When it comes to the medicinal and therapeutic properties of Cannabis sativa, an unsolved mystery is whether there exists an “entourage effect,” whereby the pain-relieving effects of the plant as a whole are greater than any of its individual parts.
New research from the University of Arizona Health Sciences has found evidence that favors the entourage effect theory and positions Cannabis terpenes, the part of the plant that provides flavor and aroma, as a promising new target for pain therapies that would require lower doses and produce fewer side effects.
A lot of people are taking cannabis and cannabinoids for pain. We’re interested in the concept of the entourage effect, with the idea being that maybe we can boost the modest pain-relieving efficacy of THC and not boost the psychoactive side effects, so you could have a better therapeutic.”
– John Streicher, PhD, lead researcher, member of the UArizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center and associate professor of pharmacology at the College of Medicine – Tucson
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants and are the basic component in essential oils. The terpene linalool, for example, gives lavender its distinctive floral scent. In addition to terpenes, Cannabis sativa contains naturally occurring compounds known as cannabinoids, the most well-known of which are cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.
Researchers found that Cannabis terpenes, when used by themselves, mimic the effects of cannabinoids, including a reduction in pain sensation. When combined with cannabinoids, the pain-relieving effects were amplified without an increase in negative side effects. The paper, “Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity,” was published in Scientific Reports.
Isolating terpenes is relatively new, but it has completely revolutionized the way people process and consume cannabis. Now, any cartridge you buy at the dispensary will be packed full of flavor.
While the uninformed consumer may think that these tasty new vape pens are the result of well-grown cannabis being extracted along with its full terpene profile and flavors, this is hardly the case.
Cannabis that is grown well will most likely bring a solid flavor profile along upon extraction. However this flavor is minimal, as the main focus of extraction for vape pens is THC content, which is extracted through a distillation process.
THC itself is odorless and tasteless (for the most part), and so flavors must be added in to make the distillate more tasty. Originally, this was done by either adding in signature e-juice flavors or using non-cannabis derived terpenes from other fruits and plants that carried similar terpene profiles.
This failed pretty quick. The e-juice made the cartridges taste more like an e-cigarette than a cannabis vape pen. Additionally, the non-cannabis derived terpene mixes may have smelled the same as cannabis terpenes, but chemically were not similar to cannabis’ unique terpene profiles.
The Werc Shop solved this issue by figuring out the science behind isolating terpenes. By individually separating each terpene through their own proprietary distillation process, the Werc Shop is able to create specific terpene and flavor profiles with natural cannabis.
If you want to hear more on how this is done, just listen to this week’s episode of Tony Don’t Smoke OG! In this week’s episode, Chip, Tony, I225 and Colin talk terpenes, strains, and more.