<![CDATA[BT ingenuity - Blog]]>Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:33:14 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Scientist Calls for a Synthetic Chemistry Free World]]>Thu, 14 Jan 2016 20:36:18 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/scientist-calls-for-a-synthetic-chemistry-free-worldThis post is also published on the National Hemp Association website. Picture
This topic hits near to my heart as I am a trained synthetic chemist.  Perhaps because of this I know better than most the level of waste that is generated when you create new compounds, sometimes manipulating one atom at a time.  In many cases, it has been an exercise in futility; the sole purpose of synthetically re-creating a natural molecule from petroleum-based building blocks is most often to demonstrate that it can be done.  It almost never becomes a pathway for actually making the molecule to be used. 

A great example of this is taxol.  Taxol is an amazing anticancer compound that is in current clinical use.  It was discovered as a constituent of the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia). The problem is that the Pacific yew tree is killed in the process of harvesting taxol, making this source unsustainable.  Seeing its potential to help save lives, synthetic organic chemists tried to recreate this molecule from cheaply and readily available materials.  After many years of many teams of scientists trying to create this molecule from scratch, few succeeded.  Those that did succeed involved complicated multiple step procedures that require the use of large amounts of solvents and sometimes very expensive catalysts.  Needless to say, these methods would never be commercially viable.  So how is taxol available for use in cancer patients today?  The answer is a compromise:  A related yew tree (Taxus baccata) produces a similar compound in its needles, making its harvest sustainable.  Once isolated, just a few synthetic modifications transformed this related molecule into taxol.  This is called “semi-synthesis”.  I suppose the fact that some amount of synthesis was required in the end would indicate that synthetic chemistry can never be fully obsolete.  Perhaps when it comes to inventing new medicine, synthetic chemistry will always have a place.

However, I agree with Dr. Robin D. Rogers, who authored the article Eliminating The Need For Chemistry, published in last month’s issue of Chemical & Engineering News, in the overall need to move away from synthetic chemistry where possible.  In his article, Dr. Rogers calls for a transformation in how the chemical industry thinks.  Instead of thinking in terms of making (and selling) chemicals, he suggests that chemists figure out how to find and isolate biological sources of needed materials (using a water bottle as an example).

As I read through the article I could not help but think of the role that industrial hemp could play in such a transformation.  Hemp is a great source of cellulose (the outer, long, strong bast fibers are made primarily of cellulose), hemicellulose, oils, terpenes, and other materials that could be used as a major part of this transformation.  Beyond its material benefits, industrial hemp can be grown right here in the U.S. and provide thousands of jobs for Americans.  This transformation would require many skilled people to develop and manufacture these biologically sourced materials.  This, again, can be done in America.

I fully support Dr. Roger’s call for a transformation from synthetic materials to biologically based materials.  We need to work hard to make sure that industrial hemp can play the role it should in this transformation.  This year, the National Hemp Association is making a big push for Federal legalization of industrial hemp.  We should all support that effort so this plant can live up to its full potential and provide a new source of materials and opportunity for the American people.

]]>
<![CDATA['Tis the Season for Hemp]]>Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:57:03 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/tis-the-season-for-hempThis post is also published on the National Hemp Association website.

Picture
We are in the darkest few days of the year here in North America, and it makes me tired!  Many people will be using these cold, dark days to spend time with family and friends while enjoying  food, warmth, and love.  In America, this time also comes with a strong tradition of gift giving.

It seems that Alan Archuleta, author of The Gospel of Hemp, is giving the gift of knowledge this year.  His book is available in a digital edition for free at this link.  I do not know how long this will last, so go ahead and get it downloaded so you can spend some time reading once the sun goes down (at 4:30 PM...).

If you're still looking for things to do during the long nights, check out the video below, made in 1942.  This video does a great job explaining how hemp can be used to make a large variety of important materials.  It focuses on military applications, such as rope for naval vessels and canvas for parachutes.  The video even mentions that the word "canvas" is, in fact, derived from the word "cannabis", from which the material was originally made.  Given the Allied victor over the Axis, it would seem that the Hemp for Victory campaign was a success.

Enjoy the season and any Holidays you celebrate!

]]>
<![CDATA[Hemp Hurds:  The Inside Story]]>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 21:59:21 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/hemp-hurds-the-inside-storyThis post is also published on the National Hemp Association website.

