This vegan coleslaw recipe is quick to prepare – especially if you have a mandolin to slice the cabbage – but chilling it for a few hours or even a full day will make it tastier and tender. Add hemp seeds to optimize your intake of protein, minerals and dietary fiber.
Finely chop the cabbage with a knife or mandolin and put it in a large bowl
In a small bowl, prepare the vinaigrette by thoroughly mixing all the other ingredients (except hemp seeds)
Mix in the vinaigrette with the chopped cabbage and add the hemp seeds
Chill for at least one hour and up to 24 hours before eating
Here’s a snapshot of some of the most popular podcasts for stoners online these days. This is a mix of podcasts dedicated to cannabis by providing the latest local and international news, product and strain reviews, cultivation techniques, and cultural shifts, as well as a few gems that are guaranteed to enhance your high.
What Are You Smoking?
This stoner podcast comes from the team over at Leafly and features a roster of industry heads talking about their favorite strains and ways to consume cannabis. Hosted by Will Hyde, cannabis expert, and Bailey Rahn, strain and health specialist, they talk to everyone from entrepreneurs, farmers, processors, and activists to uncover the latest developments in the industry as well as the newest strains and products. Episode 57 features Ed Rosenthal talking about his updated book Beyond Buds. Leafly does a second podcast called The Roll-Up, which is a weekly round-up of international cannabis news.
Songwriter and one of the co-founders of the essay site, Longform.org, Aaron Lammer, celebrates the connection between cannabis and creativity in a sublime stoner podcast, simply titled: Stoner. In his laidback style, each week Lammer talks to creative types discussing everything from video games, pharmaceutical drugs and DMT to individual smoking rituals and how to make art. Stoner is different from other podcasts because of its intimate approach and the honesty of its contributors. In episode 23, the novelist Tao Lin describes how using cannabis introduced “awe and wonder” into his life and put him into a “new state of consciousness” without the dread he’d previously experienced on psychedelics.
The Ganjapreneur Podcast
If you’re thinking of taking your cannabis expertise next level, and using it to start your own business venture, then you’ll want to listen to the Ganjapreneur podcast, which is packed full of tips and unique insider knowledge from industry experts. Rather than just detail industry news or review the latest products, Ganjapreneur podcast provides the cannabis community with actionable solutions that can be built into real-time business strategies for successful results. In short, the people interviewed on this stoner podcast walk the walk and give advice from their own hands-on experience. Although the show focuses on the U.S. market, the information definitely crosses borders. In one episode, the cannabis science educator Emma Chasen discusses why she rejects the Indica/Sativa classification of weed.
From the creators of Green State, the cannabis news page at the San Francisco Chronicle, comes a snappy little stoner podcast called The Hash. The host, Max Savage Levenson, talks to all sorts of cannabis industry heads and users, asking them to describe what’s in their canna-kits as well as why get high? This podcast, which has been running since 2015, is a deep dive into all things cannabis culture though the focus is, once again, American medical and recreational trends. But Savage has some great chats, well worth a listen, like the one with Swerve, founder of the Cali Connection, and more recently, with Clement Kwan, CEO of Beboe, the company that was coined the “Hermes of Marijuana” by the New York Times.
Cannabis Cultivation and Science Podcast
The Cannabis Cultivation and Science Podcast is a must-listen for all you budding growers out there, and anyone with an interest in the science of cannabis. Hosted by horticulturalist Tad Hussey of KIS Organics, the show aims to be a resource for both beginners and long-time growers by bridging the gap between grow science and marketing myths. Topics covered vary widely, including everything from how to combat diseases and improve your grow environment to using ozone as a disinfectant and the role of lighting in plant growth. Though the focus is very much cannabis, Hussey talks to a range of horticulturalists, inviting them to share their expertise and apply it to weed.
Brave New Weed
What makes Brave New Weed different from other podcasts is its willingness to explore some tough questions like the effect cannabis use has on teens, whether or not it’s safe to smoke while pregnant, and what it’s like to go from running from the law to running a successful cannabis venture. Another American stoner podcast, so yet again, much focus on industry and legal developments in that part of the world, but still lots of useful information and fascinating stories from a range of experts and weed veterans. In episode 14, Dr. Ethan Russo explains why the smell of cannabis is so important, and determines the plant’s healing powers.
Finally! A podcast from Europe! This podcast is a cheeky and eclectic bag of underground shows from a group of British stoners featuring the Dopefiend, TeenagePie, Black Beauty and Nexus. On the first Monday of the month, the Dopefiend rounds up the latest cannabis news in high style, and reviews the industry’s newest gadgets in the Dopecast. A variety of shows follow on other days of the week including surreal stoner comedy with TeenagePie, and cool music from Lefty’s Lounge. On Freakout Fridays, all things psychedelic are reviewed and celebrated, and on Sundays, it’s The Grow Report with some top-notch growers. In short, the Dopefiend has something for every kind of stoner, but nothing for the faint of heart.
