Indica And Sativa Are Wrong, Study Finds You Buy Cannabis For Terpenes

Cannabis cultivars — informally known as “strains” — stretch across a spectrum of effects and aromas, spinning into various products. Consumers commonly divide this spectrum into Indica and Sativa while incorrectly focusing on THC percentage. However, a recent study supports that we’re selling cannabis wrong — Indica and Sativa are misleading, and consumers buy weed […]

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Sturdy Hemp Structures Could be the Future Eco-Building

Hemp could be the building material that accelerates the sustainable industry.

The year 2020 marked a devastating time period for myriad reasons. Among the pantheon of pain was the immense damage brought on by natural disasters. In early 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its billion-dollar disaster report, calling 2021 a “historic year of extremes.” 

More precisely, the U.S. saw disasters on an unheard-of level that year, witnessing 22 individual billion-dollar weather and climate disasters. From hail to forest fires to hurricanes and beyond, homes, businesses and other important buildings were leveled in the destruction—and numerous lives were lost. 

Hemp hasn’t come up much in the rebuilding efforts. However, a late-August op-ed in The Hill from University of Florida Associate Professor Benjamin Hebblethwaite did make a case for hemp and bamboo in Haiti. Hebblethwaite called concrete structures unsafe, noting that intense weather on the island can weaken diluted concrete, increasing the potential for collapses. As a replacement material, he cited the hemp’s ability to create lightweight hempcrete, which can be used to insulate homes and build bricks. 

Like the U.S., Hebblethwaite cited laws he called draconian for banning the renewable resource. 

As both nations and others rebuild from a disastrous 2020, could hemp materials provide an ecological, more efficient solution? 

Hemp Offers Construction Potential in Many Instances

Like cannabis consumption, using hemp for concrete isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. For some situations, depending on the construction needs, including local laws, budget and other factors, hemp could be an ideal option to rebuild or when beginning new projects. 

Sources touched on an array of benefits to using hemp. Jacob Waddell, president of the U.S. Hemp Building Association, told High Times that utilizing hemp uses carbon sequestering building materials, replacing current options he said were unsustainable. 

“By utilizing an agricultural product for our materials, we are trapping carbon absorbed during the growth of the plant and preserving it in the building,” said Waddell. 

Volodymyr Barabakh, co-founder and project director of Chicago-based Fortress Home, said hemp works particularly well in damp, humid conditions as it is more breathable than concrete. Noting that most places in the U.S. are prone to natural disasters, particularly floods and hurricanes and have humid summers, he sees hemp potentially aiding in future construction. 

“From a purely structural standpoint, there is definitely a use case for hemp concrete for disaster rebuilding projects,” Barabakh stated. 

Waddell said that homes prone to mold could see health hazards lowered when building with hemp. He added that areas prone to fire also could benefit from a hemp-based dwelling. 

“Hempcrete provides a fire-resistant option that could prevent the total loss of homes that is occurring on an almost annual basis in some places,” he stated. 

Jim Higdon, the co-founder of Kentucky-based Cornbread Hemp, said hemp has “huge potential” in construction. He cited the plant’s ecological benefits, noting its ability to grow faster than trees and its annual harvest. 

“Whether as a substitute for concrete or wood, hemp has huge potential,” he stated. 

Jeff Sampson is the founder and CEO of the THC and CBD marketplace Everscore. He believes that hemp should be in the mix when looking to build sustainable structures. Sampson, who also serves as non-executive director for the Native American Cannabis Alliance, believes that the plant “should be given serious consideration by anybody involved in rebuilding efforts, from architects and contractors to owners and administrators.”


Prohibition Likely Driving Down Market Awareness, Increasing Costs

Hemp may be an ideal construction component in many instances. But, for now, its pain points make it difficult for mass appeal. 

Waddell said his industry still must contend with non-optimal performance concerns as well as cost. He cited the drug war and decades of prohibition that limited hemp from legal sales or adequate research and development. 