PictureExample of hempcrete used in construction
When it comes to hemp, much attention goes to the fiber that can be harvested and its many uses (including cordage and textiles).  However, the fiber constitutes only a small portion of the plant.  It covers the woody inner core in a thin, but tough, layer.  The woody inner core is known as the “hemp hurds”, and while it is useless for making materials that require long, strong fibers, it has many of its own applications.

You have likely heard of the material called “hempcrete”, touted for its strength and low environmental impact.  Hemp hurds can be used for the hemp portion of the recipe.  Since the outer fiber is so valuable as a textile, and about 70 % of a hemp plant is composed of the hurd, it makes sense to prefer to use hemp hurds for this application.

Hemp hurds can be used in other applications such as bioethanol production, mulching, and animal bedding.  Hemp hurds can even be used as an easy to grow and renewable source of residential heating by forming them into pellets that are currently made out of trees.  Far from being a useless by-product of hemp fiber production, hemp hurds are an important part of this emerging industry.


]]>
<![CDATA[Hemp Harvesting]]>Wed, 09 Dec 2015 19:18:25 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/hemp-harvestingThis post is also published on the National Hemp Association website.

Picture
As hemp farming begins to take root in the United States and Canada, it is also beginning to become visible to the community.  My aunt, while on a visit to Saskatchewan, spotted a field in which it appeared that hemp stalks had been gathered into bales.  This prompted her to ask, “How do they harvest the hemp?”  I didn’t already know, so I’ve done a little research.

The first thing to consider is:  what will be the end use of this hemp?  If you are looking to harvest seeds, you will need different equipment and hemp varieties than if you are looking to harvest stalks for fiber.  It turns out that the optimum time to harvest hemp for fiber is well before the optimum time to harvest hemp for seeds.  So it is probably best to decide on one goal or the other before you plant a field.  It is possible to harvest both seeds and stalks, however.

If harvesting hemp for fiber on a smaller plot, a well-maintained sickle-bar mower or hay swather may be used to cut the stalks.  The stalks are cut and left in the field and allowed to rot slightly to begin separating the fibers from the stalk.  This process is called “retting”.  After retting, a baler may be used to bale the hemp stalks, at which point the stalks are ready for storage, drying, and sale.

If harvesting hemp for seed, a combine may be used, although this can be a challenge.  It is recommended to raise the blade a meter or higher, but even then the long fibers of the hemp plant can cause wear and tear on the machine by winding through moving parts.

There are other, more specialized hemp farming machines available as well.  I will leave you with the link to a video that shows an example of a hemp harvest.


]]>
<![CDATA[A Brief Look at Hemp Seed Oil]]>Tue, 01 Dec 2015 22:14:50 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/a-brief-look-at-hemp-seed-oilThis post is also published on the National Hemp Association website

PictureUnrefined Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is typically produced by cold-pressing the seeds of industrial varieties of Cannabis sativa L. after harvest.  Unrefined hemp seed oil is dark green in color, due to the high levels of chlorophyll found naturally in hemp seeds.  Refined hemp seed oil is also available and is light green in color due to the removal of most of the chlorophyll.  However, during the refining process many other compounds are removed along with the chlorophyll (including phytosterols that would be desirable if the oil is used as a food source).

There are numerous applications for both refined and unrefined hemp seed oil.  Table 1 lists some of these uses.


Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil:
Food/Cooking
Nutritional Supplement
Cosmetics
Personal Care

Refined Hemp Seed Oil:
Oil-based paints
Cosmetics
Personal Care
Biofuel/Biodiesel
Biodegradable Plastics
Table 1 - Uses for unrefined and refined hemp seed oil

So what is hemp seed oil composed of that makes it useful as both a food ingredient and a base for oil paints?  The answer is that it is composed almost entirely of fats, which makes it useful for dissolving oil-based pigments.  Furthermore, the kinds of fats found in hemp seed oil are nearly ideal for human food use.  Hemp seed oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids in the desirable alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) form, which the human body can put to immediate use upon consumption.  Studies have shown that consumption of fatty acids in a ratio of 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 results in a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Hemp seed oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of less than 3:1, which means that it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and helps to maintain a healthy dietary fatty acid ratio.