The Church of What’s Happening Now
Any fans of the Joe Rogan podcast will know who Joey ‘Coco’ Diaz, AKA Uncle Joey, is, and most likely adore him. Few people can resist Uncle Joey’s gravelly voice and open-book, no bullshit, let’s-get-high-now style. Growing up on the streets of New York, he was exposed to gang life from an early age and ended up in jail at the age of 25. That’s where he learned to pursue his true passion: stand-up comedy. In a podcast called The Church of What’s Happening Now, sponsored by health and fitness company Onnit.com, Joey speaks some serious truth, covering topics as wide ranging as suicide and dating. Do expect Uncle Joey to ramble. It’s what he does best. For more high-jinks, check out his Morning Joint.
“Be very careful what y’all listen to on this podcast because Lady Jae is hot, hot, hot, hot!” So says Lady Jae, AKA Jarvis Jovan Clark, one of the many vibrant voices featured on Ear Hustle, a podcast from inside San Quentin State Prison, California. Produced and presented by inmates Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams with Nigel Poor, an artist who volunteers at the prison, the podcast offers a unique glimpse of prison life, and gives voice to a section of the population we never get to hear from: convicted criminals. What makes this podcast compulsive listening is its brutal humanity. These guys may be felons but they’re also some of the funniest, warmest and most honest voices you’re likely to encounter online. FYI Ear Hustle is prison slang for gossip.
Who doesn’t love a good story, especially when you know the teller is risking everything by telling it. That’s the premise of one of the most entertaining podcasts online right now: RISK! Hosted by Kevin Allison, possibly the most upbeat presenter on the air, he brings together a mad bunch of storytellers from all over the world to tell their scariest, funniest, most romantic, or heart-breaking tales. This is basically a completely uncensored look behind closed doors with people freely admitting all the gruesome details you can’t not see once you know. In need of a heartfelt giggle with your joint, check out RISK! You won’t be disappointed.
Under the Skin with Russell Brand
Few people have the verbal skills or the intense curiosity of Russell Brand and he brings both in spades to his new podcast, Under the Skin, using the platform to interview some of the world’s leading thinkers on topics such addiction, power, and society. In one notable episode, he talks with the addiction specialist, Gabor Mate, who breaks down why and how our social orders are set up to perpetuate trauma and addiction, and how our world leaders are products of a broken system they’re incapable of changing. Mate’s comments are fascinating, for example: “What we have in jail are the most traumatized people in society” and “if you kill one person, you’re a murderer, but if you kill half a million people you’re a war hero.” With regard to addiction, Mate is clear: “People need compassion not punishment.” Under the Skin is compulsive listening for anyone with an interest in mental and spiritual health.
On 28 November 2018, the Berlin Administrative Court rejected a claim that challenges the constitutionality of the cannabis ban. A retired Berlin lawyer, the plaintiff, wanted to open a coffee shop and felt that the cannabis ban restricted his rights to freedom. Thomas Herzog and his legal advisor, lawyer Volker Gerloff, believe the cannabis ban to violate fundamental rights and to be unconstitutional. The Federal Republic of Germany, the defendant, was represented by lawyers of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“The cannabis ban is irrational from every perspective“, explains Gerloff, before the trial to the Berliner Zeitung. “In the background, there’s always the right to general freedom to act, which is the highest fundamental right in a democratic constitutional state.“
Does the Constitution Outweigh International Treaties?
The often cited argument that because of the UN Single Convention, a country cannot legalise the narcotic substance cannabis alone, means that the two lawyers are facing an argument that should outweigh multilateral obligations: the German Constitution.
Gerloff and Herzog justify the claim with the argument that the Federal Republic of Germany may not enter into any binding obligations under international law if it would be detrimental to rights protected under constitutional law. If a court were to find violations of fundamental rights as a result of the existing cannabis ban, the Federal Government would have to provide an immediate and effective remedy to these violations. Consideration for international conventions, such as the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs from 1961, would be secondary in such a case.
The lawyers of the Federal Court regarded the rejection of the claim as confirmation of its stance. The Federal Constitutional Court is allegedly responsible for such fundamental legal issues such as the cannabis ban. If the administrative court were to allow the claim, the Federal Government would not simply be able to overturn the cannabis ban with a simple decree without the consent of the Federal Parliament and the Federal Council.
