The Cannabis Industry Could be a Big Winner on Election Day

The Cannabis Industry Could be a Big Winner on Election Day

New Jersey is expected to approve a ballot initiative to legalize adult-use (aka recreational) marijuana on Election Day next month. Aside from stoking up the 61% of likely Garden State voters in favor of the measure, its passage is projected to generate up to $400 million in adult-use sales in its first year and $950 million by 2024, translating then to nearly $63 million in annual state tax revenue and an additional $19 million in local taxes, as estimated by Marijuana Business Daily. In an economy shattered by the coronavirus pandemic, legal weed looks like a great idea.

That may not be the only good news for legalization proponents after Nov. 3. They’re hoping New Jersey’s pro-pot vote will trigger a domino effect in neighboring states considering similar efforts. “Once New Jersey goes, it’s going to set off an arms race along the East Coast, putting New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania on the clock,” said DeVaughn Ward, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, a cannabis advocacy group in Hartford.

Those three states already permit medicinal marijuana sales and have been moving toward legalizing adult-use for several years, considering tax revenue, job creation and the will of the majority of residents in favor of full legalization. The legislative stars appeared aligned following the 2018 midterm elections’ blue wave, yet ultimately there weren’t enough yea votes in the respective state houses last year. Then the pandemic hit in March, keeping legalization bills in lockdown until next year.

Three additional states — Arizona, South Dakota and Montana — have adult-use legalization initiatives on their November ballots, and Mississippians will vote on a bill allowing medicinal sales. If all five measures pass, medicinal marijuana will be legal in 38 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and adult-use in 14 of those, plus D.C. 

Legalization is another leg on the long, strange trip the U.S. cannabis industry is experiencing in the Year of Covid. Marijuana sales have gone up during the pandemic, thanks to stay-at-home orders and federal stimulus money. And the prospects for continued growth are high.

Total cannabis sales in the U.S. this year are projected to reach $15.8 billion, according to Arcview Market Research/BDSA, up from $12.1 billion in 2019. In adult-use states, the numbers are eye-popping. Illinois, for instance, recently reported its fifth straight month of record-breaking marijuana sales, which hit $67 million in September. Oregon has seen adult-use sales rise 30% above forecast since the pandemic began, averaging $100 million a month over the summer.

“As a whole, the industry is doing fairly well,” said Chris Walsh, CEO of Marijuana Business Daily. “Some companies have struggled, but in general we haven’t seen an overwhelming number of layoffs or companies going out of business.” A big boost, he added, was that most states deemed cannabis businesses as essential during the pandemic. “They were able to stay open while the economy virtually came to a grinding halt,” Walsh said.

Even so, because marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, the industry was ineligible for funds distributed through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. “It’s just another irony on top of irony about how the country handles cannabis in general,” Walsh said. House Democrats have included the industry in previous and proposed Covid stimulus packages, but to no avail.

Federal stance on pot legalization

Depending on the outcome of next month’s presidential and Congressional elections, the likelihood of full federal legalization — which means removing it from its highly restrictive Schedule I drug classification under the Controlled Substances Act — could be greater than ever. What’s more, there’s a good chance that the rampant injustices inflicted during the nation’s nearly century-old cannabis prohibition, disproportionately upon people of color, may be overcome.

The Trump administration has had an enigmatic relationship with cannabis. It rescinded an Obama-era policy that prevented federal prosecutions for marijuana offenses and made immigrants ineligible for citizenship if they consume marijuana or work in the cannabis industry. Yet Trump has previously favored states’ rights to legalize pot and signed the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp, its non-intoxicating variety. He’s running for reelection on a law-and-order platform and has never promoted federal legalization, so even if Congress turns solid blue, it’s hard to predict where he might come down on the issue.

Trump’s Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has a complicated history with cannabis, too. As a senator, he championed the 1994 crime bill that sent tens of thousands of minor drug offenders to prison. Yet while serving as Obama’s vice president, the administration issued the Cole memo, which cleared the way for state-legal marijuana businesses to operate largely without federal interference. Biden and running mate Senator Kamala Harris support adult-use marijuana decriminalization, moderate rescheduling, federal medicinal legalization, allowing states to set their own laws and expunging prior cannabis convictions — though not federal legalization.

