By Lorraine Gibney

On Sunday, August 12, 2018, the West Village Wellness Social met in the Westbeth Community Room on Bank Street. I accidently walked into the health social looking for Ilsa Gilbert for a scheduled interview; however, Ms. Gilbert and I remained in our seats, and enjoyed the music, lecture, and food. Eve Zanni (singer) and Isaac Raz performed a few musical scores for the audience, and their performance was excellent. Ms. Zanni’s voice was reminiscent of Bette Midler’s; she is beautiful inside, and out. In addition, Mr. Isaac Raz, the pianist, was fantastic; his piano virtuoso caught the attention of the audience. Twenty to twenty-five minutes into the social, Michael Embrey, the Host and Directories prepared the onlookers for the main topic of the event: Let’s Talk About Hemp & CBD Oil.

The music stopped. Mr. Embrey introduced Ilana Aminov from the Grove Street Pharmacy. Her lecture was dedicated to the benefits of Hemp and CBD Oil, and everything one needs to know about the properties of these plants, and the effects they have on the human body.

On June of 2018, the country’s Food and Drug Administration approved the prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil for treating two types of epilepsy (Johnson, 2018). CBD is one of the many complex compounds found in cannabinoids, in the cannabis plant. Over the years, marijuana and hemp has been used for recreational, and medicinal purposes all over the world. In colonial America, the largest crop grown was hemp; it was easy to grow, and could be used in multiple ways by early settlers.

In 1937, the FDA placed a ban on recreational drugs by passing the Marijuana Tax Act that placed a tax on the sale of cannabis. According to professionals in the field, marijuana was a gateway drug that led users to harder and more potentially harmful drugs. Of course, the ongoing debate over marijuana use and abuse is plentiful, and often discussed. In the 1950s and 1960s, the FDA made Marijuana use illegal.

Cannabinoids, the compounds in cannabis, interact with a part of the body called the endocannabinoid system, a complex signaling network that is responsible for performing different tasks in an effort to maintain homeostasis. Scientists, past and present, have identified the endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, present in the nervous and immune systems. When cannabinoid receptors are activated in the human body, complex compounds found in marijuana and hemp help the body recuperate from pain.

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species in this category is disputed; however in botany, three are recognizable: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Both marijuana and hemp plants contain three long serrated leaves. The differences between Cannabis and Hemp vary; however, the most noticeable difference is that Marijuana contains THC., the chemical that makes it illegal.

The complexity of Marijuana and Hemp are multifaceted. Since the resurgence and interest in the medicinal purposes of cannabinoid plants, people have fastidiously formed research groups, and ways to better understand the pros and cons of Marijuana and Hemp. These elementals have been used by patients with the supervision of certified physicians for problems such as: chronic pain, epilepsy, for anti-inflammatory purposes, cancer, etc.

At 3:30, the social group ended, Ms. Aminor opened the lecture for questions and answers for the last thirty-minutes, followed by a beautiful display of food catered by Michael Stewart of Tavern on Jane. The afternoon was unexpected; however, perfect. The next venue for the West Village Wellness Social will meet on October 9th, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. in the Westbeth Community Room at Westbeth, 55 Bethune Street, New York, New York 10014. Contact: Michael Embrey at 1-212-645-4333.


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