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line presentation: “Cannabis and the Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle” at 11 a.m. Thursday; a live Q&A will conclude the presentation.

“For the past several years I’ve had the great pleasure of hosting the Maui Medical Cannabis Symposium as chief science officer for Maui Grown Therapies,” said Weil. “Although the pandemic has altered our meeting plans this year, our need to learn how to boost immunity using nature’s proven methods has never been greater. That’s why we are planning to present more medical cannabis experts online through the Maui Grown Mana’o educational series.”

Weil is a world-renowned physician and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, who has long advocated the anti-inflammatory lifestyle to improve health and wellness. Participants will learn how to reduce inflammation and boost the body’s natural defense mechanisms. He will also describe how compounds in the cannabis plant, such as CBD, THC and terpenes (aromatic oils), work together as powerful anti-inflammatory agents.

Weil is also a best-selling author of more than 80 books on health and wellness.

Here are some basics. Hemp is part of a family of plants called cannabaceae. Different genus and species fall underneath this category and they include both hemp and marijuana. These two plants are similar, but not the same. They are like cousins. They share some characteristics, but are not identical:

Personally, I have not gotten on the CBD kick yet. I have considered purchasing some topical oil to try for sore muscles. When a manufacturer that I trust produces a product, I may consider ingesting some.

Dr. Andrew Weil shares a study on his website from the University of Pennsylvania, and I have seen other research myself. Some CBD products will contain more than they claim, while others contain less. Some had no CBD and some even contained more THC than is allowed. Can you imagine sipping a cup of joe infused with CBD and ending up high? No, thank you.

CBD is short for cannabidiol. This compound is the “second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis.” It is directly derived from hemp. Harvard Health Publishing shares that the World Health Organization has concluded that pure CBD does not seem to contain potential for abuse or dependence:

As with all substances, there exists the potential for side effects. Harvard lists these as nausea, fatigue and irritability. It also may increase the effect of blood thinners and raise the levels of certain medications.

I have been recommending flax oil as a dietary supplement to patients with autoimmune disorders, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions, but about half of them cannot tolerate it. Some say it makes them gag, even when concealed in salad dressing or mashed into a baked potato. These people have to resort to taking flax oil capsules, which are large and expensive.

Like flax oil, hemp oil should be stored in the refrigerator, used quickly, and never heated. Unlike flax oil, hemp oil also provides 1.7% gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). There is controversy about the value of adding this fatty acid to the diet, but many people take supplements of it in the form of capsules of evening primrose oil, black currant oil, and borage oil . My experience is that it simulates growth of hair and nails, improves the health of the skin, and can reduce inflammation. I like the idea of having one good oil that supplies both omega-3s and GLA, without the need to take more capsules.

The nutritional composition of oil from the marijuana plant could be beneficial to your health. To most people, Cannabis sativa is synonymous with marijuana, but the plant’s Latin name means the "useful hemp." Species designated sativa (useful) are usually among the most important of all crops. In fact, the utility of hemp is manifold: the plant has provided human beings with fiber, edible seeds, an edible oil, and medicine, not just a notorious mind-altering drug.

Strains of hemp grown for oil production have a low resin content to begin with, and by the time the seeds are ready for harvest, resin production has dropped even further. Finally, the seeds must be cleaned and washed before they are pressed. As a result, no THC is found in the final product.

The efforts of the Ohio Hempery and other groups to promote hemp cultivation are part of a campaign to rehabilitate this plant and change society’s view of it. Whether or not you wish to join that campaign, it must seem counterproductive to deny ourselves access to the many benefits that hemp offers. Of those, the gift of an edible oil with superior nutritional and therapeutic properties is one of the most important.

Hemp oil contains 57% linoleic (LA) and 19% linolenic (LNA) acids, in the three-to-one ratio that matches our nutritional needs. These are the essential fatty acids (EFAs)-so called because the body cannot make them and must get them from external sources. The best sources are oils from freshly ground grains and whole seeds, but EFAs are fragile and quickly lost in processing. EFAs are the building blocks of longer chain fats, such as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that occur naturally in the fat of cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, bluefish, herring, and, to a lesser extent, tuna.

Linseed oil is usually classified as a "drying oil" rather than a food oil because its chemical characteristics cause it to combine readily with oxygen and become thick and hard. This tendency to harden on exposure to air quickly turns linseed oil rancid and unfit to eat, but makes it useful as a vehicle for pigment on canvas. (The word "canvas" by the way is a relative of "Cannabis," because true canvas is made from hemp fiber.)