Harris and Rep. Jerry Nadler were co-sponsors last year of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and eliminate criminal penalties under federal law. The MORE Act also would expedite expungements, impose a 5% tax on cannabis products to fund criminal and social reforms and prohibit the denial of any federal public benefits based on marijuana use. Congress was scheduled to vote on the bill in September, but it was delayed, probably until next year.

Alongside tax revenue and job creation, social justice reform is the strongest argument for legalization, on both the federal and state levels. Dating back to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, criminalization and incarceration, especially of minorities, have been foundational to drug laws. “The war on drugs has historically and continues to disproportionately target communities of color,” said David Abernathy, vice president of research and consulting for Arcview Group, an Oakland-based firm that matches cannabis businesses and investors, who also is on the board of the Minority Cannabis Business Association.

Business opportunities in the cannabis market

While decriminalization and expungement are paramount to legalization, providing business opportunities for minorities in legal cannabis is equally vital, Abernathy said. “It’s harder for communities of color to participate in the industry as it gets better capitalized and folks from other industries move into it with their connections,” he said. That’s why there’s been pushback in some state initiatives that disqualify individuals with drug convictions from working with cannabis.

On the investment side of the equation, Abernathy noted that even before Covid, there was a significantly slower capital market than in recent years. But with the industry’s uptick during the pandemic, for some investors it’s been “a good place to put money in this volatile time,” he said. Next year, especially if legalization initiatives pass, “we expect this growth trend to continue.”

Another positive trend is the increasing sophistication of cannabis businesses, with publicly-traded companies such as TilrayCronos GroupAurora CannabisGW Pharmaceuticalsand Canopy Growth as prime examples. They are among start-ups involved in medicinals, CBDs, edibles, vaping and smokable products, as well as cannabis cultivation and distribution, where allowed in the U.S. and other countries. If and when marijuana becomes federally legal in the U.S., those endemic players are likely to be joined by conventional food, beverage, tobacco and other consumer product companies that for years have been anticipating a multi-billion-dollar global cannabis market.

Additionally, the industry has the potential for significant job growth, said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association in Washington. There are already nearly 244,000 people working full-time in legal cannabis, according to a report by Leafly earlier this year, “but with new states coming on board and [possible] federal legalization, that could turn into tens of millions of jobs,” Smith said. “Given the state of the economy, policy makers and voters ought to look to this industry for its economic potential.”

This story originally appeared at CNBC

Cannabis On The Ballot: Everything Investors Should Know Ahead Of Election Day

Cannabis On The Ballot: Everything Investors Should Know Ahead Of Election Day

In addition to the U.S. presidential election, the cannabis legalization movement has a lot riding on the November election.

It’s been another difficult year for marijuana investors, with the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ 0.14% down 39.5% in 2020. However, the election could be a major catalyst for cannabis stocks, especially multi-state operators (MSOs).

On Thursday, DataTrek Research co-founder Jessica Rabe took a look at the latest polling data in the four states that are voting on recreational cannabis legalization initiatives in November.

State-By-State Breakdown: In New Jersey, a new poll by law firm Brach Eichler found that 65% of likely voters support legalization, suggesting recreational legalization is likely.

In Arizona, a recent poll conducted by Smart and Safe Arizona found 57% of likely voters support recreational cannabis legalization, but a poll by OH Predictive Insights this week found only 46% of respondents support legalization compared to 45% who do not.

In South Dakota, a marijuana opposition group recently found that 60% of respondents favor legalization.

Finally, a University of Montana poll back in February found that 54% of potential voters support statewide legalization in Montana.

Federal Disappointment: Rabe said New Jersey could be key in triggering a cannabis domino effect among neighboring states.

“Should New Jersey allow retail sales, it will show all the tax revenue and jobs its neighboring states are missing out on, especially amid huge budget shortfalls and job losses due to COVID-19,” she said.

Unfortunately, cannabis investors have little to be excited about on the federal level at the moment. Neither President Donald Trump nor Democratic nominee Joe Biden support federal legalization, which Rabe said is one of the primary reasons for the weakness in cannabis stocks this year.