“As innovation occurs and we get closer to economies of scale, hemp products have the potential to be the best building products on the market,” he stated. 

It isn’t easy to gauge the actual cost of hemp for a construction project. Domestic hemp typically costs between $100 and $200 per square meter, depending on the company. While you can save money by making your own hempcrete from unprocessed hurds, the cost of labor and additional effort often makes this option unworthy for most. 

Barabakh elaborated, stating that without much market demand, the cost for hempcrete projects remains high. 

“It is not popular enough for us to currently have the infrastructure to produce it at scale,” he said. Barabakh further explained that until interest can help lower costs, hempcrete is typically only used on “novelty” projects. 

Waddell added that U.S. law creates additional problems for the plant despite its 2018 legalization. He cited cannabinoid testing and the lack of hemp’s inclusion in building codes as current sticking points for the market. He noted crop testing and the THC threshold hemp must abide by. 

“If these plants are harvested properly, they will be harvested before they go to flower, but still, the entire fiber crop could be destroyed if the plant has a THC level above 0.3 percent,” he explained. 

He calls the current laws a risk to investments, stating that he believes testing laws shouldn’t apply to plants meant for fiber or grain end products. 

He added that the USHBA is working on getting hemp included in building codes, potentially making it a more viable option for housing projects. He directed readers to the group’s website for more information. They’ve also launched a GoFundMe to reach their goal. 


Hemp Not Likely a Factor in Today’s Rebuilding Efforts

Sources say they believe hemp will find its way into more building projects in the years to come. However, that day isn’t coming just yet. As costs remain high and regulations prevent hemp from becoming viable for most projects, it is likely to remain a costly niche option for sustainable endeavors. Therefore, current rebuilding efforts in the U.S. or elsewhere are unlikely to include hempcrete. 

Still, sources remain optimistic for the future. “At this point, the barriers are more about awareness and perception than technical,” said Sampson. “Heightened consumer interest in renewable and sustainable products and processes makes hemp difficult to ignore,” he added. 

“To increase our overall market share, we need to increase the recognition of hemp as a viable high-performance building material,” he said. The task is immense for a single company, but he believes industry can achieve the goal if everyone works together. 

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Episode 383 – Diving Into The Details on the Election

Jahan Marcu and Jeremy Berke join host Ben Larson to talk about the recent election fall-out for marijuana, some of the ways scientists are researching drug consumption and how the federal government is using their studies, and the lag in New York in rolling out legal adult use marijuana. Produced by Shea Gunther.

VA Committee Recommends Medical Cannabis Research Bill to House

On November 4, the House Veterans Affairs Committee passed a bill that would allow the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to study medical cannabis as a treatment option for military veterans.

Sponsored by Representative Lou Correa and Peter Meijer, HR-2916, also called the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2021, instructs the VA to study medical cannabis research. “This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct clinical trials of the effects of medical-grade cannabis on the health outcomes of covered veterans diagnosed with chronic pain and those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Covered veterans are those who are enrolled in the VA health care system,” the bill summary reads.

The bill also states that the trials must include both a control group and an experimental group that include a balanced representation of the veteran community (similar size, structure and demographics). Most importantly, any veteran who chooses to participate in these trials would not have to worry about their VA benefits or eligibility.

At the November 4 meeting, Chairman Mark Takano spoke briefly about HR-2916. “Veterans and veteran service organizations have told us that they overwhelmingly support medical cannabis research at VA. So many veterans already use cannabis to ease their suffering. Veterans can purchase medical cannabis in 36 states and recreational cannabis in 19 states,” Takano said.

Takano continued, “We simply must equip VA and its healthcare providers with scientific guidance about the potential impacts, benefits and/or dangers of cannabis use to treat chronic pain and PTSD. Now VA tells us that it is monitoring smaller research projects on cannabis outside VA. This really is not sufficient. The bill directs VA to bring the important methodological rigor with a clinical trial framework to bear on these important questions. We owe our veterans no less.”

Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks proposed an amendment at the meeting in response. She proposed the replacement of HR-2916 with her own bill, HR-2932, which she calls the Veterans Cannabis Analysis Research and Effectiveness, or Veterans Care Act. Although she acknowledges that her and Correa’s bill share some goals, she believes Correa’s bill is not the ideal way to assist veterans. “…his bill takes an overly prescriptive approach to requiring the VA conduct research on medical marijuana,” she began. “I am sure that it is well-intentioned. However, what that would do is unfairly tie the hands of the VA researchers who are responsible for designing and conducting these studies and undermine their work to such an extent as to render it meaningless.”

“That is why my amendment, in the nature of a substitute, would replace the text of Congressman Correa’s bill, with the text of my bill which would also require VA to conduct research regarding medical marijuana but would also give VA researchers the flexibility to design that research for themselves,” Miller-Meeks continued. “This would help ensure that politics plays no role in the results of this research and that scientists and researchers, not politicians, inform the VA’s work on medicinal marijuana research so that it yields the best and most useful research results for veterans.”

Chairman Mark Takano stated that, “Unfortunately, I cannot support your amendment which would give VA far more leeway in determining how to study the possible use of cannabis and treating pain and PTSD and veterans,” Takano said. “With all due respect, VA could be doing that level of research now and simply has chosen not to. VA’s Office of Research and Development can absolutely handle a clinical trial. It already conducts many of them. And it’s time to bring the scientific weight of that gold standard approach to the issue of cannabis use.”

There was continued discussion on Miller-Meek’s bill by Ranking Member Mike Bost, but ultimately her bill was not agreed to by the committee. The committee did, however, agree to recommend HR-2916 to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Solar Power As An Energy Source For Cannabis Growers

Cannabis production is an energy-intensive activity. Producers must maintain the right conditions of temperature, light, and humidity for the plant to grow. The process requires an electrical system with sufficient capacity to power operations such as lighting, HVAC system, drying, CO2 inject, space heating or water handling. Solar power for cannabis growers can be a […]

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How toxic is a vape pen and how do lab tests find out

Vape injuries occurred in 2019 because of THC adulterated with tocopherols (a vitamin derivative.) To prevent some issues before market, a lab can test cannabis oil for certain contaminants to determine how toxic a vape pen is. But how does a lab quantify a stream of aerosolized vapor or smoke? Vapor containment in the lab […]

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CBG is safe, gets green light for clinical trials and therapy

Cannabigerol, known as CBG, is a minor cannabinoid that became popular after companies worked around new FDA regulations placed on cannabis producers. Even as a common name, CBG had yet to undergo the same tests and clinical trials as CBD to ensure high doses are safe. That has since begun to change, especially with a […]

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‘3x Stronger’ Than THC? The Latest Cannabinoid THC-O Arrives

Although his Higher Life dispensary is located in the midwestern U.S. state of Indiana, where adult-use cannabis is still illegal, owner Brandon Howard has added one new product after another over the past few months.

Earlier this year, all the rage was over hemp-derived Delta-8 THC products: federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, and psychoactive enough to produce a high similar enough to regular old (and banned) plant-derived THC to move markets. But with the federal government and the states cracking down on Delta-8, Howard started offering edibles and vaporizer cartridges featuring yet another “new” cannabinoid (or new to consumers, at least): THC-O, or THC-O acetate.

What is THC-O?

First discovered by chemists decades ago (and first observed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 1978) THC-O is an analogue of “regular” plant-derived Delta-9 THC, meaning its chemical structure is similar. More specifically, THC-O is a “prodrug,” meaning after the body metabolizes THC-O, it becomes THC.

THC-O can be derived from Delta-8 THC, which is obtained from CBD—which in turn comes from hemp, which is legal to cultivate, sell, and tinker with. In April, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office issued Nextleaf Solutions, what they believe is the first patent for a THC-O extraction process. This is why THC-O is important to Howard—as well as any other business or entrepreneur eager to participate in the greater cannabis industry, while staying outside of  regulated adult-use markets—because it means he can sell it in Indiana.

