Let me start off by stating my opinion that resources made available to us by nature should only be regulated by that very nature which provides them, as well as individual responsibility. Just like anything else if you can produce something by utilizing the resources on hand, (or make a fair trade for it) it should be yours to do with what you please.
This leads me to my point: the regulation of a certain “super-resource” which helps enable the current paradigm of debt, consumerism, and perpetual war to continue. Cannabis!
WOAH! Hold on a sec there, that stuff is evil. Haven’t you seen Reefer Madness? Do you not see what is happening to the communities in which medical cannabis has been introduced? You must just be high.
If this was your first impression, I strongly suggest you read the following information, possibly twice. Yet, considering the amount and the brutality of the anti-cannabis propaganda that we have seen over the years it’s definitely understandable. Tied in with the demeaning and deceptive spin put on everything cannabis related by the media, how can one be blamed for shunning the “devil’s weed”?
I’ll tell you how: willingness to accept false information and support a false information campaign equates to complete disregard for an individual’s needs and desires, as well as a dismemberment of the right of said individual to seek whichever solution (within reason) to whichever problem behooves him. Bypassing your personal responsibility as a community citizen by not “doing your own research” is inexcusable.
So What Makes You the Expert?
Spending the last four years working in California’s medical cannabis industry I was able to cultivate a deep understanding for the misunderstanding of cannabis. I also was blessed enough to learn some things about the plant that truly shocked me. I saw everything from completely fraudulent lawsuits and business closures (fraudulent on the part of the various liberty-loving city and state governments which executed the motions) to completely fraudulent businesses. The point here is that yes, there is corruption out there, but you’re not going to escape it in any industry without the aforementioned gifts of observation and responsibility. Funny how the government and banking industries are the most corrupt sectors in this economy, yet they are the ones accepted as “just the way things are” and the weed guy is the one spending years in jail…
Let’s Get Real
Allow me to apologize for the long introduction; this is such an iffy subject to strike with most people that I felt it necessary to provide a suitable account of the foundation for my opinion, but now for the fun part:
Humans have used hemp for about as far back as we’ve been able to record our own history. Some evidence shows that the plant was used by the ancient Egyptians, but evidence is not what I’m interested in here, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that people take advantage of the most productive means of getting things done; and it sure doesn’t take a math major to figure out that if one of the most versatile resources on the planet had been used by people all the way up until about 100 years ago + now suddenly it is portrayed as something similar to crack and heroin = there is definitely something wrong with the way humans utilize the potential of this resource.
Ingestion of cannabinoids has a plethora of positive health effects on humans. Firstly, cannabinoids such as CBN and CBD have proven to be effective antioxidants: which means that they actively rid your system of built up free-radical particles that lead to health problems. These same cannabinoids are also anti-cancer, and help to relieve symptoms of a wide variety of disorders. THC, the most well known cannabinoid, enhances the effects of CBN and CBD and also acts as a neuroprotector. Most aren’t familiar, but a man named Rick Simpson has made a little bit of a name for himself in California by concocting concentrated cannabinoid oils, with which he cures cancer. (www.phoenixtears.com)
I could go on forever about just the medical benefits of cannabis; my time helping patients in California to find the cannabis medications that specifically helped them provided me with more information than I could handle about the versatility of this plant as a medicine (Another benefit, as there are so many different strains of cannabis, it is easy to find one that works best for you). Suffice it to say that if anything were “supposed” to be called “medicine” this is it.
As if relieving multiple different types of pain and curing some cancer isn’t enough to make this resource a staple in our cache, cannabis makes an excellent renewable biofuel source. I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of being “fuel-sovereign”, but just to stress the point, imagine not having to worry about oil (a.k.a. liquid gold) in a TEOTWAWKI situation. For those not familiar with the process of pyrolysis, the rapid decomposition of organic materials at high temperatures without the presence of oxygen, a nifty little setup for hemp fuel production can be made with a glass jug, a large tub, a small piece of tape, and a Fresnel lens.
Take your glass jug, and fill it with the material you will be making fuel from (stalks and leaves), place the cap on and puncture a small hole in the cap for air to escape. Place a small slice of tape over the hole in the cap and puncture a small hole in the tape so that air may escape but water may not enter (stop valve). Secure your jug full of material to the bottom of your tub of water, and focus the sun’s light on the material inside the jug (not the jug itself). Depending on the amount of material you are using, the process will be complete in anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple of hours. You now have hemp coal that can be burned for energy, or further gasified to produce liquid fuels. (I would love to go further into this, but unfortunately, I have less experience with this process than with the simple making of coals.)
Be sure not to use all of the stalks in your fuel making though, because they can also be made into fibers for cloth. Hemp fiber is extremely durable and holds up to abrasion, corrosion, and weight many times better than cotton. Simply allow your stalks to age after harvest until dry and slightly browned, then crush the outer part of the stalk to get to the inner fibers. Try to split stems all the way down the middle by pressing them against something flat, and take the fibers out whole, this will reduce the amount of splicing needed later. Clean and tenderize your fibers by rubbing them between your hands in bunches. Then, you can take your clean fiber and twist it into cords.
