Tag: education


Debunking the 12 Famous European Myths About Cannabis

Cannabis is still banned almost everywhere in the world; since the prohibition of cannabis in the 20th century, a lot of rumors and myths about cannabis have been created. Some of them concern the cultivation, a few the further processing, and many of them the consumption. Although cannabis has been relatively well researched for decades, due to the rules of black market dealers, consumers could not rely on health certificates or sales contracts. Here, the spoken word counted. This in turn leads to the fact that pipe dreams are often taken at face value. Certainly, the urban cannabis legends differ a little from one another on each side of the Great Pond, but many of them are widespread in Europe, the USA and Canada. Due to the media coverage and the legal market for millions, the average level of education is much higher in North America when it comes to cannabis; Europe is still more gullible when it comes to alternative facts about marijuana. While some fairy tales from the cannabinoid dreamworld do not last long, others remain popular for decades. The following article will help debunk these fictitious stories of cannabis by means of well-founded facts.

gmo cannabis myths

Again and again, the media reports about supposedly genetically modified cannabis. This rumor was apparently spread with the intent to project existing fears of genetically manipulated food onto hemp. Genetic engineering is the artificial modification of the genome, which his consists of four acids, the building blocks of DNA. These acids are “exchanged” — in a simplified manner — with one another, and a living being with new properties is produced.

Italians Tito Schiva and Saverio Alberti were the first to carry out experiments on hemp with a surprising result. In their experiments, hemp was resistant to genetic modification, as their scientific publication “Green fluorescent flowers” stated in 2002. The aim of the study was originally the production of commercial hemp, which is distinctive from illicit drugs. However, cannabis proved to be resistant to genetic modification.

The most recent research results underline the thesis of the Italians. The science journalist Lars Fischer has published an article about the latest findings on genetically modified cannabis in his Sciblog. Fischer writes that it is not impossible to modify hemp genetically, but it is very complicated. In fact, it is much harder to produce genetically modified cannabis plants than it is with most other crops. According to a few samples, however, the marijuana that is currently cultivated does not have GMO properties: “It was the only positive finding for all samples with high contents. If strains with a high THC-content were genetically generated, their spread would be far wider … Probably this one sample was easily contaminated with other genetically modified plants, for example from a cornfield serving as a camouflage. This is, of course, just a single study with just a handful of samples, on which we can by no means rule out that out there still somewhere genetically modified cannabis is around.”


There is also no evidence for the presumption that Monsanto wants to enter the cannabusiness. Nevertheless, the rumor was repeated so often that the company expressed its opinion in 2015. “Monsanto has not and is not working on GMO marijuana. This allegation is an Internet rumor,” as the company’s homepage has stated ever since. But Monsanto’s brand new owner, the German Bayer AG, invested millions in the development of Sativex. Bayer AG is the main investor for GW Pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical company that developed Sativex. But so far, there is only one GMO company involved in medical marijuana. The South African “Plandai Biotechnology” obtained a contract for the cultivation of medical cannabis in Uruguay in 2015 and started a project together with the University of Montevideo, which will lead to clinical studies on the effects of different cannabinoids.

By the end of 2014, the company had already announced a cannabis extract for medical use, which is still not available on the market. Although “Plandai Biotechnology” is not the Big Monsanto player, it is also one of the genetic engineering companies which are generally not very popular, at least in Europe. In a company video, Plandai Biotechnology points out its success in protein synthesis — not in the context of cannabis research — in its main product, a green tea extract. Protein synthesis is what is commonly called “genetic modification.” According to recent reports, the company has already shown interest in a future cannabis program in South Africa.

The First Jeans Were Made of Hemp

The first jeans from Levi’s company, despite other claims, were not made of hemp but from Italian denim. It is true that denim can be made from hemp, but Mr. Strauss chose Genoa-cotton. To this day, the Strauss jeans are still made from denim. Neither the US Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence nor the Bill of Rights were written on hemp paper. Only the drafts of these historical documents were made on the widely-used hemp paper. The official documents, however, were written on Vellum, a more noble and fine parchment from the skin of calves and cows.


