Cannabis is an ancient plant species. The genus of the plant used as cannabis is “Indian cannabis” (Cannabis indica), its leaves are consumed as a drug, and oil is obtained from its seed. The male of the cannabis plant, which is planted in April-May, is harvested around the end of July, and the female is harvested 20-25 days after the male, tied in bundles, and left to dry upright on the soil. The substances in cannabis are called cannabinoids. So what exactly are cannabis and cannabinoids?
The cannabis plant is one of the oldest fiber plants used by mankind. Cannabis production has declined globally due to its use in the production of cannabis and the spread of synthetic fibers over time. However, in recent years, it has been seen that the interest in cannabis has increased and it has found more space in the public. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, are components of cannabis and the most well-known are THC and CBD. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) substance in the content of one type of cannabis plant has a narcotic effect. While the content of female jute cannabis contains THC in the range of 5 to 20 percent, this rate is below 3 per thousand in cannabis species grown for industrial purposes. In other words, the industrial cannabis plant cannot be used as a drug.
Understanding Cannabis and Cannabinoids
Cannabis is a herbaceous plant with unique properties. It is also called hemp. Cannabis is a one-year plant species that completes its life in one year. With a length that can start from about 50 centimeters to three meters, cannabis shows intense growth during its development. Although not as much as a cactus, cannabis, which has thorn-like hairs on its stem, is also a sexual plant. Cannabinoids are components found in cannabis. Two types of cannabinoids stand out: THC and CBD.
THC, also known as Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most well-known component of cannabis and is psychoactive. People often consume cannabis for the effects of THC, but THC is thought to have the power to revolutionize the health industry alongside its newly discovered and pleasing effect; As a result of studies conducted in the USA, Europe, and Israel, its effectiveness in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, MS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Hemorrhoids, Epilepsy, Schizophrenia has been noticed and studies are still being carried out on it.
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it has no hypnotic effects. It is often used to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. It is also used to treat ailments such as nausea, migraines, epileptic seizures, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.
Although there is some debate about the division of cannabis into species, cannabis species are mainly divided into three branches. The cannabis plant is divided into the three most well-known groups Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried, you come across one of the world’s most common and oldest medicines. People often refer to it as Marijuana or Weed. The homeland of cannabis is originally the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean.
Today, however, cannabis cultivation is feasible in tropical temperate regions. Cannabis is a dicotyledonous plant belonging to the Cannabacae family, known by names such as Indian Cannabis, Marijuana, Weed. It grows wild in most of the tropical and temperate regions of the world. It can be grown easily in almost all climates, and it can be grown indoors more efficiently with hydroponic technology. Cannabis has been a plant whose cultivation has continued throughout history with its usage areas.
In addition to being a more known pleasure substance, cannabis has also been used as a vegetable raw material in important areas. For example, it is possible to see that products such as fabric and yarn have been obtained from the fibers of cannabis throughout history. Products such as ropes and sacks are also made from cannabis, the fibers of which are durable. In addition, the pulpy part of cannabis is also processed for paper making. Cannabis oil is obtained from cannabis seeds. Although this oil is mixed with cannabis oil, it is a different oil and its uses include food. This oil is also used for fuel purposes.
Cannabis also finds a place for itself as a raw material in health and cosmetics. Cannabis, the leaves of which are used in these areas, is also a plant rich in cellulose. Today, cannabis is widely processed and used in industries such as textiles, food, personal care, healthcare, paper, and building materials. The leaves of the cannabis plant are shiny and green. Its five or seven leaves are very distinctive. The tops are flowering and the leaves are covered with a sticky resin. It can vary between 30 centimeters and 3 meters in height, depending on the type and cultivation type.
Basic Properties of Cannabis
Cannabis is a very fast-growing plant. It reaches maturity very quickly and grows very quickly in the process. This is a great advantage for industrial production. Cannabis contributes to fresh air. Cannabis is negative in terms of the carbon dioxide that plants emit into the air during respiration. This means that cannabis takes in more of the carbon dioxide it emits from the air. Cannabis is a relatively effortless plant to grow. It needs much less in general agricultural needs. Cannabis is a natural insect and weed inhibitor.
The life of cannabis fibers is long and their durability is high. With this feature, which causes it to be preferred especially in industrial usage areas, cannabis undertakes the raw material of many durable and long-lasting products. Thanks to the seeds of cannabis, they are used as foods with high nutritional value that can be used alone. With its high protein content, cannabis seeds are often preferred by athletes. Many different recipes can be made with cannabis seeds.