The court justified the rejection by challenging the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court. Chief Judge Groscurth justified her decision by saying that only an Act passed by the Federal Parliament could decide that cannabis would be legalised.
Herzog and Gerloff, on the other hand, still regard the ban as a violation of the principle of equality. The substances tobacco and alcohol are allegedly much more dangerous, yet legal.
Time for a Second Attempt in Karlsruhe
Perhaps it is not that bad that the claim was rejected at the lowest level. Imagine Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) bringing the abolition of asylum law before an administrative court in the first instance and winning the case. The Ministry of the Interior would have to tighten asylum law straight away without the consent of Parliament.
The only promising factor to come out of it would be that the case would be brought before the constitutional court in Karlsruhe. On the one hand, this would take longer and require its own financial assets, but on the other hand, it was 24 years ago when the judge in Karlsruhe last passed a judgment on the cannabis ban, and back then he already decided that the possession of small quantities should no longer be prosecuted.
Only the way in which this old judgment is being implemented would be worth checking by the judge at the constitutional court. In 1994, the judge would certainly not have imagined that the regulations for small quantities would still vary widely 24 years after that first judgment and, depending on the federal state, are often worth no more than the paper they are written on. Even today, consumers in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are still being prosecuted with repressive measures and driving bans for being in possession of just a few grams, whereas in Bremen or Berlin, they often turn a blind eye.
Given the current situation, it would be conceivable to all intents and purposes, that Karlsruhe would not block further trends towards liberalisation. Yet the would-be coffee shop operator from Berlin would have to wait a while longer. Instead of fundamentally challenging the constitutionality of the cannabis ban, bring the economic aspect to the forefront of the argument and then start by applying to open a shop. As soon as the trade office or the police wants to foil his plans, the retired lawyer would have to take legal action against the ban on opening a hemp shop, because then it would be affecting him specifically. After the two expected defeats in low instances, this would free the way to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. Only if the highest administrative court were to rule against coffee shops would the judges at the constitutional court in Karlsruhe be responsible. Only they would then be able to declare the ban unconstitutional and request that the legislator legalise cannabis within a certain period. This path would certainly delay things for years.
Another and much faster option would be to support the claim through Members of the Federal Parliament, who can appeal to the constitutional court directly and without detours if they believe that a law restricts fundamental rights.
Parliament Could be Faster
It would of course be simpler if there were already new majorities in Berlin beforehand. Given the last elections in the Federal Parliament, that is not very implausible, because since the U-turn the SPD made this summer, there is currently already a mathematical majority in the Federal Parliament that’s in favour of a regulated cannabis market. Yet the SPD, as a minor coalition partner of the CDU, is not yet in the position to exert pressure. Cannabis does not appear in the coalition agreement, which governs the guidelines set by government policy in the coming years in detail. In Germany, it is a political tradition not to jeopardise this agreement by bringing up controversial topics during the term of office.
With cannabis legalization fever heating up across the globe, and much speculation that the plant will be made legal at federal level in the States in the near future, some serious cannabis movers and shakers are cementing their legacies, while new names are starting to emerge. Here’s a list of the ten top U.S. cannabis movers and shakers in 2018.
Few people in the world of cannabis don’t know the name Steve DeAngelo. As a long-time cannabis activist, entrepreneur and educator in a career spanning 40 years, today DeAngelo is the CEO of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, and a regular speaker at international industry events. In April of this year, Forbes magazine named DeAngelo one of the seven most influential people in the marijuana business. DeAngelo is also one of the co-founders of the Arcview Group, set up to introduce investors to the best and brightest cannabis entrepreneurs. So far, Arcview has raised at least $70 million for more than 100 companies since its 2010 inception.
Wanda James is the owner one of Colorado’s best-known dispensaries: Simply Pure. As a former Navy lieutenant and political campaign manager who worked on Obama’s financial committee and the Amendment 64 Task Force that laid the groundwork for regulating recreational cannabis in Colorado, few dispensary owners are as clued-in or well-connected as James. Not only is Simply Pure the first Colorado dispensary run by African-Americans, it’s also known for its political activism, with James and her husband, Scott Durrah, a former marine and certified chef, actively campaigning for the rights of cannabis patients and ex-army vets suffering from PTSD. James is also CEO of the Global Cannabis Initiative, an organization dedicated to the sustained growth and regulation of the cannabis industry.