Anyone who has ever been to an Amsterdam coffeeshop knows “Zero” or “Zero-Zero” hashish. The supposedly best hash in the world is traded at the highest rates in the coffeeshops of the Dutch metropolis. In Morocco, the quality of the hash is determined by the number of sievings. The best is produced with the first sieving. Depending on the farmer and the quality of the raw material, the sun dried cannabis bundles are sieved up to six times, whereby the quality gets worse every time. The proportion of resin decreases with each sieving as the content of plant parts increases. The hash of the last screening is dust-dry, quite weak, and only exported to Europe. Dutch coffeeshops rarely sell hashish of such poor quality. “Zero Hash” comes from the “zero,” null, not a bit. These are the resin crystals the farmer taps off before the grass bundle is sieved. He taps the bundle on the edge of a bowl once or twice. The yield of this technique is so low that it is mostly kept for the producer’s use or as a giveaway for friends. There are farmers who sell their very best hash, the first sieving, but the zero sieving stays in the country because the yield is too small for real business. The zero-zero sold in the coffeeshops of Amsterdam is therefore, rather, the first, second or third sieving. But this is still much better than the majority of the Moroccan export hash.


Can you get high without actively consuming? A dream that will never come true. The theory: Once consumed, the not utilized THC is stored in fat cells to get back into the bloodstream during sporting or other fat burning, physically exhausting activities. But there is not a single piece of evidence in the form of clinical trials or scientific research that supports this obscure theory. The German Federal Constitutional Court rejected the “Echo-High” theory in cannabis as early as 2002 in a DUI-landmark decision. In the case of physical exertion, only the cannabinoid anandamide in addition to body-borne opiates, which contribute to the so-called “runner’s high,” is excreted.


This formula stating that “room volume (cubic meters) multiplied by 40 gives the appropriate fan size” was published in one of the world’s most famous growing-guides in the 1990s. The exact calculation of a ventilation system for cooling is extremely complex and requires comprehensive professional training, because many factors influence the climate in a heated room. The decisive factor is the volume of the room and the lamp output in watts. Formulas that do not establish a relationship between volume and light output are dubious. If you were told that the fan should replace the air in the room 40 times the volume, then what you’ve been told is nonsense. According to such a formula, a PC fan would be enough to cool a shoe box with a 600-watt lamp bulb. But it won’t. A High Pressure Sodium bulb heats up 0.5 cubic meters of air faster than it heats up two cubic meters. So the smaller the box and the stronger the lamp power, the faster the room warms up. Therefore, the grower with the smallest boxes unfortunately needs the strongest fans.

A simple rule of thumb for home-growing, which has proven itself in practice:

  • For rooms from 0.3 to 1m²: Light output in watts x 0.8 = fan power in m³/hour
  • For rooms from 1 to 5 m²: Light output in watts x 0.65 = fan power in m³/hour
  • For rooms over 5 m²: Light output in watts x 0.4 and then rounded off generously = fan power in m³/hour.

smoking bananas and other flowers

In the United States, the rumor about psychoactive banana peels once spread. What is Bananadine in the USA has been claimed in Germany for several years by hydrangeas. Media reports about hydrangeas thieves looting hobby gardeners front gardens in order to get a replacement high are published with frequency in springtime. Hydrangeas, however, are as psychoactive as Bananadine, and in the worst case, one can get a bluish acid poison instead of a the high expected due to the hoax. So far, a thief has never been caught in the act — the numerous reports are unexceptionally based on assumptions. The rumor was brought into the world by a pharmaceutical journal, which has not corrected its mistake. By the way, the hydrangeas thieves are usually squirrels.

cannabis harvest

Since the 1970s, the rumor of people harvesting hashish naked by running through big fields and scratching the resin off their skin afterwards has been repeated. In spite of alleged reports from Nepal or Kazakhstan, there is no photographic or cinematic evidence of this “harvesting technique.” The method would also be a little hairy and not very effective, as most of the resin would simply remain on the plant. For the production of Indian Charras, the bud is rubbed between the hands and the resin and oil from the plant sticks there, but the rest of the body remains covered during this process.


