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Smoking mentally ill patients punished by police in Queensland, Australia

Australian smokers have had it tough for years, with tobacco control advocates leading the argument and able to bring in draconian legislation. Take this latest case in the state of Queensland, where the police are going after society’s most vulnerable, just because they happen to smoke.

Mental health inpatients are being fined if caught smoking by Queensland’s state health agency, and are perfectly fine with their stance and aggressive enforcement methods. The Courier-Mail ran a story saying that “health officers” are being sent with armed police to dish out the fines to patients.

A spokesman from Queensland Health said that there were many reported cases in private health facilities of patients smoking in non-smoking areas, and that environmental health officers had been brought into help control this. The spokesman added that police were sometimes required on site to help identify patients.

Enforcement has been clumsy at best and intimidating at worst, with health officers and armed police slapping a $200 fine on a schizophrenic woman who had been caught smoking. However, the patient had no clue what was happening when given the fine, which is why the story gained traction after the mother of the patient complained about the treatment of her daughter to the agency.

According to her mother, the patient was fined for smoking in a shaded area where it was banned. But otherwise she would have to walk long distances in the searing heat to smoke – doing this left her badly sunburnt. This is no way to treat mental health patients.

The spokesman refused to divulge on this exact case when pressed, but reaffirmed his commitment to Queensland Health’s policy, noting that there were warnings to smokers about the smoking laws, and that attempts have been made to help patients abide by these laws.

Queensland Health argued that the legislation was in place to protect the wellbeing of everybody, commenting that non-smokers and even smokers shouldn’t be subject to other people’s cigarette smoke. But how does intimidating a schizophrenic woman with armed police and environmental health officers do that? Zealous tobacco control measures have left a warped view of compassion.

Tobacco control extends far beyond Queensland’s mental health institutions, with strongly enforced laws on smoking in restricted areas. The Queensland Health spokesman added that the government was especially going after those who have historically failed to abide by the tobacco laws.

Smokers and vapers in Australia have it as tough as anywhere. In addition to massive taxes on cigarettes, nicotine without smoking is prohibited. It’s a measure that puts smokers in a very difficult position with no easy stepping stone to a healthier life. But tobacco control thrives Down Under, with Simon Chapman and the like so vehemently against smoking and Big Tobacco that they’re unwilling to see past a country with no smoking or vaping products.

Queensland is even worse than the rest of Australia though when it comes to intimidating tactics. The state has established a toll-free number so people can report if they know anybody in possession of vaporizers, e-cigarettes or other smokeless nicotine products. Next they’ll be treating them as Schedule I substances.

Despite the doom and gloom, vaping advocates in Australia have a movement to legalize e-cigarettes, but it’s a dirty, ongoing fight. The country is vehemently anti-smoking, with tobacco companies forced to sell products in plain packaging with health warnings. To win the vaping debate in Australia, making a clear distinction between smoking and vaping, and showing how e-cigarettes aren’t just a substitute device, but a device to help smokers quit will be key.

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British stop-smoking campaign Stoptober advocates e-cigarettes

The United Kingdom is leading the way in promoting vaping as a smoking alternative, with Public Health England (PHE), who run the annual stop-smoking Stoptober campaign officially advocating e-cigarettes in 2017.

The four-week campaign started on October 1 and PHE are bullish about what Stoptober has been able to achieve since it began in 2012. It’s the UK’s largest stop-smoking movement, with more than one million making the effort to quit via Stoptober. Research used by Stoptober shows that the chances of quitting cigarettes for good are increased five-fold by stopping for four weeks.

Britain is way ahead of the United States in supporting vaping at an official level. The UK’s public health agencies have moved staunchly toward harm reduction, with a ground-breaking report in 2015. On the available evidence, Britain’s public health agencies have largely concluded that people are better off vaping than smoking.

Stoptober has the backing of many of Britain’s most prominent vape groups and organisations, including the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA). The quirky Totally Wicked has also thrown their weight behind the campaign.

What does the research say?

As vaping and its culture become better understood, studies have increased and the findings are starting to coalesce. In 2017, we’ve seen three studies showing e-cigarettes as an effective smoking cessation tool, and according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, they’re the most popular method too.

The University of California-San Diego also found that vaping smokers make a bigger effort to give up smoking than those who just smoke. This research was conducted using U.S. Census data, and also showed e-cigarette users to have better success in quitting smoking.

The last five years have been transformative for vaping, as a joint study between the Rutgers School of Public Health and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health showed. Research indicated that smokers who vaped on a daily basis were twice as likely to quit as smokers.

