Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Cannabis for Inflammation

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 3 in the multi-media educational series Curt’s Cannabis Corner from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network.

This series is intended for cannabis and hemp professionals—and the enterprise organizations that employ them—who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, volatile business environment, and detailed regulatory oversight of this newly legal herb.

This week, readers learn about how cannabis and its constituent molecules may be of therapeutic value to humans—particularly in the treatment of conditions based in inflammation—from Sunil Pai, MD, a veteran clinical practitioner.

Pai is an internationally recognized expert in integrative medicine based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and author of the critically acclaimed 2016 book An Inflammation Nation. He is a lecturer and a contributing author to a number of medical textbooks and scientific journals.

Pai is a practicing doctor who combines an evidence-based approach with 20 years of clinical experience. Each year, he educates thousands of physicians and medical professionals about the nuanced biochemistry involved in the administration of hemp-derived cannabinoids and terpenes for the treatment of a variety of disease states and conditions.


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Cannabis

for

Inflammation

By Curt Robbins


In August 2021, Higher Learning LV conducted the following exclusive interview with Pai.

Higher Learning LV: “As a medical expert on the management of inflammation and author of the 2016 book An Inflammation Nation, how can the cannabis/hemp plant species help humans in terms of managing their inflammation and achieving improved health?”

Sunil Pai, MD: “The use of cannabinoids from cannabis and hemp can help with the self-regulatory process of lowering inflammation through a variety of biological mechanisms. These include stimulation of certain endocannabinoid system receptors, such as CB1 and CB2, in many organs. These include the brain, all bones and muscles, the GI tract, and many other areas. Cannabinoids provide immunomodulation by repairing and protecting the tissues in these organs. This, in turn and over time, can balance inflammatory conditions and achieve homeostasis, which is critical for overall health improvement.”

HLLV:  “CBD is being touted for treatment of a range of disease states and ailments. Is limiting one’s therapeutic viewpoint to a single phytomolecule wise?”

SP: “Limiting one’s consumption to one phytochemical has both benefits and disadvantages. The benefit is that, sometimes, using a single molecule can provide a stronger clinical response due to the ability to achieve a more potent and focused dose.

“However, the disadvantage is a lack of biochemical balance. Like a pharmaceutical, CBD can feature side effects and a relatively small therapeutic window before side effects begin to occur. The pharmaceutical industry likes single phytomolecules due to the ability to patent them and own the extraction process or resulting compound. It also allows them to make a medical claim because drug studies employ only single molecules. Like pharmaceuticals, the cannabis and hemp industries also like single molecules such as CBD. They allow them to advertise a new product and increase SKUs with new indirect claims to the general public.”

HLLV: “What other cannabinoids, beyond CBD, should wellness professionals and patients be paying attention to, Dr. Pai?”

SP: “That’s a great question. Here’s a few phytocannabinoids that have my attention currently and that I’m integrating into my clinical practice:

  • CBC (cannabichromene): Possibly helpful for brain health via support of the process of neurogenesis. Reduces inflammation and may target more CB2 receptors in gastrointestinal conditions (such as Crohns or IBS) and neuropathy.

  • CBG (cannabigerol): Interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and indirectly elsewhere. May reduce inflammation and tumor growth.

  • CBN (cannabinol): Possible sedative and anti-inflammatory effects.”

HLLV: “There’s been plenty of talk recently about the THC isomer delta-8. What are your thoughts on the medicinal efficacy and utility of this molecule that is being adopted by many patients and lifestyle consumers, especially in states where delta-9 THC remains prohibited?”

SP: “Many companies are providing delta-8 products for two primary reasons. First, the public wants something close to THC, with aspects that deliver euphoria and pain control, with less feeling of being ‘high.’ This is particularly true in states where delta-9 remains illegal.

Delta-8 THC is commonly called ‘weed lite’ or ‘diet weed’ because, for most consumers, it features lower potency and fewer side effects than delta-9 THC. Just as important, the industry is now oversaturated with CBD products, which is causing prices to drop really low. To remain competitive, cannabis and hemp companies need new product segments featuring new items.