Whoopi and Maya
When Whoopi Goldberg launched a line of cannabis products with her business partner, Maya Elizabeth, the award-winning edibles maker, in 2016, little did they know that their brand of pain relief creams for women would become the fastest growing cannabis brands of 2017. Their chic product line includes four categories: savor, soak, relax and rub. Savor is a raw cacao spread infused with organic cannabis to create a super food that is both gluten free and vegan. Soak is a lavender bath soak infused with cannabis and restorative salts. Relax is an herbal tincture with cannabis, elderberries, raspberry leaf, motherwort and passionflower that can be consumed as a hot or cold beverage. Finally, rub is a luxurious body lotion that blends cannabis with a mix of herbs that can be used to soothe menstrual cramps. Today, Whoopi and Maya products are available in more than 300 stores in California.
One of the most important jobs in the current cannabis climate is that of the educator, the people who use their expert knowledge to promote the positive benefits of cannabis. One of the next generation educators is biologist Emma Chasen, who previously worked at Portland’s Farma dispensary where she was voted best bud-tender and promoted to general manager. She then teamed up with the Sativa Science Club to create a series of affordable online cannabis courses. Emma’s hands-on style and deep well of knowledge is popular with young cannabis users.
The youngest of the legendary Marley tribe, Damien AKA Jr. Gong has been making big waves in the cannabis world for the last few years, but ramped up his involvement in 2018 by opening a dispensary in Colorado named Stony Hill, in partnership with Tru Cannabis. The name Stony Hill has a special place in the reggae star’s heart, as it’s where he was born in Jamaica. As part of a cross-promotion strategy, Stony Hill is also the name of his latest album released this summer. He also partnered up with Ocean Grown Extracts to grow marijuana in an abandoned prison in Coalinga, California, and he teamed up with a group of investors to buy into High Times magazine.
No list of cannabis influencers is complete without Keith Stroup’s name on it. Stroup is the founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and serves as legal counsel for the organization. When Stroup set up NORML in 1970 only 12 per cent of the American population was in favor of legalization, but that didn’t deter the attorney. Today, NORML has 135 chapters with 550 lawyers, is the largest grassroots marijuana movement in the world, and 2 out of 3 Americans support the legalization of cannabis.
Nick and Nate Diaz
The Diaz brothers are not only two of the most dangerous fighters on the MMA scene today, they’re also two of the most vocal advocates for marijuana, claiming weed is key component of their successes, and calling it a performance enhancer. Nick (34) holds a record of 37 fights with 13 knockouts, and Nate’s (32) record comes in at 31 fights with four knockouts. Both brothers are Jiu-Jitsu black belts, compete in triathlons, and are committed to busting stereotypes around cannabis. Neither shy away from controversy either. Nick has been suspended three times for blazing weed, and more recently, in 2016, Nate received a warning when he vaped at a UFC press conference after a fight.
Dr. Joshua Kaplan
As the legalization movement progresses opening the door for a wide range of cannabis products with potentially beneficial effects for many conditions including epilepsy, anxiety and obesity, it’s never been more important to have access to impartial scientific research. So says Dr. Joshua Kaplan, a neuroscientist and science writer for leading cannabis titles including Leafly and High Times. Expect to hear a lot more from Kaplan in coming years as he continues his research championing the health benefits of cannabis.
For anyone who wants to keep up to date on the latest cannabis news from America and around the globe, Tom Angell is the man. His weekly newsletter, Marijuana Moment, covers all the latest political and legal moves related to cannabis, while his Twitter feed is rare source of real-time news with lots of exclusives and tips. Angell also chairs the non-profit Marijuana Majority.
Much like DeAngelo and Stroup, no list of cannabis movers and shakers is complete without Snoop, the OG weed rapper turned cannabis media mogul is possibly the plant’s most well known advocate. Snoop has invested in many cannabis ventures including the media platform Merry Jane, a brand of cannabis products called Leafs by Snoop and the venture capital firm, Casa Verde. Since setting up Casa Verde in 2015, Snoop has raised more than $45 million in investment funds for cannabis ventures.
Since 2001, Canadians seeking to use cannabis for medical treatment have had access to it under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). They enabled “individuals with the authorization of a health-care practitioner to access dried marijuana for medical purposes by producing their own marijuana plants, designating someone to produce for them or purchasing Health Canada supply”.
The procedure for sourcing cannabis from an authorized producer is relatively simple. Patients should first meet with a health-care practitioner to determine if cannabis can be beneficial in treating their symptoms. If so, the latter provides patients with a medical certificate required for registration with one of the 132 producers authorized by Health Canada. Then patients can buy fresh, dried cannabis, or cannabis oil. Under the regulations, no intermediaries are allowed to sell medicinal cannabis to patients. Dispensaries and ‘compassion clubs’ are illegal, even though they were more or less tolerated and present in the Canadian landscape until recent legalization.
The Canadian medicinal cannabis regime was established in the context of illegal cannabis use. Now that this is no longer the case, is this regime still relevant?