The uses of cannabis are basically two. These usage areas, which are divided into two, industrial use and medical use/recreational use, are also distributed in many sub-areas. The cannabis strain that has been specially bred and shaped for industrial use is known as cannabis Sativa. This type of cannabis, which has thin and long leaves and an empty stem and resembles a bush as a whole, is used as a raw material in the industry.
In addition, with its durable and flexible fibers, the cannabis type called cannabis Sativa is a frequently preferred substance in the industry. Examples of industrial use of the cannabis Sativa species of cannabis can be given with durable products such as sacks, ropes, or daily products such as bags. In this case, it can be easily said that the industrial use of cannabis is wide.
The seeds of cannabis find a place for themselves in both food and fuel fields. Cannabis, which we can come across as one of the raw materials in paint and soap production, meets many expectations with its many features. Birds can also be fed with cannabis seeds. Cannabis is not limited to industrial use, but also creates a raw material source for cosmetic products and biodegradable plastics. In addition, concrete admixtures are another area where cannabis is used.
Another important use of cannabis in the industry is fabric production. Cannabis fabric also has some advantages and disadvantages. The durability advantage that stands out in cannabis fibers also manifests itself in cannabis fabrics in the same way. Cannabis fabric is a breathable, porous fabric. In parallel with this, fabrics that keep cool for summer and warm for winter are produced from cannabis fabrics.
Cannabis fabrics filter out harmful rays from the sun. In addition, cannabis fabrics soften as they are used, do not fade quickly, and are resistant to fading. Another advantage of cannabis fabrics with natural shine is that they are suitable for sensitive skin. With its organic form, cannabis fabric is very suitable for sensitive skin. Cannabis fabric is also a suitable fabric for dyeing.
While cannabis fabric has advantages, it also has some disadvantages. For example, due to its characteristically abrasive nature, it does not feel soft on the skin. However, this corrosive situation, which is valid for the organic state, can be eliminated in the final product with the help of different substances during the production phase. Cannabis fabric is a fabric that wrinkles quickly. This is caused by the low elastic recovery in the cannabis fabric. For this reason, cannabis fabric has a structure that can easily wrinkle just like linen fabric. Cannabis fabric is a heat-resistant fabric.
However, in humid and high-temperature conditions, it can create an environment that will pave the way for fungal growth. This negative situation, which can be observed as mold, also creates an undesirable result for clothes. Although there are situations that can be avoided, this feature is considered a disadvantage for cannabis fabric, as it can prepare the ground for this environment when evaluated as a whole.
Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica are types of cannabis used to obtain medical or recreational cannabis. Most of the cannabis produced today was obtained by crossing cannabis Sativa with cannabis Indica. Herbal, herbal oil, or cannabis powder can be obtained by processing cannabis obtained from the relevant parts of cannabis. Marijuana is commonly known as a recreational drug. Cannabis, which can also be used in this respect, also has medical uses. Cannabis grown for medicinal purposes is in dwarf plant forms compared to cannabis grown for industrial purposes in the field.
Benefits of Cannabis for Health and Climate Change
In recent years, the production of cannabis for medical purposes and the countries where it has been legalized have increased greatly. In countries such as Canada, Mexico, Georgia, South Africa, and Uruguay, the use of cannabis as a recreational drug other than for medical purposes is completely legal. Cannabis use is legal under certain conditions in 45 countries, 20 states, and 2 territories around the world. Although the recreational use of cannabis is generally prohibited in Europe, it can be used for recreational purposes in certain regions and cities in countries such as Portugal, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Finlandia, Croatia, and San Marino.
In recent years, when the commercial activities of the cannabis plant, its medicinal use, and its positive effect on climate change have begun to be rediscovered, developed countries such as the UK have started to engage in activities to increase the production of this plant. The cannabis plant was added to the “Dangerous Drugs Act” in Great Britain in 1928. This law was updated in 1993 and heavy taxes were imposed on people who wanted to grow cannabis.
Despite this negative attitude of the government towards cannabis, the sale of cannabis-based products such as milk and seeds is legal and interest in these products is increasing. Over the past 5 years, cannabis production in the UK has increased by 75%. So, what are the unknown health benefits of cannabis and other properties that will contribute positively to climate change?
- Cannabis contributes positively to climate change by absorbing CO2
According to Cambridge University research, a one-hectare (10-acre) cannabis field absorbs between 9 and 15 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in the atmosphere. This is about twice the amount of CO2 a forest of the same size absorbs. According to different sources, a 1-hectare cannabis field absorbs 44 tons of CO2 gas per year. Trees are in the C4 plant group because they grow slowly, while cannabis is in the C3 group due to its rapid growth.
