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. 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What is Delta-10 THC?

Welcome to the next installment in the 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 we’re dealing with a newcomer to the world of commercial cannabinoids, delta-10 THC. Please remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers™!


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

What is Delta-10 THC?

By Curt Robbins

 

 


All cannabis consumers and industry professionals are familiar with the phytomolecule THC that is produced by the cannabis plant. Many, however, aren’t aware that this popular psychoactive chemical compound is but one of several similar THC molecules produced by the plant called analogs (or, more technically, isomers).

The version of THC that differentiates hemp and cannabis, the measure of which has determined the market value of cannabis flowers and related products for decades, is delta-9 THC. However, a variety of analogs of the THC molecule exist. These include THCA (no psychoactivity), delta-8 THC (about two-thirds the psychoactivity of the delta-9 isomer), and THCV (the varin version that delivers psychoactivity, but only in relatively potent doses).  

Other cannabinoids are produced by the plant as similar isomer families, including cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG). In fact, each of these cannabinoids manifests as more than half a dozen isomers. (For CBD, these include CBDA, CBDV, CBDVA, and CBDP. Similarly, CBG offers the isomers CBGA, CBGVA, and CBGV, among others.)   

Recently, the delta-8 isomer of THC has gained attention. A variety of companies in the U.S. have begun selling delta-8 products, mostly in an effort to skirt the federal regulations that prohibit delta-9 THC. Meanwhile, an additional isomer of THC has attracted the attention of entrepreneurs: Delta-10 THC. 

History in California

The story of delta-10 THC is rife with irony. The phytomolecule was recently discovered by Fusion Farms in Adelanto, California. During a wildfire, a batch of outdoor grown plants became contaminated by fire retardant chemicals. These chemicals caused one or more of the cannabinoids in the plants to convert to delta-10 (most likely from cannabichromene [CBC], CBD, or delta-9 THCall of which feature very similar molecular structures). 

Thus, delta-10 THC has been dubbed an “artificial cannabinoid” because it may occur very rarely, or almost never, in nature. Modern manufacturing processes, however, offer the ability to produce the molecule in volume by converting closely related cannabinoids.

Some industry professionals believe that, during testing, delta-10 THC is commonly misidentified as similar cannabinoids, including CBC. “A lot of people had been seeing this mystery compound show up as a minor component on their distillate COAs [Certificates of Analysis], but they thought it was CBC,” said Josh Jones, an organic chemist who consults for Fusion Farms.

 

Business Opportunity

The tenuous nature of regulatory oversight of hemp and cannabis products in the United States means that the legal status of delta-10 is both ambiguous and could change at any time. 

The challenge for companies wishing to produce products rich in delta-10 THC is use of a production method that synthesizes the molecules in sufficient volume to satisfy potential market demand and cause true efficacy in consumers.   

The saga of delta-10 THC illustrates how industrious entrepreneurs and managers within the industry will pursue opportunities to develop novel cannabinoid isomers. These molecules will naturally feature a different binding affinity, which is the exact method by which they attach to specialized cellular receptors in the human body (part of the endocannabinoid system). As such, wellness professionals seeking novel approaches to the management of particular disease states and conditions may be able to fine tune the efficacy of molecules to match use case scenarios and bolster the safety profiles of molecules or particular products. 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What is Nanoemulsion Technology? Part 1

Welcome to the second installment in the 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. 

For the next two weeks, Curt will teach readers about the hot new manufacturing process for cannabis- and hemp-infused products called nanoemulsion

What is nanoemulsion? How can it help patients and consumers while offering additional marketing opportunities for entrepreneurs? How does it compare to traditional formulation technologies? Read on to learn!

The following is an excerpt from the Higher Learning LV instructor-led course Cannabis Core Concepts


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

What is Nanoemulsion Technology?

Part 1

By Curt Robbins

Those who work in the cannabis industry know that there’s plenty of hype regarding a relatively new molecular infusion technology called nanoemulsion (sometimes labeled miniemulsion, ultrafine emulsion, or submicron emulsion). 

