The History of Cannabis Museum

Washington D.C, the capital of the United States of America, is home to one of the most prominent tourist industries in the world. Besides the obvious appeal of the white House, Washington D.C is home to many other attractions that bring tourists from all over the world. D.C is a historic hotspot, and encompasses attractions that can appeal to everyone. Due to the fact that they are free, museums tend to be of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington D.C. Visitors can enjoy the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Zoo, National Museum of American History, and the new National Museum of African American History and Culture all for FREE (besides waiting in long lines during peak seasons).

National Mall
A photo of the National Mall during a busy tourist day in the Spring.

Though it is not apart of the Smithsonian, one museum that has not been spoken about much since its conception has been the History of Cannabis museum that was opened on April 17th, 2017. One reason it may not be as popular at the moment is because it doesn’t employ the same policy as the other Smithsonian’s; Unfortunately it costs $10 to get in. However, for those tourists who are looking to also indulge in Cannabis Tourism, this museum would be a great visit.

In 2014, Initiative 71 was passed in Washington D.C. The initiative legalized the recreational use of cannabis in the district, allowing for attractions such as the History of Cannabis Museum to be opened. The museum welcomes the Washington D.C community and all tourists to learn more about the development of cannabis use throughout time and the positive ways that it can impact society. 

Now located at 2822 Georgia Ave NW, Washington D.C, 20001, The History of Cannabis Museum is very close to my university. Right across the street from Howard Universities School of Business, the museum will definitely be a great place to visit at some point before my graduation. THCb

The History of Cannabis Museum, also known as THC, takes a visitor through the progression of cannabis use throughout the ages, specifically starting at the year 800 BCE in ancient Taiwan. Through their website, THC provides information about how the Hemp plant evolved from Northern China at the beginning of civilization, and is even believed to be the first cultivated fiber plant. According to their website,

“The earliest archeological record of the use of fiber from Cannabis was in China twelve thousand-years ago. Archaeologists unearthed an old Neolithic site at Yuan-Shan, and among the remains dug up included pottery with hemp cord markings on it along with a rod-shaped stone beater, used to pound hemp. Cannabis (Hemp) was also used to make items such as fishing nets, rope, clothes, and paper. The Chinese are thought to have invented hemp paper. Cannabis seeds were used for food, as was cannabis oil, in China.”

According to this timeline, Cannabis would be one of the first and oldest human agricultural crops. For the uses mentioned, it is clear that before cannabis was utilized to get high, it was used in a much more productive lighting by the Chinese. They were aware that hemp is a plant that can be a key resource for humans thousands of years ago, and today it still remains. Unfortunately, cannabis has gotten a negative stigma, however, there is so much more it can be used for that many are not aware of.

THC’s progresses a long way in order to get to the modern day uses of cannabis that we currently abide by. From Emperor Fu Hsi (2900 BCE), The Golden Age of Sail (1000-1400AD), William Shakespeare (1600), all the way to Hollywood Propaganda Films (1936-1950), the museums website is very informative. With such an educational website, I can only imagine the amount of content that the actual museum must have inside. The museum also hosts informative events that involve the community and attempt to educate visitors. Open until 8PM on Friday and Saturday, the THC museum is a great attraction for the weekend crowd! Stay tuned for my visit this upcoming week!

Link: The History of Cannabis Museum

 

 

Legal Marijuana As An Alternative To Opioids

Continuing with the focus of the impact that legal marijuana has on Colorado, The Hemp Chronicles will now switch the focus to it’s impact on the health front. In our last post we discussed the financial and economic implications that legal cannabis has had on Colorado, but not the public health.