…will not work. Cannabis-infused skin creams are absolutely not psychoactive because THC is not absorbed and metabolized by the mucosa. But due to well-known hemp activist Bushka Bryndova from the Czech Republic balsams still have the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis. She had been inspired by the old stories about the use of hemp in public medicine and the research results of Professor Kabelik at the University of Olomouc in the 1950s. Kabelik could at that time save his own finger in front of an amputation. “I started to produce my own cannabis skin cream. In the Czech Republic the production of medicines based on cannabis is prohibited. So I could not let the cream be analyzed or apply for official clinical trials. I base my recommendations on the experiences of friends and acquaintances who have used them against various ailments and diseases. It is a true universal cure, it also acts as an antibiotic and against arthritis and rheumatoid pain. It soothes burns and helps with certain eczema, psoriasis and skin fungi. However, they should not be applied to fresh and / or bleeding wounds”, Bushka writes.

cutting cannabis with hard drugs
Since the 1970s, there have been reports of marijuana or hashish diluted with opium, heroin or, more recently, crystal meth. First, there is no evidence of this in the form of laboratory analyzes; secondly, it is not economically viable to stretch cannabis with substances that are more expensive per gram. Thirdly, most consumers would immediately change the source of supply, which would not make sense to the illegal cannabis dealer because it hurts profits.

legal cannabis and kids

Since cannabis has been legal in Colorado, the Ministry of National Health has recorded statistics on the consumption of marijuana by minors. The market opened only three years ago under very strict protection and prevention laws. There, the number of young people who have consumed cannabis within the last 30 days has remained stable since 2011, in stark contrast to the rest of the United States. Statistics from the Netherlands, where adults can buy up to five gram of cannabis in a coffeeshop have also confirmed  a declining trend among adolescents since the 1990s.

cannabis is a gateway drug myth

Despite the contrary being proven long ago, you can still hear of cannabis being called a gateway drug. The Drugs Advisory Board of the German Federal Government clarified that there is no scientific evidence to support a gateway theory many years ago. Even the NIDA doubts the gateway theory for cannabis meanwhile. The only true thing: When purchasing illegal cannabis, consumers are inevitably coming into contact with dealers who often offer other drugs in addition to cannabis


At present, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and other opponents of legalisation claim that tobacco companies have been trying to enter the “Big Canna Business” for 50 years and are using the scenario of a large cannabis conglomerate as an argument against regulation. Chairman Patrick Kennedy states in several articles that all major tobacco companies have already registered domains for the sale of cannabis. That’s not true. Altria (formerly Phillip Morris) owns AltriaMarijuana.com and AltriaCannabis.com without being the initiator of the registration. A private person from Washington D.C. Had registered the domains and had to hand them over to the group after a trial, an everyday process of copyrights.

The story behind the rumors: As early as 1969, Businessweek published an article showing how the major tobacco companies had developed brand names for cannabis. However, US patent law did not grant protections for several reasons. as its director, Wendt, had declared the “Rolling Stone” a few years later.

But a look at recently opened tobacco archives reveals a strong interest on the part of the big tobacco companies. In the same year, Philip Morris petitioned the Ministry of Justice to receive cannabis for research purposes; Philip Morris asked for secrecy about the inquiry. Their interest in cannabis research ended with the repressive Reagan era. In the 1990s, only small attempts to investigate the market were made by the tobacco industry. Today, the largest tobacco companies are distancing themselves from the cannabis industry.

“We are a US tobacco company. We want to provide our adult consumers with the best tobacco products. We do not sell cannabis and will never do that” Altria states. According to the latest accusation from SAM, both corporations have once again confirmed their official anti-cannabis attitude.


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Cannabis Products for Pediatric Patients

There are a number of criteria that I require for the cannabis products used by my pediatric patients.  Most  pediatric patients are using cannabis in the form of oil.  I recommend that the oil be concentrated.  

cbd tinctureChildren with epilepsy and cancer often require high doses and if the oil is not concentrated, larger amounts must be taken, which can be challenging with an uncooperative child.  The more concentrated the oil, the smaller the volume that needs to be taken.

