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DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | Hemp (Marijuana)
By Alan D. Bryan
1. HEMP FOR FUEL:
About 6% of contiguous United States land area put into cultivation for biomass could supply all current demands for oil and gas. Very few people know what "biomass conversion" or "pyrolysis" mean--not only in terms of their dictionary definitions, but in terms of what they mean as alternative sources of energy, to the limited, expensive and dirty petro-chemical, nuclear, or coal sources. The only reason the U.S.-- and every other nation on earth--can't once again become energy independent and smog free is because people are not educated concerning the facts about solutions to the environment/energy "crisis" continuously lamented and tepidly addressed "leaders", claiming they are the best informed to decide what to do. The knowledge exists right now for our lifeline to the future and the health and well-being of the Seventh Generation yet unborn. Everyone of us must learn about this existent lifeline and teach everyone else we know what the facts are the way out of the current "crisis".
HEMP IS THE NUMBER ONE biomass producer on earth: 10 tons per acre in approximately four months. It is a woody plant containing 77% cellulose. Wood producers 60% cellulose. This energy crop can be harvested with equipment readily available. It can be "cubed" by modifying cubing equipment. This
method condenses the bulk, reducing trucking costs from the field to the pyrolysis reactor. And the biomass cubes are ready for conversion.
Hemp is drought resistant, making it an ideal crop in the dry western regions of the country. Hemp is the only biomass resource capable of making America energy independent and our government outlawed it in 1938.
The argument against hemp production does not hold up to scrutiny: hemp grown for biomass makes very poor grade marijuana. The 20-40 million Americans who smoke marijuana would loath to smoke hemp grown for biomass, so a farmer's hemp biomass crop is worthless as marijuana.
Excerpt from Herer "Emperor Wears No Clothes" 1991 edition p. 136
Dewey and Merrill, "bulletin #404, Hemp Hurds As Paper-Making Material" U.S.D.A. Washington, D.C. Oct. 14, 1916.
There appears to be little doubt that under the present system of forest use and consumption the present supply cannot withstand the demands placed upon it. By the time improved methods of forestry have established an equilibrium between production and consumption, the price of pulp wood may be such that a knowledge of other raw materials may be imperative.
Semi-commercial paper-making tests were conducted, therefore, on hemp hurds, in cooperation with a paper manufacturer. After several trials, under conditions of treatment and manufacture which are regarded as favorable in comparison with those used with pulp wood, paper was produced which received
very favorable comment both from investigators and from the trade which according to official tests would be classified as No. 1 finished printing paper. (p. 25)
The new paper process used hemp "hurds"--77% of the hemp stalk's weight, which was then a wasted by-product of the fiber-stripping process. In 1916, USDA Bulletin #404, reported that ONE ACRE OF CANNABIS HEMP, in annual rotation over a 20-year period, WOULD PRODUCE AS MUCH PULP FOR PAPER AS 4.1 ACRES OF TREES BEING CUT DOWN over the same 20 year period. This process would use only 1/4 to 1/7 as much polluting sulfur-based acid chemicals to break down the lignin that binds the fibers of the pulp, or even none at all using soda ash. The problem of dioxin contamination of rivers is avoided in the hemp making process. HEMP PROVIDES FOUR TIMES AS MUCH PULP WITH AT LEAST 4-7 TIMES LESS POLLUTION.
As an example: If the new (1916) hemp pulp paper process were legal today, it would soon replace about 70% of all wood paper, including computer printout paper, corrugated boxes and paper bags.
Pinch Hitters for Defense - Popular Mechanics - December 1941
Over in England it's saccharine for sugar; on the continent it's charcoal "gasogenes" in the rumble seat instead of gasoline in the tank. Here in America there's plenty of sugar, plenty of gasoline. Yet there's an industrial revolution in progress just the same, a revolution in materials that will affect every home.
