Volume 3, Issue 17, Summer 2001 ISSN 1498-8135
Cannabis: an environmentally and economically viable method for climate change mitigation (revised 2001)
By Marc Deeley
Abstract: This thesis examines the problem of global climate change, taking as its starting point the recommendations of both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (1992). It is argued that an approach which directly addresses the (scientific) causes of climate change via the application of biology and chemistry - termed an 'environmental approach' in this thesis - is better placed than conventional regulatory instruments (i.e. a carbon tax) to fulfill the objectives of the (1992) Convention. Moreover, it is argued that an environmental approach/method has the potential to address other (related) areas of environmental concern, such as the use of chemicals in agriculture and land degradation. Because such an approach would not entail the predominately negative economic effects of conventional regulatory instruments such as 'carbon taxation' it has the potential to be universally inclusive (through choice), extending global participation in the UNFCCC.
An environmental approach is therefore elaborated upon which centres on the specific use of Cannabis (in particular, the Sativa L. subspecies) as a multipurpose source of biomass and industrial feedstock for energy, agricultural and commodity applications. It is argued that the unique physiological and chemical characteristics of Cannabis make it ideally suited for such applications within the overall objective of climate change mitigation by addressing directly our industrial reliance on fossil fuels and several of the key land-use/management and consumption related causes of climate change. It is concluded that Cannabis cultivation and the industrial utilisation of this crop could be environmentally and economically viable as a method for addressing the problem of global climate change.
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Marc Deeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Tropical Industrial Hemp
By Tanya Jobling & Phil Warner, AHRM
Abstract: Industrial hemp trials in Australia have previously been limited to using European certified cultivars which are specifically adapted to long summer daylengths for production. In Australia, these varieties flower prematurely thereby limiting yield. Australian Hemp Resource and Manufacture (AHRM) has developed subtropical cultivars and in the summer 1999 - 2000 conducted a comprehensive variety trial near Toowoomba. The subtropical variety INSX achieved yields over 10 t/ha DM harvested stalk, with all subtropical variety yields higher than those of European cultivars. The trial used staggered sowing dates to coordinate maturity of early flowering and late flowering varieties. The results are discussed with respect to sowing dates, THC concentrations, harvesting times and maturation.
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Jobling and Warner can be reached at email@example.com
THC (TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL) ACCUMULATION IN GLANDS OF CANNABIS (CANNABACEAE)
Paul G. Mahlberg and Eun Soo Kim, Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN USA; and Department of Biology, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea
Figure 1. Stalked and sessile glands on underside of a bract.
Hairs also are present on bract. x35.
The occurrence of the cannabinoid drug, THC, in hemp strains has been the basis for designating hemp illegal for agri-industrial cultivation in USA. Knowledge of where THC is localized in the plant can contribute to efforts to reduce THC. Gas chromatographic analyses show cannabinoids to be most abundant in the gland which consists of a tier of secretory disc cells subtending a large non-cellular secretory cavity. Microcapillary analyses show cannabinoids to be concentrated in the secretory cavity. Disc cells produce a large population of specialized plastids, termed lipoplasts, which synthesize quantities of lipophilic substances that accumulate on the plastid surface.
These substances subsequently appear to migrate into the cytoplasm and through the plasma membrane and cell wall into the secretory cavity where they form vesicles. Cannabinoids, or their precursors, must occur in the disc cell, although their site of synthesis is unclear. An antibody electron microscopic probe for THC shows it to be most abundant in the secretory cavity along the surface of vesicles, associated with fibrillar material in the cavity, in the cell wall and in the cuticle; little or no THC was detected in the cytoplasm of disc or other cells. These studies show THC to be abundant in the secretory cavity but not the disc cells, and supports an interpretation that decreasing the gland population will greatly reduce the concentration of THC in the plant.
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