Consistency of strain is extremely important.  Many pediatric epilepsy patients have tried numerous CBD-rich oils and have only found one to work,  showing that for some, the strain of the oil is very important to achieving a successful response.  CBD-rich strains are not interchangeable for many of these patients.  

Additionally,  all oils must be tested for potency, terpenoid content, presence of contaminants, residual solvents and pesticides.  A parent of one of my patients received oil from a neighbor who generously donated it to her ill child. I insisted that she have it tested prior to use, and it was found to contain 9% rubbing alcohol, teaching us that despite all good intentions, testing is mandatory before use.

 The oil supply must be reliably available as many of these children are able to wean off of other drugs.  It is life-threatening for a child with severe epilepsy who is on lower doses of or who has discontinued other medications to not get their oil.   

Also, the oil should be affordable.  Some parents report that they cannot increase doses because the out of pocket cost is too much.  

The concerns that many have about using cannabis in these patients is mostly related to THC and its psychoactive effects, but I have found that CBD is an effective treatment for many.  Children previously devastated by uncontrollable seizures regain control and have developmental progression instead of regression.  Some of my patients with autism have had results that now allow them to attend school, have less anxiety and achieve a quality of life that was thought to be unattainable.  Children suffering with cancer can tolerate treatment and some have had extended life.  I don’t use the word “cure” as we desperately need more studies; however, I believe that we can get there if allowed to proceed with proper research.   While important to note that cannabis may not work for everyone, after witnessing some of the sickest children who were alive but not living, finally get a decent quality of life, I feel quite strongly that cannabis needs to be an option for all those who are ill.  As Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who has led the investigation into cannabis as medicine over the last fifty years, stated, “plant cannabinoids are a neglected pharmacological treasure trove.”


“Cannabis Products for Pediatric Patients” is the fifth installment of a five-part series on Children and Cannabis Medicine.

Part 1: Cannabis Medicine in Practice

Part 2: Cannabis for Pediatric Epilepsy

Part 3: Cannabis for Pediatric Autism

Part 4: Cannabis for Pediatric Cancer

Part 5: Cannabis Products for Pediatric Patients

To learn more about the compounds in cannabis and how they’re healing everything from chronic pain to epilepsy, check out Dr. Bonni’s wonderful new book: Cannabis Revealed


Di Marzo, Vincenzo, Maurizio Bifulco, and Luciano De Petrocellis. “The endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 3.9 (2004): 771-784.

Mechoulam, Raphael. “Plant cannabinoids: a neglected pharmacological treasure trove.” British journal of pharmacology 146.7 (2005): 913-915.


Start a Marijuana Business Today: CertificationClinics.com™ offers a comprehensive business model for recommending Medical Marijuana Certifications and/or Dispensary Ownership in your area. The CertificationClinics.com™ Business Support staff will educate you in every of the growing medical marijuana industry, providing you a fully operational and profitable enterprise. Learn More »


Cannabis for Pediatric Cancer

I am often asked to see children who are suffering with advanced cancers.  Parents seek cannabis medicine to help their children with relief of symptoms from the adverse side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  In some cases, having been told the cancer treatment is not working, parents are desperate to find a cure.  I teach parents what we know and what we don’t know about cannabis use for cancer, knowing that they must have the data to make an informed decision.

dr bonni goldstein talks cannabis kids and cancer

Dr. Bonni with Cecilia, who is over two years cancer-free from relapsed Wilm’s tumor.

Cannabinoids have been shown in animal studies to inhibit tumor growth, cause cancer cells to commit suicide, inhibit metastasis and inhibit growth of new blood vessels in tumors.   Additionally cannabinoids have also been shown to enhance effects of certain chemotherapeutic agents.  There is only one published study in humans that used THC in nine patients with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor.   The study concluded that THC was safe and it inhibited cancer cell growth.  Human trials have been prohibited in the U.S. due to the Schedule I designation of cannabis in the Controlled Substance Act.   We are lacking critical human research that answers the questions of which specific cancers respond to cannabis, which cannabinoids to use, what dose to use and what duration of treatment is needed to achieve survivorship.