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
Before delving further into this question, let’s consider the context in which the government implemented its medical program. It allows patients to have access to medicinal cannabis without danger of being criminalized. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) was clearly against having its members prescribe cannabis to patients.
It should be noted that the CMA represents Canadian physicians, promoting, among other things, health policies, strategies, and access to quality health care. Its arguments are that there is insufficient clinical evidence about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and that available data on indications, potency (THC, CBD levels) drug interactions and adverse effects are still too few.
Furthermore, the CMA argues that the medical profession does not have to authorize the use of cannabis since it has not gone through Health Canada’s regular pharmaceutical regulatory approval process. As indicated in its August 2016 submission to the government, the Association believes that “it is important that there be support for research of marijuana in order to develop products that can be held to pharmaceutical standards, as is the case with dronabinol (Marinol®), nabilone (Cesamet®) and THC/CBD (Sativex®)”. According to Dr. Jeff Blakmer, CMA Vice President, “eight out of nine physicians in Canada do not feel comfortable discussing or providing access to medical cannabis”.
Despite its obvious opposition, and in response to the implementation of the medical program, the CMA has complied with the government’s wishes. But the complete legalization of cannabis has changed the situation. Now that recreational cannabis is legal, the CMA is calling for the abolition of the medicinal cannabis program, and is actively seeking to dissociate itself from it.
Differences of Opinion on Cannabis Within the Medical Community
In preparation for the legalization of recreational cannabis, the government conducted a public consultation. The Canadian Medical Association participated once again. In its submission to Health Canada in January 2018, it recommended unyieldingly that there should be only one system and one regulation for medical and recreational cannabis. This repeated what it had already stated in its first submission regarding its disagreement with the prescription of cannabis as medicine.
As Dr. Jeff Blackmer publicly stated at a major medical conference gathering scientists, physicians, pharmacists and nurses, some time before the Cannabis Act came into force, “our view is really that now that the government is obviously intending to legalize this, once this is a substance that’s available to all Canadians, there’s really no need for physicians to continue to serve in that gatekeeper role”. His statement was so clear-cut that there was an outcry and, booed by the audience, Dr. Blackmer left the room.
Also present at the conference was Dr. Mark Ware. He heads the Quebec Cannabis Registry and president of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, the body responsible for the conference. An outstanding researcher and professor at McGill University who has devoted his career to research on cannabinoids and chronic pain, Dr. Ware recently left academia to become Executive Director at Canopy Growth, the world’s largest cannabis producer. This specialist believes that it would be a mistake to abandon the medicinal cannabis program, since all cannabis products would subsequently be considered for recreational use. Without the supervision and monitoring of health professionals, patients would be left alone.
Medicinal Cannabis Patients Abandoned by Healthcare Professionals
Dr. Ware also believes that products made from isolated cannabinoids – therapeutic options that doctors would clearly prefer to prescribe – are not as effective as dried flowers because of the entourage effect. He acknowledges that science still has much to understand about the complex interactions of cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the cannabis plant. There is need for further research.
The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), which represents more than 139,000 nurses, also supports the continuation of the program, stating that “without the distinction between the two types of cannabis, the production of this product will be based solely on consumer demand”. CNA public policy and program manager, Karey Shuhendler, points out that even if it is the same plant, cannabis used for medicinal purposes differs greatly from cannabis used for recreational purposes, particularly in that it contains less THC and more CBD.
In addition, if the medicinal program were to be dropped, patients would no longer be able to benefit from medical monitoring to assess therapeutic and adverse effects and possible drug interactions. As a result, the approximately 300,000 Canadian patients who use medicinal cannabis would be left to their own devices, a concern also shared by Dr. Ware.
On the side of patients, there is the same concern. James O’Hara, a medicinal cannabis user and president of the Canadian Organization for Equitable Access to Medical Marijuana, insists that physicians remain engaged in research and want to integrate cannabis as a treatment rather than withdrawing it from the equation. He adds that medicinal patients often need varieties that have been specifically developed to treat their conditions – anxiety, nausea caused by cancer treatments, seizures – and that in the absence of a medical context, there can be no guarantee that such varieties will remain available. In addition, the organization is concerned about the stigma associated with the use of medicinal cannabis, which would only increase if the medicinal program were abandoned.
Where Are the Canadian Medicinal Cannabis Patients in All This?
The shortage of recreational cannabis across Canada only a few weeks after legalization is a source of concern that affects medicinal users. In fact, the same authorized producers supply both types of cannabis. Since October 17th, 2018, many patients have had difficulty obtaining the varieties they used to buy. These producers had promised their medicinal customers an uninterrupted supply, but it seems that the high demand for recreational cannabis and exports abroad are affecting medicinal stocks. Authorized producers are not required by law to hold stocks for medicinal demand although Health Canada expects them to prioritize medicinal sales.
