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The US Election May Have Been Legalisation Inspiration

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The US Election May Have Been Legalisation Inspiration.

A few weeks ago, four states in the USA legalised cannabis for adult recreational use, while four more states voted to approve medical-only use. We considered this to be a big win not only for personal freedom, but also for the hemp industry, as this wave of legalisation could also change attitudes towards hemp. This wave doesn’t seem to be over yet, as other regions look keener to legalise cannabis after the results of the election.

One of these states, unexpectedly, is Texas1. Soon after the nationwide election

, lawmakers submitted five proposals on changing cannabis laws. Three of these were about reducing the penalties for cannabis use, one would allow voters to decide on medical-only use and another would allow a vote on legalisation for recreational use. The most liberal of these2, House Bill 2165, would regulate cannabis as if it were “tomatoes, jalapenos or coffee”. Whether or not any of these will pass is unknown, as Texas is still a very conservative state. New Jersey3 has been another unexpected state, because of their very anti-cannabis Governor, Chris Christie. As he will no longer be governor from January 2018, looming loss of the “only impediment” to legalisation has led some lawmakers to Colorado for fact-finding. Senator Nick Scutari, like many others, is interested in the economic benefits, such as more jobs, and social benefits such as fewer people in prison.

Cannabis laws updated after the US election

Cannabis laws worldwide. Blue indicates legality for adult use.


Additionally, Washington DC has also eased restrictions on medical dispensaries1. The District of Columbia Council voted to allow patients with permission to use medical cannabis in other states to visit dispensaries in the district. The now-approved Act also allows patients to visit more than one dispensary and removes the limit on the number of plants that cultivators can grow. The possession limit has been increased too, from two ounces every 30 days to four.

Change may also be coming internationally. In Italy4, there has been a recent campaign to allow cannabis social clubs and to decriminalise possession and cultivation. The last days of the official campaign saw 17,500 petition signatures collected, which sends a strong message of support to the government. This included the mayors of Parma, Torino and Naples; meanwhile, the council of Sicily’s capital approved a motion to send a strong message to all MPs in support of the possible new laws. Much of this support comes from a desire to cut down the power of the Mafia. Things are looking up for Germany and the Czech Republic too5. In Germany, the Green and Left parties have secured an agreement with the Social Democratic Party to have legalisation and drug policy revisions included in the next coalition agreement. In the Czech Republic, a campaign by two minor parties has been launched to fight for legalisation. Once their petition reaches 10,000 signatures, it qualifies for presentation to the Chamber of Deputies. During the Cannafest weekend alone, it obtained 1,500 signatures.

Around the world, cannabis laws are changing for the better at a rapid pace, which can also change attitudes towards hemp. While none of these possibilities are yet certain, it looks like a bright future is ahead for those whose health depends on legalisation.

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1: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/state-leaf-cannabis-election-texas-reform-proposals

2: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/texas-yes-texas-has-multiple-marijuana-legalization-bills-in-cons

3: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/cannabis-farms-new-jersey-turnpike-maybe-sooner-think

4: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/despite-obstacles-italian-cannabis-supporters-optimistic-legalization

Could Hemp Help to Fight the Opioid Abuse Epidemic?

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It isn’t easy to write about the epidemic of opioid abuse in the USA when you have never seen it in person. The statistics1 are terrifying to look at: in 2014 alone, 19,000 Americans died from opioid overdose, and the number of opioid prescriptions has increased by four times since 1999. However, for so many people, including veteran Stephen Mandile, the word “opioid” represents decades of hell.

“I was getting about two hours of sleep every few days, not caring about anything except for my next dose,” Mandile said. He would count his pills all day to prepare for the withdrawal symptoms when he ran out of Fentanyl, and once wanted to die. Five years of Fentanyl left him “like a zombie”, with no desires of any type. Fortunately, he received a medical cannabis authorisation in Massachusetts in 2012, but he had to wait three years for the first dispensaries. “I was amazed at the pain relief I got from cannabis”, he said, with the wait being worthwhile in the end. “It helped with my migraines, my anger, my depression and my anxiousness. Within five months, I was finished with

Field of red poppies, where the original opioids were extracted from.

