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Abstract

The legal Australian cannabis industry has been rapidly expanding due to increased awareness of the plant’s therapeutic potential, as well its diverse range of applications including biofuel, textiles, building materials, food, nutritional supplement, and animal feed. The objective of this paper is to describe the current landscape of the commercial Australian cannabis industry, summarise occupational health and safety (OHS) hazards in cannabis-related working environments, and provide suggestions for safeguarding worker health and well-being in this emerging industry. A comprehensive search of peer-reviewed and grey literature published between 1900 and 2017 was undertaken to identify case studies and original epidemiological research on OHS hazards associated with the cannabis cultivation and the manufacture of cannabis-based products. The review found that the majority of OHS studies were undertaken in the hemp textile industry during the late twentieth century, with a small number of articles published from a variety of occupational environments including forensic laboratories and recreational marijuana farms. Cannabis harvesting and initial processing is labour intensive, and presents a physical hazard Depending on the operation, workers may also be exposed to a variety of biological, chemical, and physical hazards including: organic dusts, bioaerosols, pollen/allergens, volatile organic compounds, psychoactive substances (tetrahydrocannabinol [THC])), noise, and ultraviolet radiation. Little research has been undertaken on the exposure to inhalable organic dust and other bioaerosols during the commercial cultivation and manufacture of cannabis-based products. Furthermore, there is an absence of Australian-based research and OHS guidance materials to help professionals develop risk management strategies in this evolving industry. It is recommended that: • Investigation into the toxicological properties of cannabis dusts, specifically in relation to potential occupational exposures during cultivation and manufacture, should be a priority. • The interim adoption of the respirable cotton dust exposure standard of 0.2 mg/m³ for workplace exposure in hemp facilities until a cannabis workplace exposure standard is developed, and that exposure to medicinal cannabis containing THC are kept as low as reasonably practicable. • An industry partnership be established for the development of an Australian health and safety guideline for the production of medicinal cannabis and hemp. • A classification to meet the requirements of the Global Harmonization Scheme should be undertaken to ensure consistency in the use of safety and risk phrases in cannabis-related industries.

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... The harvesting process happens when the medicinal Cannabis is in full flourishing [61][62][63]. In general, the manual process is the only way that has been used to harvest medicinal Cannabis without damage and produce high-grade flowers [64][65][66]. ...
... However, mechanical harvesting like rotary mowers and combined harvesting used mainly for high-stalk bast-fiber like hemp [64,[67][68][69][70]. In general, a manual process is repeatable, low risk and maintains the crop's quality [71]. ...
Article
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The traditional Cannabis plant as a medicinal crop has been explored for many thousands of years. The Cannabis industry is rapidly growing; therefore, optimising drying methods and producing high-quality medical products have been a hot topic in recent years. We systemically analysed the current literature and drew a critical summary of the drying methods implemented thus far to preserve the quality of bioactive compounds from medicinal Cannabis. Different drying techniques have been one of the focal points during the post-harvesting operations, as drying preserves these Cannabis products with increased shelf life. We followed or even highlighted the most popular methods used. Drying methods have advanced from traditional hot air and oven drying methods to microwave-assisted hot air drying or freeze-drying. In this review, traditional and modern drying technologies are reviewed. Each technology will have different pros and cons of its own. Moreover, this review outlines the quality of the Cannabis plant component harvested plays a major role in drying efficiency and preserving the chemical constituents. The emergence of medical Cannabis, and cannabinoid research requires optimal post-harvesting processes for different Cannabis strains. We proposed the most suitable method for drying medicinal Cannabis to produce consistent, reliable and potent medicinal Cannabis. In addition, drying temperature, rate of drying, mode and storage conditions after drying influenced the Cannabis component retention and quality
... 13 In addition to chemical, biological, and physical workplace hazards, an industry that has historically operated "under the table" may have additional risks in terms of unfair labour practices 14 and worker stress. Indeed, a recent review of the occupational hazards of cannabis workers 15 as well as several government reports and theses 16 has recognized and/or evaluated workplace hazards in this sector. Worker perceptions are less frequently studied, though in the American state of Colorado where recreational cannabis was legalized in 2014, Walters et al. described general OHS considerations 17 and worker perceptions of workplace hazards, including pesticides, ergonomics, and air quality. ...
... 36,37 Indeed, it has also been recommended that health and safety guidelines be developed in partnership with producers as Australia approaches legalization of this crop. 15 Although our single study is not enough to develop an evidence-based strategy, public health needs are informed by the best available evidence until comprehensive evidence is available. In order to span the current communication gap with the cannabis industry, the present study's findings on the perceived OHS priorities and sources of information can be interpreted through the intervention development lens provided by McGuire's communication-behaviour change model. ...
Article
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Introduction Recent legal changes mean Canadian cannabis production has moved from an illegally grown crop to a potentially common one. However, little is known about the needs of long-time producers accustomed to operating outside a legal framework. In order to develop effective safety communication strategies, there is a need to better understand cannabis producers’ perceptions of OHS regulations, OHS controls, and sources of OHS information. Methods The specific objectives of this study are to (1) Describe production tasks and identify potential hazards related to these tasks and (2) describe workers’ current sources of OHS information. This study gathered two types of information: facility and production information gathered from key informants during three facility walkthroughs, and health and safety perceptions gathered during face to face interviews with nine cannabis production workers. Interviews were thematically analyzed using interpretive description. Results Cannabis production and related occupational health and safety issues occur within a larger context, and descriptions of contextual factors were interwoven with workers’ responses which, on the whole, expressed positive views of occupational health and safety. Perceived barriers to OHS included cost, lack of specialized skills, and lack of worker consultation, while named sources of OHS information included courses, requests to OHS agencies, and the internet. Conclusion It is hoped that an enhanced understanding of Canadian cannabis producers can inform the development of effective occupational health and safety interventions to promote the health and productivity in this workforce.
... Reviews suggest that workers at CCFs are exposed to organic dust (molds, pollens, bacteria, other allergens, and bioaerosols), VOCs, fungicides, and pesticides. 10,101 While most prior investigations of occupational exposure have focused on hemp processing operations, 102−104 the cannabis industry has drawn more attention of late 9,32,33,105,106 due to legalization in some jurisdictions and distribution of products with higher cannabinoid content than hemp. Previous assessments of CCFs by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) detected the presence of Botrytis cinelea (a.k.a "gray mold") in workers' breathing zone, which can trigger hypersensitivity pneumonitis. ...
Article
This review addresses knowledge gaps in cannabis cultivation facility (CCF) air emissions by synthesizing the peer-reviewed and gray literature. Focus areas include compounds emitted, air quality indoors and outdoors, odor assessment, and the potential health effects of emitted compounds. Studies suggest that β-myrcene is a tracer candidate for CCF biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs). Furthermore, β-myrcene, d-limonene, terpinolene, and α-pinene are often reported in air samples collected in and around CCF facilities. The BVOC emission strength per dry weight of plant is higher than most conventional agriculture crops. Nevertheless, reported total CCF BVOC emissions are lower compared with VOCs from other industries. Common descriptors of odors coming from CCFs include "skunky", "herbal", and "pungent". However, there are few peer-reviewed studies addressing the odor impacts of CCFs outdoors. Atmospheric modeling has been limited to back trajectory models of tracers and ozone impact assessment. Health effects of CCFs are mostly related to odor annoyance or occupational hazards. We identify 16 opportunities for future studies, including an emissions database by strain and stage of life (growing cycle) and odor-related setback guidelines. Exploration and implementation of key suggestions presented in this work may help regulators and the industry reduce the environmental footprint of CCF facilities.