After 12 years of research, the Ford Motor Company has completed an experimental automobile with a plastic body. Although its design takes advantages of the properties of plastics, the streamline car does not differ greatly in appearance from its steel counterpart. The only steel in the hand-made body is found in the tubular welded frame on which are mounted 14 plastic panels, 3/16" thick. Composed of a mixture of farm crops and synthetic chemicals, the plastic is reported to withstand a blow 10 times as great as steel without denting. Even the windows are of plastic. The total weight of the plastic car is about 2,000 lbs., compared with 3,000 lbs. for a steel auto of the same size. Although no hint has been given as to when plastic cars may go into production, the experimental model is pictured as a step toward materialization of Henry Ford's belief that some day he would "grow automobiles from the soil".
When Henry Ford recently unveiled his plastic car, the result of 12 years of research, he gave the world a glimpse of the automobile of tomorrow, it's tough panel molded under hydraulic pressure of 1500 lbs. per square inch from a recipe that calls for 70% of cellulose fibers from wheat straw, HEMP, and sisal plus 30% resin binder. The only steel in the car is its tubular welded frame. The plastic car weighs a ton less than a comparable steel car. Manufacturers are already taking a low-priced plastic car to test the public's taste by 1943.
Poster's note: If anyone remembers this process, I would be interested in hearing comments.
Paints and Varnishes
For thousands of years, virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hemp seed oil and/or linseed oil.
For instance, in 1935 alone, 116 million lbs. [National Institute of Oilseed Products congressional testimony *against* the 1937 Marijuana Transfer Tax Law] of hemp seed were used in America just for paint and varnish. As a comparison, consider that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, along with all America's state and local police agencies, claim to have seized for all of 1988, 651.5 tons of American-grown marijuana--seed, plant, root, dirt clump and all. [National Narcotics Intelligence (duh) Consumer's Committee, NNICC Report, 1988 DEA Office Release, El Paso, TX, April, 1989.] The hemp drying oil business went principally to DuPont petro-chemicals/[Slomand, Larry, "Reefer Madness" Grove Press N.Y, N.Y. 1979, pg 72].
Congress and the Treasury Dept. were assured through SECRET TESTIMONY given by DuPont in 1935-37 directly to Herman Oliphant, Chief Counsel for the Treasury Dept., that hemp seed oil could be replaced with synthetic petro-chemical oils MADE PRINCIPALLY BY DUPONT. (Poster's note: Sound like a conspiracy.)
Oliphant was solely responsible for drafting the Marijuana Tax Act that was submitted to Congress.[Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread, "The Marijuana Conviction", Univ. of Virginia Press 1974].
Building Materials and Housing
Because one acre of hemp produces as much cellouse fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees (Dewey & Merrill, "Bulletin #404," U.S. Dept Ag., 1916), hemp is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board and core concrete construction molds.
Pratical, inexpensive construction material which is fire resistant, with excellent thermal and sound insulating qualities, can be made using a process called Environcore(c). This process, developed by Mansion Industries, applies heat and compression to agricultural fiber to create strong contruction
paneling, replacing dry wall and plywood.
Hemp has been used throughout history for carpet backing. Hemp fiber has potential in the manufacture of strong, rot resistant carpeting--eliminalting the poisonous fumes of burning synthetic materials in a house or commerical fire, along with allergic reactions associated with new synthetic carpeting.
Plastic plumbing pipe (PVC) can be manufactured using renewable hemp cellulose as the chemical feedstocks, replacing non-renewable petroleum-based chemical feedstocks.
So we can envision a house of the future built, plumbed, painted and furnished with THE WORLD'S NUMBER ONE RENEWABLE SOURCE--HEMP.
Herer,"The Emperor Wears No Clothes: 1991 edition p. 10.
HEMP FOR VICTORY
Transcript of the original 1942 U.S.D.A. film, "Hemp for Victory" extolling some of the many uses of this ancient plant and premier world resource.
Long ago when these ancient Grecian temples were new, hemp was already old in the service of mankind. For thousands of years, even then, this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth in china and elsewhere in the East. For centuries prior to about 1850 all the ships that sailed the western seas were rigged with hempen rope and sails. For the sailor, no less that the hangman, hemp was indispensable.
A 44-gun frigate like our cherished Old Ironsides took over 60 tons of hemp for rigging, including an anchor cable of 25" in circumference. The Conestoga wagons and prairie schooners of pioneer days were covered with hemp canvas. Indeed the very word canvas comes from the Arabic word for hemp. In those days hemp was an important crop in Kentucky and Missouri. Then came cheaper imported fibers for cordage, like jute, sisal and Manila hemp, and the culture of hemp in America declined.