The progressive attitude to vaping in the U.K. will hopefully be an example to the rest of the world!

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Top tips to use hemp oil effectively

A powerful ingredient stacked with health-promoting benefits, hemp oil could be a useful, but subtle addition to your cooking. Instead of traditional olive oil or standard cooking oil, you could make the switch to hemp oil.

Extracted from the seeds of hemp plant, hemp oil is a cannabis product but non-psychoactive. In its raw form, hemp oil is green and has a nutty taste.

Hemp oil can be consumed on its own, by dripping under the tongue, but it is more commonly added to snacks or meals. Hemp oil goes well in porridge and smoothies. For Italian dishes, hemp oil is a top alternative to olive oil. Instead of serving potatoes and vegetables with butter, serve them with hemp oil. Or douse some popcorn. And definitely experiment with your own recipes to see if hemp oil could improve them.

Homemade pesto is increasingly being made with hemp oil as the base rather than olive oil, as are salad dressings. Hummus and guacamole also benefit from a nutritious kick of hemp oil.

When cooking with hemp oil, you have to be a little more careful as it begins to smoke at just 400 degrees. Too hot and the hemp oil will dramatically reduce in quality as unwanted fatty acids form as the molecular structure alters. So stay away from high temperatures, and don’t attempt to deep fry with hemp oil. However, with due care and in the right recipe, it’s a good substitute for other oils when sautéing or stir frying.

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Everything you need to know about hemp hearts

Powerful and nutritious, hemp hearts are up there with avocados and pomegranates as superfood for many. The levels of vitamins, proteins, fibers and essential fatty oils found in them are beautifully balanced, as well as any foodstuff in the world according to some experts.

In this post, we’ll go over exactly what hemp hearts are and their connection to marijuana, and show you how the best ways to use them in your diet.

So what are hemp hearts?

Despite the cute name, hemp hearts are the shelled seeds of the hemp plant. While a strain of Cannabis sativa, hemp is atypical in that the levels of THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, are very low. This is why hemp products in general are totally safe to consume by all ages, with no risks of feeling high or stoned.

Thanks to the lack of THC, hemp and hemp hearts are legal in every U.S. state and can be found around the globe. The biggest grocery stores will likely stock hemp hearts, but to be on the safe side, either buy them at a specialized store or simply online. Hemp hearts certainly aren’t hard to find and you’ll have no trouble getting your hands on some.

What do hemp hearts taste like?

Unsurprisingly, hemp hearts taste quite similar to other edible seeds and nuts. They tend to be small, soft and have an uncanny resemblance to bird seed. Nutty and earthy notes are dominant flavors, but far from aggressive. As with many seeds, the taste of hemp hearts is not unpleasant but hardly, which is why they are an accompanier and not the main ingredient in recipes! Indeed, you may not even notice the hemp hearts in your finished dish. But you will notice the effects if you eat them often!

What do hemp hearts go well with?

Hemp hearts are a great addition to your breakfast – especially if you’re already eating muesli or porridge. You could also add them to smoothies or yogurt.

Salads and soups are the best lunchtime dishes to make with hemp hearts, but they’re also a good topping for Asian meals such as curry and stir fry.

When making homemade burgers, try mixing hemp hearts into the meat to give it a protein boost and a unique, crunchy meaty texture. Hemp hearts go well with pesto sauce – even more so if it has been made with hemp oil. They’re also good toppings for pizzas and can be sprinkled over pasta dishes.

Hemp hearts give desserts a fun twist, and they’re easy to put into just about any sweet, as they just need to be added to the mix – cooking them will help bring out flavor.

Thanks to the high protein content in hemp hearts, you’ll find it easier to live a little healthier. The protein reduces cravings for bad foods and stops you from overeating. They’re not a magic cure, but it all helps when trying to live on a strict, clean diet.

Nutritional value of hemp hearts

At the top, we said how hemp hearts have a remarkable balance of essential nutrients for the body – no known foodstuff in the world has better distribution. And with negligible levels of starches, sugars and saturated fats, there are no downsides to eating hemp hearts.

Let’s do some number-crunching on the makeup of a hemp heart. Just over one-third is made up of essential fatty acids like omega-3, followed by 27% carbohydrates (e.g. fiber) and 37% protein. To give these numbers more meaning, we’ll compare them with other products.