They may be a symbol of remembrance for fallen veterans, but the opioids based on chemicals in poppies are taking their toll on survivors. Source: John Beniston (Palmiped)

most of my VA meds.” He is not alone: US states with cannabis legal for at least medical use have, on average2, a 25% lower mortality rate from opioid use. On the other hand, some US states have more opioid prescriptions than people, with the greatest concentration of these in the conservative South. California has one of the lowest rates of opioid use, but it is still high.


So how could cannabis, or hemp – the very low-THC strains of the plant – have helped Stephen and many others? It may not be just the well-documented effects of the cannabinoids against pain, but cannabidiol (CBD) could also relieve the symptoms of addiction. Left alone, opioids produce euphoria and act on the brain’s reward pathways; over time, they desensitise these pathways and more is needed for the same effect. Sudden withdrawal leads to intense symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting and anxiety. Part of CBD’s effect on opioid addiction is to do with some ability to act on the opioid receptors, but that’s not all. Associations between the addictive substance and something otherwise innocent in a person’s life, such as a friend or street with a certain bar in it for alcoholics, are major contributors to addiction. This is known as “cue-induced cravings”. However, CBD can help to break these associations by acting on the serotonin system, as serotonin (the neurotransmitter considered to be deficient in depression) plays a role in addiction. In a study on people with heroin addictions (heroin is a type of opioid), CBD reduced anxiety and cravings compared to the placebo3. This was the case one hour, one day and one week after CBD administration. While the opioid epidemic is definitely a large-scale tragedy, there may be hope with hemp.

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1: https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/high-cbd-cannabis-pain-and-opioid-addiction

2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25154332

3: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0373-7

Hemp and Parkinson’s Disease: A New Hope?

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Hemp and Parkinson’s Disease a New Hope?

Larry Smith used to work as a police officer, but for the last 20 years he has been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, which leads to symptoms such as uncontrollable movements, tremors and loss of his voice1. Recently, he had been producing a documentary, Ride with Larry, about his fight to both raise awareness and address his illness. But one clip from the documentary in particular has gone viral on social media for all the right reasons…can you guess why?

In this clip, Larry is shown taking cannabis for the first time, in the form of oil. He first answers the door to let in a friend who will introduce him to the oil – a more difficult task than usual, as his muscles tense up and spasm. His friend instructs him to only take one drop, and rub it against his cheek. “Don’t do too much, you’re gonna be asleep all night”, he says as Larry finds difficulty in this too. After four minutes, his movements are much steadier, and his hands stopped shaking. “My voice is coming back”, he says, and then demonstrates that he is able to sing a long note at one pitch.

Parkinson's disease gait, 1886

Parkinson’s Disease gait


While interviewees in the documentary state that Larry is not the only patient to find benefit in cannabis, is there any scientific evidence behind it? A study on mice found that use of cannabidiol (CBD), the main cannabinoid in hemp, had a protective effect on the neurons that are affected by Parkinson’s Disease2. Specifically, CBD protected neurons against the toxic effects of a byproduct of pharmaceutical treatments for PD. Therefore, using hemp extracts may at least allow conventional treatments to work without producing toxic effects.

Additionally, an open-label study on six PD patients with psychosis also found benefits. When they were administered doses of CBD from 150mg to 400mg, depending on their needs, there were significant improvements in both their psychosis and scores in the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). The UPDRS measures factors such as mental state, fine motor skills, speech and walking3. However, another trial of 21 patients without psychosis only found a benefit in improving PDQ-39 scores, which measure wellbeing and quality of life4. This may mean that patients with psychosis respond differently to CBD than those without, or that in order to achieve the same results as Larry, whole hemp extract is necessary.

