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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

How Our Ancestors Used the Cannabis Plant

Daniel King

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Cannabis As Used By Our Ancestors

The mainstream use of cannabis might seem like a modern development, but this plant has been used by humankind for thousands of years. In fact, research suggests that cannabis is one of the oldest crops humanity has cultivated and that humans have been growing this plant for around 12,000 years. You might be wondering what our ancestors were doing with this naturally-occurring crop. Read on to find out.

Cannabis Around the Globe

Experts believe that this herb first emerged in Central Asia in what is present-day Mongolia and the southern parts of Siberia. It was widely used in China for many purposes including spiritual and medical. This herb then made its way through a series of trading routes from China to Korea, India, and eventually, the European countries and can now be cultivated in tropical and temperate environments, and even indoors.

In the early 20th century, cannabis reached the United States through Mexico, where it was banned by the American government. However, this herb proved to have valuable characteristics that are beneficial to modern medicine and other sectors. Let us look at how our ancestors used this herb:

  • For Religious Rites

In the Ancient Egyptian times, this herb was associated with various religious and spiritual figures. The Egyptian goddess of wisdom is Sheshatt – she was usually portrayed with a marijuana leaf, perhaps due to its cerebral effects. Experts also found proof of Egyptians consuming this herb during religious rituals.

Aside from Ancient Egypt, there is evidence of the religious application of this plant in other ancient cultures too. In fact, some researchers suggest that Jesus, as a historical figure, advocated the use of Kaneh-Bosem, which was eventually identified as being an extract of cannabis.

Other cultures that placed religious significance on the plant include India, China, and Japan.

  • Cannabis As Industrial Material

This plant has a subspecies called Cannabis sativa L., commonly called hemp. This subspecies has very low psychoactive effects and is rich in fiber, making it perfect for crafting industrial materials. Materials derived from this variety include textile, plastic, paper, rope, food and other similar supplies. Hemp fiber is used to create boat sails and clothes, making it a valuable crop in ancient cultures.

  • In Folk Medicine

From ancient to medieval times, this plant has been integrated into medical practices. In India, cannabis is known as a holy ingredient because of the role it plays in rituals. In fact, the Vedas mentioned this herb as one that ‘releases us from anxiety,’ recognizing its anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects.

The Chinese also found this herb useful in medicine, earning it a place in the Shennong Bencaojing, a medical book that notes the various uses of different parts of the plant. Arabic cultures also applied medical marijuana for illnesses.

  • For Arts and Recreation

One of the most notable users of this herb is none other than the prolific playwright, William Shakespeare. In fact, scientific journals published evidence of cannabis traces in 8 pipes from Shakespeare’s garden. This writer is well known for inventing words and creating original dramas that have stood the test of time, possibly thanks to the brain high given by the marijuana he consumed.

With the cannabis plant being valued by our ancestors in the areas of religion, industry, medicine, and the arts, the legalization of this herb in modern times is well warranted. Today, it is being used to treat serious debilitating illnesses and symptoms including cancer, epilepsy, and arthritis. As such, it has proven itself to be a valuable alternative to medications and a useful addition to medical treatments that can improve the lives of many patients and even ordinary users.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Columbia Care Kicks Off First Cannabis Credit Card

Jordan Webber

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Columbia Care Cannabis Credit Card

Columbia Care announced the launch of its National Credit program with its CNC Card.

The medical marijuana company licensed to operate in the U.S. and 15 jurisdictions in the European Union said the launch of the card follows a successful test run in New York in the second half of 2018. The introduction of the card led to an 18% increase in the number of in-store purchases. Moreover, the card also helped boost repeat visits and home delivery orders.

With the card, people in the U.S. can now get a credit card for buying medical cannabis.

From New York, the Columbia Care will offer the program to its Delaware and Pennsylvania markets. Later, the company’s Illinois and Arizona customers can apply for the card. The firm aims to expand the reach of its program to all its locations by the end of 2019.

Cannabis Credit Card

Available initially only at Columbia Care dispensaries, the firm is looking into opportunities for expanding the availability of the card across the country through targeted partnerships.

Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care, said the firm aims on expanding the cannabis market in the country. Through the launching of the first cannabis credit card in the country, the company allows consumers and participants in the industry to purchase cannabis products.

He also said the card would act as a starting point of the company’s nationwide growth initiatives, including home delivery, the launching of an e-commerce site, and automatic fulfillment.