“Unfortunately, to obtain adequate amounts of delta-8 from hemp, a process of synthesis must take place. This puts delta-8 in a grey zone in terms of regulation.

“Many delta-8 products on the market have been found to contain either delta-9 THC or other adulterants and chemicals. Until better regulations ensure safety and quality and its legal status is clarified, I prefer not to recommend delta-8 to my patients or colleagues. As you are aware, when it comes to hemp, I prefer to use the plant holistically, taking advantage of as many of the entourage mechanisms of these efficacious compounds as possible.”

HLLV: “Terpenes are often hailed for their medicinal properties, including their anti-inflammatory prowess. What are your thoughts about the usefulness of terpenes, particularly in the realm of their effectiveness for treating inflammation?”

SP: “I like the use of terpenes—either that occur naturally in the product or that are added. However, our knowledge of terpenes is still in its infancy. We understand the range of different types of terpenes and, to a certain degree, the effects derived from them. Some are anti-inflammatory, which I naturally appreciate. I believe we should strive to preserve the natural terpenes that occur in loose-leaf cannabis and hemp flower samples and other products. We also have the opportunity to enhance CBD with terpenes, especially those that possess anti-inflammatory effects.

“That said, I must stress that controlling terpene dosage remains a major challenge. Terpenes are sold to manufacturers and processors for addition to their CBD products. However, this must be performed with expertise and caution.

“Terpenes can be dangerous; some consumers are allergic to certain terpenes! When companies in the industry use them, many lack formulation and manufacturing expertise and treat terpenes as merely another casual ingredient. With the growth of the use of terpenes in CBD and other cannabis and hemp products, there is increased danger of adverse responses from some patient and consumer populations to these compounds.

“Unfortunately, many manufacturers and distributors are focused on selling products in bulk and are not seeking safety and true medicinal efficacy. As an integrative medicine physician, I always consider how we can best use natural products like CBD safely and with maximum efficacy. If used properly, terpenes enhance the overall benefits of the other compounds, both directly and indirectly.”

HLLV: “Thanks for your time and sharing your deep clinical experience with our readers, Dr. Pai.”

SP: “Certainly. Thank you for the opportunity to help clarify the real science of how the phytocannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis may aid some patients and lifestyle consumers.”

WATCH THE FULL PODCAST ON MARIJUANA CHANNEL ONE

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What Are Flavonoids?

Welcome to the next installment of Curt’s Cannabis Corner, a new series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about flavonoids, a third category of wellness molecule produced by the hemp/cannabis/marijuana plantbeyond psychotropic cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes. 

Please remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers™ by sharing this article far and wide!


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER

What are Flavonoids?

By Curt Robbins

 


Most cannabis consumers are familiar with cannabinoids and, more specifically, the two commercially dominant examples produced by the cannabis/hemp plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). However, the herb produces two other families of wellness molecules beyond the set of roughly 146 cannabinoids discovered to date: Terpenes and flavonoids. 

The functional distinction between these two families of phytomolecules is clear. Terpenes employ aroma to protect hemp and cannabis plants from pests and predators while simultaneously attracting pollinators (insects or human cultivators). Likewise, flavonoids perform the same basic evolutionary function, but do so with plentiful pigment rather than abundant aroma. 

Modern peer-reviewed research has revealed that both terpenes and flavonoids possess value in the treatment of literally hundreds of disease states and adverse health conditions. All three families of chemical compounds produced by hemp have exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This makes these phytomolecules potential therapeutic agents in the treatment of common diseases such as cancer, arthritis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and a variety of eating and sleeping disorders. 

The following excerpt from the Higher Learning LV™ course Cannabis Core Concepts will teach you more.