“Should the tipping point for federal legalization not come this election cycle, this group will continue to struggle with a limited addressable market and fragmented industry,” Rabe said.

Benzinga’s Take: The best thing that could happen for cannabis investors may be for the election race to tighten heading into its final weeks. Biden could feel pressure to use the cannabis legalization issue to rally more voters to the polls if he feels he is losing momentum heading into Election Day.

This story originally appeared at Benzinga.

Ancient Egypt’s Rich History Of Medical Cannabis

Ancient Egypt’s Rich History Of Medical Cannabis

In Egypt, medical cannabis use goes back for millennia. 

And while many different early cultures cultivated cannabis, the ancient Egyptians exemplified a truly holistic use of the plant. It’s even possible that cannabis — Egyptian hieroglyphs called it shemshemet — became popular before the great pyramids were built. 

Egypt’s historical use of shemshemet appears twofold. On one hand hemp may have been used for fiber and textile; on the other hand, the more psychoactive components of cannabis may have been used medicinally. Though many sources today appear authoritative in their claims that the ancient Egyptians used hemp for this and cannabis for that, a closer inspection of the evidence is needed. 

Let’s take a trip back through Egyptian history, beginning around the year 3,000 BC.

Cannabis Hints in the Historical Record

While the exact timeline is less than crystal clear, cannabis was likely used in ancient Egypt as many as5,000 years ago. Some speculate that depictions of the Egyptian Goddess of writing, Sheshat, are brimming with cannabis-inspired themes. In many paintings, she’s shown with a star-shaped leaf atop her head and a fibrous rope in her hand. Was Sheshat’s creative ability courtesy of some help from hemp? It’s a fun theory, but let’s move on to more evidence-based examples. 

First, it’s important to understand the context in which Egyptian medicine found itself. The culture’s understanding of the human body was far ahead of its time, and, relatively speaking, extraordinarily advanced. Although the ancient Egyptians preceded Pasteur’s germ theory by thousands of years, they nonetheless placed a great value on cleanliness and sanitation. And customs like embalming added to the Egyptian’s understanding of how the human body worked.

This same medical knowledge lent itself to the extensive use of medicinal plants. At first, this usage blurred the lines — merged them, even — between science and religion. As Egyptologist Barbara Watterson notes, “the earliest ‘doctor’ was a magician, for the Egyptians believed that disease and sickness were caused by an evil force entering the body.” Thankfully, plant-based incantations seemed to be a perfect cure. 

Soon enough, cannabis was discovered as among the best and most powerful of these plant-based preparations. Its dual psychotropic and healing properties likely made cannabis popular among the dual doctor-magicians of ancient times. And while it’s unclear exactly when cannabis use became mainstream, the plant’s residue has been found in Egyptian artifacts dating back to more than 4,000 years ago.

Around 2,000 BCE, cannabis salves were used to treat eye sores and glaucoma. Today science has proven what the ancient Egyptians learned through centuries of experience: that cannabis is a potent anti-inflammatory which reduces intraocular pressure. Another Egyptologist, Lise Manniche, notes in her book An Ancient Egyptian Herbal that several texts dating back to the 18th century BCE encouraged readers to “plant medicinal cannabis.”

Cannabis Referenced In Ancient Scrolls

It’s now fairly common knowledge that Egypt was a pioneer in the development of papyrus and parchment papers. With these scrolls came the culture’s ability to write and document — and our ability to take a glimpse into their world. Papyri covering everything from legal topics to mythological tales to medical records have been found, and naturally, the medical papyri sometimes mention cannabis.

The Ramesseum Papyri | According to The British Museum, the Ramesseum Papyri “have been described as the ‘most precious single find of papyri’ from pharaonic Egypt.” As one of the oldest medical records ever discovered (circa ~ 1750 BCE), it’s likely these tales reflect a cumulative buildup of the healing techniques of even earlier generations.

The Ramesseum Papyri get their name from their origin: the ancient city of Ramesseum. Researchers have uncovered countless other gems from this Ramesses II-built city, nearly all of which points to the era’s educational prowess. 