These companies justify shortages by citing a sudden increase in the number of medicinal patient registrations just days before recreational legalization. In addition, many patients who anticipated the shortage placed orders just before October 17th, 2018, increasing medicinal demand. The government is urging authorized producers to be transparent and to inform their patients of the length of the delays. On the Tilray site, however, patients are not finding anything very informative: “Out of stock. Coming soon”.
For the time being, the government has agreed to continue the medical program for another five years. What will happen in the meantime? Complete legalization is undoubtedly a very positive milestone. But in the case of Canada, there is need for rigorous monitoring and a commitment on the part of all involved parties to guarantee cannabis access to those who need it most, those who have paved the way for the legalization of recreational cannabis: patients.
January 2018 was a hemp-based month, featuring the launch of our CBD oil capsules and the inauguration of the Hemp Design Villa in Oude Pekela. Twelve months on, the CBD oil capsules are proving to be one of our most popular products. Made from hemp grown by our sister company HempFlax, they contain full plant extract rather than just CBD crystals, so the Entourage Effect can be enjoyed by people looking to improve their health and well-being.
HempFlax is also the site of the Hemp Design Villa, a collaboration with the Hanze University of Applied Sciences of Groningen (Minerva Art Academy and Research Group Art & Sustainability), Terra, the Entrepreneurs Association of Pekela, and the Municipality of Pekela. This literally ground-breaking endeavour aims to harness the powers of hemp as a multi-purpose building material like never before, and was officially launched by the Mayor of Oude Pekela on January 17th.
In February our blog was honoured and graced with a guest post from non other than Michka, one of our heroines and a true icon of the cannabis scene. In late 2017 we launched our most recent cannabis seed variety, named for and created in collaboration with this astonishing woman. Michka the strain is gorgeous, uplifting and sativa-dominant, with bright flavours of citrus.
These qualities, and its low price, were at the direct request of Michka herself. Her ethos that “free access to plants is the birthright of all living creatures” is further explained in this guest post, where she discusses her history of cannabis use, and the evolution of cannabis use in general in the last few decades.
Spannabis is always a joy to attend! March was no exception. The Sensi Seeds Expo Crew packed up the booth and trekked to Barcelona, where for the first time, this enormous cannabis fair was held in conjunction with the World Cannabis Conferences. To celebrate the 15th edition of Spannabis, not only did our Expo Crew dispense help and advice, but also gave away free Jack Herer seeds with each purchase.
OK, we admit it, we published our April Fool’s Day post right at the end of March. This was purely because of where the April 1st weekend fell in 2018, not a doubly tricky attempt to make you believe that we really were launching cannabis strains with no smell, flavour, cannabinoids or terpenes!
Judging from the responses on the blog and social media, however, very few of you actually fell for it. We didn’t think you would, but we had a lot of fun creating the Sensi Seeds Zero Strains text and visuals!
Mikki Norris and Chris Conrad have been tireless cannabis campaigners for the last three decades. Not only are they friends of Sensi Seeds, they both worked as curators of the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum shortly after it opened. On a visit to Amsterdam earlier in 2018, they gave a series of video interviews which we published on the blog. This series concluded in May as they looked to the future of cannabis in the US.
June saw events worth celebrating from the whole family of companies. A rabbit and a guinea pig achieved unexpected hemp-based fame thanks to HempFlax. Our sister company partnered with Welkoop, a chain of pet shops, to retail a range of hemp animal bedding for small pets. The competition on Facebook for the furry models to feature on the packaging resulted in over 15,000 entries!
The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum opened a new temporary exhibition. ‘We Are Mary Jane: Women of Cannabis’ celebrates and elevates the role of women in the cannabis industry since its primordial beginnings to the present day. Due to its deserved popularity and relevance , this exhibition has been extended until February 2019 when it will be transferred to the Barcelona branch of the museum.
Undeterred, we began a new Instagram account which – at the time of writing – currently has 19.6 thousand followers. Please do follow it if you haven’t already! There are great photos from ourselves and our followers, plus competitions, news and special offers.
Good news for cannabis globally, however, as Luxembourg legalised cannabis for medicinal use and investment opportunities; Ireland proposed revolutionary new forms of regulation; and the Federal Council of Switzerland reviewed proposals for more liberal cannabis policies.
Closer to home, our expert author Oli had the exciting opportunity to interview Mila Jansen about her fascinating autobiography ‘How I Became The Hash Queen’, which he reviewed as preparation for its official launch at the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum’s Hemp Gallery in Amsterdam.