Overview

Flavonoids, sometimes called bioflavonoids, are the third major family of wellness molecules produced by the hemp plant. The lack of attention to flavonoids by hemp industry professionals and the scientific community has inspired some thought leaders to label them “the red headed stepchildren of phytomolecules.” 

Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant chemicals found in a large number of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. These special compounds are responsible for the sometimes vivid colors of the plants that produce them. Perhaps of greater value to humans, they also have demonstrated significant medicinal efficacy—most notably anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Like terpenes, flavonoids are produced by thousands of plant types in nature beyond cannabis. In fact, tens of thousands of plant species collectively make more than 6,000 types of flavonoids. Of these, about 20 appear in the hemp genome (DNA). 

Flavonoids = Pigmentation

The Latin root of “flavonoid” is flavus. Literally interpreted, flavus means “yellow” (it is sometimes translated as “organic/natural yellow”). Despite the understandably common misinterpretation of the root term’s meaning as “flavor” in modern English, flavonoids serve the pigment-driven evolutionary function of attracting pollinators and dissuading pests for the plants that produce them (flavor, for the most part, is provided by terpenes).

In this respect, flavonoids are the visual equivalent of the aroma produced by terpenes. Both serve as sensory siren songs for pollinating insects (of critical value to the propagation of the species) while simultaneously warning predators to stay away and seek their meal elsewhere.

The Butterfly Effect

Interesting, flavonoids provide the color for not only thousands of plants in nature, but also some of the insects that feed on them. In fact, one of the most photographically coveted insects in nature, the butterfly, maintains an intimate relationship with flavonoids and the plants that produce them.  

According to a 1994 article by Nicolas Wade entitled “How Nature Makes a Butterfly Wing” that appeared in The New York Times, flavonoids are responsible for the sometimes vibrant dyes in the wings of butterflies. 

“In the pupil stage, the patterned wing cells develop a rainbow of tones as each crafts a scale of a single hue,” wrote Wade. It seems that butterflies are among insect species that are incapable of producing flavonoids. “The rich palette of dyes in butterflies’ wings are all derived from…flavonoids, which the insects cannot make themselves and must sequester from their food plants,” he continued. 

Copyright © 2021 Higher Learning LV™. All Rights Reserved. 

New Additive Rules Take Effect April 1, 2021

New Rules Provide Opportunity for Limited Product Sell Down

Updated Compliance Information:

Labeling Example, Metrc Guide

OREGON:  The OLCC is providing additional information regarding the implementation of and compliance with new additive rules. The rules, enacted in December 2020, impact all OLCC marijuana licensees and industrial hemp certificate holders. The first of these rules takes effect April 1, 2021. A more detailed explanation of the requirements can be found in Compliance Bulletin CE2020-07 along with links to the rules.

These rules apply to “Inhalable Cannabinoid Products with Non-cannabis Additives” (“ICP”). Generally speaking, ICPs are cannabinoid products that are meant for human inhalation and have been combined with non-cannabis ingredients like non-cannabis terpenes or flavorings. The most common example is a vape cartridge with flavorings. See the definitions in 845-025-1015(44) and (64).

There are two important dates for licensees in these rules: April 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021:

  • On and after April 1, 2021, all ICPs manufactured or processed must comply with the new rule requirements.
  • On and after April 1, 2021, all ICPs (including those made before April 1, 2021) must be correctly categorized in Metrc and, in the case of items held by processors, have their ingredients properly recorded in Metrc. (See 845-025-3270 for the requirements regarding categorization and ingredient tracking.)

Licensees with these products in their inventory must make these changes by April 1, 2021. Licensees are able to create the requisite item category in Metrc; an upcoming system enhancement in Metrc will provide the functionality for entry of ingredient tracking by processors. See this Metrc guide for more information.

  • There is a limited “sell down” period for ICPs made before April 1, 2021. Processors may transfer ICPs made before April 1, 2021 that do not comply with the new rule requirements until June 30, 2021. As of July 1, 2021 licensees can neither transfer nor possess products that do not meet the new rule requirements. See Compliance Bulletin CE2020-07 for more detail.