The Papyri themselves point to this, too. They include information about childhood illness, anatomy, recovery from volcano-induced injuries, and the birthing process. Plate A26 of the Ramesseum III Papyrus describes this treatment for the eyes: “celery, cannabis is ground and left in the dew overnight. Both eyes of the  patient are to be washed with it in the morning.” Could this have been an effective early THCA therapy? 

The Ebers Papyri | This remarkable collection of papyrus scrolls is the world’s oldest complete medical book. Written around 1500 BC, it describes its era’s most popular medicinal remedies. The Ebers Papyri gets its name from botanist George Ebers, who obtained it in the late 1800s. Like many others in his field, Ebers was understandably interested in gleaning whatever he could from the ancients. And with 700 medical and magical formulas spanning 110 pages, it seems there’s a lot to glean. 

A formula for feminine health is as follows: 

Formula No. 821: Shemshemet (i.e., cannabis) was to be “ground in honey; introduced into her vagina to cool the uterus and eliminate its heat.”

Another cannabis-based formula for “a painful finger or toe” is effective enough that physicians are instructed to encourage their patients — “you must say to this patient: ‘A problem that I can treat’.”

Formula No. 821: “honey: 1/4; ochre 1/64; cannabis: 1/32; hedjou resin: 1/32, ibou plant: 1/32. Prepare as for the preceding, and dress [the affected area] with it.”

The Berlin Papyri | This slightly newer scroll (circa ~1,300 BCE) points towards the evolution of cannabis as medicine. It wasn’t just good for eye problems, feminine issues, or inflamed extremities — cannabis could be used to treat fever and inflammation too. 

The papyri’s 81st formula shows that cannabis was prescribed as an “ointment to prepare for driving away the fever.” Today, modern medicine has made these same anti-fever, anti-inflammatory qualities abundantly clear. 

The Chester Beatty Papyri | Also written around 1,300 BC is the Chester Beatty papyri. This artifact is geared mostly towards treating colorectal diseases. It likely mentions shemshemet at least twice and prescribes the plant’s crushed seeds as a valuable cure. There are even instructions on the use of cannabis suppositories for digestive purposes.  

Overall, examples of cannabis use within the papyri records are somewhat sparse. But the ones that are present are also very telling. As Dr. Ethan Russo quotes in a 2007 publication in the Journal of Chemistry and Biodiversity, “as a drug, it [cannabis] has remained in active use ever since pharaonic times. It does not appear very often in the medical papyri, but it was administered by mouth, rectum, vagina, bandaged to the skin, applied to the eyes and by fumigation.”

Cannabis for the Pharaohs, Cannabis for All

Egyptian pharaohs may have used cannabis for more ceremonial purposes, too. The remains of Ramses the Great (Pharao in 1213 BCE) contain traces of cannabis, as do the remains of other mummified Egyptians. In the 1990s a series of studies from NerlicheParsche, and Balabanova reported this surprising find. Nerliche’s study noted that mummies had a significant deposition of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and concluded that this was likely obtained through cannabis smoke. As you might imagine, these studies were very controversial when they first came out. 

As time went on Egyptian use of medical cannabis continued to develop. By around 1,000 BC, it seems as though even Egypt’s common people had caught on to the plant’s potential benefits. Unfortunately, though, there is relatively less historical data on cannabis use during this time period. 

Could the ancient Egyptian’s understanding of cannabis have trickled down to adeptness in other areas related to health and the body? Perhaps. In his epic work The Odyssey, Homer notes that “everyone in Egypt is a skilled Physician”. Everyone, in this case, even included women — which was a very rare allowance in those times. Indeed, some of Egypt’s first doctors were women prized for their caregiving; other women were skilled as midwives. 

A final papyrus-written record surfaced around 200 AD: the Vienna Papyri. This one appears to mention cannabis as a treatment for tumors, ear pain, and fevers. In some instances, the Vienna papyri recommend using acacia and cannabis in conjunction. Though not truly ancient, this one distills down information gathered from prior time periods. 

Translation difficulties make coming to a full knowledge of the Egyptian’s medical cannabis use challenging, though researchers like Dr. Greg Gerdeman agree that ancient mentions of shemshemet most definitely refer to cannabis. What can be said with full confidence is that the ancient Egyptians were leaders in the medical world of their era — and they attained this leadership through devotion to medicinal plants like cannabis. 