A recent study, published in December 2015, may help explain the potential effects of CBD in Parkinson’s disease. CBD improved cell survival and the expression of proteins related to growth of neuronal cell parts. It also prevented toxin-induced decline of nerve growth factor, which may help in neuron regeneration5. Other research has found that CBD may protect neurons by an antioxidant effect, and it was mentioned that and older study showed it to be effective in reducing inappropriate muscle tension. Overall, while research is still in its earlier stages, the story of Larry Smith is nothing to sneeze at.


1: https://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/watch-man-with-parkinsons-uses-marijuana-for-the-first-time-and-the-results-are-amazing/

2: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/pot-parkinsons-scientific-evidence-compelling

3: https://neurosurgery.mgh.harvard.edu/Functional/pdstages.htm

4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25237116

5: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887233315300047

6: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04341.x/pdf

Hemp May Reduce Workplace Medical Absenteeism

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Hemp may reduce workplace medical absenteeism.

Increasingly outdated beliefs surrounding cannabis and hemp would tell you that consuming these plants will turn you into a lazy, jobless stoner. However, a recent study has actually shown that workplace absences due to sickness have declined in US states that allow at least medical cannabis1.

This study was based on the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of sixty thousand households performed by the Census Bureau. Researchers were partly motivated by a previous study showing that alcohol consumption dropped after medical legalization. Titled The Effect of Medical Marijuana on Sickness Absence, this study found that the strongest effects were in states with the most liberal regulations, full-time workers and middle-aged males, the demographic most likely to have medical cannabis cards2. There was an 8% reduction in medical leave among the whole sample, and an 11% reduction among the full-time workers. In states with more liberal laws, medical absences dropped by 13%. Why is this important? The cost of absenteeism to the US economy is around 24 billion dollars a year. Much of this would have otherwise been spent in turn on things that lead to creation of more jobs. It has also been estimated that the wage offset of a 1% increase in the absence rate is 56 cents. Therefore, it could also reduce costs to the employers.

Hemp bracelets with coloured beads.

Hemp bracelets, far from the only way that it can keep people in paid work. Source: Debra Roby


Some of the causes of workplace absenteeism are physical illness, depression and caring for children or aged relatives3. One of the problems hemp may help to relieve is depression and anxiety4. Both of these are affected by issues with serotonin function in the brain. Research has shown that cannabidiol (CBD) could act on the receptors that control release of serotonin into the brain, as mice given drugs that block this receptor had no benefit from CBD. Similarities between CBD and a known stimulant of this receptor were also observed in a study where people with social anxiety experienced significant relief after CBD administration. Additionally, chronic pain, from issues such as inflammatory disorders or old injuries, can be a cause of repeated workplace absences. Studies have found that CBD may reduce levels of chemicals produced by the body that promote pain and inflammation5. Other cannabinoids such as CBC and CBG have also shown analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, and so have some terpenes including beta-myrcene.

To put human faces onto this, one woman speaking to the Victorian Law Reform Commission in Australia said that after she started using cannabis for chronic pain, she was able to return to work6. Previously, she had suffered from chronic pain and resulting intense nausea as a result of past injuries. Another woman who also stated she was suffering from chronic pain, this time from prolapsed discs and arthritis. As morphine made her sleep 22 hours a day, she couldn’t work or study. With cannabis, she said she could stay awake for the whole day. Overall, hemp has economic benefits beyond that of its own industry, the negative stereotypes from its association with its psychoactive cousin are both inaccurate and unfair.

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1: https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/promising-2016-cannabis-research

2: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305367155_The_Effect_of_Medical_Marijuana_on_Sickness_Absence

3: http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/07/10/the-causes-and-costs-of-absenteeism-in-the-workplace/#3e9620c3bd30

4: https://www.medicalcannabisclinic.com.au/medicinal-cannabis/anxiety-depression-treatment/

5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

6: http://lawreform.vic.gov.au/content/2-use-cannabis-medicinal-purposes


Does Hemp Work Better for Men than Women?