There are required labeling changes:

  • All labels for ICPs created on and after April 1, 2021 must have labels that are compliant with the new rules (and meet the other applicable rule requirements);
  • The product identity must contain the words “non-cannabis additive”;
  • All ingredients in the product must be listed either on the label or an insert accompanying the label. The ingredient listing must also contain the words “non-cannabis additive.” An example of a new label can be found here and an example of an old label can be found here;
  • Licensees must submit “manufacturer documentation” that adheres to the requirements of 845-025-3265(1) and “Non-cannabis Additive Documentation” as part of their label submissions; and
  • Licensees may no longer utilize generic labels for ICPs created on and after April 1, 2021.

Questions related to the rules or labeling should be directed to marijuana.packaging@oregon.gov.

Questions related to Metrc should be directed to marijuana.cts@oregon.gov.

 

 

Is Cannabis A Cure For Coronavirus?

MJNews Network Exclusive Report

By Lorelei Caudill

Are we potentially growing our own cure for this global pandemic?

Is the United States the most well-equipped country to potentially conduct one of the most extensive case studies in our world’s history?

Let’s take a more in-depth look at why the answer may be a yes.

In these times of uncertainty, globally, we are starting to look at science and data to help guide critical decisions to determine our new social norm needs. Cannabis is under the microscope on a global level since the beginning of this pandemic.

We are leaning on technology, data, and statistics on how and when to reopen our states and communities. We look to science to help us learn more about how the virus is spread. Some of the world’s best doctors have now taught us “How to wash our hands.” It seems a little crazy, right?

When we think of COVID19 and Cannabis, we need to do the same and lean scientific data from successful cannabis studies in the past (which is quite a bit, despite what many think) and watch the continuing studies with COVID19 scientists are conducting today on a global level.

Initially, some may say, “Nope, I consume cannabis, and I tested positive” (to be honest in my current COVID Survey has only been one person since I published on March 21st).

See the source image

Disregarding Cannabis as a potential to help with this global pandemic, is like saying you wash your hands, and you still contracted COVID19.

Realistically everyone’s next questions would be based on scientific data:

  1. What did you wash your hands with?
  2. How long did you wash your hands?
  3. How often did you wash your hands?

We need to think the same way and apply theory and scientific data to Cannabis:

  1. What cannabis product did you consume?
  2. How frequently did you consume Cannabis?
  3. What form factor of Cannabis do you consume? (inhaled, edibles, tinctures, etc.)

Cannabis plants are not all created equally. The plant contains more than 110 possible cannabinoids and over 120 terpenes, all of which work differently in the human body. To add yet another layer of complexity, research has found certain cannabinoids work differently with other cannabinoids/terpenes. This variable is called the entourage effect.

According to Strain Genie :

In addition to how Cannabis interacts with our human endocannabinoid system, there are other scientific data points to consider, our individual DNA. Research Scientist Nicco Reggente Ph.D., co-founder of Strain Genie, takes cannabis science to a whole new level by providing insight and data required to understand how we can use human DNA to further analyze how an individual metabolizes Cannabis, including the infamous intoxicating compound THC.

Strain Genie analyzes over 450 genetic biomarkers to recommend the best consumption methods and ratios per consumer. With this type of data and information, we can be less fearful of Cannabis as a potential aid in COVID19, knowing we will not have to walk around high or heavily sedated to prevent contraction and spread. It may even help you wash your hands a little longer!

Strain Genie uses DNA biomarkers to align cannabinoids and terpenes within the cannabis plant the help tame or mitigate much of the “high” with Cannabis by providing a custom THC: CBD ratio along with additional terpenes to pair when looking to combat things like cannabis-induced anxiety in individuals that may also be genetically predisposed to having depression, PTSD, or OCD.