Protein

At 37% protein, there will be 37 grams of protein in a 100-gram hemp heart packet. Soy is best-known for its high protein content, yet comes in a tick lower at 36.5%. For vegans and vegetarians, hemp hearts are the perfect way of getting protein, which would otherwise be obtained from meats and dairy products. This helps to dispel the myth that vegan and vegetarian diets are unhealthy, as products like hemp hearts are proof that there are more than sufficient substitutes.

Fiber

The fibers in hemp hearts, both soluble and insoluble, happen to be easy to digest and also promote good health in the body’s digestive system. Normally plant proteins are difficult for the body to digest.

The soluble fiber in hemp hearts help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the intestines. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber has a more indirect effect in lowering the threat of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Vitamins and minerals

Stuffed with vitamins and minerals, hemp hearts are a great way to ensure your children develop properly. Vitamin A, B1, B2, D and E are found in hemp hearts, along with calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron.

Essential fatty oils (omegas)

There’s a misconception that fat is invariably bad, but that actually only applies to saturated fats. In fact, there are healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 that the body needs, and hemp hearts are rich in them. You’ll find even more omega-3 in hemp hearts than in fish! Guidelines recommend a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, and if you keep eating hemp hearts, you’ll have no trouble achieving that balance.

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Did you know? Paper is still made out of hemp

Writing materials have advanced over thousands of year. From heavy blocks of stone which made the transport of information nearly impossible, civilizations moved to papyrus, parchment, hemp and more, eventually settling on paper which comes from trees – the Chinese were the first to write on ‘paper’ comparable to today’s.

The problem with paper is that it takes so long to harvest. Getting from a tree seed to the finished product can take 50 years. Moreover, trees are big and must be spaced out when grown, whereas hemp can be grown more tightly together. But crucially, four months after the seed goes in the ground, hemp is ready for harvest.

Granted, none of this is new. Hemp’s history as a writing material is long and glorious. The first draft of the U.S. Constitution itself was made on hemp, as were a few famous novels from that era. Hemp was practical, efficient and easy to acquire, lasting until the late 19th century before wood-based paper started to make a more global mark.

Paper is made from the cellulose of both hemp and trees. While the former has a makeup of 85 percent cellulose, typically, cellulose amounts to less than one third of a tree. The rest is simply unusable and has to be sifted out before paper can be made. Hemp is known to be much tougher and durable than paper, thanks to the better structural arrangement of the plant’s cellulose molecules, and because hemp is acid free.

Hemp is multi-purpose, and can be used to make thick materials like cardboard, to wafer thin tissue paper, and everything in between. Hydrogen peroxide is also a safer paper whitener than chlorine – the former is used with hemp paper, the latter with wood paper.

Since the process is much longer, trees are much harder to grow than hemp. They need more water and also have to be very carefully monitored to ensure they don’t pick up disease – pesticide costs add up over the years. And hemp can be recycled seven times, as opposed to wood’s three times.

But is the modern presence of hemp really going to threaten the paper industry? It is highly unlikely, with paper serving us well for more than a century. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t distinct advantages of hemp, and in a modern world where random niche interests take hold, maybe we will see more hemp-based paper in the future!

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How to make pesto with hemp oil

When used wisely, hemp oil can be a good ingredient in your cooking, and an easy way of getting all of its benefits in a delicious way. Pesto, a favorite Italian sauce that accompanies pizzas, pastas, special breads and more, is even better when infused with hemp oil. Instead of olive oil, hemp is a similar substitute base for pesto, and the nutty taste comes through well. Let’s dive straight in with the recipe.

Hemp oil pesto ingredients:

½ cup of hemp oil
3 cups of fresh basil
½ cup of pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon of salt
½ tablespoon of pepper
3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Thoroughly wash the basil and cut off the stems. Take all of the ingredients, put them in a food processor and then blend. It’s that simple!

Not keen on this exact pesto recipe? Don’t worry, most of the ingredients can be replaced. If you don’t like lemon juice then apple cider vinegar is a great alternative with bite, while pine nuts can be swapped out for pine nuts. Basil needn’t be the stock ingredient. You could use kale or spinach instead, or even combine all three to create complex, yet divine pesto. The pesto should have a smooth consistency after blending – not too thick, but not runny either. More hemp oil will do the trick if it’s too thick.

Pesto is at its best when served fresh, and is an excellent topping fit for sandwiches, cream crackers and even jacket potatoes, alongside pretty much any Italian dish.
Pesto will keep in the fridge for around two weeks if you have any left. You could make a big batch up and store it in the freezer. However, to allow for quick melting, store your homemade pesto in ice cube trays or something similarly compartmented.