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Does Hemp work better for Men than Women? This question gets asked quite a lot on the web today so let us address it. When it comes to the effects of cannabinoids in the human body men and women may experience pain relief differently. Want to know the difference? Although results do vary, a recent study has shown some interesting results. Men may experience greater pain relief from cannabinoids than women, according to a new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence1. While a few studies on sex differences and cannabinoids are out there, does this translate to hemp, and can women still benefit from its extracts?

Hormones and the menstrual cycle, experienced by women of childbearing age.

Hormones and the menstrual cycle. Source: Isometrik (edited by Lyrl)


These findings are much different from animal studies showing that female rats are more sensitive to the pain-relieving effects of cannabinoids. Although it was a small study, with only 21 men and 21 women, the results were seen as “significant”, that is, they are likely to be relevant to the general population and caused by sex differences. And once again, it tested psychoactive cannabis, not hemp. For this study, half of the volunteers smoked low-potency cannabis, containing 3.56-5.6% THC, or a placebo, and at consistent intervals, dipped their hands in very cold water. They then rated their pain, and the researchers also noted how long it took for each of them to take their hands out of the water. Only men had any significant self-rated pain relief from the smoked cannabis, while there was no difference between the two groups of women. However, both men and women experienced increased pain tolerance, which was measured by the amount of time it took for them to pull their hands out of the water.

The authors speculate that this may have been to do with cannabis tolerance, as animal studies show that females develop tolerance faster. All of the volunteers were heavy, daily smokers, used to higher THC levels of around 15-25%. If women develop tolerance much easier than men, those accustomed to 15-25% THC may see hardly any effect from levels three to five times lower. One theory is that hormone levels affect sensitivity to cannabinoids. Animal studies have suggested that when levels of oestradiol (a type of oestrogen) is high, women, or at least female rats, are more sensitive to the pain-relieving and other effects of cannabinoids. When progesterone levels are high, female animals were found to be less sensitive. To measure the effects of a typical woman’s hormone profile on sensitivity to cannabinoids, it would be necessary to know where she is in her menstrual cycle. Typically, oestrogen dominates until day 14-15 of the menstrual cycle, just after ovulation2. Progesterone then becomes the dominant hormone until menstruation, when levels of both hormones are low. Another limitation of this study was that the researchers tested one specific type of pain, that caused by cold water1. Therefore, the results may not be applicable to the types of pain hemp is used for, such as inflammatory pain. Cannabidiol (CBD), the main cannabinoid in hemp, has been shown to reduce the effects of the body’s inflammatory chemicals such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha3. Other cannabinoids, such as CBC and CBG, are anti-inflammatory in their own ways, such as CBG’s ability to block lipoxygenase. Overall, if you are a woman thinking of using hemp for pain relief, it is best to research the potential benefits thoroughly, instead of being put off by headlines about one study on cannabis.

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1: https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/cannabis-pain-relief-men-vs-women

2: Tortora & Derrickson, Principles of Anatomy & Physiology, 2012.

3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

Could Hemp Really Put Us at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease?

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Could hemp really put us at risk for Alzheimer’s disease?

Often, viral news is not the most accurate news. The internet recently went crazy over a new study by Dr Daniel Amen1 suggesting that cannabis use increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But is this really the case, and does it mean anything for those of us using hemp? Despite many media outlets such as The New York Daily News and Raw Story citing it, the study has many problems in its methodology.

The first problem with Amen’s research is the definition of “cannabis user”. He did not involve occasional users or people who use the plant every day, either as a substitute for alcohol or for health purposes. He certainly did not involve people who use non-psychoactive hemp extracts. Instead, he restricted his research to people with cannabis addictions diagnosed along DSM-IV and DSM-V criteria. This is only 9% of all cannabis users (not including hemp users). On the other hand, an 8-year cohort study found no real difference in cognitive performance caused by cannabis, except in heavy users.