Although most reports of cancer “cures” are anecdotal, a case report from Canada of a 14-year-old girl with an extremely aggressive form of leukemia successfully documented a dose response to cannabis oil.  After not responding to numerous conventional treatments, her parents decided to try treatment with concentrated cannabis oil.  This patient was not on other treatment while using cannabis, and the blast cell count (which is the leukemia count) responded to adjustments in dosing frequency and dose potency of the cannabis oil.  Her physicians documented this response and were able to note that dosing intervals (how long between doses) and the potency of oil had a direct impact on the death of the leukemia cells.

I have used cannabis medicine to treat a number of children with advanced and life-threatening cancers, either to help them tolerate the terrible side effects of the cancer treatment, or in a compassionate effort to try to save the child’s life.  The parents of my patients are convinced that the addition of cannabis to the child’s regimen has helped them to achieve reduction of disease.  Some patients come to me too late in their course, and all I can offer them is relief from symptoms and a decent quality of life before they pass.  

cannabis oilOne particular case of a teenager with metastatic bone cancer is worth noting.  The patient had been diagnosed two years prior to starting cannabis and was sent to me by the oncologist as the cancer had stopped responding to treatment and was spreading to more parts of the body.  The parents had been told that the child was not going to survive.  I started the patient on high dose cannabis oil in a CBD:THC ratio of 1:1.   The palliative dose of chemotherapy was continued as an animal study showed that cannabinoids, when added to this particular chemotherapeutic agent, worked synergistically to enhance cancer cell death.  This patient is now cancer free after nine months of cannabis oil added to chemotherapy.  The prognosis at the time cannabis treatment was initiated was extremely poor, and it is still unclear what worked to achieve these results.  We must be very careful with claims of “cancer cure,” but cannabis has certainly extended life for this child.  If cannabis can be freely studied by scientists, we will be able to save so many.

“Cannabis for Pediatric Cancer” is the fourth installment of a five-part series on Children and Cannabis Medicine.

Part 1: Cannabis Medicine in Practice

Part 2: Cannabis for Pediatric Epilepsy

Part 3: Cannabis for Pediatric Autism

Part 4: Cannabis for Pediatric Cancer

To learn more about the compounds in cannabis and how they’re healing everything from chronic pain to epilepsy, check out Dr. Bonni’s wonderful new book: Cannabis Revealed


Zogopoulos, Panagiotis, et al. “The antitumor action of cannabinoids on glioma tumorigenesis.” Histology & Histopathology 30 (2015).  

Guzman, M., et al. “A pilot clinical study of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme.” British journal of cancer 95.2 (2006): 197-203.

Miyato, Hideyo, et al. “Pharmacological synergism between cannabinoids and paclitaxel in gastric cancer cell lines.” Journal of Surgical Research 155.1 (2009): 40-47.

Nabissi, Massimo, et al. “Triggering of the TRPV2 channel by cannabidiol sensitizes glioblastoma cells to cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents.” Carcinogenesis 34.1 (2013): 48-57.

Donadelli, M., et al. “Gemcitabine/cannabinoid combination triggers autophagy in pancreatic cancer cells through a ROS-mediated mechanism.” Cell death & disease 2.4 (2011): e152

Singh, Yadvinder, and Chamandeep Bali. “Cannabis extract treatment for terminal acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a Philadelphia chromosome mutation.” Case reports in oncology 6.3 (2013): 585-592.)

Donadelli, M., et al. “Gemcitabine/cannabinoid combination triggers autophagy in pancreatic cancer cells through a ROS-mediated mechanism.” Cell death & disease 2.4 (2011): e152.


Start a Marijuana Business Today: CertificationClinics.com™ offers a comprehensive business model for recommending Medical Marijuana Certifications and/or Dispensary Ownership in your area. The CertificationClinics.com™ Business Support staff will educate you in every of the growing medical marijuana industry, providing you a fully operational and profitable enterprise. Learn More »