You Should Know

You Should Know

Cannabis and sleep

cannabis and dreaming

It will come as no surprise to the initiated amongst you that the consumption of Cannabis before bed will have you sleeping on a cloud of smoke and will often result in you getting a great night’s sleep, but is this really the case?

This week on ISMOKE we’ll be looking at how consuming Cannabis affects your sleeping pattern, your dreams and the length and quality of sleep that you get after you light up before heading off to the land of nod.

Psychoactive Substances Act – One Year On

One year ago, the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force after months of legal wrangling, set-backs, and delays. The law has been widely ridiculed by policy experts, scientists, and even the police, but despite this the Home Office still consider it a success. Their aim was to shut down headshops and appease the Daily Mail, and they succeeded on both of those fronts; the increased strength, availability, and subsequent potential for harm of many of the substances outlawed by the Act is therefore irrelevant. The countless deaths merely collateral damage.

Most of the public discourse surrounding the PSA in the year since its inception has focussed, perhaps unsurprisingly, on ‘Spice,’ the generic name given to Synthetic Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists, or SCRAs. Spice use has become ever more visible in the last year, particularly amongst the homeless population of the UK. Countless ill-conceived news reports have painted users as ‘zombies,’ due to the almost catatonic state that their drug use can cause them to enter.

An Interview with Stormin MC

Few people can lift a crowd the way Stormin can.

One of the most distinctive voices in grime and DnB, he is a masterful solo MC and was a member of one of the grime scene’s founding collectives, N.A.S.T.Y Crew.


An east London native, Stomin’s family brought him up with jungle. From a young age, Stormin understood that it would be difficult for an MC to break into the drum and bass scene.

Forthcoming UK cannabis events – add these dates to your diary!

The event numbers for 420 this year were huge! Well over 10,000 people attended throughout the day.

When people gather in groups of that size they are completely unpoliceable – despite there being lots of police at the event, attendees were in relative safety in numbers, as it wouldn’t make sense to arrest someone for something everybody in the immediate vicinity is doing.

Bud Facts : Grand Daddy Purple (GDP)

Welcome to another edition of Bud Facts! This week our cannabis spotlight falls on a heavy Indica strain that some users report literally tastes purple.

Grand Daddy Purple (also known as Grandaddy Purple, or GDP) is a California staple – it is a famous genetic cross of Big Bud and Purple Urkle, two well-known, powerful Indica strains. 

Cannabis vs Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the UK. According to, depression is the predominant mental health problem worldwide. Nearly 20% of the UK population, aged 16 and over, showed some evidence of anxiety or depression, according to the 2014 General Health Questionnaire.

Following on from our feature by Simpa Carter last week about consuming cannabis for depression, today we want to take a detailed look at the cannabis vs depression argument, incorporating some UK patient stories as well as more studies in this area.

The growing amount of people suffering from some form of depression is evident in the fact that, according to a report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), 61 million antidepressants were prescribed in the UK in 2015. That’s 31.6 million more than were prescribed in 2005, and up 3.9m, or 6.8%, on 2014.

The symptoms of depression can often be debilitating. The common mental disorder causes people to experience depressed mood, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, a loss of interest or pleasure, low energy, disturbed appetite or sleeping patterns and poor concentration.

If antidepressants worked, then why are prescription figures rising year after year? Surely there must be something which can better treat the symptoms of depression than pharmaceutical medications.

We Met UK Cannabis Extractor TG Botanical Extracts

TG Botanical Extracts

Last week we travelled to a secret location to meet UK Cannabis Extractor TG Botanical Extracts.

The UK cannabis extracts scene is growing nicely now, after hitting the US a number of years ago. Thanks to the world wide web, it’s easy enough for people to get hold of the equipment they’ll need to consume extracts, as well as the knowledge to do so.

The Countries Where Weed is Legal (Video)

This is a great educational video by Youtuber Louis Tee which lists the countries/states where cannabis is legalised or decriminalised.

The list is even longer than you’d imagine, and it is expanding quickly as more and more countries decriminalise or relax laws on cannabis, highlighting just how far behind we are in the UK.

Since this video was made it was announced that Turkey has just  legalised cannabis production.

Also here in the UK, with lots of developments regarding CBD as a medicine and the SNP backing medicinal cannabis, we are optimistic that the Government will have to admit that cannabis as a whole has medicinal benefits and stop criminalising medical patients. We will keep you updated!

Discovery Proves We Have Been Using Cannabis for at Least 2,400 Years

Archaeologists in China recently discovered evidence indicating humans have been using cannabis as medicine and employing it in spiritual rituals for over 2,400 years.

According to “Ancient Cannabis Burial Shroud in a Central Eurasian Cemetery,” published in Economic Botany last month, “[a]n extraordinary cache of ancient, well-preserved Cannabis plant remains was recently discovered in a tomb in the Jiayi cemetery of Turpan, NW China.

The researchers, led by Hongen Jiang, an archaeologist at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, discovered 13 whole female cannabis plants buried in the tomb of a 35-year-old Caucasian man. The paper explains the cannabis plants “appear to have been locally produced and purposefully arranged and used as a burial shroud which was placed upon a male corpse.” Researchers suspect he might have been a shaman.