Image of a normal brain vs Alzheimers disease

Healthy brain structure vs Alzheimer’s disease

Additionally, around 95% of the addicted users that Amen studied had other psychiatric issues. Almost half had traumatic brain injuries, one third had major depressive disorder and two-thirds had ADHD. Some of these may have the same risk factors, or even be risk factors themselves, for Alzheimer’s disease. The non-user population that he compared them to, however, had no chronic illnesses, prescription medication, addictions or even relatives with psychiatric disorders. On top of all these things, the conclusions of his study were based around poor blood flow to the brain being a risk for Alzheimer’s disease. It is not conclusively proven that low blood flow can cause the disease. Cannabis-is-the-key-to-unlocking-preventative-medicine

There is also research demonstrating that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease2. While this was a study on brain cells grown in a lab, research like this can uncover treatments that are effective in live humans. These cells were altered so that they produced high levels of the amyloid-beta plaque that characterises Alzheimer’s disease and causes its symptoms. It was found that this plaque was associated with more inflammation and brain cell death. When the cells were exposed to THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, amyloid-beta levels fell and so did inflammation. A human study3 of eleven people with Alzheimer’s disease, published in 2016, tested the ability of a cannabis oil containing THC to relieve the symptoms of the condition. After the prospective, open-label trial, there was a significant reduction in CGI (Clinical Global Impression) severity scores, from 6.5 to 5.7 on average, and in NPI (Neuropsychiatric Inventory) scores, from 44.4 to 12.8 on average. The NPI domains most affected were related to delusions, apathy, aggression, irritability, sleep and caregiver distress. But can hemp achieve similar results? Possibly; for example, a lab study4 showed that cannabidiol (CBD) prevented the expression of genes involved in amyloid-beta production. While more research on human participants is necessary, research is suggesting that hemp may in fact fight Alzheimer’s disease, not cause it.

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1: https://www.leafly.com/news/health/does-marijuana-cause-alzheimers

2: https://www.salk.edu/news-release/cannabinoids-remove-plaque-forming-alzheimers-proteins-from-brain-cells/

3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26757043

4: http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/18/1/26

Could Hemp Help Diabetes Complications?

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Diabetes is a common health condition that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal, and occurs in two types. The American Diabetes Association1 defines Type I diabetes as an inability to produce insulin, the hormone that allows blood sugar to be absorbed into cells. This affects around 5-10% of people with diabetes. Type II diabetes is when the body loses its ability to use insulin, and affects 90-95% of people who have diabetes. In some people with Type II diabetes, medicines that control blood sugar levels are enough to prevent further insulin resistance and damage to the body. In others with more severe disease, and people with Type I, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas have been destroyed and insulin injections are necessary. To make things worse, high blood sugar leads to glucose becoming tangled in the body’s tissues, which is called glycation. This not only causes direct damage, but a vicious cycle of destruction by oxidative damage and inflammation. Our kidneys, eyes, nervous system and cardiovascular system are the most vulnerable to this damage.

The symptoms of diabetes.

So how can hemp help? Cannabidiol (CBD), the main phytochemical in hemp, may have several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects2 which could protect against the complications of diabetes. In this lab study, CBD was even found to have these abilities when the cause was high glucose levels. It inhibited the production of damaging substances, calmed the immune system and maintained the barrier function in the cells that line our blood vessel walls. Additionally, CBD has been found to prevent diabetes in animal research3. In a study on mice, CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes from 86% in the control group, to 30% in the treated group. Use of CBD significantly reduced the levels of inflammatory immune chemicals, and insulin-producing areas of the pancreas were less inflamed. The authors stated that CBD most likely prevented diabetes in some of the mice by modulating immune function.

