Cannabis Tosti Talk: ‘One plant to rule them all’

| Patricia Reyes

Dozens of students gathered in the DesignLab yesterday for a Tosti Talk about Cannabis. Tom Bernhards, an Advanced Technology student from Latvia, led the discussion about the potential that the plant has for solving a number of environmental and health issues challenging modern society.

Bernhards is passionate about all the uses of cannabis that go beyond getting people high. ‘I just think it’s unfair how the plant is treated,’ he confessed during the event. That is likely why - with the help of the DesignLab DreamTeam - he decided to host a Tosti Talk discussing the multiple purposes that this popular plant can have.

More than 50 students assembled in the DesignLab kitchen area at lunch-time yesterday. Bernhards apologized for lacking a power point presentation and not having a strict speech structure. He then gave a 15-minute talk to introduce the topic before opening the floor for discussion.

‘We’re just scratching the surface’

During his initial speech, Bernhards explained how industrial hemp produced from cannabis could be used for textile and paper-like materials that would replace already established industries that have a heavy environmental impact. He also listed some of its medical uses like alleviating the symptoms of chemotherapy or treating Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Bernhards disapproved of the global and local policies around the use cannabis. He argued that,  due to its legal status around the world, scientists and engineers are lagging behind in the research of the plant’s properties. ‘We are just scratching the surface of what this plant can do. It is just astounding to see the number of people opposing its potential uses.’

Justifying ourselves or being honest about it?

After the introductory talk, attendees started preparing their Tostis and stayed around to discuss with Bernhard and ask further questions. Some people steered the conversation towards recent economic developments around the use of cannabis in particular cities or countries around the world. Other people were more interested in Bernhard’s opinion on weed consumption for recreational purposes.

The discussion was distributed amongst the attendants, instead of being focused on a single speaker. However, several people approached Bernhards to thank him for initiating the conversation. ‘When I was younger I might have been looking for a way to justify myself in front of my parents,’ acknowledged Bernhards, ‘but now I can see there are important things to be said about this.’