This issue marks
the 10th publication of the Journal of the International Hemp Association. From
our modest 28 page first issue of five years ago, we have reported the science
behind the industrial and medical uses of Cannabis. The changes of the
past few years have been amazing, and our journal has grown in an attempt to
keep pace with these events.
A renaissance of industrial hemp cultivation has occurred worldwide, including its re-establishment in the UK, Germany, Canada, Austria, Italy, and Australia. Progress in the medical use of Cannabis has led to an increase in research that may well yield new Cannabis medicines. Recent reports suggesting that pharmacological research and clinical trials with Cannabis be pursued have been published in the US by the National Institute of Health, as well as in Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the UK's House of Lords. In February, the Institute on Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences is also due to release a comprehensive report on the subject (see JIHA, June 1998: 36-39). Clinical trials will be undertaken in the UK in 1999 with the involvement of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and Prince Charles has stated his belief that Cannabis could be effective for multiple sclerosis patients.
The IHA/VIR Cannabis Germplasm Preservation Project (CGPP) requires an additional year to complete accession reproductions, plus a following year to grow and characterize the entire collection. It seems ironic that a small sector of modern agriculture is rediscovering the utility of this ancient ally, at the same time that the germplasm required to help fuel this rediscovery is slowly, but surely vanishing. Both industrial and medical varieties are threatened by pressure from misdirected anti-drug zealots and a lack of concern from mainstream agriculture. Many local landraces have been eradicated within their native ranges. From where will new and improved varieties come, if viable Cannabis collections are not maintained by genebanks like the Vavilov Institute? No one can know the traits that future breeders will require for plant improvement programs. As stewards of this precious germplasm, its preservation for our children's children is our responsibility. The Cannabis industry must become motivated, through either compassion or self-interest, to mobilize the necessary resources to conserve our past breeding achievements and this fine example of nature’s untapped diversity.
A concerted effort has recently been made to canvas the Cannabis community for both public and private grants to support the CGPP, but we are unable to fulfill our scientific commitments until this funding is forthcoming. In the case of our efforts to preserve Cannabis germplasm, a relatively small amount of money can save an irreplaceable resource that belongs to the whole world. Cannabis is a neglected crop with a promising future of, as yet, unrealized uses.
The current interview with Michael Karus, and two articles from his nova-Institute, illustrate how science has helped shift the Cannabis information balance from fear to insight and how these researchers strive to present data that will help establish parameters for further development of Cannabis as an industrial crop. The first nova-Institute article (page 96) clearly shows that the larger the quantity of industrial hemp one consumes, the farther one departs from a psychoactive effect. This results from the high ratio of CBD to THC in industrial hemp and the slow rate of assimilation of its negligible THC content. The second nova article (page 102) places the question of tolerance for THC in hemp food products on a scientific basis. Its rationale may be overly cautious, but these results are carefully derived and should serve as a sound basis for policy makers.
The heated seed oil article of the June issue generated considerable reader commentary. We present herein a rebuttal to that article, and a reply from the primary researcher, in an effort to further inform our readers.
The restructuring of Hempworld, Hemp Magazine and Commercial Hemp comes as a shock, but no surprise. We fully appreciate the difficulties involved with keeping a journal alive, and we wish our colleagues success in their search for publishing solutions. Thanks to all of our members for your continuing support, and to Carl Olsen for maintaining the JIHA web presence.
We hope that each issue of the JIHA improves upon the last, and will try to maintain this trend in the future. To accomplish our goal, your input is needed in the form of articles, reports, local and national roundups, and hemp product donations for the Cannabis Edu-pack. We encourage article contributors to submit manuscripts as early as possible (to help avoid late journals), and appeal to readers for their nomination of any library appropriate as a JIHA subscriber. It would also help us significantly if members would pay their dues at the beginning of each year, rather than waiting until June. Finally, the IHA operates from a small office in Amsterdam, and current members are welcome to contact us for a visit (by appointment only). If available, we will be happy to show our library and ever-growing collection of hemp articles.
|Hayo van der Werf