The world has been impacted on a global scale, but we have a choice moving forward, to do better, in all ways.
The cannabis industry took some big hits in legalization efforts from the worldwide emergence of COVID-19, but more folks than ever are finding out about the health benefits of cannabis every day, and that’s good news, especially with the new evidence emerging on the immunity it provides to COVID-19, as well as all viruses.More on that in a bit, but let’s look at an area of cannabis that is long overdue for some relief: Cannabis Banking.
It appears that Congress may pass Marjiuana Banking Access with the Coronavirus Relief Bill, a bittersweet victory, but a huge victory, nevertheless.This is LONG overdue, a bill that was introduced in 2019 to stop exposing the cannabis industry to corrupt operators, theft, graft, and all that goes along with a cash-only business.
This bill, H.R.1595 – Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019, or the SAFE Banking act, passed in the House on 09/25/19, but was defeated in the Senate.This bill generally prohibits a federal banking regulator from penalizing a depository institution for providing banking services to a legitimate marijuana-or-hemp-related business.
Specifically, the bill prohibits a federal banking regulator from (1) terminating or limiting the deposit insurance or share insurance of a depository institution solely because the institution provides financial services to a legitimate marijuana-or-hemp-related business; (2) prohibiting or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering financial services to such a business; (3) recommending, incentivizing, or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an account holder solely because the account holder is affiliated with such a business; (4) taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan made to a person solely because the person either owns such a business or owns real estate or equipment leased or sold to such a business; or (5) penalizing a depository institution for engaging in a financial service for such a business.
As specified by the bill, a depository institution, a Federal Reserve bank, or an insurer shall not, under federal law, be liable or subject to forfeiture for providing a loan or other financial services to a legitimate marijuana-or-hemp-related business.The bill specifies that a federal banking agency may not request or order a depository institution to terminate a customer account unless (1) the agency has a valid reason for doing so, and (2) that reason is not based solely on reputation risk. Valid reasons for terminating an account include threats to national security and involvement in terrorist financing, including state sponsorship of terrorism.The Government Accountability Office must report on (1) access to financial services for minority-owned and women-owned marijuana– or hemp-related businesses; and (2) the effectiveness of suspicious-transaction reports at finding engagement with organized criminal activity in jurisdictions that allow the cultivation, sale, or distribution of marijuana.
There is a very good chance for it to pass this time around, since it is attached to the second COVID-19 stimulus bill, and there is already some relief for Cannabis businesses provided in pending legislature.
And speaking of this COVID-19 debacle…
They were deemed “necessary business” during COVID-19 lockdown! With a few modifications, most dispensaries adapted fairly quickly to curbside pickup and delivery, and legal cannabis sales are up, comparatively. I think, frankly, since the liquor stores remained open, they had little choice.
Legal cannabis is taxed so severely here in California, the black market is booming, and the largest in the world, being the 5th largest economy.
Cannabis use is increasing daily, to address more and more health issues, and that timing and awareness couldn’t have come at a better time in our history, in light of some of the newest research on cannabis and COVID-19.
Excerpts of this are from my good friend and amazing cannabis MD, Dr. Allan Frankel’s observations, from GreenBridge Medical.
In a recent Canadian Study, scientists have presented reasonably good data supporting the notion that certain CBD-rich cannabis strains may be helpful with COVID-19. It appears from this article, that cannabinoids, particularly CBD, reduce the number of pulmonary receptors for the COVID-19 virus.
The receptors for the viral particles have been found to be greatly reduced in number (up to 73%!), by smoking many different strains or by taking a CBD-rich extract.
In fact, it seems that CBD extracts taken sublingually are effective in reducing the number of viral receptors as well as blocking much of the Cytokine Storm, which is the severe inflammatory response of the lung from COVID-19. I would think that vaporized or even smoked CBD-rich cannabis may play a role in prevention as well as potentially helping with a developed case with a severe, life-threatening Cytokine Storm.
Preliminarily, it appears they are receiving the best results with a 1:3 ratio of THC:CBD, however, where obtaining THC can be problematic depending on your location, CBD is readily available almost everywhere.Israel is now treating a group of COVID-19 patients with CBD at one major hospital.
More specifically how do cannabinoids help prevent the infection to begin with?
There are various ACE-2 type receptors in our body; particularly in the lung and GI Tract. These receptors are involved in infection and inflammation. The ACE2 receptors are Angiotensin Converting Enzyme type receptors that, when expressed, puts us at an increased rate of becoming infected.
By “modulating” or controlling the number of these receptors, we can modulate or change the ability of the COVID virus to infect the lung.It is fascinating that the ACE2 expression is mostly in the lungs and GI tract, which is largely where COVID-19 causes the most damage.
As previously discussed, these specific cannabinoids have the ability to help block the CYTOKINE Storm, but in addition, help with anxiety, asthmatic airways and more.