... In many countries, there is a regulatory threshold of THC concentration in dry floral tissue that defines C. sativa as hemp. This threshold varies between countries, with a value of 0.2% in most of Europe (Salentijn et al., 2015), 0.3% in the United States (Adesso et al., 2019), and 1% in Australia (Davidson et al., 2018). It has been suggested that various environmental stresses increase the abundance of cannabinoids in hemp, especially THC (Nir, 2019); however, there are limited published data to address this idea. ...
Article
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Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is a burgeoning crop, but research-based information about genetic and environmental effects of cannabinoid production is limited and will be essential for expanded cultivation. There are limited data available about the effect of environmental stressors on cannabinoid content, particularly for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in high-cannabidiol (CBD) hemp. To address this, five stress treatments were applied in a replicated field trial with three high-CBD hemp cultivars and cannabinoid content was assayed over a 3-week time-course spanning floral maturation. Cannabinoid production in terminal inflorescence shoot tip samples of three cultivars was measured under stress imposed by flooding, ethephon, powdery mildew, herbicide, and physical wounding in a split plot design. The treatments had limited effects on cannabinoid levels, with the exception of herbicide treatment which resulted in decreased cannabinoid content. Notably, there was no evidence that any of these stresses caused THC concentration or the ratio of THC to CBD to increase at harvest.
... The adverse effects of the patient's e-cigarette use were possibly confounded by his occupational exposure to aerosolized CBD or vaporized solvents such as ethanol or toluene. Cannabis manufacturing facilities can additionally expose workers to organic dusts including endotoxins, fungi, and bacteria, as well as volatile organic compounds, such as diacetyl, ethanol, and toluene [25][26][27]. In mouse models, chronic exposure to ethanol vapors has been shown to increase pulmonary inflammatory cell infiltration (not associated with significant lung injury, however), but there was no mention of augmenting thrombogenesis [28]. ...
Article
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BACKGROUND In 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described the criteria for the diagnosis of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), which may be caused by contamination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinoid (THC) e-liquids with vitamin E acetate. This report describes a case of a 20-year-old man with a history of recreational drug use that included vaping, who presented with EVALI and a coagulopathy associated with thrombotic events. CASE REPORT We present a 20-year-old patient who worked at a cannabidiol (CBD) manufacturing facility with a history of e-cigarette use and polysubstance abuse in remission who presented with respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms accompanied by 50-pound weight loss over 6 months. The patient had been vaping with nicotine and THC-containing e-cigarettes multiple times per day for 1.5 years. He met the CDC surveillance criteria for EVALI, consisting of respiratory symptoms and infiltrates on imaging within 90 days of vaping, and was found to have eosinophilic pneumonia secondary to THC-containing e-cigarette use. Additionally, thrombi were detected in the pulmonary arteries, right saphenous vein, and right ventricle. A segmental infarct was noted in the inferior pole of the left kidney. CONCLUSIONS We present the second case report potentially linking e-cigarette use with clinically significant thrombogenesis, the first with both arterial and venous thromboses. This report demonstrates the importance of taking a history of e-cigarette use in patients presenting with lung injury. Although EVALI and the diagnostic criteria have only recently been described, systemic effects, including coagulopathy, are now being reported.
... What is known about occupational health effects in the recreational and medicinal Cannabis industry is largely inferred from studies of hop production and the hemp textile market in the late 20th century (Davidson et al., 2018). The hop plant, Humulus lupulus, is from the same family as the Cannabis plant, Cannabaceae. ...
Article
Background: While little is known about the occupational hazards associated with Cannabis cultivation, both historical research in the hemp industry and preliminary data from modern grow houses, suggest that Cannabis workers may be at increased risk of respiratory and allergic diseases. Objectives: We sought to investigate the association between workplace exposures and health symptoms in an indoor Cannabis grow facility in Washington State, USA. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study with all consenting employees in an indoor Cannabis grow facility in Seattle, WA using a questionnaire. The questionnaire gathered data on respiratory, ocular, nasal, and dermal symptoms. A subset of employees with work-related symptoms underwent repeated cross-shift and cross-week measurement of spirometry, fractional exhaled nitrogen oxide (FeNO), and skin prick testing for Cannabis sensitization. Exposure to Cannabis dust was classified based on self-described tasks, expert opinion, and exposure monitoring of particulate matter. Multivariable logistic regression was undertaken to examine associations between exposure to Cannabis dust (classified as low, medium, and high) and health symptoms. Linear mixed effects models examined the relationship between cross-shift and cross-week changes in spirometry and FeNO. Results: Ninety-seven percent (97%) of the employees (n = 31) surveyed were recreational cannabis users, with 81% (n = 25) smoking cannabis multiple times per day. Twenty-two (71%) employees reported one or more work-related symptoms: 65% respiratory, 39% ocular, 32% nasal, and 26% dermal symptoms. There was a trend toward increased likelihood of work-related symptoms with increasing exposure to Cannabis dust, although none of these results were statistically significant. Of the 10 employees with work-aggravated symptoms, 5 had borderline-high or high FeNO, 7 had abnormal spirometry, and 5 had evidence of Cannabis sensitization on skin prick testing. FeNO increased by 3.78 ppb (95% confidence interval 0.68-6.88 ppb) across the work-week and there was a trend toward cross-week and cross-shift reduced airflow. Conclusions: We found a high prevalence of work-related allergic- and particularly respiratory symptoms in the employees of one indoor Cannabis grow facility in Washington State. A high proportion of employees with work-aggravated symptoms had findings consistent with probable work-related asthma based on high FeNO, airflow obstruction on spirometry, and Cannabis sensitization on skin prick testing. However, due to the high incidence of recreational cannabis use among these workers, the relative influence of occupational versus recreational exposure to Cannabis dust on the respiratory health and sensitization status of these workers could not be resolved in this study.
... Potential hazards identified through assessment, observation and comparison to similar industries include mold exposure, dermal allergens, respiratory allergens, elevated carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, chemical disinfectants and physical hazards such as compressed gas, repetitive motion, workplace violence, working at heights, electrical, noise, lighting, heavy machinery and confined spaces. Potential health effects range from burns and musculoskeletal injuries to dizziness, nausea and respiratory and dermal irritation (Davidson et al., 2018;Marijuana Occupational Health and Safety work Group, 2017;Martyny et al., 2013;NIOSH, 2017;Walters et al., 2018). Given that it's a relatively young industry, health effects from long-term occupational exposures to marijuana during harvesting and processing are largely unknown (Martyny et al., 2013). ...
Article
Objectives: As the commercial cannabis industry grows, there is an increased need to characterize potentially hazardous workplace exposures and provide training to workers to mitigate these exposures with the goal of reducing accidents and injuries from cannabis cultivation, processing, and manufacturing. Public health and safety stakeholders in Colorado developed a worker-focused training designed to improve hazard awareness, recognition, and controls related to commercial cannabis cultivation. This paper describes the evaluation of this training. Methods: The training was a full day, in-person educational experience directed to workers in the cannabis cultivation industry. Training topics included an overview of occupational safety and health hazards, chemical exposures, slip, trips, and falls, repetitive motion, the application of the hierarchy of control including lockout/tagout, machine guarding, personal protective equipment, among others. Evaluation surveys assessed attendee demographics, perceived job hazards, confidence to change workplace practices, knowledge, training relevancy and quality, intent to change behavior, as well as barriers and resources. Results: A total of 208 people attended the safety trainings. One hundred and thirty-four participants (64%) completed the pre-training survey and 107 (51%) completed the post-training survey. Respondents provided high ratings for the quality and relevance of the training, with 91.3% of respondents rating the training very good or excellent. Before the training, the attendees listed their most concerning safety and health issues as exposure to pesticides and other chemicals (65.7%), absorbing chemicals through the skin (56.7%), slips, trips, and falls (52.2%), and respiratory hazards (50.7%). After the training, they reported the most concerning hazards to be slips, trips, and fall hazards (65.4%), ergonomic problems (64.5%), and respiratory issues (61.7%). There was a statistically non-significant increase in knowledge scores from 67.1% correct to 76.0% correct. Finally, 88.5% of respondents felt extremely or very confident that they could change their own health and safety practices at work. Conclusions: The training successfully reached cannabis employees in cultivation, compliance, and management. Survey respondents felt that the training was of high quality and addressed gaps in their knowledge related to safety and health hazards in the cannabis industry. The workplace safety and health concerns shifted from pre- to post-training. There was a statistically non-significant increase in knowledge. Additional follow-up of training attendees would be beneficial to measure sustained impact of training.