But now with Philippine and East Indian hemp in the hands of the Japanese, and shipment of jute from India curtailed, American hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as of our Industry. In 1942, patriotic farmers at the government's request planted 36,000 acres of seed hemp, an increase of several thousand percent. The goal for 1943 is 50,000 acres of seed hemp.
In Kentucky much of the hemp acreage is on river bottom land such as this. Some of these fields are inaccessible except by boat. Thus plans are afoot for a great expansion of a hemp industry as a part of the war program. This film is designed to tell farmers how to handle this ancient crop now little known outside Kentucky and Wisconsin.
This is hemp seed. Be careful how you use it. For to grow hemp legally you must have federal registration and tax stamp. This is provided for in your contract. Ask your county agent about it.
Introduction from "Marijuana: Medical Papers," Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D.,
Medi-Comp Press, 1973, pp. xiii-xxvii, describing some of the recent history of western medical explorations into the salutory medicinal benefits of hemp drugs_a history that is almost completely unknown to people at the end of the 20th century, but, throughout the majority of the 19th century, was commonly known and experienced by much of the population:
Medicine in the Western World has forgotten almost all it once knew about therapeutic properties of marijuana, or cannabis.
Analgesia, anticonvulsant action, appetite stimulation, ataraxia, antibiotic properties and low toxicity were described throughout medical literature, beginning in 1839, when O'Shaughnessy introduced cannabis into the Western pharmacopoeia.
As these findings were reported throughout Western medicine, cannabis attained wide use. Cannabis therapy was described in most pharmacopoeial texts as a treatment for a variety of disease conditions.
During the second half of the 1800s and in the present century, medical researchers in some measure corroborated the early reports of the therapeutic potential of cannabis. In addition, much laboratory research has been concerned with bioassay, determination of the mode of action, and attempts to solve the
problems of insolubility in water and variability of strength among different cannabis specimens.
"Recreational" smoking of cannabis in the twentieth century and the resultant restrictive federal legislation have functionally ended all medical uses of marijuana.
In light of such assets as minimal toxicity, no buildup of tolerance, no physical dependence, and minimal autonomic disturbance, immediate major clinical reinvestigation of cannabis preparations is indicated in the management of pain, chronic neurologic diseases, convulsive disorders, migraine headache, anorexia,
mental illness, and bacterial infections.
Recently declassified secret U.S. Defense Department studies reconfirm marijuana's congeners to have therapeutic utility.
Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis americana, Indian hemp and marijuana (or marihuana) all refer to the same plant. Cannabis is used throughout the world for diverse purposes and has a long history
characterized by usefulness, euphoria or evil_depending on one's point of view. To the agriculturist cannabis is a fiber crop; to the physician of a century ago it was a valuable medicine; to the physician of today it is an enigma; to the user, a euphoriant; to the police, a menace; to the traffickers, a source of profitable danger; to the convict or parolee and his family, a source of sorrow.
This book is concerned primarily with the medicinal aspects of cannabis.
The Chinese emperor Shen-nung is reported to have taught his peopleto grow hemp for fiber in the twenty-eighth century B.C. A text fromthe period 1500-1200 B.C. documents a knowledge of the plant in China--but not for use as fiber. In 200 A.D., the use of cannabis as an analgesic was described by the physician Hoa-tho.
In India the use of hemp preparations as a remedy was described before 1000 B.C. In Persia, cannabis was known several centuries before Christ. In Assyria, about 650 B.C., its intoxicating properties were noted. Except for Herodotus' report that the Scythians used the smoke from burning hemp seeds for intoxication, the ancient Greeks seemed to be unaware of the psychoactive properties of cannabis. Dioscorides in the first century A.D. rendered an accurate morphologic description of the plant, but made no note of it's intoxicating properties.
