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Ben Dronkers: passionate about fighting the cannabis stigma

June 6th, 2014 | By

ben-shiva

Sadly, the stigmatisation and harsh laws surrounding the cannabis plant and the hemp plant are the status quo. Nonetheless, the cannabis industry could never have made the progress that it has made without the untiring efforts of several key figures: people who dedicated their hearts and souls to these plants, people who put their all into striving to improve the image of the cannabis sector and successfully drove it forward.

The Dutchman Ben Dronkers (64) is one of those key figures. He is the founding father of Sensi Seeds, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, the Hemp Gallery and HempFlax. As such, he has earned his rightful place as a prominent representative of the cannabis and hemp plant. In this article you will learn more about this true cannabis pioneer.

Ben’s passion for travel
Ben Dronkers’ love of the cannabis and hemp plant is closely intertwined with his passion for travel, which in the early 1960s took him from his home town Rotterdam to sail all over the world on board merchant ships. In the early 1970s he took a different approach. He opened Ben’s Fashion, a clothes shop that sold home-made, eccentric pieces of clothing.

In order to purchase the fabrics, Ben regularly travelled to Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he learnt about the many benefits of the hemp seeds from the local farmers. They also gave him cannabis and cannabis seeds. Looking back, Ben relates, “I asked the farmers about the cannabis fields and they gave me a knowing smile. One of them gave me a handful of cannabis seeds as a gift and told me that the seeds were very important. This led me to save them, to learn more about the properties of seeds from different regions, and to collect even more cannabis seeds.”

New cannabis hybrids
During that period, Ben travelled all over the world in search of new and beautiful genotypes. His trips took him from the Hindu Kush in Central Asia, to the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. He brought back with him seeds from first-class cultivated varieties and discovered more and more uses for this special plant. In the mid-1980s his knowledge was so extensive that Ben started crossing his huge collection of Indica and Sativa seeds in order to combine the genes of the various species to create new cannabis hybrids. He is probably one of the first Dutch pioneers to breed new types of cannabis.

The Sensi Seeds Bank
In 1985, Ben Dronkers opened the Sensi Seed Club in Amsterdam. Two companies sold seeds in this shop: the Sensi Seed Club (also known as the Sensi Connoisseurs Club) and the Seed Bank. In 1991 Ben took over the Seed Bank and merged the two companies into the Sensi Seeds Bank. To this day, this company is a leading international seed supplier that boasts a catalogue including world-famous varieties such as Skunk #1, Fruity Juice and Jack Herer. The latter is named after American cannabis activist and author Jack Herer, who was a good friend of Ben.

Fighting the stigma
The cannabis and hemp plant has faced stigmatisation all over the world, sparked by all manner of industries and governments that are not benefited by, or fear the legalisation of, these plants. This stigma changed Ben’s passion into a mission: fight the stigma by telling the truth in every way possible. He does so through Sensi Seeds, which promotes the medicinal properties of cannabis, as well as through the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, which Ben opened with the cultivation guru Ed Rosenthal in 1985. It was the first museum fully dedicated to cannabis. In 2008, the Hemp Gallery was opened around the corner from the Museum as an extension that purely focuses on the history and potential of industrial hemp and in 2012 a second location of the Museum opened in Barcelona.

In 1993 Ben Dronkers also opened the HempFlax company in Groningen to promote the industrial properties of hemp. The company cultivates several hundred hectares of industrial hemp that is processed in a factory in Oude Pekela were it is processed into semi-manufactured products.

Counter Culture Hall of Fame
During the High Times Cannabis Cup Ceremony in 2013, Ben Dronkers was added to the Counter Culture Hall of Fame, which honours the counter culture surrounding cannabis and honours the people that have significantly contributed to it. It was wonderful recognition for his work, but Ben has no intention to rest on his laurels. His dedication to the beautiful and multi-faceted Cannabis Sativa L. continues to encourage him to take on new challenges. Although many of his ideas have turned into a brilliant reality, there are still new opportunities for this cannabis pioneer to explore all for the sake of one all-encompassing goal: to promote the properties of cannabis and hemp plants so that they can both return to their rightful place in society.

Colorado Cannabis Taxes off the Scale

February 26th, 2014 | By

colorado

Colorado’s recreational cannabis market has far exceeded people’s wildest dreams. Instead of the estimated $68 million in taxes it was expected to generate, new estimates put this amount at around $117 million per year.

Exact figures from January are to be released later this month. This amount included taxes from medical cannabis which is only taxed at a much lower rate of 2.9%.

The money will be used for various purposes including public health and awareness campaigns including $45 million on preventing youth’s from smoking weed. How you actually achieve that I would love to know. Other money may go into substance abuse treatment centers.

These huge figures do not include an extra 15% cannabis excise tax levied on all sales – of which an estimated $40 million will be used in the construction of new schools.

