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— Health and Wellbeing

Is a breath test for marijuana nothing but a pipe dream?

Difficulties in testing for THC mean that curbing cannabis use amongst drivers hasn't been all that straightforward. Though marijuana use can be detected in the saliva for up to 24 hours after use, it can show up in blood and urine samples for anywhere up to a month. Existing methods like blood and urine samples therefore make it hard to determine whether a driver is actually impaired at the time that they jump behind the wheel. But companies like Canada's Cannabix are working on portable breathalyzers designed to test exclusively for recent use of the drug, a solution that could be of great assistance to law enforcement personnel in keeping impaired drivers off the road.

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— Electronics

AirGuard raises the alarm on cheeky tobacco and marijuana smokers

While it's not against the law to smoke cigarettes in most parts of the world, there are still a lot of places where smoking is prohibited – workplaces, hotels, public housing, college dorms, jails – and a whole lot of smokers who still like to sneak in a cheeky one on the sly. That could become a lot more difficult with the release of the AirGuard, a sophisticated smoke detection unit that can either be hand held or fixed to a wall, and that can send out a Wi-Fi alert when tobacco or marijuana smoke is detected. Read More
— Medical

Israeli company grows medical marijuana which doesn't get you high

Situated in an undisclosed location near Tzfat, northern Israel, is a government-approved medical marijuana plantation founded in 2004 by a retired biology teacher. Named Tikun Olam, the plantation has created a new cannabis strain which contains very low traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main constituent in cannabis responsible for making people feel "stoned". By virtually eliminating THC in the new strain, Tikun Olam can now offer the drug's medicinal benefits to those patients who wish to keep a clear head. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Autospense vending machine offers high-security solution for managing medical marijuana

The Autospense vending machine by a Californian company Dispense Labs LLC is designed to allow easy access to medical marijuana for those who need it, while keeping it safely out of reach of those who merely want it. This machine is far more sophisticated than your average snack dispenser though - locks, cameras, sensors and proprietary software all add up to a high-security turnkey solution for dispensing, tracking and managing medical marijuana. Read More
— Science

Eat more, move less and don’t gain weight by blocking a marijuana-like chemical in the brain

Unless you're a rodent, it's probably too early to get excited about the possibility of being able to eat all you want, be a couch potato and still not gain weight, but new research using a strain of specially-modified mice indicates that just such an unlikely scenario might one day be possible. Recently, a team of scientists from UC Irvine (UCI), Yale and Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona, Italy discovered they could bring this metabolic miracle about in the lab by blocking the actions of a marijuana-like compound that regulates energy metabolism. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Recreational drug usage in the wild: stoned reindeer and junkie monkeys

You don’t need an IQ much larger than your shoe size to realize that humanity is forever questing for an alternative reality. Apart from the behemoth industries peddling legalized drugs (alcohol, tobacco and caffeine), the extraordinary profitability of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and the rapidly growing number of synthetics now constitute the single largest income stream of criminal and terrorist organizations worldwide. Human drug usage began at the dawn of civilization and we may have sought out the first mind-altering substances by watching the behavior of animals which indulged. Read More
— Environment

Hemp biofuel blazes competition

While the food versus fuel debate continues to put crop-based biofuel production on the back burners it might just be Cannabis sativa that blazes the competition. Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel has shown a high efficiency of conversion (97 percent) and has passed laboratory’s tests, even showing properties that suggest it could be used at lower temperatures than any biodiesel currently on the market. Read More
— Automotive

Canada’s cannabis electric car is the epitome of a “green” vehicle

If you thought it was high time someone produced an electric vehicle (EV) using that most versatile and environmentally friendly of fibers, hemp, then you can breathe a sigh of relief. Motive Industries Inc. has announced the development of Canada’s first electric vehicle whose body is made from an impact resistant bio-composite material that is made from hemp mats. If it remembers to turn up, the four-passenger car, called the Kestrel, will make its debut during the EV 2010 VÉ Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver in September. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Scientists find marijuana reduces memory impairment

As difficult as some of our readers might find it to believe, researchers have found that specific elements of marijuana can be good for the aging brain by reducing inflammation and possibly even stimulating the formation of new brain cells. The research suggests that the development of a legal drug that contains certain properties similar to those in marijuana might help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. If you can’t wait for the drug to be developed, and don’t fancy coping with getting stoned every morning, Science Magazine has an interesting article about an alternative – dramatically reducing your calorific intake is also beneficial for memory. Read More