More Info on Medical Uses.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Arabic writers described the social use of cannabis and resultant cruel but unsuccessful attempts to suppress its non-medical use.  Although Galen described the use of the seeds for creating warmth, he did not describe the intoxicating qualities of hemp. Of interest is the paucity of references to hemp's intoxicating properties in the lay and medical literature of Europe before the 1800s. The therapeutic use of cannabis was introduced into Western medicine in 1839, in a forty-page article by W. B. O'Shaughnessy, a thirty-year-old physician serving with the British in India.
His discussion of the history of the use of cannabis products in the East reveals an awareness that these drugs had not only been used in medicine for therapeutic purposes, but had also been used for recreational and religious purposes.
O'Shaughnessy is not primarily known for his discovery of hemp drugs, but rather for his basic studies on intravenous electrolyte therapy in 1831, and his introduction of the telegraph into India in the 1850s. After studying the literature on cannabis and conferring with contemporary Hindu and Mohammedan
scholars O'Shaughnessy tested the effects of various hemp preparations on animals, before attempting to use them to treat humans. Satisfied that the drug was reasonably safe, he administered preparations of cannabis extract to patients, and discovered that it had analgesic and sedative properties.
O'Shaughnessy successfully relieved the pain of rheumatism and stilled the convulsions of an infant with this strange new drug. His most spectacular success came, however, when he quelled the wrenching muscle spasms of tetanus and rabies with the fragrant resin. Psychic effects resembling a curious delirium, when an overdose was given, were treated with strong purgatives, emetics with a blister to the nape of the neck, and leeches on the temples.
The use of cannabis derivatives for medicinal purposes spread rapidly throughout Western medicine, as is evidenced in the report of the Committee on Cannabis Indica of the Ohio State Medical Society, published in 1860. In that report physicians told of success in treating stomach pain, childbirth psychosis, chronic cough, and gonorrhea with hemp products.
A Dr. Fronmueller, of Fuerth, Ohio, summarized his experiences with the drug as follows:
I have used hemp many hundred times to relieve local pains of an inflammatory as well as neuralgic nature, and judging from these experiments, I have to assign to the Indian hemp a place among the so-called hypnotic medicines next to opium; its effects are less intense, and the secretions are not so much suppressed by it. Digestion is not disturbed; the appetite rather increased; sickness of the stomach seldom induced; congestion never. Hemp may consequently be employed in inflammatory conditions. It disturbs the expectoration far less than opium; the nervous system is also not so much affected. The whole effect of hemp being less violent, and producing a more natural sleep, without interfering with the actions of the internal organs, it is certainly often preferable to opium, although it is not equal to that drug in strength and reliability. An alternating course of opium and Indian hemp seems particularly adapted to those cases where opium alone fails in producing the desired effect.
More Interesting Medical Stuff
Because cannabis did not lead to physical dependence, it was found to be superior to the opiates for a number of therapeutic purposes. Birch, in 1889, reported success in treating opiate and chloral addiction with cannabis, and Mattison in 1891 recommended its use to the young physician, comparing it favorably with the opiates. He quoted his colleague Suckling:
With a wish for speedy effect, it is so easy to use that modern mischief-maker, hypodermic morphia, that they [young physicians] are prone to forget remote results of incautious opiate giving.
Would that the wisdom which has come to their professional fathers through, it may be, a hapless experience, might serve them to steer clear of narcotic shoals on which many a patient has gone awreck.
Indian hemp is not here lauded as a specific. It will, at times, fail. So do other drugs. But the many cases in which it acts well, entitle it to a large and lasting confidence.
My experience warrants this statement: cannabis indica is, often, a safe and successful anodyne and hypnotic. In their study of the medical applications of cannabis, physicians of the nineteenth century repeatedly encountered a number of difficulties. Recognizing the therapeutic potential of the drug, many experimenters sought ways of overcoming these drawbacks to its use in medicine, in particular the following:
Cannabis products are insoluble in water.
The onset of the effects of medicinal preparations of cannabis takes an hour or so; its action is therefore slower than that of many other drugs. Different batches of cannabis derivatives vary greatly in strength; moreover, the common procedure for standardization of cannabis samples, by administration to test animals, is subject to error owing to variability of reactions among the animals.