But what about in human patients? A randomised, controlled trial on 62 patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes set out to test the effect of CBD, THCV and two combinations of them on various parameters related to the disease4. Compared to before treatment, CBD significantly reduced resistin and increased glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP). Wait, what are those? Resistin is a chemical linked with insulin resistance, while GIP can help preserve insulin-producing cells. So in theory, CBD could help reduce the severity of some aspects of Type II diabetes. It also cut insulin levels in the oral glucose tolerance test (2 hour mark) by a quarter, but this wasn’t seen as “statistically significant”. Unfortunately, CBD was not deemed effective in managing any parameter of diabetes, although the doses used were lower than other trials for different conditions. THCV, however, significantly increased the function of insulin-producing cells and reduced fasting blood sugar. As this is a derivative of THC, it is not found in non-psychoactive hemp.

While the current research on hemp and diabetes is fascinating and off to a good start, it is still limited and more research on human patients is needed to see if hemp extracts can be effective. Based on our years of research and global product testing you can form your own opinions on it’s efficacy. If you are interested in learning more information feel free to connect with us directly for more information at elixinol.com. One of our friendly and knowledgable team members will be more than happy to educate you. View our select menu of world-class Medical grade hemp oil products here. Elixinol has become a global leader in product sourcing and development. We are committed to world-class customer service and to creating better human health and an environmentally sustainable world. We support you in your health efforts and provide the highest medical grade 100% organic hemp products on the planet. Want to learn more about the amazing benefits of our Cannabidiol (CBD) hemp capsules, CBD oil tinctures, CBD oil liposomes and more? Just give us a call toll free on the number below: 


1: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/?loc=db-slabnav

2: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2228254/

3: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16698671

4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27573936

How to save 400,000 lives per year

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First, do no harm.

That’s the pledge that doctors take when they graduate from medical school, at
least according to popular lore.

Yet get this: Through medical errors, doctors in the United States are killing 400,000 people every year, according to a 2016 study authored by Martin Makary, M.D., Ph.D., and research assistant Michael Daniel of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The study, published in The BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal), points to surgical complications, as well as mix-ups in the dosages and types of medications that people receive.

“We have estimated that medical error is the third biggest cause of death in the U.S. and therefore requires greater attention,” the authors write.

At the same time, the medical profession has acknowledged that highly addictive opiates have been massively overprescribed. Doctors are finally cutting back these prescriptions in reaction to the deadly health crisis caused by these drugs, and federal guidelines to limit their use.

On top of this, antipsychotic medications are being overprescribed for young people, and we’ve reached a tipping point in which medical researchers are warning that antibiotic medicines may no longer work.

Hold on. What if there were an organic, plant-based medicine that helped the body stay in homeostatic balance, and was being used to effectively treat epilepsy, cancer, PTSD and many other conditions? There, is of course. It’s hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), and in 4,000 years, no one has ever died from ingesting it.

In the war against disease, we are killing ourselves through friendly fire. Instead of haphazardly poisoning ourselves with toxic drugs, isn’t it time we take a rational, test-and-learn approach? At a time when 400,000 people are dying every year through medical mistakes and mishaps, isn’t it time we focus creating greater acceptance — in the medical profession, the legal system and society at large — on what works, and has always worked?

What can you do? Talk with your friends and neighbors. Go to events, sign petitions. Become an activist, let your elected officials know where you stand on this — it’s literally a life-and-death issue. Removing cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs would be a big step forward to saving hundreds of thousands of lives and ending needless suffering.

Hemp Oil May Be a Great Topical For Aging Skin!

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Aging is a universal complaint, and as a result, treatments intended to fight skin aging make up an industry worth millions of dollars. If you’re tired of face creams with unreadable lists of ingredients, and no guarantee that a therapeutic dose of the active compounds are used, it may be time for a more natural approach. Fortunately, hemp oil may be an effective alternative. Read More