It’s likely that practical lessons can be learned from their devotion, too.  Perhaps Dr. Russo’s review said it best: “information gleaned from the history of cannabis administration in its various forms may provide useful points of departure for research.” In the future, the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians may truly come full circle. 

Read the original Article on The Cannigma.

Is fungus the answer to climate change? Student who grew a mushroom canoe says yes.

Is fungus the answer to climate change? Student who grew a mushroom canoe says yes.

“Mushrooms are here to help us — they’re a gift,” college student Katy Ayers said. “They’re our biggest ally for helping the environment.”

April 18, 2020, 6:17 AM PDTBy Sarah Kuta

Catch a glimpse of Katy Ayers paddling her canoe on a Nebraska lake this summer and you might do a double take.

At first glance, her 8-foot vessel looks much like any other canoe — same oblong shape, same pointed ends, same ability to float on water.

But upon closer inspection, it’s clearly anything but ordinary: Ayers’ canoe is made out of mushrooms.

More specifically, her boat is made from mycelium, the dense, fibrous roots of the mushroom that typically live beneath the soil. Ayers, 28, a student at Central Community College in Columbus, Nebraska, even gave her creation a fitting name: “Myconoe.”

Though Ayers has taken the canoe out for several quasi-recreational excursions — and plans to do so again as soon as the weather warms up in the rural part of Nebraska where she lives — her real goal with the eye-catching project is to raise broader awareness about mushrooms. She is part of a growing movement of mushroom advocates, people who believe these squishy, sometimes edible fungi can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.

Katy Ayers' 8-foot vessel is made from mycelium, the dense, fibrous roots of mushroom that typically live beneath the soil.
Katy Ayers’ 8-foot vessel is made from mycelium, the dense, fibrous roots of mushroom that typically live beneath the soil.Courtesy Katy Ayers

In addition to their ability to break down harmful pollutants and chemicals, Ayers pointed out that mushrooms can be used for everything from household insulation to furniture to packaging, replacing plastics, Styrofoam and other materials that are hard to recycle and harmful to the environment.

“Mushrooms are here to help us — they’re a gift,” Ayers said. “There’s so much we can do with them beyond just food; it’s so limitless. They’re our biggest ally for helping the environment.”

Mushrooms aren’t exactly mainstream, though citizen scientists like Ayers and some private companies hope to someday change that. The New York-based biotech company Ecovative Design, for instance, has made headlines for its mushroom-based packaging material, which has been deployed by companies such as Ikea and Dell. Mushrooms are being used at the local level to help clean up toxic debris and contaminated soil — a process known as mycoremediation — but so far have not been adopted on a larger scale.

Ayers never paid much attention to mushrooms until she enrolled in 2018 at the college in Columbus, a small city with around 23,000 residents. During her first semester, an English instructor challenged students to find and study a potential solution to climate change.

During her research, Ayers came across a 2013 documentary called “Super Fungi,” which made the case for mushrooms as an environmental ally and highlighted some of their innovative uses.

Ayers was sold on the power of mushrooms instantly. Having learned that mycelium is buoyant and waterproof, she decided to try using it to create a boat.

“I always have very big ideas,” she said. “So I see something and it’s small and I just want to make it bigger and better. Since I’m from Nebraska, I love to fish. I’ve always wanted a boat. Why not just grow it?”

With a mini-grant from the college, Ayers got to work. She reached out to a mushroom company in nearby Grand Island for help, sharing her idea with owner Ash Gordon. He agreed to help immediately and offered her a summer internship so she could learn the ins and outs of fungi.

During the day, Ayers worked alongside Gordon at Nebraska Mushroom, doing lab work, creating spawn and harvesting, packaging and processing mushrooms.

After finishing their work for the day, the two turned their attention to the canoe project. They first built a wooden skeleton and a hammock-like structure to suspend the boat-shaped form in the air.

Katy Ayers and Ash Gordon sandwiched the boat's skeleton with mushroom spawn and let nature take over.
Katy Ayers and Ash Gordon sandwiched the boat’s skeleton with mushroom spawn and let nature take over.Courtesy Katy Ayers

They next sandwiched the boat’s skeleton with mushroom spawn and let nature take over.