From a study from the Washington Post, it is apparent that marijuana legalization in Colorado helped facilitate a reverse of opiate related deaths. In the research published by the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has helped to save lives even. The authors are quick to emphasize that the results are preliminary since the study took place in 2017, just three years after the state’s first recreational marijuana shops opened in 2014. From the study, the authors reported that,

“After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than 6% in the following 2 years”M. Livingston, T. Barnett, C. Delcher, and A. Wagenaar, American Journal of Public Health

Many prior reports have shown an association between medical marijuana legalization and opioid related deaths, the report from the American Journal of Public Health is the first to look at the impact of recreational marijuana laws on opioid deaths. Christopher Ingraham from the Washington Post notes that marijuana is often highly effective at treating similar chronic pain that opiates are often prescribed for. Ingraham notes that from the standpoint of public health, this current trend is positive, as marijuana carries almost no risk of fatal overdose opposed to opioid use. He notes that,

“Overall, after controlling for both medical marijuana and the prescription-drug-monitoring change, the study found that after Colorado implemented its recreational marijuana law, opioid deaths fell by 6.5 percent in the following two years.” – Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 2017

Graph version 2The authors are careful to note that policymakers would want to continue to monitor these numbers in coming years to see if the trend continues. And while they are positive that cannabis use can be a sustainable alternative to opioids and other prescribed drugs, they are quick to emphasize that legal marijuana can increase fatalities in other areas. Other areas can include fatalities related to driving under the influence of marijuana, yet the figures have not proved there to be any significant relation. Regardless the study supports the concept that,

“… increasing marijuana availability could help reduce the toll of America’s opiate epidemic, which claims tens of thousands of lives each year.” – Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 2017

Article: Legal Marijuana Is Saving Lives In Colorado, Study Finds

What’s The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

Although both of my former blog posts were centered around the use of marijuana, please do not be confused. Hemp and marijuana are in the same family, but both plants are valuable for different reasons. Both Hemp and marijuana are apart of the cannabis family, but are cultivated and applied completely different to everyday life.

Hemp is used in a variety of applications that marijuana could not physically be used for at all. In their physical makeup, hemp and marijuana are completely different. As you can see in the picture below, hemp plants are aligned on the left side and marijuana, its much more popular cousin, is aligned on the right side. Hemp stalks can grow up to four meters tall organically, and do not need pesticides to grow. Hemp leaves are much thinner and less densely placed than leaves of a marijuana plant.

Chemically, hemp and marijuana differ in their capacity for THC. Hemp is categorized by a low THC level, less than 0.3%, while marijuana is categorized by high THC levels, ranging anywhere from between 5% to 35%. Hemp compensates for its lack of THC with a higher amount of CBD, the non-intoxicating compound with more medical applications.  Due to its lack of high THC level, hemp is not a psychoactive plant, opposed to marijuana. In terms of cultivation, hemp requires minimal care and can adapt to grow in the majority of climates. On the other hand, marijuana must be grown in carefully controlled atmospheres. Naturally, there are only a few specific climates that have the capacity to produce marijuana. This explains why in the photo the hemp plants are photographed in a natural environment, while marijuana cultivation is taking place in a warehouse. hemp-vs-marijuana-featured-photo-v3

The reason why hemp is so interesting is because it has the potential to be help provide sustainable energy. It has already been used in tests to power automobiles, providing an alternative fuel to harsh fossil fuel emissions. Hemp has also been used in body care, clothing, construction, food production, plastic, and much more. The plant has been grown for centuries and production of it has soared over the past year.

According to Jeremy Berke of the Business Insider, the impact of the legalization of cannabis across various states has lead to great industrial excitement. From 2016 to 2017, the number of acres licensed for hemp cultivation increased 140 and the number of producers DOUBLED over the same time. Following projections, the hemp market in the United States alone is prime to hit $1.65 billion in 2021. In March of this year, Senator Mitch McConnell introduced a bill to legalize industrial hemp. I am positive, that in a few years, all cannabis use will be legal due to its economic implications. In America, if it makes money, it makes complete sense. If i had a recommendation, I would suggest you to get in the industry now before it gets dominated by large corporations.