... Market expansion of cannabis drives the food industry to seek new opportunities. Yet it has also caused companies that are unfamiliar with street drugs and narcotics to consider options, such as readily available edibles (Davidson et al., 2018). ...
Article
Background Canada is one of the few countries in the world to have legalized Cannabis. Cannabis was legalized in October 2018, but not cannabis-infused food products, also known as edibles. These products will be legalized by October 2019. This study examines how consumers view the legalization of cannabis-infused food products, when cannabis became legal, but not yet edible. Scope and approach The study measured the perceptions on legalization, stigma, health risks and food safety on edibles. Underscored by this study is the growing uncertainty among most demographics, which suggests perhaps that public regulators have not connected well with the public when it comes to the food safety of edibles. Key Findings and Conclusions: Results show that while Canadians are ambivalent about social and public stigma, many remain concerned about inherent risks involved when consuming edibles. Concerns towards children and pets are also quite acute. Long term cannabis users are concerned about price and are still purchasing from old suppliers, which suggests that newly developed public distribution channels have been shunned to a certain degree. This study points to the need of more future evaluations of food safety measures and risk perception related to cannabis-infused food products.
... In the fields of clinical, occupational, and environmental medicine there are also rising concerns regarding hazards of cannabis production in which there is an exposure to several contaminants including microbes, heavy metals, and pesticides. [3][4][5] A recent example of the important role of public health with regard to cannabis can be found in the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment investigation, which found potentially unsafe levels of yeast and mold in samples of dried marijuana. This led the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment to issue and oversee a recall process to remove potentially contaminated products from commercial circulation; to date the location list of retailers to which contaminated material was distributed includes 144 retail stores, 3 cultivation facilities, and 11 manufacturing facilities. ...
Article
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Public health is connected to cannabis with regard to food, animal feed (feed), and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the use of phytocannabinoids should be examined from a One Health perspective. Current knowledge on medical cannabis treatment (MCT) does not address sufficiently diseases which are of epidemiological and of zoonotic concern. The use of cannabinoids in veterinary medicine is illegal in most countries, mostly due to lack of evidence-based medicine. To answer the growing need of scientific evidence-based applicable medicine in both human and veterinary medicine, a new approach for the investigation of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids must be adopted. A model that offers direct study of a specific disease in human and veterinary patients may facilitate development of novel therapies. Therefore, we urge the regulatory authorities-the ministries of health and agriculture (in Israel and worldwide)-to publish guidelines for veterinary use due to its importance to public health, as well as to promote One Health-related preclinical translational medicine studies for the general public health.
... There have been several reports in the literature concerning the health and welfare of individuals who work with cannabis and hemp products. 27,28 While generally outside the jurisdiction of the FDA and the direct interests of the AES, this issue increases the concern with unregulated manufacturing of CBD and cannabis-derived compounds. ...
... In addition, one of the biochemical consequences of cannabis ingestion either by smoking or eating is a conjunctival injection mimicking conjunctivitis [39]. On the other hand, cannabis farms and plantations often use a large number of pesticides and other irritable substances and are often located in poorly ventilated, hot and humid environments which are ideal for fungal proliferation and in itself are also likely to cause both respiratory and cutaneous irritability not always linked to an allergic cause [40][41][42][43][44]. Thus, it can be highly challenging to differentiate symptoms mediated by allergy from nonspecific irritability in these instances. ...
Article
Introduction: Although the use of cannabis dates back millennia, the first description of cannabis allergy is relatively recent (1971). Recent large-scale data show that cannabis allergy can manifest severe and generalized symptoms with extensive cross-reactions. Thus, it is essential to become familiarized with its clinical presentation, diagnostic aids, and adequate therapeutic guidance. Areas covered: Here we provide a hands-on overview on cannabis allergy focusing on symptomatology and the reliability of diagnostic options. Recent advances in proteomics are discussed in detail, elucidating the link with nsLTP-related allergies. The proteomics advancements have paved the way for more reliable diagnostics, especially component-based tools. Finally, the current experience in treatment options is highlighted. Expert opinion: Cannabis allergy is an allergy entity which can significantly impact the quality of life. For optimal diagnosis, we advise to start with a validated and standardized crude-extract based test such as sIgE hemp complemented by component-based diagnostics such as sIgE Can s 3 quantifications where available. Future research should lift the veil on the true prevalence of cannabis allergy and the importance of other cannabis allergens to further guide our practice.
Chapter
Hemp growth, cultivation, and fibre to textile production processes significantly impact the environment, whereas hemp is beneficial for biodiversity, has a high-carbon uptake, and does not require herbicides and pesticides for growth. Crop to textile production requires harsh chemicals and is highly water and energy intensive. Gathered information from multiple life cycle assessment studies is separated into two parts: studies on the climate hot spots in hemp production and research on the social impacts of hemp processing with possible risks and impacts.
Article
Legal commercial cultivation and processing of cannabis is a rapidly growing industry in multiple countries. However, to date little effort has been made to characterize and identify the various occupational hazards that workers may be facing in the cannabis production industry, including airborne contaminants that may affect the human respiratory system. In the current study, we quantified occupational exposures to particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in various task zones of two indoor cannabis facilities in Washington State. Full-shift (8-h) area measurements of PM and VOCs were collected in each task zone. Measurement devices were placed near the employee's work area in order to attempt to estimate the personal exposure to the contaminants. In each task zone we measured particle number concentration, particle mass concentration (PMC), cumulative size distribution of the particles, and total terpene mass concentrations. The mean PMCs were greater in task zones that required the employees to manipulate the cannabis plants and materials. The arithmetic mean PMC for the trim task was 60 µg m-3, preroll task was 45 µg m-3, grow task was 42 µg m-3, and the referent office area was 27 µg m-3. When comparing each task zone PMC to the office referent PMC, the trim task, and the preroll task were significantly higher than the referent group (P-values both <0.05). The arithmetic mean terpene mass concentration for the trim task was 36 mg m-3, preroll task was 9.9 mg m-3, grow task was 15 mg m-3, and for the office referent space was 4.9 mg m-3. Compared with the office space, only the trim task area had significantly elevated terpene mass concentrations (P-value <0.01). We observed a weak but statistically significant correlation between PMC and total terpene mass concentrations (rho = 0.42, P < 0.02). Overall, we observed that exposures to respiratory hazards were highest in task zones where cannabis plants and material were manipulated by workers, including the trim, preroll, and the grow task areas. These observations can help inform the employer of the task zones where exposure to respiratory hazards are the highest, and where it may be beneficial to deploy control measures to reduce worker exposures.