So far, the reception is encouraging, he told Cannabis Now recently.

“I’ve had customers tell me it helps with their appetite,” he said. Others say using THC-O is like eating “way too many gummies,” he added, describing the effect in turn as “a slight feeling of being on psychedelics” and “an indica and a sativa feeling.” 

One thing THC-O is not, he said, is weak.

‘Three Times Stronger’ Than THC

THC-O is supposedly up to three times stronger than “normal” Delta-9 THC, something close to “weed on steroids,” as Westword put it in a December 2019 article. “It hits you in waves,” Howard said. “Just when you think you’re coming down, it hits you again.”

It’s safe, he said, but “I highly suggest starting with a low dose.”

Not everyone agrees.

THC-O’s critics include prominent cannabis researchers as well as some businesses and entrepreneurs. In their analysis, THC-O is merely the latest synthetic substitute for what customers really want—regular old cannabis.

“Industry businesses are constantly looking for the next value proposition to stick on their product box so they can stand out in a highly saturated and competitive Delta 8 market,” said Ashley Dellinger, the owner of The Hemp Collect, a Texas-based CBD wholesaler that deals with Delta-8 THC—but not THC-O. “I don’t see a lot of people deep diving into the repercussions of consumption of these compounds insomuch as they are obsessed with not missing out on another potentially large revenue opportunity.”

Exactly what a concentrated, semi-synthetic product like THC-O will do to the human brain and body is still unclear, but more menacing are the methods with which THC-O is extracted from its source material.

How is THC-O Extracted?

In an August interview with, Dr. Ethan Russo, one of the most respected experts and researchers in cannabis science, suggested that the THC-O extraction process might not be entirely legal. Under a 1986 law passed by Congress called the Federal Analogue Act, any compound that’s an analogue of a banned compound is subject to the same bans. For now, Delta-8 THC, named because it has one less carbon bond than Delta-9 THC, may escape this snare.

But the body doesn’t care about the law. What the body does care about are adulterants and other potentially dangerous additives. Though there’s not one standardized THC-O extraction process, Russo believes most THC-O makers use a reagent called acetic anhydride to convert their source material to THC-O. And acetic anhydride is highly flammable and very dangerous to humans. On top of the dangerous process, Russo added, there’s the potential of an unwelcome reaction in the human body. Most people don’t need huge amounts of THC—and, in fact, getting too high is one of the most common complaints from new (and old!) cannabis users.

“So, between the inherent danger of the process to make it, the potential toxicity of the product, and its illegality, I’ve got to recommend that people forget about it,” Russo said in his interview. “It’s just not something that people should be trying.”

Howard says he is convinced that THC-O is safe. Anyone who doubts him can use their phone to scan his products’ QR code and see the process for themselves. At the least, someone purchasing from Higher Life CBD knows where the product came from; someone buying online or at a gas station or smoke shop might not have that same level of accountability. 

Other entrepreneurs like Dellinger aren’t convinced and want more data. “We are working with the appropriate people to understand the safety of this compound before moving forward and urge other to do their due diligence,” she said. For now, product makers should “[m]aintain the plant’s range of phytochemistry as much as you can in your extractions and formulations,” she added.

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How does a vaccine compare to medical cannabis against cancer?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological mechanism that works to keep almost all vertebrae alive. It regulates everything from death to cancer. Not surprisingly, cannabis‘s role in cancer therapy is multifaceted and irrefutable, despite a still moot status with the FDA. Yet, institutions continue to intently focus on cancer vaccine research with disregard for […]

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Where Was Cannabis First Cultivated?

Many enthusiasts often wonder where cannabis is actually from. Where was cannabis first cultivated? Well, one theory is cannabis was first cultivated about 12,000 years ago. At least that’s the current view of a school of scientists, including eminent biologists. The proponents of this line of thought further hold that cannabis was cultivated not only […]

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