Let’s Put Actual COVID19 Under A Microscope With Cannabis:

Next, let’s apply this potential:

As you can see, the public-facing laboratory test for each harvest in our legal markets holds valuable data.  This is the type of data we can use to help propel us forward when thinking about Cannabis and the potential with COVID19. Cannabis consumers may request their products laboratory test upon purchase.

Could this lead to one of the most extensive human case studies in cannabis history?

Slight curveball, not every state-level legal growing operation, is required to provide a terpene content and potency profile. Currently, California, Michigan, Connecticut, and our nation’s capital District of Columbia are the only places that require a terpene profile on top of the cannabinoid profile per harvest; this makes them prime candidates to further research!

In closing, I believe we are much closer than ever to have the ability to quickly link cannabis COVID19 when looking for ways to prevent the spread, and potential treatments. We may find Cannabis as a temporary relief until a vaccine is created. This would allow us to open up more safely and to mitigate much of the risk. The world’s scientists, cultivators, and our states rigorous regulations and testing requirements that have progressed us forward while leaving a valuable data trail in a moment when time is not the most kind.

Caveats – AS ALWAYS PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN BEFORE PURCHASING OR CONSUMING CANNABIS BASED PRODUCTS

  • Smoking cannabis is unfavorable, regardless.
  • Consuming cannabis may pose a risk to pregnant women.
  • Products with THC are not recommended for consumers with some cancer types where tumors are present.
  • Be aware Cannabis is known to have interactions with other medications.

About Lorelei Caudill – Cannabis Science 101 – www.cannabisque.org

I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a granddaughter. My family and I have personal experience with the medicinal value of Cannabis.

Over the past few years, I have dedicated much of my spare time to understand the science behind the “how” and “why” Cannabis works with the human body. Why do some consumers benefit from the medicinal value of Cannabis while others do not? Why would one product have little to no results, while others not only relieve symptoms but help with the root condition?

My goal with Cannabisque is to provide an unbiased platform of educational content created directly from highly regulated studies to educate Cannabis curious consumers globally as we learn more about this miracle plant the promise scientists are documenting in research today.

Cannabis Ambassador At Large: Jake Goes To Terp School

By Jake The Professor

I work with cannabis users every day in my role at Diego Pellicer.  I often meet customers who come into the store looking for the highest concentration of THC for the lowest price.  It is my duty to explain to them why 31% THC may not be their most important consideration.   Cannabis today is so much more than Indica and Sativa, I tell them.  There are many other components of the plant to consider when using cannabis.

Terpenes, Flavinoids, THC, CBD, CBN, CBG...Cannabis has many active components

Terpenes, Flavinoids, THC, CBD, CBN, CBG…Cannabis has many active components

Today, the sophisticated cannabis user is getting educated about Terpenes. Terps, play no small part in how the marijuana you are smoking makes you feel, how high you get, and the various moods it creates. It is especially important for those of us professionals in the emerging legal cannabis industry to better to understand the complexities of the cannabis plant.

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There is so much to learn about Terpenes that entrepreneur Amanda Mac founded Seattles Terp School.   Her mission was to create a place to share knowledge about our favorite plant, in a very cannabis-friendly environment.  As MJBA’s Ambassador-At-Large, I am committed to supporting cannabis education, and to working with like-minded industry professionals to establish best practices, and so I was delighted to serve as master of ceremonies for the venue’s first workshop on June 7th at Heylo Extracts in Seattle SODO.

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Featured speakers at this first workshop included Daniel Luebke, Heylo, who predicted that today’s Sativa and Indica labels will soon be replaced with more comprehensive terpene profiles, and Cannabinder co-founder Tom Heller, who detailed the database of such profiles his company is building.  Other presenters included GreenWay’s Ben Cassiday,  Confidence Analytics’ Nick Mosely and Wick & Mortar’s Jared Mirsky.

Among the highlights: We learned that there are some 30,000 different Terpenes that have been identified. And more than 130 terpenes have been identified in Cannabis alone!

 

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We learned that Terps give us flavor and fragrance.