Chapter
The marijuana landscape is changing rapidly. Legislative reforms in many jurisdictions have opened up opportunities for legal medical and/or recreational use of marijuana. Simultaneously, the marijuana market is evolving dramatically. Marijuana potency has increased sharply since the millennium. New products such as edibles, concentrates, and oils have become more popular, and new routes of administration have emerged, such as vaping and dabbing. These new developments present a unique challenge to the field of public health, which is charged with promoting the health and well-being of communities.
Article
The cultivation and processing of industrial hemp, Cannabis sativa L., is a developing industry in Australia. Exposure to hemp dust is demonstrated as producing reactive and respiratory health effects, potentially causing permanent lung disease or damage. The aim of this study was to assess the airborne organic dust concentrations generated in an Australian hemp processing facility. Personal sampling, in the breathing zone of exposed workers was undertaken for exposure to respirable dust, along with parallel static sampling for airborne concentrations of inhalable and respirable dust fractions. Both static and personal sampling showed that respirable dust concentrations (mg m-3) exceeded the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) recommended maximum exposure limit of 1 mg m-3 (respirable fraction) for dusts not otherwise specified, with mean exposures (mg m-3) of M = 1.33, standard deviation (SD) = 1.09 (range 0.07-3.67 mg m-3) and M = 4.49, SD = 4.49 (range 0.77-11.08 mg m-3). The results of the investigation indicate that workers in the hemp processing industry are at risk of developing permanent and disabling respiratory disease due to high dust exposure. There is no Australian occupational exposure limit specifically for hemp dust. It is recommended further research is needed and industry-specific guidance material or model code of practice developed to effectively control exposures.
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This review paper covers the forensic-relevant literature in controlled substances from 2016 to 2019 as a part of the 19th Interpol International Forensic Science Managers Symposium. The review papers are also available at the Interpol website at: https://www.interpol.int/content/download/14458/file/Interpol%20Review%20Papers%202019.pdf.
Article
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Background: The presence of bacteria and fungi in medicinal or recreational Cannabis poses a potential threat to consumers if those microbes include pathogenic or toxigenic species. This study evaluated two widely used culture-based platforms for total yeast and mold (TYM) testing marketed by 3M Corporation and Biomérieux, in comparison with a quantitative PCR (qPCR) approach marketed by Medicinal Genomics Corporation. Methods: A set of 15 medicinal Cannabis samples were analyzed using 3M and Biomérieux culture-based platforms and by qPCR to quantify microbial DNA. All samples were then subjected to next-generation sequencing and metagenomics analysis to enumerate the bacteria and fungi present before and after growth on culture-based media. Results: Several pathogenic or toxigenic bacterial and fungal species were identified in proportions of >5% of classified reads on the samples, including Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Ralstonia pickettii, Salmonella enterica, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Aspergillus ostianus, Aspergillus sydowii, Penicillium citrinum and Penicillium steckii. Samples subjected to culture showed substantial shifts in the number and diversity of species present, including the failure of Aspergillus species to grow well on either platform. Substantial growth of Clostridium botulinum and other bacteria were frequently observed on one or both of the culture-based TYM platforms. The presence of plant growth promoting (beneficial) fungal species further influenced the differential growth of species in the microbiome of each sample. Conclusions: These findings have important implications for the Cannabis and food safety testing industries.
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Providing a concise, yet comprehensive, reference on all aspects of industrial exposures and toxicants; this book aids toxicologists, industrial hygienists, and occupational physicians to investigate workplace health problems. • Updates and expands coverage with new chapters covering regulatory toxicology, toxicity testing, physical hazards, high production volume (HPV) chemicals, and workplace drug use • Includes information on occupational and environmental sources of exposure, mammalian toxicology, industrial hygiene, medical management and ecotoxicology • Retains a succinct chapter format that has become the hallmark for the previous editions • Distils a vast amount of information into one resource for both academics and professionals
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In several countries with a National medicinal cannabis program, pharmaceutical regulations specify that herbal cannabis products must adhere to strict safety standards regarding microbial contamination. Treatment by gamma irradiation currently seems the only method available to meet these requirements. We evaluated the effects of irradiation treatment of four different cannabis varieties covering different chemical compositions. Samples were compared before and after standard gamma-irradiation treatment by performing quantitative HPLC analysis of major cannabinoids, as well as qualitative GC analysis of full cannabinoid and terpene profiles. In addition, water content and microscopic appearance of the cannabis flowers was evaluated. This study found that treatment did not cause changes in the content of THC and CBD, generally considered as the most important therapeutically active components of medicinal cannabis. Likewise, the water content and the microscopic structure of the dried cannabis flowers were not altered by standard irradiation protocol in the cannabis varieties studied. The effect of gamma-irradiation was limited to a reduction of some terpenes present in the cannabis, but keeping the terpene profile qualitatively the same. Based on the results presented in this report, gamma irradiation of herbal cannabis remains the recommended method of decontamination, at least until other more generally accepted methods have been developed and validated.
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For about a decade, IgE-mediated cannabis (marihuana) allergy seems to be on the rise. Both active and passive exposure to cannabis allergens may lead to a cannabis sensitization and/or allergy. The clinical manifestations of a cannabis allergy can vary from mild to life-threatening reactions, often depending on the route of exposure. In addition, sensitization to cannabis allergens can trigger various secondary cross-allergies, mostly for plant-derived food. This clinical entity, which we have designated as the "cannabis-fruit/vegetable syndrome" might also imply cross-reactivity with tobacco, latex and plant-food derived alcoholic beverages. These secondary cross-allergies are mainly described in Europe and appear to result from cross-reactivity between non-specific lipid transfer proteins or thaumatin-like proteins present in Cannabis sativa and their homologues that are ubiquitously distributed throughout plant kingdom. At present, diagnosis of cannabis-related allergies rests upon a thorough history completed with skin testing using native extracts from buds and leaves. However, quantification of specific IgE antibodies and basophil activation tests can also be helpful to establish correct diagnosis. In the absence of a cure, treatment comprises absolute avoidance measures including a stop of any further cannabis (ab)use.
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The composition and relative abundance of airborne pollen in urban areas of Australia and New Zealand are strongly influenced by geographical location, climate and land use. There is mounting evidence that the diversity and quality of airborne pollen is substantially modified by climate change and land-use yet there are insufficient data to project the future nature of these changes. Our study highlights the need for long-term aerobiological monitoring in Australian and New Zealand urban areas in a systematic, standardised, and sustained way, and provides a framework for targeting the most clinically significant taxa in terms of abundance, allergenic effects and public health burden.
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The prevalence of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis has been on the rise in India. Cannabis is reported to be one of the allergenically important airborne pollen identified by the clinico-immunologic evaluation in the spring season in India. We report a case of 38-year-old male patient with typical clinical manifestations of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis that classically exacerbates during the pollination period of Cannabis. On evaluation, the patient was found to be significantly sensitized to Cannabis sativa. Subsequent subcutaneous immunotherapy leads to marked improvement in control of asthma as well as improved quality-of-life.