There is wide variation among humans in their individual responses to cannabis. Despite these problems regarding the uncertainty of potency and dosage and the difficulties in mode of administration, cannabis has several important advantages over other substances used as analgesics, sedatives, and hypnotics:
The prolonged use of cannabis does not lead to the development of physical dependence. [11, 13, 14, 24, 39, 44] There is minimal development of tolerance to cannabis products. (Loewe notes a slight "beginner's
habituation" in dogs, during the first few trials with the drug, as the only noticeable tolerance effect.) [11, 13, 14, 24, 44] Cannabis products have exceedingly low toxicity.[9, 21, 22, 24] (The oral dose required to kill a mouse has been found to be about 40,000 times the dose required to produce typical symptoms of intoxication in man.) Cannabis produces no disturbance of vegetative functioning, whereas the opiates inhibit the gastrointestinal tract, the flow of bile and the cough reflex.[1, 2, 24, 44, 46] Besides investigating the physical effects of medicinal preparations of cannabis, nineteenth-century physicians observed the psychic effects of the drug in its therapeutic applications.[4, 27, 33] They found that cannabis first mildly stimulates, and then sedates the higher centers of the brain. Hare suggested in 1887 a possible mechanism of cannabis' analgesic properties: During the time that this remarkable drug is relieving pain a very curious psychical condition manifests itself; namely, that the diminution of the pain seems to be due to its fading away in the distance, so that the pain becomes less and less, just as the pain in a delicate ear would grow less and less as a beaten drum was carried farther and farther out of the range of hearing.
Even more good medical stuff....
In his definitive survey of the literature and report of his own studies, deceptively titled "Marihuana, America's New Drug Problem," Walton notes that cannabis was widely used during the latter half of the nineteenth century, and particularly before new drugs were developed:
This popularity of the hemp drugs can be attributed partly to the fact that they were introduced before the synthetic hypnotics and analgesics. Chloral hydrate was not introduced until 1869 and was followed in the next thirty years by paraldehyde, sulfonal and the barbitals. Antipyrine and acetanilide, the first of their particular group of analgesics, were introduced about 1884. For general sedative and analgesic purposes, the only drugs commonly used at this time were the morphine derivatives and their disadvantages were very well known. In fact, the most attractive feature of the hemp narcotics was probably the fact that they did not exhibit certain of the notorious disadvantages of the opiates. The hemp narcotics do not constipate at all, they more often increase than decrease appetite, they do not particularly depress the respiratory center even in large doses, they rarely or never cause pruritis or cutaneous eruptions and, most important, the liability of developing addiction is very much less than with opiates. The use of cannabis in American medicine was seriously affected by the increased use of opiates in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
With the introduction of the hypodermic syringe into American medicine from England in 1856 by Barker and Ruppaner, the use of the faster acting, water-soluble opiate drugs rapidly increased. The Civil War helped to spread the use of opiates in this country; the injected drugs were administered widely-and often indiscriminately-to relieve the pain of maimed soldiers returning from combat. (Opiate addiction was once called the "army disease.") As the use of injected opiates increased, cannabis declined in popularity.
Cannabis preparations were still widely available in legend and over-the-counter forms in the 1930s. Crump (Chairman, Investigating Committee, American Medical Association) in 1931 mentioned the proprietaries "Piso's Cure," "One Day Cough Cure" and "Neurosine" as containing cannabis. In 1937 Sasman listed twenty-eight pharmaceuticals containing cannabis. Cannabis was still recognized as a medicinal agent in that year, when the committee on legislative activities of the American Medical Association concluded as follows:
. . . there is positively no evidence to indicate the abuse of cannabis as a medicinal agent or to show that its medicinal use is leading to the development of cannabis addiction. Cannabis at the present time is slightly used for medicinal purposes, but it would seem worthwhile to maintain its status as a medicinal agent for such purposes as it now has. There is a possibility that a re-study of the drug by modern means may show other advantages to be derived from its medicinal use. Meanwhile, in Mexico, the poor were smoking marijuana to relax and to endure heat and fatigue. (Originally marijuana was the Mexican slang word for the smoking preparation of dried leaves and flowering tops of the Cannabis sativa plant-the indigenous variety of the hemp plant.)
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