Operating at the extreme microscopic size level that scientists call nanoscale, nanoemulsion offers a slew of advantages over traditional formulation technologies such as non-emulsified oils, macroemulsions, and microemulsions involving liposomes. Unfortunately, nanoemulsion tech has also resulted in significant marketing hyperbole and marketplace confusion.    

For engineering nerds, an interesting fact of nanoemulsion tech is that various underlying methods can be employed to create a nanoparticle emulsion liquid. All of these approaches, including ultrasonic generators, rotor devices, and high pressure homogenizers, are intended to result in a lifestyle beverage or liquid medicine that efficiently delivers wellness molecules, including cannabinoids and terpeneswithout degradation or other loss of potency during their path from processing and packaging to consumption and onset of effects. 

Another major reason companies are excited about nanoemulsions: Speed of onset. This molecular encapsulation approach results in significantly faster onset of bioavailability. In some cases, nanoencapsulation reduces the onset wait period from two or more hours (a traditional infused product) to about fifteen minutes (a roughly 800 percent improvement). 

It should be noted that nanoemulsion technology does not magically make hydrophobic fat-soluble molecules like cannabinoids and terpenes water soluble (as the marketing materials of some companies would lead one to believe). Rather, it is a method by which these fat-loving, water-fearing chemical compounds can be efficiently stored and transported on the way to their biophysical destinations (in the case of cannabis and hemp, microscopic CB1 and CB2 cellular receptors within the brain, central nervous system, and tissues of the immune system).  

Overview

Nanoemulsion technology is quickly gaining popularity with wellness professionals, consumers, and emerging hemp and cannabis brands. This approach to the consumption of some types of molecules that display poor water solubilityincluding the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids produced by cannabisis complex in detail, yet easily grasped in general theory. 

Many cannabis and hemp companies, especially those offering products intended to enhance health and wellness, are flocking to nanoemulsion tech for two primary reasons: Improved stability and faster onset of bioavailability (with the bonuses of significantly greater potency and more accurate dosing). The potential downside of nanoemulsions? Production cost (especially at smaller volumes).

Improved stability is important for heavily regulated industries like hemp and cannabis that involve supply chains featuring detailed distribution cycles and sometimes lengthy storage periods. Faster onset is critical for patient populations where conditions such as pain, nausea, social anxiety, or seizures demand the fastest possible onset of efficacy.

Nanoemulsion involves use of an agitative force (such as ultrasonic sound waves) to break up a solution containing two liquified substances (often an oil and an aqueous [water] element) that, under normal circumstances and in traditional preparations, would not form a homogeneous mixture. 

The compound of medicinal or therapeutic focus, such as a cannabinoid like cannabidiol (CBD) or delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is infused into an oil. Despite their differences, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes share one trait: They are fat soluble but not water soluble. Because of this important biochemical characteristic, these molecules must be infused into a lipid (fat) or oil for practical consumption by humans.

This marriage of oil and water, with the oil acting as a carrier for medicinal wellness compounds such as cannabinoids like CBD and THC, is accomplished with the assistance of a third element called an emulsifying agent (a common example of which is lecithin). This relatively technical concoction produces what scientists and product formulators dub a “single phase” mixture that is comprised of extremely small particles that fall within the nanoscale range (described below).

Understanding Nanoscale

Nanoscale (and the entire model for scientific measurement) is based upon the metric system, not the English scheme of inches and feet. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter (a meter being 3.3 feet). The root term nano is derived from ancient Greek, where it means “dwarf.” 

A micron, or micrometer, is the unit of measure directly above nano and is 1,000 nanometers (nm). To better gain a sense of the size of nanoscale, consider that a human hair is about 75 microns (75 μm), or 75,000 nanometers, in diameter. A sheet of standard notebook paper is just slightly thicker, at about 100,000 nanometers. 

According to the U.S. federal government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative:

  • A strand of human DNA  is 2.5 nanometers in diameter
  • An inch contains 25,400,000 nanometers
  • A gold atom is about one third of a nanometer in diameter

Infused beverages or tinctures containing broad-spectrum (involving molecular filtering) and full-spectrum (lacking filtering) nanoemulsions of hemp or individual cannabinoids (such as CBD or cannabigerol [CBG]) are defined as chemically and physically stable liquid-in-liquid dispersions featuring relatively minuscule droplet sizes of approximately 100 nm. 