For two weeks, the fledgling canoe hung inside a special growing room in Gordon’s facility, where temperatures ranged between 80 and 90 degrees and the humidity hovered between 90 to 100 percent. The last step in the process was to let the 100-pound boat dry in the Nebraska sun.

Sarah Kuta

Sarah Kuta is a freelance journalist based in the Denver area.

Cannabis is from seeds, drugs are from Big Pharma.

Cannabis is from seeds, drugs are from Big Pharma.

By characterizing THC/Cannabis as “harmful,” and maintaining control over this unique & essential natural resource, is wrong on every level. This precious resource has been manipulated by people who seek profit from the fear & pain of others.

Drugs don’t make seeds. Herbs do. Cannabis is from seeds, drugs are from Big Pharma. The drug treaties & drug laws we were all born into have always been “void for vagueness.”

It all began with maintaining the Great Lie of 1937 (that THC is “dangerous”), rather than admitting it is essential for optimum health, does several things, none of them good.

First, it attempts to justify the wrongful jurisdiction of unobjective courts, who profit from Cannabis prohibition in many ways.

Secondly, by claiming jurisdiction over an “herb bearing seed” the gods-given sanctity of Nature is subjugated by institutional disregard. Sincere respect for Natural systems & relationships, that predate mankind, are rendered legally inconsequential, to the detriment of human social evolution and global environmental integrity.

Finally, by exerting fees, taxes, financial burdens & punishments on the multi-billion dollar “marijuana” industry, institutional control of the multi-trillion dollar “industrial hemp” industry is maintained by the same people & politically powerful corporations presently vested in fossil fuels & nuclear energy.

Now that Cannabis has been revealed as essential to optimum human health, proper physical development, and sustainable existence on this planet, there is zero logic in perpetuating obsolete values imposed two generations ago, which have no bearing on today’s stark reality.

Extinction is in our proximate future unless Cannabis is recognized as mankind’s functional interface with the Natural Order. Anything less is just a tragic waste of time, for which our children will suffer the worst.

Back to our HEMP ROOTS…

Back to our HEMP ROOTS…

In the Beginning HEMP ROOT was Medicine for all…

Dating back to the earliest records of time we can see the cannabis plant was revered as the medicine for most all ailments. Why then is this all healing plant still illegal? Most of us know it’s the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industry who has monopolized our world since the early 1900’s. We have been misinformed and deceived regarding the major benefits of Hemp/Cannabis. Moving forward we must begin to see why it is our human rights that have been taken, the right to choose the medicine we want not from drugs but fro seeds… This is our first amendment. It’s time we get back to our roots!!!

How do WE change things around…? Participate in standing for your rights, we the people have the power to choose…Information is power. As you read this article below from the National Institute of Health you will see clearly, the Cannabis plant has been used for eons for its many many healing properties as well as being the strongest fiber on the planet!!! Who knew, the Hemp root, not the flower, was the basis for most medicines!

HEMP was used Traditional Therapy with Future Potential for Treating Inflammation and Pain with this earliest recording in the 1500’s. Again why all the study, the proof is already in recorded history!

Introduction: The roots of the cannabis plant have a long history of medical use stretching back millennia. However, the therapeutic potential of cannabis roots has been largely ignored in modern times.

Discussion: In the first century, Pliny the Elder described in Natural Histories that a decoction of the root in water could be used to relieve stiffness in the joints, gout, and related conditions. By the 17th century, various herbalists were recommending cannabis root to treat inflammation, joint pain, gout, and other conditions. There has been a subsequent paucity of research in this area, with only a few studies examining the composition of cannabis root and its medical potential. Active compounds identified and measured in cannabis roots include triterpenoids, friedelin (12.8 mg/kg) and epifriedelanol (21.3 mg/kg); alkaloids, cannabisativine (2.5 mg/kg) and anhydrocannabisativine (0.3 mg/kg); carvone and dihydrocarvone; N-(p-hydroxy-β-phenylethyl)-p-hydroxy-trans-cinnamamide (1.6 mg/kg); various sterols such as sitosterol (1.5%), campesterol (0.78%), and stigmasterol (0.56%); and other minor compounds, including choline. Of note, cannabis roots are not a significant source of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, or other known phytocannabinoids.