Terpenes, Flavinoids, THC, CBD, CBN, CBG…Cannabis has many active components.  I learned so much during my first workshop at Terp Sch00l, and I know I will be back!

Canadian Researchers Identify Genes That Give Cannabis Its Flavor

CANADA: University of British Columbia scientists have scanned the genome of cannabis plants to find the genes responsible for giving various strains their lemony, skunky or earthy flavors, an important step for the budding legal cannabis industry.

“The goal is to develop well-defined and highly-reproducible cannabis varieties. This is similar to the wine industry, which depends on defined varieties such as chardonnay or merlot for high value products,” said Jörg Bohlmann, a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and faculty of forestry at UBC. “Our genomics work can inform breeders of commercial varieties which genes to pay attention to for specific flavor qualities.”

The research is part of an ongoing collaboration between Bohlmann, graduate student Judith Booth, and Jonathan Page, an adjunct professor in the botany department who founded the cannabis testing and biotechnology company Anandia Labs.

They found about 30 terpene synthase genes that contribute to diverse flavours in cannabis. This number is comparable to similar genes that play a role in grapevine flavour for the wine industry. The genes the researchers discovered play a role in producing natural products like limonene, myrcene, and pinene in the cannabis plants.  These fragrant molecules are generally known in the industry as terpenes.

“The limonene compound produces a lemon-like flavour and myrcene produces the dank, earthy flavour characteristic of purple kush,” said Booth.

They also found a gene that produces the signature terpene of cannabis, beta-caryophyllene, which interacts with cannabinoid receptors in human cells along with other active ingredients in cannabis.

Bohlmann says the economic potential of a regulated cannabis industry is huge, but a current challenge is that growers are working with a crop that is not well standardized and highly variable for its key natural product profiles.

“There is a need for high-quality and consistent products made from well defined varieties.” he said.

The researchers say it will also be important to examine to what extent terpene compounds might interact with the cannabinoid compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that confer the medicinal properties of cannabis.

The study was published today in PLOS ONE.

An Evening With Dr. Ethan Russo: The Terpene AfterBuzz

By TwicebakedinWA

WASHINGTON:  On Tuesday I took a little adventure on a ferry over to Vashon Island for the monthly Vashon Island Marijuana Industry Alliance (VIMEA) Meetup. It was the second one that I have been to and it did not disappoint.

The first time I went to one of their Meetups was last month and it was there that I initially met Dr. Ethan Russo and learned that he would be speaking this month. I immediately put that event into my schedule.

In case you don’t know, Dr. Ethan Russo is a world renowned cannabis researcher, neurologist, and author. He spent an hour talking to a very packed house about terpenes and the entourage effect. I was sitting on the floor in the very front with my notebook and pen taking down the points that didn’t go over my head.

See the Video here:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W1WLe2ehyc&w=560&h=315]

Washington Pot Retailers Accused Of ‘Spiking’ Samples To Boost Potency

WASHINGTON:  In a fresh white lab coat, his name embroidered atop a chest pocket, Cameron Miller looks and sounds every bit the chemist that he is. When he begins talking about the wonders of terpenes – the organic compounds that give plants their distinct odour – he could be a sommelier discussing the power and influence that tannins have on wine.

 “Rosemary and oregano, for example, have some very unique terpene profiles,” says Mr. Miller, lab manager at The Werc Shop. “Very, very pungent. You identify instantly with the scent. Terpenes can be very rich and powerful, in their presentation. Intricate, complex and beautiful too.”

Among Mr. Miller’s favourite terpene-producing plants is one he happens to handle every day: cannabis. It has an amazing variety of aromas, he insists, ones he’s not particularly adept at describing but which nonetheless interest him far more than the element of pot that seizes the imagination of most users: potency.

While it has been two years since Washington State voters approved Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana, it has only been nine months since the first retail outlets opened. There have been some early growing pains. And one of the areas that has come under intense scrutiny is the system being used to measure the strength of the pot hitting the market.