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How to use hemp oil as a base for finishing wood

We love hemp oil for its healthy qualities, but the oil (and even raw hemp plant) has many other uses. Did you know that you can use hemp oil as a wood finisher? The water-resistant product makes for a beautiful top coat on a brand new wooden floor or new wooden furniture, or anything wooden that you need to protect.

Hemp oil is a very practical finisher because it’s safe to handle and dries in a matter of minutes after being applied to a wooden surface. You’ll be able to handle or touch your wooden products without concern. There may be a slightly oily texture as it takes around one month for the curing process to fully complete, but there’s no risk in handling it. Also, hemp oil dries very cleanly, and doesn’t leave annoying film on the wood as some finishers do.

Before applying hemp oil on wood, ensure that the surface being finished is both dry and clean – you don’t want it mixing with other fluids. For flat surfaces, apply the hemp oil with a cloth; for more intricate, irregular wood, a brush is better as it allows you to precisely cover everything. You should apply small amounts of hemp oil to the wood for two reasons: one, you only need a little anyway, and two, you can always ad more but you can’t take away once the wood has been doused. If there’s any excess oil on the wood after application, be sure to clean it away.

The best way to describe wood finished with hemp oil is that it has a feel somewhere between satin and matte. The oil leaves a gorgeous sheen on the wood, which can be enhanced by additional applications. Hemp oil is a low-maintenance finisher and a top up every two years or so will suffice.

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The advent of CBD cigarettes

At the moment in the medical marijuana industry, hemp is primarily used for CBD oil extraction. But since the hemp plant itself is what contains the CBD, could the plant be used for any other CBD purposes besides oil?

Indeed, how about breeding a CBD-dominant strain of marijuana that has negligible levels of THC, but CBG and other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes. Such a product would have all the medicinal benefits of cannabis with no “high” feeling, but appear, smell and look just like standard bud.

You could even take this high CBD strain of marijuana, grind it up and use it as the base for a hemp cigarette. Mix in some tobacco, add a filter and you’ll make a CBD cigarette.

They may not be healthy per se, but for smokers in search of a healthier option, these medical joints are a savior. First of all, if hemp is making up a sizeable portion of the cigarette, then there’s less tobacco and hence less nicotine.

CBD cigarettes are now a reality, with a company in Switzerland hoping to profit from the idea.

Heimat in Switzerland

Known for their free market approach, it’s no shock that the Swiss have developed such a revolutionary product. As reported by USA Today, a prominent supermarket chain has started selling a brand of CBD cigarettes called Heimat. More than 700 stores are stocking the product, indicating widespread availability.

These cigarettes aren’t cheap, with packs costing a hefty $20. But the price isn’t putting customers off, with Heimat receiving excellent reviews so far. Users report a mellow feeling from smoking hemp cigarettes, noting that it feels akin to toking on a normal joint. Customers must be 18 or over to purchase Heimat.

Based in Eastern Switzerland, Heimat’s manufacturer styles its product as a “tobacco-and-hemp cigarette,” making them with natural CBD hemp and Swiss tobacco. They claim that Heimat is the first of its kind.

Laws in Switzerland toward THC are more lax. Hemp products can contain up to 1% THC, more than three times the limit in the US. The compound is restricted since it causes a psychoactive ‘high” in users.

But the concentration of CBD far outweighs that of the THC in Heimat, and scientific research has shown that CBD actually reduces the psychoactive impact of THC when the two are combined. With CBD levels in Heimat pushing 20%, it’s no wonder that smoking one brings relief and leaves a mellow feeling. CBD can help deliver calm, ebbing away at the body’s aches. However it’s also recognized for its mental effects – many use CBD to reduce anxiety.

Stop smoking with CBD cigarettes?

Suppose you take the tobacco out of Heimat and just smoked pure hemp, or used a substitute: would it be possible to use these “healthier” cigarettes to help quit smoking for good?

Studies are limited, but a connection has been made with CBD and stopping addiction, having been used to treat opioid addicts. With addiction to opioids and pharmaceutical drugs sweeping America, an addiction-stopper like CBD, if indeed that’s what it is, could be a serious game-changer. It’s clear to see why CBD is touted by some as a way to stop smoking if it can help with cravings.