Some strict sources define particle (droplet) sizes that exceed 100 nm to be outside of the nanoscale. However, technically speaking, 50-999 nm serves as an acceptable industry standard for nanoencapsulation particle size. A February 2021 market analysis defined nanoemulsions as “oil-in-water emulsions with mean size ranging from 50 to 1000 nm” that feature an average droplet size of “between 100 and 500 nm.”

Bioavailability & Delivery Dynamics

Nanoemulsions manifest as liquid solutions packaged as tinctures, infused beverages, eye drops, topicals (creams, lotions, balms, etc.), or transdermal patches. They are designed to circumvent the relatively lengthy process of digestion that is performed by the stomach and liverwith the overall goal of improving bioavailability compared to conventional “edibles.” 

Nanoencapsulated liquids also avoid the potential harms caused by inhalation of smoke and vapor. While research has revealed cannabis vapor to be considerably safer than the combustion involved in smoking the herb, chronic consumption via either method of inhalation may lead to lung damage and conditions such as bronchitis. Nanoencapsulated edibles and sublingual tinctures, while slower in onset than inhalation (the fastest consumption avenue at only 2.5 minutes), offer an improved safety profile that, in many use cases, justifies the slower onset.    

Methods of creating nanoemulsions include sonication (the application of ultrasonic sound) and high-pressure homogenization. Nanoemulsions produce significantly greater overall bioavailability (described in detail below), including faster onset and enhanced potency. This is true not only when nanoemulsions are eaten, but also when they are consumed sublingually (as with tinctures) or via transdermal patches. This fact gives this particular emulsion technology an unusually broad application range within the cannabis industry. 

A 2015 research study entitled “Nanoemulsion: An Advanced Mode of Drug Delivery System” reported that nanoemulsions “are manufactured for improving the delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients” and that the process involves a “thermodynamically stable isotropic system in which two immiscible liquids are mixed to form a single phase by means of an emulsifying agent.” 

The improved stability of nanoencapsulated formulations makes them of significant interest to wellness professionals because they can increase the precision of dosing. This is of importance for many conditions, including those whose treatment involves compounds that feature biphasic response curves or other peculiarities that can be exploited by a lack of dosing accuracy. 

Tune in next week for What is Nanoemulsion Technology?: Part 2 when we’ll dig into the hard research evidence behind the value of nanoemulsion tech for both companies and consumers and learn more about bioavailability. Don’t miss it! 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What Is Delta-8 THC?

 

UPDATE: “Understanding Legal Status”

Editor’s Note:  Welcome to the first installment in the 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.  

For the next two weeks, Curt teaches readers about the hot new phytomolecule delta-8 THC that is causing such a stir among consumers, entrepreneurs, and medical professionals.


CURT’S CANNABIS CORNER

What is Delta-8 THC?

By Curt Robbins

For years, the producers, processors, distributors, marketers, regulators, and consumers of cannabis have focused primarily on only two molecules produced by the plant: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both are sold by thousands of companies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

 

As a wave of medical and adult use marijuana legalization reaches beyond North America to the far corners of the globe, companies are beginning to promote and exploit additional wellness molecules produced by cannabis and hemp. Creative entrepreneurs and product formulators are seeing the advantages, both financially and legally, of leveraging molecular options beyond CBD and THC. 

The Big Picture

The cannabis/hemp plant species produces three primary families of wellness molecules that, together, number in the hundreds. There are approximately 146 cannabinoids, 20 flavonoids, and 200 terpenesthe majority of which have demonstrated significant medicinal efficacy, as revealed by thousands of peer-reviewed research studies since the late 18th century. 

Before delving into the details of delta-8 THC, it is important to properly frame the topic.   

Understanding Molecular Analogs 

Most cannabis consumers are ignorant of the fact that the chemical compounds produced by cannabis are members of small groups called analogs (sometimes cited as isomers in research literature). In fact, the CBD family features seven distinct analogs, as does the cannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG).    