We’d like to think our blog content is always tasty, but September was particularly succulent. The aforementioned interview with Mila the Hash Queen was published. One of our newest writers, Tasha, provided a highly entertaining and informative article about Barcelona’s ‘Mary Jane Football League’. Comprising players from about twenty cannabis social clubs from in and around the city, the future of the league is perhaps doubtful, but 2018’s playoffs should absolutely go down in cannabis history.
September also brought literal tastiness with the publication of two hemp based recipes and a post about the potential of coffee to aid small-scale farmers in Colombia.
October on the blog featured reports on various conferences. The UFCM, a body that has long been supported by Sensi Seeds, made videos of all their 2018 panels available online. We published an exclusive report on the Cannabis Capital Convention, the first event in Europe to bring together the world of global financial investment and the world of cannabis. And not least, in an encouraging move, the World Health Organisation sent recommendations to the UN calling for a reclassification of cannabis products.
November was a month of asking, and answering, questions! Could you lose your flat if you grow cannabis there? Will hemp be allowed to reach its full potential? Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome helped or exacerbated by cannabis use? Can cannabis be grown using a fully organic hydroponics system?
With the nights, and the remainder of the year, getting shorter, it’s good to appreciate those around us with gifts and thanks. So we put together this great gift guide, which obviously you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to make use of. Any time you decide to reward yourself is a good time, and any time you want to treat your friends and loved ones is a good time!
And on that joyful note, we conclude our overview of 2018 at Sensi Seeds. We hope you had a great year too! Let us know in the comments what the highlights were for you, and what you hope to achieve in 2019 – as well as what you would like to see from us.
The discussion about the sterilisation of medicinal cannabis creates two camps. In particular, the procedure required in the Netherlands, which uses the mildly radioactive cobalt-60, is regularly criticised by patients as well as by some medical experts. This is because consumers are traditionally sceptical about the use of radioactive components, even if this method has been shown by many studies to be harmless, at least as far as food is concerned. However, as yet no studies have been carried out on irradiated medication that is steamed or smoked like cannabis.
The guidelines and threshold values are strictly defined in EU member states, and so far there are no indications of damage to health from the consumption of these products, either as food or medicine. With its regulation on medicines that are radioactive or have been treated with ionising radiation (AMRadV), Germany has the strictest regulations in Europe for irradiated food. AMRadV states that all medicines that are processed using radiation have to undergo a licensing process. This means that the cannabis sold in German pharmacies that comes from the Netherlands, where sterilisation with Cobalt-60 is mandatory, should have a licence under AMRadV, but so far it does not.
Slight changes in the terpene profiles
In 2016, Arno Hazekamp, who works as a biologist for Bedrocan and is regarded as one of the pioneers of cannabis research, was the first to publish a Study on the effects of low-level gamma radiation on medicinal cannabis. The results of Hazekamp’s study showed no changes in the THC, CBD or moisture content of the buds, although a minimal reduction in some terpenes was found. As only a few terpenes were lost, the terpene profile of each variety was barely affected. However, the difference in the overall profile was clearly visible in the varieties tested. The samples were compared before and immediately after the standard gamma irradiation treatment, and then analysed visually and using analysis methods such as gas chromatography and high performance liquid chromatography.
In the analysis, the most affected terpenes were the monoterpene myrcene, cis-Ocimene, and terpineols such as gamma-selinene, Eudesma-3,7(11)-diene and gamma-selinene. This may be because these more volatile terpenes evaporate more rapidly once their molecules are “accelerated” by the gamma radiation. Interestingly, the losses were not the same for all varieties. The myrcene content clearly dropped in two varieties, while in a third variety the change was negligible.
Myrcene is present in high concentrations in cannabis varieties that smell of “cool forests”. Along with cannabis, it is frequently found in some varieties of pine, juniper, some varieties of amomum, mint, sage, cumin, mango, fennel, tarragon, dill, mugwort (wormwood), angelica and hops. Myrcene is used in the manufacture of aromas and flavourings in the perfume industry and in pharmaceuticals.
Finally, the study determined that terpene content may be reduced, but that no new substances are created by the radiation processing. “The gamma irradiation will speed up the evaporation (of terpenes) a little, but will not kill or destroy your cannabis.”
Unfortunately, the national cannabis agencies in Germany, the Netherlands and Canada have not so far instigated any research into the sterilisation of medicinal cannabis or into their terpene profiles. That is why Bedrocan’s endeavours to work transparently and carry out its own research are of vital importance. It would, however, be desirable from the patients’ point of view if the research and confirmation of this were not left entirely in the hands of the manufacturers. Other developments in the pharmaceutical industry in the last 150 years have shown what this can lead to in an industry that is currently suffering from a form of gold-rush fever.