Conclusion: The current available data on the pharmacology of cannabis root components provide significant support to the historical and ethnobotanical claims of clinical efficacy. Certainly, this suggests the need for reexamination of whole root preparations on inflammatory and malignant conditions employing modern scientific techniques.

Hemp Root is Medicinal

The cannabis plant is known for its multiple uses: the leaves, flowers, seeds, stalks, and resin glands have all been exploited for food, fuel, fiber, medicine, and other uses. One of the first mentions of the medical use of cannabis root was by the Roman historian, Pliny the Elder, who wrote in his Natural Histories that “a decoction of the root in water relaxes contractions of the joints and cures gout and similar maladies.”1 By the latter part of 17th century, various physicians and herbalists recommended cannabis root to treat fever,2,3 inflammation,4–9 gout, arthritis, and joint pain,1,5,6,8,10–12 as well as skin burns5,8,10 and hard tumors.6–8 There are also accounts of cannabis root being used to treat postpartum hemorrhage,13 difficult child labor,14 sexually transmitted disease,15 and gastrointestinal activity16,17 and infection.3,8 Despite a long history of therapeutic use (Table 1), the roots of cannabis plants have been largely ignored in modern medical research and practice.

Gout, arthritis, and joint pain

In earlier times, cannabis root was used to treat gout.1,5,6,8,10–12 In 1542, Leonhart Fuchs, the German physician and botanist, wrote in his herbal book “hemp root, boiled in water, and wrapped—is also good for gout.”10 Similarly, the French physician and writer François Rabelais noted “the root of this herb, boiled in water, soothes muscles, stiff joints, gout pains, and rheumatism.”11 In 1613, Szymon Syrenski, the Polish botanist and academic, recorded the uses of hemp roots boiled in water for “curved and shrunken body parts.”12 In 1640, John Parkinson, the English botanist and herbalist, also noted “the decoction of the rootes, easeth the paines of the goute, the hard tumours, or knots of the joynts, the paines and shrinking of the sinewes, and other the like paines of the hippes.”5 In 1710, the English physician Dr. William Salmon recorded “the decoction of the root.—it is said … to ease the pains of the gout, to help hard tumors or knots in the joints, cramps, and shrinking of the sinews, and to ease the pains of the hip, or sciatica, being applied thereto by fomentation, and afterward mixed applied made up into a cataplasm with barley flower, renewing of it every day.”6 In 1758, the French writer M. Marcandier reported in Traité du Chanvre, “its root, boiled in water, and coated in the form of a cataplasm, mollifies and softens the joints of the fingers that are shrunken. Is quite good against the gout, and other inflammations; it resolves tumors and callosities of the joints.”8 In general, the historical records indicate that cannabis root is most often extracted with boiling water8,10–12 and applied topically to treat gout and arthritis.6,8


In the 12th century, the Persian Philosopher Ibn Sina (Avicenna) wrote in the Canon of Medicine that “the compress with the boiled roots of cannabis decrease fever.”2 In Argentina, cannabis root was also recommended for fever due to infection with malaria—“the root bark, provides a fairly harsh taste mainly due to the presence of tannin, is used fresh in cooking at the rate of thirty grams per liter of water, or dry, fifteen grams, for abbreviating bouts of fever in malaria.”3 From these accounts, cannabis roots were administered both topically2 and orally3 for fever.


There are numerous mentions of cannabis root as a treatment of inflammation.4–9 In the 17th century, Nicholas Culpeper, an English botanist, herbalist, and physician, stated in his book Culpeper’s Complete Herbal that “the decoction of the root allays inflammations of the head or any other parts.”4 In 1640, Parkinson also noted “hempe is cold and dry—The decoction, of the roote is sayd to allay inflammations in the head or any other part.”5 In 1710, Salmon recorded “the decoction of the root.—it is said to be good against, viz. to allay inflammations in the head, or any other part.”6 In 1747, the English physician Robert James wrote in his book Pharmacopoeia Universalis: or, A New Universal English Dispensatory, “the root boil’d, and applied by way of cataplasm, mitigates inflammations.”7 In the 18th century, M. Husain Khan also wrote in the Persian medical text Makhzan-al-Adwiya, “A poultice of the boiled root and leaves for discussing inflammations, and cure of erysipelas, and for allaying neuralgic pains.”9 In general, a decoction of the cannabis root4–6 or boiled water extraction7,9 administered topically7,9 is the preferred method for using cannabis root to target overactive inflammation.