PictureRefined Hemp Seed Oil
Besides the favorable fatty acid composition, hemp seed oil is also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and phytosterols that make it even more desirable to use as a cooking oil.  For example, hemp seed oil contains significant amounts of vitamin E, phytol, and β-sitosterol.  The FDA recognizes that phytosterol consumption is linked to lowered blood levels of LDL cholesterol.  Thus, including hemp seed oil in the diet could contribute to this effect.

This is just a brief look at the composition and uses for hemp seed oil.  Certainly more and more uses for this already versatile product will be found as the cultivation of industrial hemp becomes more common in the USA.  Furthermore, once organizations such as the National Hemp Association are successful in their bid for federal legalization of industrial hemp, it will become easier to perform research on the plant and its products, thereby clarifying and multiplying the uses for hemp seed oil in the future.


]]>
<![CDATA[Fatal Carbon Dioxide Accident Reported]]>Thu, 19 Nov 2015 15:10:22 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/fatal-carbon-dioxide-accident-reportedOne week ago, on November 12, a carbon dioxide leak caused the death of one worker at a coffee decaffeination plant in Houston, Texas.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is used in many industrial operations, including coffee decaffeination, botanical extractions, and (more recently) extractions from Cannabis sativa L.  While the use of supercritical carbon dioxide as a solvent for such operations is considerably less risky than the use of, say, butane, it is not completely without risk, as was tragically demonstrated last week.

To any of my readers who may be using supercritical carbon dioxide in any operation:  Please, please, please double check all of your fittings for leaks, install carbon dioxide gas detectors, and make sure that your ventilation system is up to code (check out my blog post on Washington State Building Code Council Emergency Regulations).

Safety must be our number one goal!  We do not want the emerging cannabis industry to suffer such a tragic incident - so remember that working with ANY chemical (even carbon dioxide) in industrial quantities carries risks and to ALWAYS work deliberately and safely.

Once more information is released by the investigatory team, I will write a follow up post to explain this incident further.

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2015/11/fatal-carbon-dioxide-leak-us-coffee-decaffeination-investigation
]]>
<![CDATA[Dr. Towle Appointed Chair of the Networking Committee of the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision (CANN, CHAS, ACS)]]>Tue, 03 Nov 2015 18:28:52 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/dr-towle-appointed-chair-of-the-networking-committee-of-the-cannabis-chemistry-subdivision-cann-chas-acsFollowing a successful networking event in Seattle, WA and the recent elevation in status of the Cannabis Chemistry Committee to the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision, Dr. Towle has been appointed as the Chair of the Networking Committee for the subdivision!

Be on the lookout for networking events all over the country in 2016.  We would love to see you there!
Picture
Cannabis Chemistry Committee Northwest Networking Event, July, 2015, Golden Gardens Park, Seattle, WA
]]>
<![CDATA[Cannabis Chemistry Committee is now Officially a Subdivision within the American Chemical Society]]>Wed, 28 Oct 2015 18:22:55 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/cannabis-chemistry-committee-is-now-officially-a-subdivision-within-the-american-chemical-societyIt's official!  What was once a committee is now a subdivision!  The Cannabis Chemistry Committee is now the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision (CANN) of the Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) of the American Chemical Society (ACS, the largest scientific society in the world).

This is a great victory that represents the hard work and dedication of many people.  To be officially recognized in such a well-regarded scientific institution gives us a platform to influence law and policy with respect to how to properly regulate this plant.  It also puts us in direct contact with some of the best scientists in the world, thus putting us in a position to advance our knowledge of Cannabis sativa and its active compounds.

See the press release below for information about the Subdivision of Cannabis Chemistry and how you can get involved!  Also, be on the lookout for announcements of networking events near you!
]]>
<![CDATA[More Information about the New Washington State Building Code Council Emergency Regulations]]>Mon, 14 Sep 2015 18:25:38 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/more-information-about-the-new-washington-state-building-code-council-emergency-regulationsThis is a follow up to my blog post on July 7, 2015, which was shortly after the Washington State Building Code Council passed its emergency regulations.  I have since had more time to digest the information and this blog post seeks to provide more details about the new rules.