The University College London recently found that CBD reduced cigarette use of regular smokers by a remarkable 40%. The research was published in the Addictive Behaviors journal. Consuming CBD in smokeless fashion is admittedly preferable, but it’s important to realize harm reduction works, and if long-term smokers can take a less-harmful route, then it should be encouraged.

Nicotine-free cigarette make a lot of sense. For a smoker, CBD cigarettes closely recreate the smoking sensation without doing the damage, and over time, the CBD could eliminate nicotine cravings altogether, empowering a smoker to give up tobacco cigarettes entirely.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Hemp cigarettes are niche right now and future research may find dangers with smoking hemp. But the concept of smoking CBD cigarettes to quit tobacco cigarettes is gathering pace!

Only in Switzerland

You probably can’t wait to get your hands on a hemp cigarette now, but you may find it a struggle. Heimat is currently only available in Switzerland. Not being inside the European Union means that the Swiss are not subject to the restrictive regulations – known to trouble vaping – that neighboring countries are. Heimat is federally illegal in the United States and will be for the near future at least. In fact, it will be a hard push to convince the government and the public that cigarettes that smell like marijuana but aren’t actually marijuana are a good idea.

No American manufacturers have developed a Heimat-like product that conforms to the US’ THC regulations yet, although there was an attempt in 2016 to crowdfund a hemp cigarette project.

But not to worry, there are many viable CBD products here at home – you don’t need to go all the way to Switzerland to medicate! Check out our extensive CBD range of e-liquids, oils, edibles and creams and begin experiencing the body peace that you deserve.

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How hemp is being used in the cosmetic industry

Hemp oil cosmetics are a rare gem that people are using to improve the quality of their skin. These products extract oil from cannabis sativa seeds, pulling out the crucial skin-aiding fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. As well as aiding skin complaints like acne, hemp oil has anti-aging properties and helps to keep the skin moisturized.

Lipids are vital in keeping moisture levels in the skin well balanced, and it’s the fatty acids in hemp which help to keep these in good condition. Consistent application of hemp oil promotes smooth and soft skin, that’s never too dry or too greasy. In addition, the high levels of vitamin D found in hemp oil makes it easier for the body to absorb calcium – this also helps to leave your skin looking and feeling great.

Acne is a skin condition that can be extremely difficult to treat; hence those with it often struggle to find appropriate medication. But there’s some indication that hemp oil can help to reduce blemishes and swelling, because the plant is an anti-inflammatory. Big pores are prone to becoming clogged, a common cause of skin complaints. However, hemp oil keeps these pores smaller and your skin’s natural oils thinner so they can be more easily excreted.

Skin becomes weaker with age, making hemp oil a great choice to help protect it in a healthy, non-aggressive manner. Regular hemp oil use will also limit unavoidable but thankfully controllable wrinkles, leaving you looking younger, fresher and more vibrant.

Hemp oil cosmetics are niche, but are due a surge in interest as the public becomes better informed about cannabis-based products. From skin-improving creams to flashy lipsticks, if you enjoy using lotions and potions, there’s sure to be a hemp oil cosmetic for you.

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What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions about industrial hemp, and indeed marijuana, with many confusing the two or even believing them to be the same. Admittedly, the scent and appearance of hemp is very alike – the plant is a strain of cannabis sativa after all – practically, it is incomparable to typical marijuana.

Hemp and marijuana are both classed as cannabis sativa, but are effectively two different species – in the same way that poodles and pugs are both breeds of dog, yet not the same.

While marijuana has relatively high concentrations of THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid that when ingested makes you feel high or stoned, hemp has very low concentrations of THC. So low in fact that it’s not subject to the same restrictions.

THC-heavy marijuana can be used medically, but tends to be used mostly by recreational users. Some medical marijuana advocates argue that full-spectrum products (i.e. products with CBD and THC) work better than products where the CBD has been isolated.

Industrial hemp’s uses stretch beyond alternative medicine to clothing and even fuel. The very low THC content in hemp oil (always less than 0.3%) makes it very popular and safe to take. It’s good for daytime use and is non-addictive, and with no psychoactivity, there are no adverse effects to your cognitive performance.

As understanding of industrial hemp and cannabinoids improve, growers have bred strains of hemp that are extraordinarily rich in CBD and almost totally free of THC. Also present in cannabis sativa are terpenes and lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG – full-spectrum CBD oil will include these.

Times are changing, and marijuana is more accepted now than ever before in modern society, but there’s still plenty of work to do in informing people about medical marijuana products. Many are yet to realize that it’s possible to medicate with marijuana without getting high!