The Many Uses of Hemp Part 4 – Cannabis, Spirituality & Religion

Over the past few weeks, our many uses of hemp series has covered the use of the cannabis plant in Fuel, Paper, Textiles, Building Materials, Food and Medicine.

Finally, we come to cannabis and its use in spirituality.

The Many Uses of Hemp Part 3 – Food and Medicine

The Many Uses of Hemp

In the last two articles in our Many Uses of Hemp series I covered some of the main uses for the cannabis (hemp) plant.  I wrote about hemp’s uses for fuel and paper, and for textiles and building products, which are of course just some ways that the hemp plant can be used for the benefit of mankind.

Hemp awareness is something that is slowly becoming more apparent in society.  Many great people have made it their life’s ambition to educate people about the benefits of hemp and it has begun to pay off.  When researching for the last article I read in the Telegraph about a couple in England that are building a house entirely out of hemp products, creating next to no carbon footprint and building a house that will outlast any other house on the street due to the quality of the building products.

In this article, I will focus on the uses of hemp for Food and also the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant.

The Many Uses of Hemp Part 2 – Textiles and Building


Last week we took a look at just a couple of the benefits of hemp – Hemp for fuel and Hemp for paper.  In this article we will delve into more uses for this wonderful plant – Hemp for Textiles and Hemp for Building Materials.

Now I know you’re thinking: “Just how can this one plant have any more uses?!” – Well it does, and a multitude more at that.  These articles are really just scratching the surface on what hemp can be used for.  Jack Herer stated that “From more than 1,000 years before the time of Christ until 1883 AD, cannabis hemp–indeed, marijuana–was our planet’s largest agricultural crop and most important industry, involving thousands of products and enterprises; producing the overall majority of Earth’s fibre, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense, and medicines. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food, oil, and protein for humans and animals.”  Hemp is a very important part of our history, and for good reasons.

“Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year. A normal average yield in large-scale modern agriculture is about 2.5–3.5t/ac (air dry stem yields of dry stalks per acre at 12% moisture). Approximately, one tonne of bast fibre and 2–3 tonnes of core material can be decorticated from 3–4 tonnes of good quality, dry retted straw.”

What variety of cannabis is grown for hemp can also be an important factor.  The tall thin Sativa varieties are most suitable for industrial hemp. Sativa will produce more hemp fibres than Indica or Ruderalis.

Hemp for Textiles

The UKCIA states that “Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) could be an important crop enabling the production of environmentally-friendly, locally produced, high-quality textiles.” Hemp textiles were once part of a booming industry which saw our ancestors using hemp for textiles, paper, rope and oil.  This history dates back a long time, with hemp being a big part of British culture.

In fact, according to The Emperor Wears No Clothes, “The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, which began to be worked in the eighth millennium (8,000-7,000 BC).”  Just to put things in perspective, at between 8,000 and 7,000BC, the world population was stable at five million and pottery was beginning to become widespread.  This means that hemp has been a part of human culture for a very, very long time.

Henry VIII, one of the most famous British monarchs, gives testament to just how important hemp was half a millennium ago.  World Mysteries states that: “Hemp was so important in England in the 16th century that King Henry VIII passed a law in 1553 which fined farmers who failed to grow at least one quarter acre of hemp for every 60 acres of arable land they owned.”  The UKCIA elaborates on hemp’s use in Britain around that time, stating that hemp was mainly used for ropes, sailcloth and sacking, no doubt due to its great durability.  This also made it great for working clothes, meaning a high number of our ancestors throughout this period were wearing hemp clothing.

There are many advantages when considering hemp for the textile industry.  Hemp, like linen, contains “bast fibres” in its stem.  The machines used to process these bast fibres happen to be very similar, meaning, in theory they could be used to process hemp (although the long hemp stalks may need to be broken in half beforehand).

There are many uses for hemp within the modern textiles industry.  The long “bast fibres” are used for twine, geotextiles and paper.  The Shorter “tow fibres” can also be used for paper, and the wood-like core/hurds are also high in cellulose, and can be used for things like animal bedding. (UKCIA)  Hemp is also used to make non-allergenic items like horse bedding and carpet backing, providing safe alternatives to synthetic and potentially allergenic products.

There are also significant problems resulting from our ever-growing consumption of cotton and other synthetics.  Cotton production is very intensive, and requires a lot of pesticides to keep the crop in good shape. explains that “Cotton uses more than twenty-five percent of all the insecticides in the world and 12% of all the pesticides. Cotton growers use 25% of all the pesticides used in the US. Yet cotton is farmed on only 3% of the world¹s farmland.” – From these statistics, you can get an idea of the amount of chemicals needed for cotton production.  A sad fact I just found about cotton on the same website was that “InIndia, low prices for cotton and high prices for chemicals have caused tens of thousands of farmers to go bankrupt. As a result, there have been more than 20,000 cotton farmer suicides since 1995.”