C3 plants emit more oxygen due to their rapid growth and absorb more CO2. While the growth of a cannabis plant takes only 4-6 months, it can take 30-50 years for a tree to grow. According to Cannabis Global Solutions data, 1 tonne of cannabis plants absorbs 1.63 tons of CO2 gas. The annual CO2 gas absorption of each cannabis plant is around 20 kilograms.
- Cannabis instead of cotton in textiles
The cannabis plant, which was used frequently in textiles in the past, was banned in many countries due to the drug aspect. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the first jeans fabric was actually made from cannabis leaves because of their durable fabric, and the word canvas derives from cannabis. Once used quite often in shipping, cannabis is a very strong natural fiber that can be used to make durable garments.
In addition, cannabis fabrics have a very soft texture. This is due to the fungus that extracts the lignin found in cannabis. Fabrics obtained from cannabis are very rich in fiber and sweat less. The fibers of cannabis leaves can absorb up to 7 times their weight in water. Since cannabis fibers are very dense, they are also a strong shield against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. A good insulating fabric such as cannabis, silk, or wool. Cannabis clothes absorb moisture and keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.
- Cannabinoids contained in cannabis prevent the spread of cancer
According to a study conducted by the California Pacific Health Center in 2007, the cannabis plant prevents cancer from spreading to other cells, thanks to the “tetrahydrocannabinol chemical” it contains. According to an article published in the Journal of Molecular Cancer Treatment, cancer cells multiply using the ID-1 gene, but the cannabidiol substance disables the ID-1 gene, stopping the spread of cancer.
In addition, according to a new study conducted with Parkinson’s patients in Israel, it was revealed that cannabis consumption makes it easier to sleep by reducing the tremors and pain caused by Parkinson’s. In addition, it was observed that there was a noticeable improvement in the motor functions of Parkinson’s patients.
- Are cannabis seeds good for health?
Nuts and seeds are very important foods in terms of nutrition. Especially in terms of vegetable oil and protein they contain. In this respect, cannabis seeds are no different from other nuts and seeds. In fact, it is quite advantageous compared to other plants in terms of growth in a short time. The amount of protein in cannabis seeds is about 25 percent. In this respect, it is no different from legumes such as almonds, pistachios, peanuts, or chickpeas and beans. Cannabis seeds also contain 30 percent oil.
The protein content of chia or flaxseed, which has been rapidly increasing in consumption in recent years and has taken its place among healthy foods, is 16 to 18 percent. Cannabis seeds are also very rich in minerals such as vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc. Cannabis seeds can be consumed raw, cooked, or roasted. Cannabis seed oil is also a very healthy product and has been used as food and medicine in China for at least 3,000 years.
- Are cannabis seeds or oil effective against heart disease?
The biggest cause of death in the world is due to diseases based on heart and heart diseases. Around the world, 18 million people die each year due to heart diseases. This is followed by cancer with 10 million annually. Of course, there are many different factors that trigger heart diseases. Air pollution, products with additives, excessive sugar consumption, GMO wheat products, stress, etc.
Cannabis seeds contain high amounts of amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. In a study involving more than 13 thousand people, increasing arginine intake reduces the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body, which is a sign of inflammation. It is a known fact that high CRP levels cause heart diseases.
An animal experiment has also shown that the use of cannabis seeds or cannabis seed oil can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clot formation, and help the heart heal after a heart attack.
- Cannabis seeds are a storehouse of omega-6 and omega-3
A strong immune system has been shown by many studies to depend on the balance of important fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3. Cannabis seeds are rich in unsaturated and essential fatty acids. It is very important to take omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, but the ratio between them is also very important for the absorption of these fatty acids. In this context, the best ratio is considered to be 1/3 (3 omega-6, 1 omega 3). The rate in cannabis seeds is exactly like this. In addition, some studies have proven that using cannabis seed oil is good for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as eczema.
- Medical cannabis use legalized in Europe in 2020
World cannabis production will reach a volume of 20 billion dollars in 2022. In Europe, the cannabis industry is projected to reach 3.2 billion euros by 2025. Medical cannabis is used in patients suffering from a lot of pain and suffering after heavy treatments for cancer and similar diseases. With the law enacted in 2020 in the European Union, 60 thousand people started using medical cannabis with special permissions and prescriptions. This figure increased to 185 thousand people in a year.
In September, some political parties were in talks to make cannabis fully legal for adults in Germany. Although recreational cannabis use has not become fully legal in the country, it is expected that some laws related to cannabis possession and use will be eased after these negotiations. In Europe, it is on the agenda that Switzerland and the Netherlands will completely legalize the use of cannabis in the next few years. The United Nations announced in February 2020 that it removed the cannabis plant from the list of drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
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