Skin burns

Cannabis root has also been used topically to treat skin burns. In 1542, Fuchs recorded “hemp root … the raw root, pounded and wrapped, is good for the burn.”10 In 1640, Parkinson also noted “hempe is cold and dry—The decoction, of the roote … it is good to be used, for any place that hath beene burnt by fire, if the fresh juyce be mixed with a little oyle or butter.”5 In 1758, Marcandier reported that cannabis root “pounded and ground fresh, with butter in a mortar, one applies it to burns, which it soothes infinitely, provided it is often renewed.”8 Overall, cannabis root has been used topically to soothe skin burns in a variety of ways, including raw root,10 as a juice,5 and mixed with fat (butter).5,8

Hard tumors

There are mentions of cannabis root for treating tumors, however, the term “tumor” may have been used to describe any kind of “abscess, sores, ulcers, or swelling,” but it is unclear if these tumors included what we consider today to be cancerous tumors. In the 12th century, Ibn Sina wrote “the compress with the boiled roots of cannabis … resolve the indurations if applied on the hot tumors and hardened places [of the body].”2 In 1710, Salmon recorded “the decoction of the root—it is said … to help hard tumors or knots in the joints.”6 Similarly, in 1747, James wrote “the root boil’d, and applied by way of cataplasm, discusses tumors, and dissolves tophaceous Concretions at the Joints.”7 Furthermore, in 1758, Marcandier reported that cannabis root “resolves tumors and callosities of the joints.”8 In general, topical application of boiled cannabis root is used to help with hard tumors.2,6,7


In the ancient Chinese pharmacopeia, the Pên-ts’ao Ching, it is stated that the juice of the cannabis root has been used to assist with the cessation of hemorrhage after childbirth. “The juice of the root is thought to have a beneficial action in retained placenta and postpartum hemorrhage.”13 Similarly, other accounts from China report “Ma gen, Cannabis Radix, cannabis (hemp) root: This is the root of the cannabis plant. Ma gen dispels stasis and stanches bleeding. It is used in the treatment of strangury, flooding and spotting, vaginal discharge, difficult delivery, retention of the placenta, and knocks and falls. It is taken orally, either as a decoction or crushed to extract its juice (in its fresh form).”14 Interestingly, to assist with difficult childbirth, cannabis root is administered orally, either as juice or decoction.14

Sexually transmitted disease

There is a report of cannabis root being used to help treat the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea.15 In the 17th century, a German-born botanist employed by the Dutch East India Company in what is now known as eastern Indonesia noted “in Hitu [Ambon Island, Indonesia] the Moors took the root of the male or flower-bearing plant (which in European herbals are not readily distinguished) from my garden, and gave it to eat to those who were held fast by unclean Gonnorhaea.”15 It is unclear from this account how the cannabis root was prepared to eat.

Gastrointestinal activity

Cannabis root has been used to protect against vomiting (antiemetic) in Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean: “boiled roots were used to reduce infants’ vomiting…”.16,17 In Chile, hemp roots have also been used to induce vomiting (purgative).17 In Argentina, hemp root was recommended, “the bark should be collected in the early spring, when it is also a good tonic, successfully administered pulverized and mixed with wine for weakness and pains of the stomach. It tones at the same time the entire digestive apparatus, removes toxins and infections caused by the weakness of them. Its same fruits [seeds] can replace the root.”3


There are several mentions of cannabis root for treating infection. In the Persian medical text Makhzan-al-Adwiya, “a poultice of the boiled root and leaves for … cure of erysipelas,”9 which is a bacterial infection of the upper skin layer. In modern Argentina, hemp root was recommended “to remove toxins and infections.”3 Marcandier also noted in 1758 that “its juice and decoction placed in the buttocks [anus] of horses, in fact, also brings out the vermin.”8 To assist with infection, cannabis root has been administered topically,9 orally,3 and intrarectally.8

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