Alternatives to radiation treatment
In the Netherlands there is no alternative, as radiation is required by law. In Canada, most manufacturers of medicinal cannabis have dropped gamma radiation and are applying other methods. The medicinal cannabis programme there does permit irradiation with radioactive cobalt-60. Unfortunately, manufacturers there are much less open. Of three manufacturers who export medicinal cannabis to Germany, two (Aurora and Peace Naturals) simply state that they use other methods of sterilisation. They do not say what these are. The third manufacturer (Tweed) does not declare anything, although there are suspicions that they use gamma radiation. US companies nowadays like to refer to this as “cold pasteurisation”, to avoid the negative associations.
Alternative methods tend to be more time-consuming, so also more expensive. Producers who do not use cobalt-60 radiation usually combine several of the following methods of sterilisation.
Processing with ozone destroys all micro-organisms on the surface, but it is a highly reactive substance and therefore very ephemeral. Radiation with UV light has proven helpful, but in many cases it is not adequate on its own. Experts recommend an additional treatment with one of the methods listed below if the manufacturer does not want to use cobalt-60 sterilisation.
To clean agricultural products such as cereals, vegetables, fruit, nuts or herbs, gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide or inert gases (usually argon) are used.
There is also a very promising new method where plants are treated briefly with steam. This very brief contact (20 to 40 seconds) with high-pressure steam at a temperature between 102°C and 122°C allows herbs, powders and spice that are sensitive to heat to be decontaminated without affecting their quality.
Ultrasound cleaning has also yielded some very promising results in the medical field in recent years.
Fumigation with ethylene oxide kills bacteria, viruses and fungi and was used for a long time in Europe to sterilise food and medicinal plants. In Germany, the use of ethylene oxide for food was banned in 1981, although the gas can still be used in Canada and the US with certain restrictions.
Stringent cleanliness is the best protection
As the threshold values also apply to medicinal herbs grown outdoors, it should be fairly simple for producers of medicinal cannabis to comply with them without radioactive treatment. Unless you are a manufacturer in the Netherlands, where the law does not leave the manufacturers any other option.
Unlike St John’s wort or sage, cannabis is cultivated in hermetically sealed rooms. As neither the Canadian cannabis agency nor the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) prescribe sterilisation using cobalt-60, radioactive treatment seems unnecessary. In view of the current price per gram of around EUR 24 and the extremely stringent hygiene regulations, medicinal cannabis does not need to be treated radioactively just to make sure. Other methods are certainly adequate. This is demonstrated by the fact that at least 12 varieties from Canada that have not been treated with radiation effortlessly pass strict checks before being allowed into German pharmacies.
Illegal sale in Germany
As mentioned above, irradiated buds need to have a licence in Germany under the AMRadV. However, up to now the relevant authorities have not received a single application for such a licence, as confirmed in reply to our inquiry in October. In fact, this should be submitted by the Dutch trading partner and approved by the BfArM in Bonn before the buds reach any German pharmacies. The same applies to any varieties that are treated with cobalt-60 from Canadian cannabis suppliers.
Strictly speaking, all buds irradiated with cobalt 60 are currently being sold illegally because they do not have the statutory radiation licences. The BfArM has been aware of this since at least early September, following a press inquiry, and has so far not seen the need to take any action, neither have the regional health authorities who are responsible for bringing the product onto the market. No need for action means that patients still do not know whether and which Canadian manufacturers use cobalt-60 for sterilisation, nor whether the threshold value is respected in practice.
Passing the buck instead of swift action
After being asked about an obvious error in the context of a routine press conference, the Berlin Regional Office for Health and Social Affairs (LaGeSo), the BfArM, the Berlin Senate Administration and the Federal Ministry of Health shifted the responsibility around among themselves, instead of actually examining the question is detail.
After a tip like this, it would have been better to take immediate steps towards obtaining the missing licences for irradiated cannabis buds from the Netherlands. Germany needs to inform the Dutch exporters about the missing licences and invite them to send the necessary papers to Bonn immediately. The import of medicinal cannabis from the Netherlands is already highly complex and requires numerous permits and certificates. Approval under the AMRadV would therefore just be one of many steps that would help to create the legally required and necessary transparency for patients and doctors regarding radioactively treated medicines.
It would not be helpful to patients if the German Federal government were to stop imports now because of the lack of this submission. On the contrary, it is now their job to provide clarity and security and not endanger the regular supply of cannabis buds.