“Voters and state lawmakers around the country are watching how this system unfolds in Colorado, and the prospect of generating significant revenue while eliminating the underground marijuana market is increasingly appealing”

said Tvert from the Marijuana Policy Project.

20 Ways Cannabis Can Help the Elderly

February 17th, 2014 | By

granny

1. Effective at treating and slowing Alzheimer’s disease

alzheimers

A new study shows how cannabis can slow the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and may actually be able to stop it completely.

 

2. Effective at treating many forms of cancer

cancer

34 scientific studies showing that marijuana cures cancer, categorized by the type of cancers being cured in each study and also a government study of a person with leukaemia treated with cannabis extract. 

 

3. Effective against pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis

rheumatoid-arthritis

In the world’s first controlled trial of a cannabis based medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis, a significant analgesic effect was seen and disease activity was suppressed following Sativex (cannabis extract) treatment.

4. Effective against chemo induced nausea and vomitting

chemo

Nausea and vomiting can present as symptoms of a variety of diseases or as secondary consequences of chemotherapy or radiotherapy of cancer. It is for this latter indication that THC has gained acceptance as a highly efficacious therapeutic agent, often effective in cases resistant to other more conventional medications. More.

5.Effective at preventing sleep apnea

sleep-apnea

These findings underscore a therapeutic potential of dronabinol (a man made version of cannabis) for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

 

6. Reduces neuropathic pain

neuropathic-pain

A single inhalation of 25 mg THC three times daily for 5 days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated.

 

7. Effective at fighting the pain of Osteporosis

osteoporosis

Promising results have recently demonstrated the therapeutic value of cannabinoids for treating osteoarthritis.

 

8. Effective at protecting the intestines

intestines

A simple extract of medicinal cannabis can significantly reduce inflammation as well as prevent injury in the gastrointestinal tract.

 

9. Protects against heart attacks

heart-attack

A study released in Biochemical Pharmacology found that even tiny amounts of THC could provide protection from heart attacks as well as reducing the potential for cardiovascular damage.

 

10.  Halts brain damage

braindamage

Extremely low doses of THC, the psychoactive part of cannabis, protect the brain from long-term cognitive damage in the wake of injury from hypoxia (lack of oxygen), seizures, or toxic drugs.

 

11. Effective at treating damage from strokes

stroke

New research suggests compounds in cannabis could protect the brain from damage after a stroke has occurred. Scientists hope to perform human trials shortly.

 

12. Effective against migraines

migraines

Cannabis was used extensively as a treatment for migraines from 1874 to 1942.  More lately, migraines are thought to be in some cases a result of cannabinoid deficiency.

 

13.  Effective at treating tremors and pain from Parkinson’s

parkinsons

Smoking cannabis appears to reduce tremors and pain and improve sleep among Parkinson’s disease patients, researchers from Israel reported.

 

14. Effective at treating Crohn’s disease

crohns-disease

A short course of THC-rich cannabis produced significant benefits for 10 out of 11 patients with active Crohn’s disease, compared with a placebo and without any side effects.

 

15. Effective at attacking HIV

hiv

Researchers have discovered that THC in cannabis may stop the spread of HIV.

 

16. Effective treatment for depression

depression

Recent finding suggest depression may be treatable using certain cannabinoids.

 

17. Effective at killing MRSA bacteria

mrsabacteria

Marijuana is a strong antibiotic that can kill otherwise resistant bacteria and disrupt the progression of diseases such as Mad Cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

 

18. Effective at attacking the herpes virus

herpes

THC attacks the part of the herpes virus that is needed for it to spread.

 

19. Effective at treating spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis

mutiplesclerois-webmd

Smoked cannabis was superior to a placebo in symptom and pain reduction for participants with treatment-resistant spasticity.

 

20. Effective at preventing seizures

seizures

CBDV, one of the cannabinoids in cannabis has proved to be an effective anticonvulsant for several types of seizure without having any side effects.

 

Can Hemp Make You Healthier?

February 10th, 2014 | By

Whilst medical-grade cannabis has made for some colorful headlines over the years, hemp, the less glamorous, non-psychoactive form of this legendary plant has been quietly making waves of its own, as modern research unlocks a wider spectrum of this prodigious herb’s potential health benefits…

Centuries of cultivation, decades of innovation

As one of the earliest crops to be successfully cultivated by mankind (humanity has made use of the herb as far back as the Neolithic Era), hemp has proven to be a truly versatile and renewable resource, which has found its way into everything from textiles to automobile components; But aside from just being an excellent material to build the world around us, hemp’s chemical composition makes it extremely useful as a food source and medicine;

Hempseed Oil: Delicious and nutritious

hempseed_oil

When industrial hemp and marijuana seeds are pressed for oil, the resulting produce is a truly remarkable substance.

On the surface, hempseed oil doesn’t appear to be anything special: Virtually odourless, with a mild, pleasantly nutty flavour, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for any number of household cooking oils…

Once you take a look at the chemical make-up of the oil, however, you’ll be able to appreciate just how much of a super-food it is!