23 Proven Health Benefits Of Marijuana

Along with Washington D.C, 29 states around the country have legalized medical marijuana. According to an article by the Business Insider, the American public is in large support of medical marijuana use. The author of the article states that:

“At least 84% of the public believes the drug should be legal for medical uses, and recreational pot usage is less controversial than ever, with at least 61% of Americans in support.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse lists that there are viable medical uses for cannabis, though some of its advocates often overstate its power. Though there are about 400 or more chemical compounds in marijuana, scientists mainly focus on the two active ones that are believed to have medical implications. According to Loria, the two are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The two min components act in different ways though; CBD seems to impact the brain without a high, while its counterpart, THC, has pain relieving properties but is largely responsible for the high. From Loria’s research, I will provide the 23 health benefits:

  1. The best-supported medicinal use of marijuana is as a treatment for chronic pain.
  2. There is strong evidence that medical cannabis can help with muscle spasms.
  3. The actual smoking of marijuana has not been proven to harm lung capacity (unless used in combination with tobacco) and may in fact improve it.

    “Researchers looking for risk factors of heart disease tested the lung function of 5,115 young adults over the course of 20 years. Tobacco smokers lost lung function over time, but pot users actually showed an increase in lung capacity. It’s possible that the increased lung capacity may be due to taking a deep breath while inhaling the drug and not from a therapeutic chemical in the drug.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  4. It may be of use in treating glaucoma, or it can be possible to derive a drug from marijuana for this specific use. 51f92144ecad04532d00000e-750-563
  5. It can help control epileptic seizures.
  6. It decreases the symptoms of severe seizure disorder known as Dravet’s Syndrome. The article provided an interesting anecdote about this specific use as well:

    “During the research for his documentary “Weed,” Sanjay Gupta interviewed the Figi family, who treated their 5-year-old daughter using a medical marijuana strain high in cannabidiol and low in THC. The Figi family’s daughter, Charlotte, has Dravet Syndrome, which causes seizures and severe developmental delays. According to the film, the drug decreased her seizures from 300 a week to just one every seven days. Forty other children in the state were using the same strain of marijuana to treat their seizures when the film was made — and it seemed to be working.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  7. A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading, at least in cell cultures.
  8. It can decrease anxiety in low doses.
  9. THC can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is of particular relevance to me, due to the fact that I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s earlier this year. There is no cure to Alzheimer’s, but if I would have known about some of marijuana’s healing ability for it, it definitely would have been explored as an option.

    The 2006 study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, found that THC slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques kill brain cells and are associated with Alzheimer’s. A synthetic mixture of CBD and THC seems to preserve memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study suggested that a THC-bases prescription drug called dronabinol was able to reduce behavioral disturbances in dementia patients.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  10. Marijuana eases the pain of multiple sclerosis.
  11. It seems to lessen the side effects from treating Hepatitis C and increase treatment effectiveness.

    “… A 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully completed their Hep C therapy. Only 29% of non-smokers completed their treatment, possibly because the marijuana helps lessen the treatment’s side effects.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  12. It has been proven to help with inflammatory bowel diseases.
  13. It relieves arthritis discomfort for many.
  14. Marijuana users tend to be less obese and have a better response to eating sugar.
  15. Though it isn’t a medical or health benefit, marijuana could spur creativity.

    “Contrary to stoner stereotypes, marijuana usage has actually been shown to have some positive mental effects, particularly in terms of increasing creativity, at least in some contexts. Even though people’s short-term memories tend to function worse when they’re high, they actually get better at tests requiring them to come up with new ideas.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  16. Cannabis soothes tremors for people with Parkinson’s disease.
  17. Marijuana can help veterans suffering from PTSD.
  18. Studies on animals suggest that marijuana can protect the brain after a stroke.
  19. Particularly related to sports, marijuana can protect the brain from concussions and trauma.533c206f69bedd2a3a0a1aab-750-493
  20. Though this one can’t necessarily be proven, marijuana use can help eliminate nightmares.
  21. Cannabis reduces some of the pain and nausea from chemotherapy and stimulates appetite.
  22. Marijuana can help people who are suffering from alcoholism, which has proven to damage the liver and cause aggressive behaviors.

    “Research published in the Harm Reduction Journal found that some people use marijuana as a less harmful substitute for alcohol, prescription drugs, and other illegal drugs. Some of the most common reasons patients make that substitution are that marijuana has less negative side effects and is less likely to cause withdrawal problems.” – Kevin Loria, Business Insider, 2018

  23. Medical marijuana legalization seems to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

Article: 23 Health Benefits of Marijuana