The hemp plant does not require pesticides, due to it being highly resistant to insects.  It also doesn’t require herbicides or fertilisers, growing extremely well under organic conditions.  There are studies from the late 60s that found that organically grown hemp has the highest yields and improved fibre fitness – it would certainly be more economically viable, to say the least.  An interesting fact from the UKCIA article worth highlighting was that hemp grows so fast that it smothers weeds.

Another advantage of hemp over cotton is that it doesn’t deplete the soil that it is grown on of nutrients.  This makes it much more cost-effective to produce as well as eliminating lots of nasty underground pollution caused by pesticides. states that “If hemp replaced cotton globally, the increased fibre yield would free up an area of farmland the size of Florida. The reduction in toxic pesticides would be 94,080 tons.”  So from this we can gather that the more hemp and the less cotton we farm, the better it is for our environment.

I read on that “Hemp is softer, warmer, more water absorbent, has three times the tensile strength, and is many times more durable than cotton.”  In fact, hemp is the most durable natural fibre.  As well as being UV resistant, it is four times as durable than cotton, meaning that hemp garments will last four times as long as similar cotton garments.

Hemp for Building Materials

Hemp can be used to make a wide variety of building materials which are much more eco-friendly than popular methods used today.  Its many uses as building materials are pointed out by Hemp-Guide: “Hemp is a very versatile fibre that can be manufactured into a variety of products that resemble wood including fibreboard, wallboard, roofing tiles, insulation, panelling and bricks can even be made from the compressed hurds. The fibres then can also be used like straw in a bale construction paired with mud for an old-style cob building.”

In other words, hemp is extremely useful to the building industry.  Tow fibres from hemp can be used to make one product – particle board which may be up to twice as strong as wood particleboard and will hold nails better.  The late Jack Herer also stated that “Because one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fibre pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, hemp is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board and for concrete construction moulds.”

Another product, Hempcrete is “half as heavy, seven times stronger and three times more pliable” than concrete”. (Hemp-Guide).  Hempcrete is also considered carbon negative.  This is because hemp absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows, retaining the carbon and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.  Wikipedia states that “165kg of carbon can be theoretically absorbed and locked up by 1m3 of Hempcrete wall over many decades.” Hempcrete’s superiority both in strength and flexibility makes it the perfect building material in places on Earth where there is the possibility of earthquakes.  Hemp-Guide also states that “Hempcrete is resistant to rot and pesky animals like rodents and insects, fireproof, waterproof, weather resistant and self-insulating.”

Read our feature – Hempcrete is a Great Building Material on ISMOKE Magazine

In fact, Hemp is so fit for this purpose that Archaeologists found a bridge in the south of France from the Merovingian period (c.450-751AD) built using similar methods.  Rawganique states that: “Iso-chanvre (chanvre is French for hemp), a rediscovered French building material made from hemp hurds mixed with lime, actually petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries.”

It is possible to make a house out of nearly 100% hemp-based materials.  You can make incredibly strong pipes out of Hempcrete.  Hemp can also be mixed with lime to create a long-lasting plaster.  Hemp paints have also been created, and according to Hemp-Guide they are “proven to be superior over other paint brands in their effective coating ability as well as durability.”

Of course at the present time building your home out of hemp is going to cost a bit more than building it out of traditional materials.  But from the facts above it is clear that hemp products are a viable source of building materials, without damaging the environment.

So there you have it – Hemp is great for textiles, and great for building materials.  There are so many things that this wonderful plant can be used for, and is indeed in some cases the best candidate for, and I just hope we can spread the message so that as many people as possible realise the benefits of hemp.


The Many Uses of Hemp (Part 1) Fuel & Paper

Hemp is quite probably the most useful raw material on the planet. In this four part series, we are going to be taking a look at all the wonderful benefits of the cannabis plant and the many uses of hemp in particular.

Hemp’s uses are well documented; for example as fuel, fibre and paper amongst many other things.  Its use dates back thousands of years, and UKCIA explains that: “Cannabis hemp was widely grown across Britain in the Middle Ages, from at least 800 to 1800 AD, though the amount grown varied widely through the centuries. It was mainly grown for fibre which was used to make sails, ropes, fishing nets and clothes. Old clothes were recycled into paper. Oil was produced from the seeds and was burned in lamps. It may also have been used as a folk medicine and for food, but it’s a mystery whether or not it was taken as a drug.”

Also a mystery is why the hemp industry isn’t bigger in the UK, when there are numerous benefits to its use.  In this series, I will outline hemp’s primary uses and the advantages over currently more popular options for fuel, paper, textiles and other things such as building materials.

THC Lean Cannabis Syrup

Have You ever tried Cannabis Syrup? Did you know you can consume your cannabis in liquid form?

Cannabis Syrup

Today we want to talk about THC Lean, the drink everybody is talking about.

New Cannabis Terpene Hashishene Discovered

The world of cannabis has just expanded slightly, with the discovery of a new terpene Hashishene, which gives high-grade Moroccan Hash that distinct taste and aroma.