  • Hempseed oil is simply packed with essential fatty acids (EFAs), including linoleic acid, omega-3, omega 6, gamma-linolenic acid and more: In fact, around 80% of the substance is made up of these useful nutrients!
  • With all 21 amino acids present, hemp oil compares favourably against virtually all other sources of protein known to man (The likes of meat, dairy produce, soy etc.) – this explains why the substance is sometimes described as being a ‘complete’ source of protein.
  • Promising research points towards this richly nutritious resource being a useful tool in combatting medical conditions like eczema, heart disease and a variety of respiratory ailments.

Pump-up with hemp protein

Young sports guy

Bodybuilders of the past were known for their extreme, protein rich diets, which seen them guzzle down pounds of red meat, pints of raw eggs and tub upon tub of cottage cheese.

Whilst such diets are now regarded as ‘old school’, there is no doubt that an increased protein intake is vital when it comes to building muscle mass.

Thankfully, modern bodybuilders now have a vast array of scientifically-proven dietary supplements at their disposal, including healthy, balanced options which don’t always have to depend on animal protein sources.

Whilst many bodybuilders still regard plant-derived protein as playing second fiddle to a meat-laden diet, hemp protein is slowly gaining favour among an increasing number of sports nutritionists, thanks to its high levels of amino acids, as well as its overall balanced nature, which helps to introduce additional fibre and increased amounts of healthy fats into a results-focussed diet.

At the end of the day, not all sources of protein are created equal: And among all of the plant-based sources, many nutritionists today feel that hemp stands head and shoulders above the competition.

Soothe your skin with Sativa

face moisturizer

Whilst there is no doubt that hemp-derived products can make for some seriously nutritious supplements, not all of this produce has to be ingested to enjoy its benefits…

From the treatment of conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis to more cosmetic issues, like reducing the appearance of blackheads, hempseed oil is now a popular ingredient in many skin care products.

Thanks to hempseed oil’s relatively ‘dry’ nature, it can nourish the skin without leaving a greasy residue behind, whilst its anti-inflammatory properties help it to combat a cornucopia of ailments.

Whether you have dry hands, inflamed skin or serious inflammation, you may find that the treatment which works best for you could end up containing hemp in some shape or form!

For a great Weed Seed Shop serving the UK and Europe please visit Sensi Seeds.

Summary

So there you have it: Three key areas in which hemp has proven itself to be a useful natural resource which is clearly a vital addition to mankind’s medicine cabinet: Whoever said that this crop was boring?

Disclaimer

The information in this post is presented for educational and entertainment purposes only: We urge all of our readers to obey their local laws and to consult a healthcare professional before seeking any medical treatment.

It’s time to stop locking up cannabis users

February 6th, 2014 | By

marley

So Obama says that weed is less dangerous than alcohol. Uh-huh. So then, don’t we need to take a long hard look at what is going on?

In the US and UK and the rest of the world, we are still knocking people’s doors down for growing something that according to the president of the United States is less harmful than alcohol.

Yet our countries are flooded with alcohol, brands for every moment, and it’s advertised to children for fuck’s sake. What are we doing? It kills thousands ever year in the UK and costs the NHS over £20bn.

British women lead the way here. Would it really be a bad thing if more British women got stoned instead of pissed?

How can any right minded human being defend locking people up for growing this medicine? It is a complete and utter abomination of our basic human rights. It is barbaric, ignorant and utterly wrong.

What is it going to take for change in the UK?

Has democracy completely and utterly left the building?

We are criminalising our friends, our children, our families for no good reason.  Well actually, there is a reason and that is the greed of others. That is why we are sending people to prison. So pharmaceutical companies can sell you their shit, which in many cases will kill you.

Cannabis has killed nobody and can treat cancer, Parkinson’s diease, Dravet’s syndrome, Crohn’s and a hell of a lot more. Can you see what has been going on here?

We have been ripped off, done over by the powers that be. They brainwashed many of us.  The most powerful medicine on the planet has been hidden away from us for decades. A policy that has cost an indeterminably large amount of people their lives or totally unnecessarily suffering. And they still do this to us, today, despite the fact that the plant is less toxic than ten potatoes. (And that’s according to the DEA.)

Not only that. To add insult to injury, some police forces have been using the marijuana plant to steal from people. California alone took in $181.4 million in revenue from seized property and money in marijuana cases from 2002 to 2012, followed by New York at $101.3 million.

It’s time to take back what is ours. I don’t need to repeat how ridiculous it is to make a plant illegal. This is our medicine and we are entitled to use it.  Anybody restricting this access can only be described as evil, maybe genocidal. Even if they are only ‘carrying out orders from above’.  This is no excuse.  The persecution has got to stop. It’s time to end this war on people before any more damage is done.