Certainly, now seeing the possibility that cannabinoid extracts might prevent the actual viral infection from taking place, it becomes something serious to further study, as well as trying its use in appropriate patients.
An interesting next step would be to track the incidence of cannabis use in the 100,000 Americans who have passed away from COVID-19.There are no side effects with Whole Plant cannabinoid extract in the acid forms, of either THC or CBD (remember, THCa is not psychoactive).
I’ve written about CBG in my column here in the past, being the “Stem Cell” of cannabinoids, because all other cannabinoids are created from this single cannabinoid in the trichome head, through decarboxylation, and enzymatic process.
Our bodies are chemical factories, capable of synthesizing complex compounds and proteins through enzymatic and other actions.
It’s my working hypothesis that given proper amounts of Cannabigerol in supplement form, our bodies will be able to manufacture any necessary cannabinoids our endocannabinoid system requires to regulate, balance and maintain our body’s myriad functions.
There are many encouraging research studies indicating Cannabigerol is showing promising results in treating various forms of cancers, as well. There are a few forward-thinking growers out there beginning to cultivate CBG-rich hemp and cannabis, and the best part? Cannabigerol is an unregulated cannabinoid, and can be shipped anywhere in the world without consequence. It will far surpass CBD as a supplement, mark my words.
I’ve been a cannabis breeder, researcher and enthusiast my entire life, beginning with growing and breeding new crosses of (mostly) landrace strains, acquired through bag pot that was purchased.Almost all cannabis at that time was seeded, so it was perfect for carrying on landrace and legacy cultivars, and exemplary stock to begin breeding with.
Here in California, an arid desert, cultivars from South America, Southeast Asia and Hawaii didn’t fare very well, being acclimatized to their locale, which were hot, steamy jungle environments.
So, we thought, “well, cultivars from Afghanistan, and India, would probably do very well, since the climatic conditions were similar” (at least compared to other climates).So we began the arduous task of cross-breeding cultivars, to make them more conducive to our local climes, unknowingly skewing cannabinoid profiles, and because THC was the ONLY known cannabinoid at the time, and that was the “good stuff”, we began systematically breeding out all other cannabinoids in favor of THC, thereby displacing most other novel cannabinoids.
As breeders, as more and more data came to light about cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and their influence on effect, we began pulling back, searching through our landrace seedstock, and embarked on the monumental task of restoring and preserving landrace and legacy cultivars to their former glory, and banking those strains with tissue culture procedures and the like.And then, the casual, backyard growers emerged…what we (endearingly, well, mostly) call “Pollen Chuckers”.
With new growers stumbling into growing, and not even knowing that cannabis is a diploid plant to begin with (two sets of chromosomes, requiring a male and a female to create seeds), they started growing across the nation. And then, hemp came along, and complicated EVERYTHING.
With that, pollen began blowing everywhere, winds carrying it up to five miles, crossing this type with that type, until most cannabis grown in the US, and around the world, at this point, has mutated from a diploid to a polyploid plant.All cannabis is polyploid at this point, hence the increasing number of hermaphroditic tendencies in MANY of our most legendary cultivars, and with the addition of feminized and autoflowering cannabis, it has worsened this issue exponentially.
This is a blessing and a curse, as now, almost all cultivars will self-pollinate to a degree, depending on a range of factors. Pure landrace strains being almost a thing of the past, old growers and breeders are the only ones that can dig up seeds from 30-50 years ago, from an age before all this took place. The bit of good news in all this is, polyploid cultivars have increased cannabinoid levels, though it’s still unclear which ones, and in what ratios cannabinoid, terpene and flavonoid levels are affected.
MANY years ago, I learned of polyploidism, I heard the word associated with some Puna Gold, from Hawaii, which was some of the first “sensimilla” (without seeds) cannabis I had ever seen, and off I went to research the word and its meaning.
Polyploidism can be induced by using colchicine, these days used as an anti-inflammatory treatment for gout, but at that time, the only method of acquiring colchicine was from a colchicum bulb (a type of orchid), by pressing it with a garlic press to get the juice, pure colchicine.
Then, you can either soak seeds, or spray it on a young plant, and any surviving sprouts or plants will have polypoid tendencies, and instead of only two sets of chromosomes (diploid), it will have “poly” (much, many) sets. This trait may exhibit itself in many ways, with mutant leaves, etc., but in addition, it can cause shifts in the chemistry of the plant, as well.
Well, that sums up many of the new advances in the Cannabis spotlight, from banking, to health benefits in general, to preventing COVID-19 from taking hold in our bodies, to the current state of cannabis growing and breeding, and new traits emerging because of the changes in cannabis chemistry, due to human intervention.
Everyone, get out there and grow cannabis, and use it to your best advantage – it has the ability to prevent disease, and save your life. Stay safe, and be WELL.
Written and Published By Fred Delisio Weed World Magazine Issue 146