By Dan Nosowitz
The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.
After all, CBD is most commonly derived from industrial hemp, a crop newly legal nationwide that could end up being a fantastically valuable one for farmers. So we keep a close eye on the burgeoning research for exactly what CBD can do, including new work from scientists at University College London, who demonstrated that CBD might be helpful for addiction—both from marijuana and cigarettes.
CBD is found in high doses in particular strains of the cannabis plant, bred to have low (or no) quantities of THC, usually referred to as the psychoactive element of the plant. Smoking industrial hemp won't get you high, but as a result of its legality (and a recent trendiness for plant-based drugs), CBD has become wildly popular and widely available. CBD is also notoriously under-studied, due to its long status as an illegal drug prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, and most of the claims at your local vape shop are misleading at best.
But this isn't to say that CBD is a Himalayan salt lamp (read: totally useless). It does have some interesting effects, and researchers are working to figure out how they can be used. At a New Scientist Live presentation this week, Val Curran, a professor of pharmacology at University College London, demonstrated some possible addiction-treating benefits of the chemical compound.
Her most recent study tested out whether doses of CBD could help people identified as addicted to marijuana to quit. Marijuana addiction, contrary to popular belief, is absolutely a real thing, complete with withdrawal symptoms and both physical and psychological discomfort, according to the National Institute of Health. Curran's test encompassed a four-week treatment including different doses of CBD as well as a placebo.
The sample size, at 82, is small, but her work lines up with what other researchers have found about CBD. One of the doses of CBD seemed to help dramatically with those seeking to quit marijuana. Those given that dose showed a reduced quantity of marijuana used. CBD has been previously indicated to sort of counterbalance the THC in marijuana, in laboratory settings.
But the key part here is the dosage. Curran tested at zero mg of CBD (the placebo), as well as 200mg, 400mg, and 800mg. The zero and 200mg doses had no effect whatsoever. The 400mg was that goldilocks zone, the most effective dose that showed those doubled marijuana-free days, and the 800mg was found to be slightly less effective than the 400mg. This lines up with other research, in which a few hundred mg have been indicated to be the most effective for treating, for example, anxiety.
It's also worth noting that the standard dose of CBD that you might get in gummies, coffees, and tinctures is around 20mg at most, which would do, according to this research, nothing at all. But it's an extremely promising bit of research, following Curran's previous work showing that CBD can help with nicotine addiction. Given the effective doses, our farmers will have to grow a lot more industrial hemp.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.