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Hemp: Our Lifeline To The Future by Dr Andrew Katelaris (c) 2010 - Nexus Magazine October - November 2010 Issue

Hemp: Our Lifeline To The Future by Dr Andrew Katelaris (c) 2010 - Nexus Magazine October - November 2010 Issue

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Published by Love For Life
The widespread legalisation of cannabis production for commercial and medical uses would have profound benefits for our economies and our health as well as our environment.
The widespread legalisation of cannabis production for commercial and medical uses would have profound benefits for our economies and our health as well as our environment.

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Published by: Love For Life on Feb 09, 2011
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OCTOBER NOVEMBER 2010www.nexusmagazine.comNEXUS 1
The Consequences of Hemp Prohibition
I
t is often said that in war the first casualty is truth. Nowhere is this moreaccurately seen than in the so-called War on Drugs. Beginning with anhysterical "reefer madness" media campaign by the Hearst press in theearly 1930s, the image of cannabis (
Cannabis sativa
) was transformed froma valuable fibre crop and important source of oil and medicine to "a heathendevil weed with its roots in hell". Whether by design or circumstance, thesuppression of cannabis paved the way for a dramatic transformation of theworld's economy.Prior to the late 19th century, the world operated on a carbohydrate-basedsystem, where all the fibre, fuel and medicine required to meet human needswas produced by photosynthesis, with the Sun's energy utilised to combinecarbon dioxide and water into cellulose, the basic building material of thenatural world. During the 20th century, much of this carbohydrate wasreplaced by hydrocarbons generated by the extractive coal and oil industries.In place of natural hemp fabrics came the petrochemical fabrics. Nylon,polyester and other synthetics were manufactured on a massive scale andpromoted by aggressive advertising. In place of the paper bags and boxescame the ubiquitous plastic bags.Billions of these toxic, non-degradable items have been manufactured onlyto be used once and then discarded, to find their way into streams andwaterways and eventually to coalesce into massive submerged islands ofgarbage in the Pacific and other oceans, releasing a toxic time bomb ofhormone-disrupting chemicals into the marine and human ecosystems.Instead of paper being made from annual fibre crops, vast tracts of ancientforest have been felled and chipped, then cooked with chlorine and otherhazardous chemicals to produce an inferior product when compared to whatit replaced.The destruction and contamination of the natural world is not the onlyadverse effect of the suppression of cannabis. Again, whether by design orcircumstance, the legislation put in place to enforce the prohibition hasserved as a template towards the establishment of a repressive police statewith an incremental curtailment of individual liberty. Under the guise ofpreventing damage from the "scourge of drugs", the population has beensubjected to phone-tapping and other methods of surveillance, intrusive andoften violent police raids and a range of chemical surveillance includingenforced testing of hair, urine and saliva. The majority of the current prisonpopulation comprises non-violent drug offenders, especially in the UnitedStates where the privatisation of the prison industry has created a repressivebut highly profitable industry for the Wackenhut Corporation and otherprison industry players.The damaging consequences of the prohibition are not restricted toindividuals but are felt across the geopolitical sphere. Because much of the
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The widespreadlegalisation ofcannabis productionfor commercial andmedical uses wouldhave profoundbenefits for oureconomies and ourhealth as well as ourenvironment.
by Andrew Katelaris, MD
© 2010
Post Office Box 3261North Turramurra NSW 2074AustraliaEmail:sativaseed@gmail.com
 