In addition to having a tool for an electronic form of payment, CNC cardholders can also be eligible for other benefits including discounts, cash back affinity programs, educational seminars, privileged access to new products and other exclusive offers.

Cannabis Banking Gaining Steam

Aside from having a cannabis credit card, medical marijuana customers may also enjoy the benefits of banking. Earlier this month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation that kicks off a three-year pilot program wherein cannabis firms could use an online system in sending and receiving digital currency.

Last month, the California State Senate passed a bill allowing financial institutions to offer products and services dedicated to cannabis financial transactions.

If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the legislation, around 900 bank branches in the state would be allowed to handle cannabis cash, California Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg said.

The federal government is also working on protecting legitimate cannabis financial transactions. Earlier this month, a U.S. House committee approved a bill that includes a provision that would safeguard banks serving legal marijuana businesses from getting penalized by federal financial regulators.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Church of England Backs Medical Cannabis Use and Investment

Stacey Wellington

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Church of England Cannabis Investments

The Church of England (CofE) has recently given the green light on the use of medical marijuana and cannabis investment.

The investment arm of CofE, the Church Commissioners of England, said it would lift its self-imposed ban on investing in medical cannabis. This reversal takes place at a time when many significant investment funds remain steadfast on so-called “sin stocks” or companies operating in industries facing legal uncertainties.

The CofE investment arm, which manages the church’s £12.6 billion ($16 billion) portfolios, had previously enforced an investment exclusion policy on cannabis. So far, it has not yet invested in companies related to the sector, Church Commissioners head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, said.

Mason said the change in CofE’s stand comes after it has made a distinction between recreational and medical cannabis. After realizing the potency of the plant’s medicinal properties, the church is content with its proper use for therapeutic reasons.

The UK government legalized medicinal cannabis in October 2018. However, only a fraction of British patients received a medical cannabis prescription, citing difficulty in persuading specialists about marijuana as a right medical option as a primary reason. Other reasons include the problems dispensaries face in obtaining licenses for cannabis-based products as well as the trouble in transporting them once they arrive in the country.

The Duality of Marijuana as an Investment

Like the Church Commissioners of England, other ethical investors are also starting to recognise the dual nature of marijuana as an investment. KLP Fund, an Oslo-based firm with $80 billion in assets, has recently sold its stocks in recreational cannabis. But it retains its stakes in medicinal marijuana

The AP Funds in Sweden also recommended the exclusion of recreational marijuana from its $180-billion portfolio. Like KLP, it said, it will still invest in medical marijuana companies. The Swedish fund referred to the recent guidance of the UN on both ethical investment and narcotics.

The CofE said it will not invest in companies that get more than 10% of their revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana. This rate is the threshold the company uses for the majority of its other ethical exclusions, including tobacco, gambling, pornography, and lenders charging at high interests.

The UK’s church is known for publicly voicing its positions in ethical investment issues. It considers factors such as morality, environmental impact, corporate governance, and social good. It the past, the church has challenged ExxonMobil and Glencore by pressuring executives to improve their policies related to environment preservation.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

VA Restricts Veterans’ Access to Medical Marijuana

Jordan Webber

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VA's Restriction to Medical Marijuana

Veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are having difficulty accessing medical marijuana for their medical conditions, says US News. The department has policies in place preventing doctors from prescribing medical cannabis to retired military personnel.

The VA has taken this move because of marijuana’s status as a Schedule I substance. The policy applies even in medical facilities in states with legal medical marijuana. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal cannabis, 10 of which allows recreational use of the plant.

Marijuana laws in these states allow medicinal application for chronic pain, spasms and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) just to name a few. However, Lt. Col. Doug Distaso of the Air Force has not been able to access the plant for therapeutic purposes due to VA’s restrictions. Instead, Distaso was prescribed a ‘drug cocktail’ which causes him to undergo a ‘medicated stupor.’

Aside from Distaso, there are thousands of veterans experiencing chronic pain and treated using opioids. Moreover, these military personnel also retire from service with PTSD. Reports show that there are at least 20 deaths through suicide recorded every day.

According to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), the Schedule I list is composed of drugs, substances, and chemicals that have nor currently accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. Marijuana is listed along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

The US News reports that the VA has only created two opportunities to discuss cannabis for veteran patients when they request information.

Meanwhile, veteran groups such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are calling for reforms to VA’s systems. These groups also promote cannabis for pain management and mental health illnesses. They also recognize the plant’s potential to address the opioid epidemic.

 

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