For a text version of these new codes, visit:  http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/law/wsr/2015/14/15-14-064.htm

The stated purpose of these emergency rules is found at the link above, and quoted below:

“Purpose: This rule is established to provide regulatory guidance to marijuana processing or extraction facilities. This new industry in Washington state produces marijuana for sale in specially licensed retail stores throughout the state. At this time there are no specific regulations in place to ensure safety in the processing plants or extraction facilities. This rule will establish specific requirements for handling hazardous materials, establish inspection standards, and provide construction and permit requirements to ensure the life/safety of occupants, first responders, and the general public.”

The document goes on to cite an explosion in Bellevue caused by an at home butane extraction in 2013 that resulted in a fatality.  With such incidents to refer to, it is no surprise that some authority in the state would seek to bring the manufacture of cannabis resins up to industry safety standards.

The rules go into effect as follows:

-          July 1, 2016 for any marijuana extraction facility in operation prior to July 1, 2015

-          July 1, 2015 for all others

Meaning that even if you are “grandfathered” in, you must be in compliance by July 1 of next year.  If you think that these rules go easy on carbon dioxide (CO2) based extraction operations, think again.  There are many more rules that are specific to CO2 based extractions than are specific to any other method of extraction.  And no matter what, everyone is required to have an Operational Permit according to the new code (WAC 51-54A-105.6.47).  In addition, any new facility must also seek a Construction Permit effective July 1, 2015 (WAC 51-54A-105.6.47).

Besides permits, in order to be compliant your extraction system must have been designed or reviewed by a Washington Professional Engineer (WAC 51-54A-3802.3.3.2).

According to WAC 51-54A-3801.3.3.4:  “The technical report documenting the design or peer review shall be submitted for review and approval by the fire code official prior to the equipment being located or installed at the facility.”

According to WAC 51-54A-3802.3.3.4.2, this technical report is to be composed of no less than 15 sections including:

“6. Methodology of the design or peer review process used to determine minimum safety requirements. Methodology shall consider the basis of design, and shall include a code analysis and code path to demonstrate the reason as to why specific code or standards are applicable or not.”

“7. Equipment description. A list of every component and subassembly (clamp, fittings, hose, quick disconnects, gauges, site glass, gaskets, valves, pumps, vessels, containers, switches, etc.) of the system or equipment, indicating the manufacturer, model number, material, and solvent compatibility. Vendor cut sheets shall be provided.”

“12. Comprehensive process hazard analysis considering failure modes and points of failure throughout the process. This portion of the review should include review of emergency procedure information provided by the manufacturer of the equipment or process and not that of the facility, building or room.”

In addition, there are construction requirements (WAC 51-54A-3802.4), building analysis requirements (WAC 51-54A-3802.3.3.5), and site inspections (WAC 51-54A-3802.3.3.6) that must be met prior to initiating extraction operations at the facility.

A couple of CO2 specific requirements include additional signage (WAC 51-54A-3802.5.7) warning of a potentially oxygen deficient atmosphere and adequate ventilation (WAC 51-54A-3802.5.8) including that the “exhaust system intake shall be taken from a point within 12 inches of the floor.”

After you read the emergency rules in their entirety, I believe you will agree with me that they seem quite onerous, especially for CO2 extraction operations.

Dr. T’s EasyExtracts method is far easier to implement under these new rules, and that’s not the only benefit.  Dr. T’s EasyExtracts will provide high-quality, consistent results through a simple and safe process.  Contact Dr. Towle to learn more!

]]>
<![CDATA[Introduction to Cannabis - Medicinal properties, active compounds, etymology, and more...]]>Mon, 10 Aug 2015 22:14:00 GMThttp://btingenuity.com/blog/introduction-to-cannabis-medicinal-properties-active-compounds-etymology-and-more©2015 Dr. Tyrell R. Towle

Introduction to Cannabis sativa L.

Cannabis sativa (commonly known as marijuana, cannabis, hemp, and other names) has been cultivated and used by humans since before 5000 B.C.  In fact, its use predates the invention of writing by thousands of years.  The plant was originally used as a fiber source for materials to make essential items such as rope, clothing, and storage containers.  It has also been used to make paper, food, and many other items.  Its medicinal properties are first mentioned in writing in the pharmacopeia (book of medicine) of Shen Nung, Emperor of China, circa 2700 B.C.  Recently, after nearly a century of prohibition in the United States, the medicinal effects of Cannabis sativa are receiving a renewed interest amid a state by state and national push to legalize the plant in all forms and for all purposes.