cannabis and the other plant-based drugs are grown inThird World countries, political intervention under theguise of drug interdiction has been and continues to bemanipulated for political purposes by serving as apretence for military action. The invasion of Panama andthe political turmoil in Afghanistan, Mexico andColombia, to name a few countries, are the results of themilitarisation of the War on Drugs. Despite the mass ofevidence implicating the American military in massive-scale drug-dealing, including the importation of manytonnes of cocaine from South America to the USA tohelp fund covert activities, the drug war warriorscontinue to claim the moral high ground.
The Growth of Hemp Industries
However, due to the tireless efforts of thousands ofhemp activists around the world, the tide is slowlystarting to turn. Cannabis hemp can now be grownlegally in most countries,although the United Statesremains a notable exception. Whilst hemp industries are stilla minor player on the worldscene, their scale and range ofproducts are steadily rising dueto the increasing acceptance ofthe concept of industrialagriculture. In order toproduce true sustainability,industrial agriculture seeks touse annual crops as thestarting point for factoryproduction, replacing minedinputs such as iron ore and coal. But can hemp andother select crops really make an impact on the loomingenvironmental catastrophe?Imagine your country one generation into the future,following the passage of a law requiring all industrialproduction to be completely non-toxic, biodegradableand sustainable. In this world, cars and many otherthings are now made of hemp bio-plastic. This materialis not new. It was developed in 1941 by Henry Ford, whomade a car body that was one-sixth the weight of steelbut had 10 times the impact resistance. Documentaryfootage of this remarkable achievement is available onthe Internet. Future generations will never know what apanel beater actually did, and the insurance industrywill be much downsized. Perhaps, in this future world,those responsible for suppressing such valuable greentechnology will finally be brought to task.
• Paper and textiles
 Australia earns about $400 million a year by sellingchips from old growth forests, but we import finishedpaper products to the value of $1.4 billion.In the future world, the use of trees and chlorine inpaper-making is now a receding memory. Modern non-wood paper-making factories operate surrounded bygreen fields of hemp. The billions of dollars saved onimports are invested into massive reforestationprograms, stabilising erosion and facilitating the returnof biodiversity. Synthetic fabrics are long gone, replacedby breathable natural textiles of hemp, ramie andbamboo.
• Building and construction
Hempcrete is a building material manufactured fromthe chipped inner fibre of the hemp stalk. Mixed withlime, ground slag or other additives, it forms a cellulosecement lighter than conventional materials but withimproved thermal and acoustic insulation properties.The material is fireproof and completely resistant totermites.Hempcrete revolutionises home building in the future.It sets like concrete but can be cut like timber. Anyunwanted structure can simplybe ground up and thrown intothe new mix. A more "organic"style of building can develop,because it is now astraightforward process torearrange internal walls andmake any other changes to ahome to suit changing familyneeds. In some Europeancountries, nearly half of alldwellings are owner built.Furthermore, hempcretedramatically reduces the cost ofhousing by simplifyingconstruction; for example, a roof cast of hempcretereinforced with bamboo can replace a tiled roof, fasciaand guttering. This roof will have better thermal andacoustic insulation than the tiles, will be resistant tohail and will greatly reduce the risk from bushfire.In addition to its direct benefits in construction,hempcrete functions very efficiently to sequester carbondioxide. Bio-sequestration is the process by whichplants take up carbon dioxide and water and use theSun's light to synthesise glucose and then cellulose. Ifthe cellulose is used in long-lasting structures, then theatmospheric carbon dioxide is effectively removed or"sequestered", improving the weather health on Earth.The average Australian family generates about 10tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. One hectare ofhemp can sequester up to 20 tonnes of carbon dioxideannually. The average hempcrete house wouldsequester about 40 tonnes. When a house is made ofhempcrete, it is not only this direct carbon dioxidewhich is saved.Using bricks, tiles and other fired ceramics, though,generates a huge amount of carbon dioxide inmanufacture. An average brick house generates up to500 tonnes of carbon dioxide in its total construction,
2NEXUSwww.nexusmagazine.com OCTOBER NOVEMBER 2010
In addition to its directbenefits in construction,hempcrete functions veryefficiently to sequestercarbon dioxide.
 