Take a clean cord and hold one end in your right hand, place your left hand somewhere around a foot down the cord. Now begin twisting the cord until it kinks and makes a little “O”, this “O” is going to be the start of your rope. Holding the “O” in your left hand, you will have two strands of cord pointing to the right. Take the one farthest from you and twist it in a clockwise direction (away from you). While keeping that strand twisted, grab the other strand of cord and twist them around each other 180 degrees in a counterclockwise direction (toward you). Now the strand of the cord that was away from you will be closer and vice versa, repeat process until you are nearly out of cord to twist. At this point, you can splice in more strands of cord to suit your desired length. Remember when splicing, only splice one strand of cord at a time so that no two cords end at the same point. Also, splices are strongest when two cords are spliced so that they meet end-to-center.
So now we’ve used the flowers of our cannabis crop for medication, and the stems/leaves for fuel and clothes, what do we do with the seeds? Well, you like peanut butter don’t you? You can do the same thing with your hemp seeds that you can with most grains and some nuts/legumes! Crush them into butter, dry and incorporate them into your grain supply, or feed them to your chickens. Just be sure to save some so you can plant more hemp and have more food, fuel, medicine, clothing, and un-radiated land.
Plant some cannabis in a radiated field and that cannabis will gladly help you suck the toxic stuff right out. In ’98, a program was initiated to find whether or not plants could help on the land that was contaminated by the disaster at Chernobyl; researchers are finding that hemp is the most effective plant for this purpose. Not only will it grow (like a weed) in unfavorable conditions, it will find a way to thrive and even leach toxins from the soil. I’m not sure of the ramifications of processing, but just to air on the safe side, I would not consume any part of a hemp plant used for leaching. (I do know that when the plant absorbs toxins, it neutralizes some of them making the hemp O.K. to use for fiber and fuel purposes but I personally wouldn’t eat or use any material like this for medicines.)
Cannabis vs. Hemp?
Now, you may be asking yourself why I’m not making a distinction between hemp and cannabis; a distinction which seems to make the difference between a resource that can provide endless products and an evil substance that decays society. I have not made this distinction because as different as these plants are, there is a common misconception that hides the truth. The genus cannabis is divided into four species: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, cannabis afganica, and cannabis ruderalis. Each species is further separated by different strain variations, but the qualities of each species are pretty consistent.
Cannabis sativa varieties are generally taller, lankier, and produce a higher ratio of THC to CBN and CBD, making for a more cerebral effect better suited for relief from things like depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, and pains associated with migraines. The tall stature of sativa varieties make them ideal for use as a fuel and clothing source in addition to medication: more biomass obviously means more working material.
Cannabis indica produces a “heavier” effect, these are the varieties that give cannabis its stony reputation; generally better for relief of symptoms associated with chronic physical pain and insomnia. Because of the short, bushy growth style of most indica varieties they are less than perfect for fuel and fiber production however, still better than any alternative. Indica varieties usually contain higher levels of terpenes that produce a skunky aroma, where as sativas are normally abundant with more sweet or fruity smelling terpenes.
Cannabis afganica is made up of those strains that originated in the Middle East, mostly in the Hindu Kush Mountains. Afganica varieties are almost indistinguishable from indica varieties. In fact, it is very hard to find information on the afganica species because it is most often just ignorantly grouped in with indicas. This is fine, really. They both grow very short and bushy, both produce the same medical effects, and both have the same general aroma. Unless you want to get super technical, the only real difference between the two is that the leaves of afganica species will usually be wider than those of indica species; however it is much easier to tell a thin sativa leaf from a nice wide indica leaf, than it is to tell a wide indica leaf from a “wider” afganica leaf. Due to the small amount of variation between the two species, for our purposes we can call indicas and afganicas the same thing.
Cannabis ruderalis is the oddball in the cannabis genus. Often what people think of when the word “hemp” is mentioned, ruderalis varieties do not produce cannabinoids. They can grow tall and lanky like the sativa varieties, but some ruderalis strains flower automatically after they reach maturity rather than continuing to mature until the shortening days signal the plant to flower. The problem with auto flowering ruderalis strains is that they flower so fast that they cannot grow tall enough to produce significant biomass for any purpose. What you want in a ruderalis strain is fast, strong growth that is only limited by the capabilities of the plant. These varieties will produce tons of biomass that can be converted to fuel, cloth, and everything in between (except medications).
The only philosophy I will ever advise another to consider is that which the individual observes and analyzes information for his or her self to formulate a conclusion. I am not advocating the use of cannabis, I am advocating the analysis of the problems that we face as a society, and more specifically the analysis of the problems faced by the individual who plans for tomorrow. I am presenting information for you to analyze along with the conclusions that you have already drawn about the world around you.