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Background: Allergy to fruit and vegetables exhibit geographic variation regarding the severity of symptoms and depending on the sensitization profile of the patient. These sensitization profiles and routes remain incompletely understood. Cannabis is a very popular drug and derived from Cannabis sativa, a plant containing lipid transfer proteins (LTP) also known as important allergens in plant and fruit allergies. In this study we sought to elucidate a potential connection between C. sativa allergy and plant food allergies. Methods: A case-control study involving 21 patients consulting for plant food allergies. Twelve patients were cannabis allergic and 9 had a pollen or latex allergy without cannabis allergy. Testing for cannabis IgE implied measurement of specific IgE, skin testing and basophil activation tests. Allergen component analysis was performed with a microarray technique. Results: Plant food allergy in patients with documented cannabis allergy had more severe reactions than patients without cannabis allergy and frequently implied fruits and vegetables that are not observed in a (birch) pollen-related food syndrome. With the exception of 1 patient with cannabis allergy, all were sensitized to nonspecific (ns)-LTP. Conclusion: Our data suggest that illicit cannabis abuse can result in cannabis allergy with sensitization to ns-LTP. This sensitization might result in various plant-food allergies. Additional collaborative studies in different geographical areas are needed to further elucidate on this hypothesis.
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Naturally occurring cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) are biosynthetically related terpenophenolic compounds uniquely produced by the highly variable plant, Cannabis sativa L. Natural and synthetic cannabinoids have been extensively studied since the discovery that the psychotropic effects of cannabis are mainly due to Δ9-THC. However, cannabinoids exert pharmacological actions on other biological systems such as the cardiovascular, immune and endocrine systems. Most of these effects have been attributed to the ability of these compounds to interact with the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors. The FDA approval of Marinol® , a product containing synthetic Δ9-THC (dronabinol), in 1985 for the control of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, and in 1992 as an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients, has further intensified the research interest in these compounds. This article reviews patents (2003-2007) that describe methods for isolation of cannabinoids from cannabis, chemical and chromatographic methods for their purification, synthesis, and potential therapeutic applications of these compounds.
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Respiratory symptoms and abnormalities of lung function were studied in 84 female and 27 male hemp workers employed in two textile mills (A and B) processing soft hemp (C sativa). In mill A 46 women and 27 men were investigated and 38 female workers were studied in mill B. Forty nine women and 30 men from a non-dusty industry served as controls. A significantly higher prevalence of almost all chronic respiratory symptoms was found in female hemp workers when compared to control workers. Among the men these differences were significant for nasal catarrh and sinusitis. A high prevalence of byssinosis was found among female hemp workers in both mills (group A, 47.8%; group B, 57.9%) as well as in the male workers (66.7%). Statistically significant across shift reductions in lung function were found for all ventilatory capacity measurements in female and male hemp workers varying from 7.1% for forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) to 15.1% for flow rates at 50% vital capacity (FEF50). Measured Monday baseline values before the work shift were significantly lower than expected for hemp workers, being particularly reduced for FEF25 and FEF50. The data suggest that occupational exposure to hemp dust is a significant risk factor for the development of acute and chronic lung disease in workers employed in this textile industry.
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The presence of licit and illicit drug residues on surfaces was studied in 10 Police Stations and a central drug evidence store in New South Wales, Australia, with the results compared to similar surfaces in four public buildings (to establish a community baseline). The results of almost 850 workplace surface swabs were also compared to the outcome of drug analysis in urine and hair samples volunteered by police officers. Surfaces were swabbed with alcohol and the swabs were extracted and analysed by LC-MS/MS. Low level concentrations of the more commonly used drugs were detected at four public sites and one restricted access police office facility. Surface swabs taken in 10 city and country police stations yielded positive results for a broader suite of drugs than at background sites however 75-93% of the positive drug results detected in police stations were below 40 ng, which is only slightly greater than the largest background result measured in the current study. This study indicates that contamination issues are more likely to be focussed in higher risk areas in police stations, such as counters and balances in charge areas, and surfaces within drug safes although front reception counters also returned surface contamination. All 64 urine samples collected in this study were negative, while only 2 of the 11 hair samples collected from donors resulted in trace concentrations for cocaine, but not its metabolite benzoylecgonine. Positive hair samples were only obtained from police donors in very high risk jobs. Minor changes to the materials used as work surfaces, and some procedural changes in police stations and large evidence stores are suggested to decrease the likelihood of drugs contaminating work surfaces, thereby reducing the exposure of police officer to drugs in the workplace.
Chapter
Cannabis sativa, commonly referred to as marijuana, is popularly recognized as a medicinal and recreational drug. Although the legal status of the plant and its derivatives has been debated in numerous social and legal forums, very little is known about the immunological effects following personal and more recently, occupational exposure. Current studies have shown that direct handling and consumption of C. sativa and its derivatives can elicit allergic reactions and in very rare cases, life-threatening anaphylaxis. Initially, Δ9-THC and cannabinol were suggested to be the potential allergic sensitizers; however, recent reports have demonstrated that allergic reactions to C. sativa may be driven by type I hypersensitivity mechanisms. In this chapter, we will examine the scenarios and routes of exposure to C. sativa that may result in allergic sensitization and provide insights into the key allergic determinants. Finally, the methodological challenges associated with studying the plant and the biotechnological advances in exposure assessment will be additionally discussed.
Chapter
Cannabis sativa has been utilized for millennia, primarily as a source of a stem fiber (both the plant and the fiber termed “hemp”) and a resinous intoxicant (the plant and its drug preparations commonly termed “marijuana”), and secondarily as a source of edible seeds. In domesticating the species for these divergent purposes, humans have altered the morphology, chemistry, distribution and ecology of cultivated forms by comparison with related wild plants. Wild-growing plants appear to be either escapes from domesticated forms or the results of thousands of years of widespread genetic exchange with domesticated plants, making it impossible to determine if unaltered primeval or ancestral populations still exist. There are conflicting botanical classifications of Cannabis, including splitting it into several alleged species. The different approaches to classifying and naming plants such as Cannabis, with interbreeding domesticated and wild forms, are examined. It is recommended that Cannabis sativa be recognized as a single species, within which there is a high-THC subspecies with both domesticated and ruderal varieties, and similarly a low-THC subspecies with both domesticated and ruderal varieties. Alternative approaches to the classification of Cannabis that do not utilize scientific nomenclature are noted.
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The golden age of cannabis pharmacology began in the 1960s as Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues in Israel isolated and synthesized cannabidiol, tetrahydrocannabinol, and other phytocannabinoids. Initially, THC garnered most research interest with sporadic attention to cannabidiol, which has only rekindled in the last 15 years through a demonstration of its remarkably versatile pharmacology and synergy with THC. Gradually a cognizance of the potential of other phytocannabinoids has developed. Contemporaneous assessment of cannabis pharmacology must be even far more inclusive. Medical and recreational consumers alike have long believed in unique attributes of certain cannabis chemovars despite their similarity in cannabinoid profiles. This has focused additional research on the pharmacological contributions of mono- and sesquiterpenoids to the effects of cannabis flower preparations. Investigation reveals these aromatic compounds to contribute modulatory and therapeutic roles in the cannabis entourage far beyond expectations considering their modest concentrations in the plant. Synergistic relationships of the terpenoids to cannabinoids will be highlighted and include many complementary roles to boost therapeutic efficacy in treatment of pain, psychiatric disorders, cancer, and numerous other areas. Additional parts of the cannabis plant provide a wide and distinct variety of other compounds of pharmacological interest, including the triterpenoid friedelin from the roots, canniprene from the fan leaves, cannabisin from seed coats, and cannflavin A from seed sprouts. This chapter will explore the unique attributes of these agents and demonstrate how cannabis may yet fulfil its potential as Mechoulam's professed “pharmacological treasure trove.”