and the housing industry generates a large proportionof the country's domestic carbon dioxide output. Alarge-scale change in building methods would facilitateour compliance with targets such as, or preferablyexceeding, Kyoto Protocol levels. The doomsayers mayclaim that compliance with such a protocol would harmthe economy, but a large-scale transition to hemp-based paper, textiles and building industries wouldprovide a massive economic stimulus, creating qualityemployment and export opportunities—unlike theshort-sighted consumer-based stimulus strategiescurrently in use.
Hemp Seed in Health and Medicine
In the areas of health and medicine, the use of hempcould lead to dramatic improvementsin society.Hemp seed is one of the richestsources of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid),the plant-based form of the essentialfatty acid omega-3. ALA has an 18-carbon backbone, which is elongatedin the body to a 22-carbon chain toform DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) andEPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). In thisform, omega-3 is incorporated intothe brain, forming a critical part of theneuronal membrane.Omega-3 from marine sourcesoccurs as DHA and EPA, andtaking omega-3 in this formbypasses the need for theconversion. However, ALA hasbeneficial effects itself, and usingmarine-derived omega-3 places asevere strain on the aquaticenvironment. Further, omega-3 isa very reactive molecule, and theharsh industrial conditions usedin the extraction anddeodorisation of the oil leave itwith less than optimal activity,with detectable levels ofcontaminants including mercury and polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs) found in many commercial samples.Fortunately, most individuals can readily convert ALAto DHA and EPA in sufficient quantity for optimal braindevelopment. Luckily, two groups with particular needfor DHA and EPA—pregnant women and youngchildren—are particularly efficient at this conversion.The enzymes responsible for the conversion can beimpeded by an excess of saturated fats, so for optimalresults these must be reduced in the diet.There are two essential fatty acids: omega-3 andomega-6. They are referred to as "essential" becausethey cannot be synthesised by the body but must beobtained from food. The ideal ratio for optimal healthbetween the intake of omega-3 and omega-6 is one partomega-3 for each three parts of omega-6 (1:3). Theindustrialisation of the western diet and theconsumption of mass-marketed canola and otherinferior oils—which have little omega-3 content in anycase—has had the critical effect of seriously reducingthe omega-3 intake whilst at the same time dramaticallyincreasing the omega-6 intake.The body maintains homoeostasis by a dynamicbalance between opposing forces; for example, themusculoskeletal system balances opposing flexion andextension muscles to maintain posture. Biochemically,the body maintains its interior homoeostasis bydelicately balancing pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects. The body must be able to mountan effective inflammatory response torepel microbial invaders and as anadjunct in wound healing, but it mustthen be able to down-regulate thisinflammation to prevent unwantedcollateral damage to adjacent tissue.In general terms, the omega-6 fattyacids and their derivatives are pro-inflammatory, whilst the omega-3sproduce mediators which down-regulate the inflammatory response. With a predominance of omega-6 anda deficiency of omega-3, the body is ina permanent state of excessinflammation. The release ofinflammatory cytokines initiatesthe process of tissue damagewhich, if the process continueslong enough, manifests as illnesssuch as vascular disease, loss ofvision and dementia. When thesynovial joints are affected,ostoeoarthritis results, causingmuch pain and suffering for alarge proportion of thepopulation.Like knights in shining armour,the pharmaceutical corporationsoffered their response: the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These chemicals arebased on aspirin but have been modified to exhibit amore rapid effect, better analgesic properties or someother characteristic to give their product a marketableedge over the competition. NSAIDs have generated anindustry with multibillion-dollar sales annually, despitethe fact that they are responsible for the deaths ofhundreds of thousands of people globally. As a spin-offadvantage for the corporations, the most frequent sideeffect of the NSAIDs is gastric irritation, often leading toulceration. To the NSAIDs billions were added thebillions of dollars from the sales of antacids likeZantac® and more recently the proton pump inhibitors.
OCTOBER NOVEMBER 2010www.nexusmagazine.comNEXUS 3
...the consumptionof mass-marketedcanola and otherinferior oils hashad the criticaleffect of seriouslyreducing theomega-3 intakewhilst at the sametime dramaticallyincreasing theomega-6 intake.

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