The oldest and newest herb: Cannabis explored at Botanical Bazaar

Each year, Botanical Bazaar aims to educate and inspire nature enthusiasts of all ages. This September is no exception, with attendees being able to visit more than 90 green exhibitors plus attend celebrity gardener’s talks, demonstrations, botanical art and kids’ nature activities. It’s a great place to learn how to grow your own food, get into urban and small space gardening, employ sustainable living concepts and use medicinal herbs.  One such herb is cannabis, which is being explored in a talk by Charmaster and president of the Australian Cannabis University, Dolph Cooke.

There are many claims about the beneficial use of medicinal cannabis products for a wide range of conditions, but thus far most of these claims lack solid scientific backing, because cannabis is an illegal drug and it has been difficult for researchers to run research trials – particularly human trials. Government-approved research has been officially conducted in Australia for around 18 years, Dolph tells us.

“A lot of leaders have tried to make cannabis legal and they’ve been crushed. I can even remember Paul Keating – they were all set to make it legal way back then.”

So what’s the hold up?

“It’s a government thing that started in 1936, Harry J Anslinger (US) was the first drug tzar. He used to say things like if you’re a white girl and you took marijuana you’d run off with a ‘Negro’ or a Mexican and have brown babies, or you’d be addicted to heroin for the rest of your life, and he spoke with such authority on it that people listened.

“That report was actually put together by the Department of Treasury so it’s not actually a public health concern, it was a money thing, because the big businesses that cannabis competes against would have lost their money because cannabis is a far superior product.”

The two main active components that are the current focus of research are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Some of the arguments against cannabis use claim that synthetic drugs have been created which replicate the medicinal properties of CBD and THC, minus the side effects, whereas the pro camp claim that cannabis is actually much safer.

“There’s never been a death from inhalation or use of cannabinoid (in rats during clinical trials). They’ve worked out the lethal dosage is proportionate to 1500 pounds smoked within 15 minutes, and that could maybe kill half the subjects. Cannabis has a unique safety profile: it’s lower than sugar, lower than water, lower than fresh air, lower than sodium. It’s obvious that it was designed as a healing plant for humanity.”

There are many other components of cannabis that may be beneficial and will undoubtedly be the focus of research in the future, and there is definitely much more to be learned about this ancient herb. In the meantime, you can catch Dolph Cooke’s presentation at Botanical Bazaar on 16 September at Country Paradise Parklands, Nerang. Visit botanicalbazaar.com.au for full program details.

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