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Through 2014 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for all 50 U.S. states, this research explores the relationship between decriminalization and recreational and medical marijuana legalization and crime rates and arrests for drug abuse violations. When comparing states that changed their marijuana laws between 2010 and 2014 to states without any change, results indicate that any decrease in crime rate was not dependent upon changes in laws. Results indicate that while the trend is for property and violent crime rates to be higher in states where marijuana remains illegal, the difference is not statistically significant. When comparing states where marijuana has been decriminalized and states where medical marijuana has been legalized to states where it has not, the trend is that property and violent crime rates appear to be lower in both decriminalized and medically legalized states, but the difference is not statistically significant. Analysis also reveals that there are no significant differences in 2014 crime rates based on the degree to which the state has legalized/decriminalized marijuana (completely illegal, decriminalized or medically legal, decriminalized and medically legal). Even when controlling for factors that may lead to crime, the legal status of marijuana in states failed to significantly predict property or violent crime rates in 2014. States may turn to this research when considering their marijuana laws.
Article
Police officers responsible for the seizure and removal of illegally grown cannabis plants from indoor and outdoor growing operations face the prospect of THC exposure while performing their work duties. As a result, a study investigating the amount of THC on hands and uniforms of officers during raids on cannabis growing houses (CGHs) and forest cannabis plantations (FCPs) and in the air at these sites was conducted. Swabs of gloves/hands, chests, and heads/necks were collected and analysed for THC.Results of hand swabs indicated that officers removing plants from FCPs were exposed to THC concentrations up to 20 times those involved in raids at CGHs, which was mainly associated with the number and size of plants seized. Air samples collected inside cannabis houses showed no detectable THC. Air samples collected inside the cargo area of the storage trucks used during FCP raids indicated that THC can be volatilised when lush plants are compressed by other seized plants loaded on top of them in the truck over a period of several days, allowing composting of plants at the bottom of the load to commence. The elevated temperature and humidity inside the truck may assist the decarboxylation of THCA to THC, as well as increasing the rate of volatilisation of THC. More than 100 urine samples were collected from officers in raids on both CGHs and FCPs and all tested negative for THC. Removal of cannabis plants by officers often resulted in cuts, abrasions and ruptured blisters on exposed skin surfaces, particularly at FCPs. The results in this study suggest that even when small areas of damaged skin are directly exposed to THC by contact transfer, the likelihood of showing a positive THC urine test is low.
Article
Despite the federal prohibition against marijuana, state-level recreational use appears to be moving forward. Public opinion is shifting. Following well-publicized state-legalization in Washington and Colorado, states across the US have begun considering similar measures. Since the 2016 election, over 21% of Americans now live in places where recreational marijuana is state-legal, and over 63% of the country permits medical or recreational use at the state level. This paper does not consider whether states should legalize marijuana nor does it weigh all regulatory options available to states. Instead, it considers how states can create a practical framework to regulate recreational marijuana, particularly in a climate of federal uncertainty where marijuana remains illegal. We draw lessons from Colorado and Washington-assuming that other states will adopt similar models and employ commercial, for-profit systems. Considering both the variety of goals that states could adopt and how they interact, we offer recommendations in five areas: cultivation, production, and processing; sale, consumption, and possession; taxes and finance; public health and safety; and governance. We recommend that states implement a relatively restrictive regulatory approach, with a single market for recreational and medical marijuana, if appropriate. This should make marijuana laws easier to enforce, help reduce diversion, and satisfy federal guidance. Moreover, drawing from Colorado and Washington's experience, we suggest a flexible system with robust data collection and performance monitoring that supports a thorough evaluation. This should allow states to "learn as they go"-a must, given the uncertainty surrounding such policy shifts. Of course, a tightly regulated approach will have drawbacks-including a significant illegal market. But political experience teaches that states will be better off loosening a tight market than attempting to tighten a loose one. We also consider a potential role for the federal government under the status quo.
Article
In November 2012 Colorado voters approved legalized recreational marijuana. On January 1, 2014 Colorado became the first state to allow legal sales of non-medical marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Since that time, the state has been monitoring potential impacts on population health. In this paper we present lessons learned in the first three years following legal sales of recreational marijuana. These lessons pertain to health behaviors and health outcomes, as well as to health policy issues. Our intent is to share these lessons with other states as they face the prospect of recreational marijuana legalization.
Article
As studies continue to reveal favorable findings for the use of cannabidiol in the management of childhood epilepsy syndromes and other disorders, best practices for the large-scale production of Cannabis are needed for timely product development and research purposes. The processes of two institutions with extensive experience in producing large-scale cannabidiol chemotype Cannabis crops—GW Pharmaceuticals and the University of Mississippi—are described, including breeding, indoor and outdoor growing, harvesting, and extraction methods. Such practices have yielded desirable outcomes in Cannabis breeding and production: GW Pharmaceuticals has a collection of chemotypes dominant in any one of eight cannabinoids, two of which—cannabidiol and cannabidivarin—are supporting epilepsy clinical trial research, whereas in addition to a germplasm bank of high-THC, high-CBD, and intermediate type cannabis varieties, the team at University of Mississippi has established an in vitro propagation protocol for cannabis with no detectable variations in morphologic, physiologic, biochemical, and genetic profiles as compared to the mother plants. Improvements in phytocannabinoid yields and growing efficiency are expected as research continues at these institutions. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled “Cannabinoids and Epilepsy”.
Chapter
Cannabis (Cannabis sativa, or hemp) and its constituents—in particular the cannabinoids—have been the focus of extensive chemical and biological research for almost half a century since the discovery of the chemical structure of its major active constituent, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). The plant’s behavioral and psychotropic effects are attributed to its content of this class of compounds, the cannabinoids, primarily Δ9-THC, which is produced mainly in the leaves and flower buds of the plant. Besides Δ9-THC, there are also non-psychoactive cannabinoids with several medicinal functions, such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabigerol (CBG), along with other non-cannabinoid constituents belonging to diverse classes of natural products. Today, more than 560 constituents have been identified in cannabis. The recent discoveries of the medicinal properties of cannabis and the cannabinoids in addition to their potential applications in the treatment of a number of serious illnesses, such as glaucoma, depression, neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and alleviation of symptoms of HIV/AIDS and cancer, have given momentum to the quest for further understanding the chemistry, biology, and medicinal properties of this plant. This contribution presents an overview of the botany, cultivation aspects, and the phytochemistry of cannabis and its chemical constituents. Particular emphasis is placed on the newly-identified/isolated compounds. In addition, techniques for isolation of cannabis constituents and analytical methods used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of cannabis and its products are also reviewed.
Article
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) has been a species of value to humans for much of our history given its broad adaptation and multiple uses. The plant is thought to have originated in Eurasia but has been carried to much of the rest of the world, largely for use as a fiber crop. Declining needs for fiber and competition from other plant fiber sources began to reduce demands for hemp. In turn, concern over psychotropically potent forms of hemp (i.e., marijuana) would lead to the crop's effective prohibition during much of the 20th century. Growing recognition of the many uses for hemp beyond the traditional rope, cordage, and canvas has helped revive interest in the crop, and a majority of US states have reduced restrictions to allow research with the plant. Although hemp now appears on the verge of returning to favor in the United States, there will be much to learn to make it a viable crop competitive with other commodities. Variety and photoperiodicity, site suitability, end use (grain, fiber, or dual purposes) and management, and the interactions of these factors will have a strong impact on crop productivity and suitability for post-harvest use. In addition, the harvest and processing technologies (particularly for fibers and essential oils) that are needed to optimize the plant's value are limited or lacking in the United States. Disease and pest issues are often considered of little concern for hemp, but these likely will grow as the plant's range expands. Opportunities for hemp have increased with the recognition that the crop offers growing and diverse uses for not only its fibers, but for its seed grain and essential oils as well. Several studies indicate that hemp grains are nutritious as feed and food additives and its essential oils are of interest given a number of pharmacologically beneficial properties. Although full of promise given its numerous potential benefits and uses, building markets for these products will be a critical (and likely slow) part of hemp's development into a useful agronomic species for US growers.
