The most misunderstood plant


For thousands of years, cannabis has been used for medicine and recreations purposes dating back to 500 BC. It is probably the first cultivated crop. 

Interestingly, in 1990, Lisa Matsuda and colleagues at The National Institute of Health (NIH) discovered that the human body produced cannabis where it is used as a neurotransmitter and that there were two receptors in the body that react to cannabinoids — the CB1 receptor, found mainly in the brain, and the CB2 receptor, found mainly in the immune system.

Thus, we have the endocannabinoid system (in our body) where cannabinoids provide hemostasis balance in our body and the phytocannabinoids (by the plants) that provides supplements/medicine for our bodies and exploits the recreational phase.

Now that we know our body is guilty of producing cannabinoids, let’s look at the history of this plant.

As mentioned, it is thought to be used for medicine and recreational purposes as early as 500 BC and thought to be the very first cultivated crop. Cannabis made it through the centuries until 1937, when the Marijuana Tax Act placed tax on the sale of marijuana.

This law was overturned in 1969, but in 1970 marijuana was made a Schedule 1 drug by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), again making it illegal for use. In 2018, hemp, not marijuana, was made legal by the U S Congress. The Texas Department of Agriculture adopted this law.

To be able to cultivate hemp in Texas, a license is required. To be licensed, a course must be taken and then an application for a license must be submitted. After being licensed and ready to cultivate, a crop permit must be obtained. It takes four to six months for such a crop.

When ready to harvest, you must submit random collected buds to a state-approved lab for testing. These collections are transported by state licensed individuals.

• If THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is less than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis, the crop must be harvested within 30 days.

• If THC is more than 0.3% dry weight, the crop must be destroyed.

Products from the hemp plant can be sold by those possessing a TDA/USDA license for non-consumable purposes. To be able to produce consumables, one much obtain a license from Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS). This is a much more vigorous process, requiring a visit to a center to be photographed and fingerprinted by Identogo for clearance to produce hemp oil consumables.

McDonald-Vaz Inc. obtained both licenses. We are now operating a hemp, not marijuana, business on Highway 183 North in Gonzales.

Dr. Garth O. Vaz MD is a family practice physician at The Vaz Clinic, PA in Gonzales.