The cultivation of cannabis by humans extends from before recorded history all the way through the present day, leaving an indelible mark on American history along the way.  Our first president, George Washington, even grew hemp.  The widespread cultivation of hemp throughout human history is undoubtedly what led Carl Linnaeus (the Swedish naturalist and father of the modern scientific naming and classification system for all living things) to give the name Cannabis sativa for its scientific designation.  Cannabis is a Latinized version of one of the plant’s oldest known names, kanab.  Sativa is the Latin word meaning “sown” or “cultivated”.  Thus, the plant we know today as “marijuana”, “hemp”, or “cannabis” was scientifically named and described as cultivated.  Many agriculturally important plants have the name sativa to reflect their importance to society.  Other examples include rice (Oryza sativa), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and garden lettuce (Lactuca sativa).  These facts should not be forgotten as we consider the circumstances of the prohibition of hemp in the United States in the 1930’s.

As mentioned above, the medicinal properties of hemp were first described in writing around 2700 B.C.  More recently, it was sold as a medicine in the United States throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s by several drug companies; some of which still exist today.  Cannabis sativa was described in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1851 until 1942 when it was removed after the federal prohibition of hemp was declared.  Some of the maladies that were treated by cannabis and its extracts during this time include:  restlessness, neuralgia, sciatica, spasmodic pains, and coughs.

Regardless of the reasons behind the push for hemp prohibition in the 1930’s and the fear-mongering used to rally public support for it, no one was going to risk Federal imprisonment to cultivate hemp fiber for making t-shirts.  The only people who would still seek to grow and utilize the plant were those looking to use and abuse its medicinal and psychoactive effects.

Thus, over the nearly nine decades of prohibition of hemp, pretty much the only strains that have been selected for and cultivated are those that produce large amounts of the psychoactive agent Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  This compound has since been found to have multiple medicinal effects, which will be discussed further in a later section.  In the meantime, the modern chemical sciences of spectroscopy, chromatography, and organic synthesis were almost completely barred from investigating this plant.  Many drugs that we derive from plants were isolated, identified, and artificially synthesized for further study and mass production during the same time period as hemp prohibition.  Yet this one plant was nearly impossible to research.

Recently, the relaxation of hemp prohibition laws in many states has allowed some research on Cannabis sativa to move forward with the benefit of modern technology and a modern understanding of medicinal and natural products chemistry.  Before I get into the details of the medicinal effects of cannabis, it will be useful to learn a little bit about what kinds of compounds the plant makes and why.  

Brief Introduction to Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Cannabis sativa makes two classes of compounds that are known to be of medicinal importance:  the cannabinoids and the terpenes.  The two major cannabinoids that are expressed by hemp are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) and Δ2-cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A).    The plant technically makes THC-A and CBD-A, neither of which is psychoactive.  When exposed to heat or light, these compounds break down into Δ9-tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and Δ2-cannabidiol (CBD), respectively.  Of these four compounds just mentioned, only THC is psychoactive.  For the sake of simplicity, I will only refer to THC and CBD for the rest of this document.

In fact, I am going to simplify the above paragraph so that the rest of this document can be read without confusion:  Cannabis sativa makes two classes of compounds that are known to be of medicinal importance:  the cannabinoids and the terpenes.  The two major cannabinoids that are expressed by hemp are THC and CBD.

These two compounds are found in varying amounts in the hemp plant, depending upon the strain.  For example, Strain A might express 100 % THC, Strain B might express 100 % CBD, and Strain C might express 50 % THC and 50 % CBD (percent relative to each other).  The plant produces these compounds almost exclusively in glands (called trichomes) on its outer surface, especially concentrated around the female flowering tops.  People who grow hemp for the cannabinoid content know that it is possible to force the plant to make more by exposing it to large amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light during the flowering stage.

This leaves an interesting question:  why does hemp produce THC and CBD on its outer surfaces in response to UV light?  Well, research has shown that THC and CBD both absorb light in the UV spectrum.  I believe that the plant expresses these compounds on its outer surface to protect the plant’s DNA.  In other words, the plant makes its own “sunscreen” in order to protect the newly developing seeds from becoming damaged by the sun’s UV light.  This suggests that THC or CBD could be an effective natural sunscreen if properly formulated.