Article
At a large hospital in Colorado, the rate of ED visits related to cannabis use doubled for out-of-state patients, with little change for in-state patients, from 2013 through 2014, the first year of retail marijuana sales. Statewide data confirmed these differential trends.
Article
We entered a total of 30 indoor marijuana grow operations (IMGO) with law enforcement investigators in order to determine potential exposures to first responders. Samples for airborne fungal spores, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were obtained as well as the identification of chemicals utilized in the IMGO. The chemicals utilized within the IMGOs were primarily pesticides and fertilizers with none showing high toxicity. Although several of the IMGOs had CO2 enrichment processes involving combustion, CO levels were not elevated. THC levels were identified on surfaces within the IMGOs and on the hands of the investigators. Surface levels ranged from <0.1 μg /100 cm(2) to 2000 μg /100 cm(2) with a geometric mean of 0.37 μg /100 cm(2). THC levels on the hands of officers ranged from <0.10 μg /wipe to 2900 μg /wipe with a geometric mean of 15 μg /wipe. These levels were not considered to be elevated to the point of causing a toxic exposure to responders. A total of 407 fungal spore samples were taken using both slit impactor plates and 400-hole impactors. Both methods identified elevated fungal spore levels, especially during the removal of plants from some of the IMGOs. After plant removal, spore counts increased to levels above 50,000 spores/m(3) with one sample over 500,000 spores/m(3). In addition, we found that there was a shift in species between indoor and outdoor samples with Cladosporium sp. the predominant outdoor species and Penicillium sp. the predominant indoor species. We concluded that the potential increase in fungal spore concentrations associated with the investigation and especially removal of the marijuana plants could potentially expose responders to levels of exposure consistent with those associated with mold remediation processes and that respiratory protection is advisable.
Article
Cannabis, also called marihuana or hemp, is a wind-pollinated plant that produces hundreds of flowers on large inflorescences. It is also one of the oldest psychoactive plants known to humanity. Morocco has become one of the main producers of Cannabis resin (hashish), primarily supplying the European market. The aim of this paper is to ascertain whether the atmospheric monitoring of Cannabis pollen can play a role, from a criminological point of view, in the surveillance of Cannabis cultivation in the area of Tetouan (NW Morocco) as well as to estimate pollen emission so that the sensitive population can be warned about the allergic diseases that its pollen can cause. Aerobiological samplings were made with the aid of a Hirst type volumetric trap (Hirst, 1952), which worked uninterruptedly during a 3-year period (2008–2010) according to the methodology proposed by the Spanish Aerobiology Network, the REA. Cannabis pollen was present in the atmosphere of Tetouan mainly from early April to late August, a period in which about 95% of the annual counts were registered. The highest levels were detected in June and July, with concentrations more or less evenly distributed throughout the day with slight increases of 5% between 12:00 and 16:00 h. The strong association between skin test reactivity, respiratory symptoms, and pollination period found by other authors, together with the levels registered, suggests that Cannabis pollen could be a clinically important aeroallergen for sensitive patients. On the other hand, the data obtained could serve as an indicator of the cultivation activity of this species and should be taken into account by the state authorities since they provide strong evidence of the existence of Cannabis crops in the region of Tetouan.
Article
This review article concerns byssinosis, a respiratory disease that affects workers in textile mills. According to experts in the field of occupational medicine, hemp mill workers suffer worse than workers in flax, cotton, jute, and sisal mills. The causative factor in hemp dust has not been determined with certainty. However, this review assembles evidence that implicates hemp dust contaminated by bacterial endotoxins, rather than fungal toxins or constituents in hemp itself. Endotoxins are expressed by Gram negative bacteria, and Enterobacter cloacae is a prime suspect. It is proposed that endotoxin contamination occurs during the biological retting process, and not before (in living hemp plants) or after (within the textile mill). Methods of preventing and treating byssinosis are assessed, including some new proposals for management.
Article
This work presents a safety study of a supercritical extraction plant. In order to define process equipment and operation conditions, a supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) plant to produce 336 kg/d (60t/season1)) sweet pepper oleoresin is presented. The plant was designed to operate at 40MPa extraction pressure, 40 °C extraction temperature, and 6MPa separation pressure using 10000Kg/h CO2 as solvent. A formal analysis was carried out in order to identify the most important hazards. It is obvious that the dangers arising from this plant have much to do with the nature of the substances being processed, the way they are treated in the plant, and their tendency to take part in chemical reactions under these conditions. The basic procedure involved was first to identify the main types and sources of hazards (possibility of releases, fires, explosions, and operation of high-pressure systems) and quantify the causes and effects. Standardized test methods were used for this. The work included representative tests such as Dow index and a detailed PROBIT analysis.
Article
Background Hemp dust exposure is associated with byssinosis and accelerated lung loss in longitudinal studies. The immunological changes associated with hemp dust exposure are less well understood.Methods We studied a small group of current male hemp processors with a mean age of 43 years. Questionnaire data, lung function, serial FEV1 and blood were collected from all workers.ResultsIn total, seven workers (64%) complained of at least one respiratory symptom (one with byssinosis). The mean percentage predicted FEV1 was 91.5, FVC 97.7, PEF 92.1, and FEF25–75 79.5. Serial FEV1 measurements in the two workers with work-related respiratory symptoms revealed a mean change in FEV1 on the first working day of −12.9%. This contrasted with +6.25% on the last working day. Respective values for the two workers without work-related symptoms were −1.4 and +3.2%.Conclusions Lung function changes and abnormalities in a profile of cell surface activation markers and antibodies were noted to relate to the presence of work-related respiratory symptoms, not seen in the control group. Am. J. Ind. Med. 39:419–425, 2001. Published 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Article
The pollen ofCannabis sativa L. was rich in cannabinoids and particularly in THC and THCA, the latter being able to be transformed into physiologically active THC. Climatic factors and particularly temperature played an important role, since the THC content at 24° C 16 h was 30 times as great as at 22° C 12° C 16h. Determinations of the phenol compounds in the corresponding flowering heads had not been completed, but those that had been finished showed that the optimum content was given by plants cultivated at 24° C 16 h. The highest concentration of alkaloid type substances was also given under this climatic regime: these substances were different from choline and trigonelline and studies were under way to identify them. With regard to the flavonoids that were examined by two-dimensional paper chromatography, two principal spots were detected corresponding to two glycosides. After hydrochloric acid hydrolysis two different genins were identified as apigenin and luteolin respectively. These flavone glycosides were also found in the leaves together with several others, and a further study is being made of them the results of which will be published shortly.
Article
A follow-up study of the effect of exposure to hemp dust on respiratory function over a 10-year period (1963–1973) was conducted in 24 female non-smoking hemp workers. The prevalence of byssinosis in 1973 (70.8%) was found to be significantly higher than 10 years earlier in 1963 (33%) (P<0.01). The prevalence of all other chronic respiratory symptoms was also considerably increased. In the control group the prevalence of all chronic respiratory symptoms was practically the same during both surveys. In hemp workers, there was a significant acute fall over the work shift in FEV1.0 (1-second forced expiratory volume) and FVC (forced vital capacity), both in 1963 and 1973 (P<0.01), except in the group of workers who did not have byssinosis either in 1963 or in 1973. The lowest mean annual decline of FEV1.0 within the 10-year period was found in the group without byssinosis in both 1963 and in 1973 (27 ml), followed by the group without byssinosis in 1963 but with byssinosis in 1973 (38 ml). The largest annual decline was observed in the subjects with byssinosis during both surveys (55 ml). The mean annual FEV1.0 decline in the control group was 22 ml.
