Marijuana and Hemp are the same, just like all grapes are equal?

Recently while reading the latest edition of Marijuana Business Magazine published in August 2018, I found bias and rhetoric being presented. Marijuana Business Magazine founded in 2011, claims to be the most trusted, independent publisher and event producer serving America’s cannabis industry.

As a journal leader in the industry publishing articles with misinformation is hurtful to the entire industry of Medical and Recreational Marijuana and Industrial Hemp used in Food, supplements, and industrial products. Kristen Nichols (2018) article claims Marijuana and Hemp are the same plants and that by changing nutrients the plant may increase the THC content to become marijuana. It seems akin to claiming all grapes are the same, no matter where they come from or how there grown whether they are white or red you can get the same results.

It is true that Marijuana and Hemp are in the same Genus family of Cannabaceae (Cannabis) although they are not the same plant. The family of Cannabis includes Rosales, the rose order of dicotyledonous plants. The Rosales contains 9 families, 261 genera, and more than 7,700 species (Robertson & Systma, 2018). The Hemp (Cannabis sativa), includes Indica as part of the family. Sativa grows to benefit fiber and low THC, Indica is grown for the flower which provides high THC. Sativa and Indica have been crossbred and will provide hybrid strains that have different benefits and effects.

Research published by the Medicine National Institutes of Health has shown there is a difference in the RNA. An article discussing strain analysis shows that depending on the strain characteristics will have a different effect based on the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in the strain (Baron, Lucas, Eades, & Hogue, 2018).

I do agree with Kristen’s point that calling a variant bad on the premise it has psychoactive properties is poor judgment (Nichols, 2018). Research shows that Cannabis in all forms may have a benefit (Baron et al,2018) and to ignore scientific research proving positive outcomes is wrong.

As an industry leader, it is important to print non-bias articles and have a clear understanding of topics and Genus of taxonomy when discussing cannabis. Misinformation can become a loose proposition that muddies the waters for all in this precarious industry.

The article, in my opinion, would have been stronger had the author taken time to point out the positives of Cannabis and not try to muddy the terminology.

There is a time for high THC and high CBD Cannabidiols. Studies on alternative third-party pain mitigation treatments show that both high THC and High CBD products are effective in mitigating pain (Nicolodi, Sandoval, & Terrine, 2017) (Pini, Guerzoni, Cainazzo, Ferrari, Sarchielli, Tiraferri, Ciccarese, & Zappaterra, 2012).

Cannabis Sativa strains are generally described by patients as uplifting, energetic, creative, euphoria, spacey, cerebrally-focused effects, and better for day use, while Cannabis Indica strains are typically described as calming, relaxing, sedative, full-body effects such as “body buzz”, and better for night use. Research suggests these effects are not likely due purely to CBD:THC ratios, as there are no significant differences in CBD:THC ratios between Sativa and Indica strains (Russo, 2011).

Studies used Sativa and Indica strains crossed with high CBD hemp strains and indicate the utilization of most strains today being Hybrids designed with standard rations of CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, and compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids (Baron et al, 2018). The outcome of these studies indicates strong support toward mixes and formulations designed towards specific symptoms, responses, and end-user needs to have positive effects.

THC has had considerable research findings to inhibit inflammation at a rate of 20 times more effective than aspirin, CBD has had less research although indications lead toward positive anti-inflammation assistance.

CBD interacts with a multitude of ion channels, enzymes, CB1 & CB2 receptors (Pertwee, 2008). CBD acts similar to capsaicin, although without the noxious side effects, and inhibits the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) uptake and metabolism. CBD provides a positive modulator in the glycine receptors, suggested to play a role in pain related to inflammation and nerve injury. A study of 2032 patients showed hybrid strains provided alleviation of pain and indicate that traditional symptoms where opiates are used may be treated with these hybrid strains of cannabis

There is accumulating evidence for various therapeutic benefits of cannabis/cannabinoids from high THC and high CBD strains, especially in the treatment of pain. There is also supporting evidence that cannabis may assist in opioid detoxification and weaning, thus making it a potential weapon in battling the opioid epidemic (Fine & Rosenfeld, 2013). In conclusion, different strains and plant combinations have different effects. Just as in wine, not all grapes are equal, but each provides a unique experience and outcome.  To identify all cannabis as the same plant is detrimental to the positive opportunities of the industry.

Dr Robert Heinzman
CEO @ Heartland Hemp Inc

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