaner hash oil products. Since late 2012, hash oil enthusiasm has been on the rise and has not slowed down yet.
Hash oil has come a long way since its nefarious inceptions in the early prohibition days, and even longer considering the leaps and bounds that solvent-based cannabis processing has undergone in the last two decades. Thanks to those who have helped refine solvent-based extraction technologies, hash oil enthusiasm and the culture around it is burgeoning and will undoubtedly continue to secure itself as a dominating sector of the overarching cannabis market.
Resources: 1. http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2012/03/dab-life-a-brief-and-wondrous-history-of-concentrates/ 2. http://hightimes.com/culture/to-dab-or-not-to-dab/ 3. https://www.zamnesia.com/content/234-history-of-dabbing 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qu1iHCSs8Y#t=219 5. https://erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_info13.shtml 6. http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2005/01/19/3589 7. http://hightimes.com/culture/the-real-story-of-marijuana-truth-serum-and-the-cias-sordid-history-of-drug-use/ 8. http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap03/WWII/TruthSerum.htm 9. Cannabis Alchemy (2nd ed.) 1977 and 1989. D. Gold 10. Marijuana Chemistry: Genetics, Processing, and Potency (2nd ed.) 1977 and 1990. Michael Starks
** Is Cannabis Safe to Use During Pregnancy? New Study Clarifies Risks (https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/cannabis-safety-while-pregnant/)
A recent review of cannabis and pregnancy studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27607879) provides new insight on a question that has long weighed on the minds of families and to-be mothers: Is cannabis safe to use during pregnancy?
Published in Obstetrics & Gynecology this month, the authors reviewed 31 studies between 1982 and 2015, evaluated their results, and concluded that cannabis – when used without tobacco or other drugs – posed no significant risks to specific concerns about birth weight and preterm delivery. This was consistent with findings of a 2010 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20171023) funded by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/) .
Up until this point, studies on cannabis and pregnancy have shown somewhat contradictory results regarding birth weight and preterm delivery, a confusion that researchers attributed in part to inadequate separation of confounding variables, or factors that produce correlations even though a causal relationship doesn’t actually exist. For example, cannabis consumption and tobacco use are correlated, making it difficult to tease apart whether one or both contributes to low birth weight or preterm delivery.
The authors wrote:
“We found that maternal marijuana use during pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for low birth weight or preterm delivery after adjusting for factors such as tobacco use. There also does not appear to be an increased risk for other adverse neonatal outcomes such as SGA and placental abruption once we account for other influencing factors.”
The authors of this study concluded that cannabis use during pregnancy is still not something to be “encouraged or condoned.” Why? While this study focused on two specific birth outcomes of mothers using cannabis during pregnancy, it did not look at long-term developmental health or other risks during gestation.
A 2014 study (http://emboj.embopress.org/content/early/2014/01/27/embj.201386035%22%20%5Cl%20%22sec-9) , for example, found evidence that THC exposure during pregnancy affected brain development in both mice and humans. Fetal development is an intricate process involving specifically timed signaling that may be impacted by THC, leading to impairments later in life. Although this newest review may help relax concerns relating to birth weight and preterm delivery, there may still be other complications attributable to maternal cannabis use.
For this reason, most medical professionals still strongly recommended that pregnant women abstain from cannabis use, despite the temptation to use it for nausea (https://www.leafly.com/explore/symptoms-nausea) and stress (https://www.leafly.com/explore/symptoms-stress) during the tumultuous time of pregnancy.
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