Article
It has been a general assumption by botanists who have not worked taxonomically on the genus that Cannabis is monotypic. The preponderance of literature has treated it as such in the absence of any thorough taxonomic review to establish whether the epithet sativa must be restricted to a single morphologically distinct taxon within a more variable genus than presupposed or whether the specimens and literature concerning Cannabis permit the recognition of more than one specific epithet, in accordance with the most recent appearance of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Several aspects of the problem have been enlarged by recent publications attempting to clarify the problem of species distinctions. The excellent work of Small and Beckstead (1973), based almost wholly on cultivated or weedy material, concluded that there was but a single species of Cannabis (on the basis of published chemical data rather than presentation of morphological evidence), even though three distinct chemical phenotypes from three geographically disjunct latitudes were recognized and plotted on a scatter diagram. One of the several unfortunate aspects of this work was that plants growing in Ottawa under uniform conditions were not able to reach maturity in many instances, due to the abbreviated growing season; thus morphological distinctions could not always be accessed from a study of mature specimens. Furthermore, this limited growing season did not permit the study of perennial forms. Most important is the fact that the
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Immunological status and its relation to respiratory findings were studied in 42 female textile workers occupationally exposed to hemp dust and in 49 female control workers. Skin prick tests with hemp or flax dust extracts from different parts of the mill in hemp workers demonstrated the following frequencies of positive tests to antigens: a mixture of hemp and flax extracts (64%), followed by flax extracts (48%), hemp from combing machines (41%), hemp from carding marchines (38%), hemp from spinning and weaving machines (33%), and hemp from softening machines (20%). The prevalence of positive skin tests to hemp or flax allergens in control workers was consistently lower, ranging from 21 to 5%. Increased total serum IgE was recorded in 35.7% of hemp workers compared to only 5.0% of control workers (P < 0.05). Hemp workers with positive skin tests had significantly higher prevalences of chronic respiratory symptoms than those with negative skin tests. There were, however, no differences for acute symptoms between workers with positive and negative skin tests. Across-shift changes and baseline lung function were not different when compared by immunologic status. We showed additionally that a water-soluble extract of hemp dust causes a dose-related contraction of nonsensitized guinea pig tracheal smooth muscle when studied in vitro. Our results suggest that frequent immunologic abnormalities can be documented in hemp workers but, with the exception of chronic respiratory symptoms, in general, these do not correlate with respiratory findings.
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Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is a complex syndrome caused by the inhalation of environmental antigens. Chronic HP may mimic other fibrotic lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Recognition of the antigen is important for diagnosis; avoidance of further exposure is critical for treatment. Fibrosis on biopsy or high-resolution computed tomography is a predictor of increased mortality. Additional research is needed to understand why the disease develops only in a minority of exposed individuals and why cases of chronic HP may progress without further antigen exposure.
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There have been sporadic reports of hypersensitivity reactions to plants of the Cannabinaceae family (hemp and hops), but it has remained unclear whether these reactions are immunologic or nonimmunologic in nature. We examined the IgE-binding and histamine-releasing properties of hashish and marijuana extracts by CAP-FEIA and a basophil histamine release test. Two workers at a forensic laboratory suffered from nasal congestion, rhinitis, sneezing and asthmatic symptoms upon occupational contact with hashish or marijuana, which they had handled frequently for 25 and 16 years, respectively. Neither patient had a history of atopic disease. Serum was analyzed for specific IgE antibodies to hashish or marijuana extract by research prototype ImmunoCAP, and histamine release from basophils upon exposure to hashish or marijuana extracts was assessed. Results were matched to those of 4 nonatopic and 10 atopic control subjects with no known history of recreational or occupational exposure to marijuana or hashish. Patient 1 had specific IgE to both hashish and marijuana (CAP class 2), and patient 2 to marijuana only (CAP class 2). Controls proved negative for specific IgE except for 2 atopic individuals with CAP class 1 to marijuana and 1 other atopic individual with CAP class 1 to hashish. Stimulation of basophils with hashish or marijuana extracts elicited histamine release from basophils of both patients and 4 atopic control subjects. Our results suggest an IgE-related pathomechanism for hypersensitivity reactions to marijuana or hashish.
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The environment and health of a working population exposed simultaneously to jute and hemp were studied. Classical symptoms of byssinosis were not present but 21 workers (7%) complained of atypical tightness of the chest. The prevalence of chronic bronchitis among the exposed workers was statistically significant in comparison with controls. Effects of dust concentrations, age and duration of exposure on the prevalence of chronic bronchitis were studied. A statistically significant reduction in FEV1.0 at the end of a work shift occurred in all the exposed workers. Bronchodilators given after the shift showed that acute reductions in forced expiratory volumes were nearly fully reversible in all exposed workers. Smokers and those with chronic bronchitis had greater reductions in FEV1.0 values at the end of the work shift.
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In epidemiological studies of byssinosis, comparisons of the effects of different vegetable dusts on lung function indicate that hemp and flax are the most potent, followed by cotton, jute, and sisal. Comparison of the preshift lung function data in hemp, flax, and cotton workers with expected normal values demonstrated a considerably decreased one-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1.0) and an increased residual volume (RV), while the average values of diffusing capacity (DLCO) and total lung capacity (TLC) differed less than 10% from the predicted values. - In an experimental study with hemp dust extract in healthy volunteers, prechallenge administration of an antihistamine drug and of ascorbic acid significantly diminished acute reductions in flow rates on partial expiratory flow volume (PEFV) curves. In textile workers, propranolol significantly increased acute reductions in flow rates on maximum expiratory flow volume (MEFV) curves, indicating that the autonomic nervous system is important in determining the lung's response to textile dust inhalation. Disodium cromoglycate (DSCG) proved to have more protective effect in those with larger (>20%) acute reductions in flow rates than in those with smaller reductions.
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A 51-year-old man with asthmatic attacks due to Cannabis sativa seed inhalation was studied. Specific IgE against this seed was demonstrated by in vivo (skin and bronchial challenge tests) and in vitro methods (reverse enzyme immunoassay and histamine release from basophils), suggesting a Type I immunologic reaction.
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Mouldy hay was produced in the laboratory by sterilising good hay, inoculating with aqueous suspensions of microorganisms, and incubating at 40 degrees or 60 degrees C. Extracts were tested for presence of farmer's lung hay (F.L.H.) antigen by agar-gel double-diffusion and immunoelectrophoresis tests against sixteen to twenty sera from patients with farmer's lung. F.L.H. antigen developed in hay after: (1) inoculating with mixed microbial suspensions from antigenically active hay; (2) inoculation with mixed suspensions of pure cultures of thermophilic actinomycetes, after raising the pH of the hay to 70 either by prior inoculation with fungi or by infiltration with ammonia vapour; and (3) inoculation at pH 70 with pure cultures of Thermopolyspora polyspora or with Micromonospora vulgaris. F.L.H. antigen did not develop in hay after inoculation with fungi only, or with six other actinomycetes tested, or after prior heating (though some sera reacted to fungal antigens in all these extracts). T. polyspora is the richest source yet found of F.L.H. antigen, and inhalation of an extract by affected subjects produces some of the features of farmer's lung. Pure cultures can produce F.L.H. antigen on artificial media without hay. Spores and mycelium are rich in F.L.H. antigen, and inhalation of the spores may play a part in farmer's lung disease. Other antigens relevant to farmer's lung may be found in other actinomycetes, not yet cultured.