One of the things that immediately attracted me to cannabis was its naturalness as a plant material.
For 65 years, Georgia has witnessed the evolution of the cannabis world. She is a leading expert in chemical synthesis and transformation at a university in Sydney and has been using cannabis for 30 years. In this interview, she shares her unique perspective on the major transformations that occur within it (cannabis store).
It happened, I think, in 1972 near Vancouver, when we were importing cannabis from Mexico. It was just an indeterminate mass from which we needed to remove what couldn’t be smoked. We would first select the largest branches and then break up the rest of the mass. The best way to get rid of the seeds was to spread the crushed cannabis on a hard surface and tilt it slightly so that the seeds rolled off. The seeds were redundant and thus cannabis was first grown in North America.
First crops and sin semilla
I grew these seeds myself from Mexico and carefully planted them in the soil of western Canada, where I lived at the time. The plants grew quickly and profusely, their long and graceful leaves swaying in the sunshine… until the frosts came in the fall and dealt them a fatal blow…. until frost came in the fall and dealt them a fatal blow. We used the tough curled green buds that formed at the tops of the branches to use as smoking blends, and used the rest to make brownies. The resulting result was magical and we felt happy.
I remember with clarity how amazed I was when I went back to Europe and picked up sencemilla seeds for the first time and saw that they were the right shape and covered in resin….. and they had no seeds! The incident took place in the Netherlands in the early 90’s when I met the enigmatic Neville who offered to roll me a narcotic cigarette from this strange bud. Confused by this unusual form, I declined his offer and let him do it himself.
At that time, there was a place near Amsterdam called «Cannabis Castle» where visitors could come from all over the world, including myself from Paris, to see, perhaps for the first time, female plants grown without male influence. They were in full bloom, giving their best in the hope that the long-awaited pollen would appear. In retrospect, this was the beginning of a revolution in the way of growing in open fields, in direct sunlight and air currents.
Science, experiment, drug, medicine, cannabis concept. Young happy smiling woman girl scientist medical worker cartoon character researching cbd weed in laboratory. Scientific test of marijuana drug.
The difference between cannabis and other «drug plants»
One of the features that distinguishes hemp from other medicinal plants such as coffee, tobacco, coca, poppy, etc., is the absence of alkaloids. Caffeine, nicotine, cocaine and morphine are all alkaloids that are toxic and life-threatening in large doses. Hemp differs from them in this respect, being non-toxic. Because of this, its chemical composition was studied much later than that of these other plants.
Various alkaloids were actively studied in the early 19th century, but the chemical structure of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in hemp, was not discovered until 1964 by Prof. Meshulam and his research group.
Until the 1960s, pharmacists who were in the business of making medicines had no way of determining the active ingredient content of a batch of cannabis. For centuries and even into the 1950s, all varieties of hemp (Latin name Cannabis L., where L stands for «according to Linnaeus classification») in Europe were referred to as «cannabis» without a clear classification. The only difference was the Indian hemp imported from India and neighboring regions. Therefore, it was impossible to create medicines with predictable efficacy in our countries. This, in addition to various conspiracy theories, explains why hemp was categorically excluded from the official pharmacopoeia of European countries in the 1950s.
The pursuit of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
The introduction of Prohibition and the existence of a black market created a kind of environment where illegal substances began to produce the strongest possible potency. Together with this, cannabis also obeyed this trend during the decades when it was important to produce the most potent plant in the «war on drugs». In the States and the Netherlands, there was constant boasting of high THC levels, which were already easy to detect.
However, there were constant unconfirmed reports of the positive effects of cannabis on patients suffering from certain diseases such as glaucoma, nausea from chemotherapy or multiple sclerosis. An increasing number of patients demanded access to the plant, but their requests were always denied on the grounds that there was insufficient scientific evidence of its efficacy. President Nixon even banned research into its medicinal properties in 1970.
Twenty years later, however, research was resumed again. Another cannabinoid, CBD, was discovered that was identified before THC but lost its importance because of it.
Why haven’t you given up on CBD?
At this point, CBD has become a very popular and sought after product, which was unpredictable. It is categorized as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and is noted for its multiple benefits. CBD is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent that is effective against chronic pain. In addition, its neuroprotective properties promote faster recovery from stroke and protect against certain cancers, making it particularly appealing to seniors. Interestingly, even without the presence of THC, the calming effects of cannabis are of genuine value, especially in this day and age when so many people suffer from stress.
At the same time, younger Americans, particularly those in California, have begun to tire of traditional marijuana, considering it outdated. The emergence of e-cigarettes contributed to a profound change. Many consumers have begun to trust and prefer industrially produced electronic devices, abandoning natural plant-based products. Naturally, this causes some concern for me; I prefer to stay close to nature and trust plants completely. Nevertheless, I can’t help but notice that we are experiencing another small revolution.
A revolution in chemistry
The time for chemistry has come, whether from the perspective of big pharmaceutical companies seeking to commercialize and patent cannabis-derived products or from the perspective of avant-garde consumers. At the moment, everyone is busy isolating, concentrating and extracting, which has similarities to the situation with coca leaves, which were used in rituals in some Andean cultures and then turned into the white powder known as cocaine.
Those of us who lived through the 70s quickly witnessed the changing situation of psychoactive cannabis. It used to be grown traditionally in the «third world», but now Western countries are producing their own cannabis stocks, utilizing advanced technology and creating increasingly potent products.
Perhaps the legalization movement that is gaining momentum in Western countries can change some of the consequences of this dynamic and bring people back to the value of weed that feels more natural and like a plant grown in different parts of the world throughout history.