Besides these two major cannabinoids, each different stain of Cannabis sativa makes its own unique set of compounds called terpenes.  These terpenes are what give the unique smell, taste, and medicinal properties to each variety of hemp.  Furthermore, these terpenes also modify the medicinal effects that THC and CBD have on your body.  This is known as the “medicinal entourage effect”.

But what are these terpenes?  Should we be worried about them?  Hardly.  Terpenes are molecules that are made by nearly every flowering plant including lemon, pine tree, lavender, and rose.  Each plant makes its own unique set of terpenes.  However, most of the terpenes made by a given plant are in common with other plant species.  It’s just that each plant makes different terpenes at different levels, giving rise to unique aromas and medicinal effects.

Some of the common terpenes found in Cannabis sativa plants are:  d-limonene, linolool, myrcene, and pinene.  In fact, there are hundreds of terpenes expressed by Cannabis sativa at low levels, but only a dozen or so that are consistently expressed in relevant amounts.

Interestingly, d-limonene is primarily responsible for the scent of lemons.  Linolool is the predominant terpene in lavender and is responsible for its relaxing effect.  Pinene is found in pines and other coniferous trees and is primarily responsible for the smell of sap.  Each of these terpenes has a characteristic smell and its own medicinal properties.  Amazingly, so many of them can be found in a single species of plant, Cannabis sativa.

Hopefully after reading the above information it is clear why there are so many strains of cannabis available to purchase in a medicinal marijuana dispensary.  Each strain has its own unique THC and CBD content as well as its own unique set of terpenes.  So, each strain has its own unique medicinal properties, smell, taste, and side effects.  It is very important for a medical patient to make sure they are using the right strain in the right way.  For example, it may be more appropriate to apply THC or CBD topically as a cream or to take it in pill form, depending on the patient and their needs and preferences.

A Quick Look at Modern Medicinal Marijuana

Modern investigation into THC and CBD has revealed that they have very similar chemical structures and have very similar medicinal properties.  There is just one key difference between these two molecules:  consuming THC makes you feel “high”, while consuming CBD does not.  This means that if you are in possession of a strain that expresses 100 % CBD then you cannot get high or feel intoxicated no matter how much you consume.  CBD simply does not have this effect.

·        Cancer
·        HIV/AIDS
·        Multiple Sclerosis
·        Spasticity Disorders
·        Parkinson’s Disease
·        Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)
·        Neuropathies
·        Rheumatoid Arthritis
·        Spinal Cord Damage
·        Intractable Pain
·        Glaucoma
·        Crohn’s Disease
·        Hepatitis C
·        Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
·        Alzheimer’s Disease
·        Huntington’s Disease
·        Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders
·        Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Table 1 – List of many of the modern approved uses of Cannabis sativa.

I mentioned before that THC and CBD have similar medicinal properties.  This means that they can serve many of the same functions, but each does have its own unique set of effects on the human body.  I have already mentioned one:  THC will make you “high” but CBD will not.  It turns out that CBD is better at preventing certain kinds of seizures in children and adults.  In some cases a child can go from dozens of seizures per day to just a few seizures per month.  This is the difference between having a functioning childhood and living in a confusing nightmare.  However, I think we can all acknowledge that having a child smoke a plant to dose his or her medicine is a ridiculous notion.  Therefore, the active compounds in the plant need to be formulated into a form that is more appropriate for a child, such as a pill or a sweetened beverage.

The active compounds in Cannabis sativa need to be extracted from the plant into a concentrated form in order to accurately dose and formulate them into an appropriate form of consumption for the patient (i.e topical, beverage, pill, or other alternative formulation).  Scientifically, this extract would be known as a “resin” or “concentrate”.  It is a resin because it is not a single isolated compound but is instead composed of many of the plant’s constituents.  In the case of Cannabis sativa, the resin is primarily composed of cannabinoids and terpenes.  Resins are amorphous or semi-solid.  In the case of a cannabis resin, it is hard when frozen, taffy-like at room temperature, and a liquid upon gentle heating.

©2015 Dr. Tyrell R. Towle

Next Blog Post

The next blog post will be about cannabis resin extraction techniques.  Stay tuned...
]]>