 

THC is no exception. The analog with which most consumers are familiar is the infamous delta-9 variant (technically called the neutral analog), which produces sometimes significant psychoactivity. There’s also the acidic precursor THCA, which conveys no psychoactivity but significant wellness benefits and is popular as a juiced edible.

Yet another THC analog is the varin version, THCV, which conveys greater psychoactivity than delta-9, but only at more potent doses. An Italian research study published in December 2019 discovered additional THC and CBD analogs, THCP and CBDP, respectively (the researchers dubbed them the phorols). Delta-8 THC is yet another member of this collection of molecular analogs.

While molecular analogs sometimes share many of the same effects when consumed by humans (such as decreased systemic inflammation or an alleviation of depression or pain), such homogeneity cannot be assumed. For example, while delta-8 and delta-9 THC both stimulate appetite, THCV decreases it! Another frequently confusing feature of cannabinoids is a characteristic called the biphasic response curve. This mechanism involves a molecule producing one effect at a low dose and a differentand sometimes polar oppositeeffect at a stronger dose. 

A good example of the mechanism of biphasic response curves is delta-9 THC. At low doses, this molecule is known for helping consumers manage stress and decrease anxiety (“Netflix and chill, dude”). At more potent doses, however, the same molecule can cause increases in anxiety and paranoia and even result in panic attacks. 

In the end, the differences between cannabinoid analogs are good because they provide additional options to patients and lifestyle consumers. Crohn’s disease and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience sometimes extreme nausea and lack of appetite, which can lead to malnutrition and worsen their health. Wellness molecules that function as effective appetite stimulants are of obvious value to such consumer populations. 

Understanding Hemp vs. Cannabis

To properly understand the characteristics of delta-8 THC relative to the myriad molecules produced by the cannabis plant, one must first gain insight into the legal and technical differences between hemp and cannabis. Hemp is considered any sample of the plant that tests below 0.3 percent (one-third of one percent) delta-9 THC in weight by volume (research has indicated that psychotropic effects do not manifest in most adult consumers until samples feature at least one percent delta-9 THC). 

Hemp and cannabis have been illegal in the United States since August 1937, when the Marihuana Tax Act was passed by Congress. In December 2018, Congress reversed course after 81 years of prohibition by enacting the Farm Bill, which legalized samples of the plant containing below the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC standard employed in North America. Europe features a stricter 0.2 percent delta-9 THC limit, although this may change to 0.3 percent, in alignment with global market leaders such as the U.S. and Canada, in the near future.    

Delta-9 THC is currently considered a Schedule I drug which, by definition, implies that it provides zero medicinal benefit while displaying a strong propensity for abuse. Delta-8 THC, however, is legally categorized as a component of hemp, meaning that it falls under different regulatory oversight and can be sold in dozens of U.S. states. Legally, delta-8 and delta-9 THC are in different universes. From a regulatory perspective, delta-8 THC is managed more similarly to CBD. 

This important legal distinction means that companies can formulate and market products containing delta-8 THC and sell them in most states. Delta-9 THC products, on the contrary, can be produced and sold in only 15 U.S. states, with no interstate commerce or merchant banking permitted under the current scheme of federal prohibition. 

Understanding Legal Status

Hemp and cannabis have been illegal in the United States since August 1937, when the Marihuana Tax Act was passed by Congress. In December 2018, Congress reversed course after 81 years of prohibition by enacting the Farm Bill, which legalized samples of the plant containing below the 0.3 percent THC standard employed in North America, which it defines as “hemp.” Europe features a stricter 0.2 percent THC limit, although this may change to 0.3 percent, in alignment with global market leaders such as the U.S. and Canada, in the near future.    

Both delta-9 and delta-8 THC are currently considered Schedule I drugs by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. This means that all regulatory oversight and legal restrictions placed on delta-9 THC also apply to delta-8. Some of the companies producing delta-8 products are doing so legally under the laws of their home state, but, just as with delta-9 products, in defiance of federal oversight. 

It must be emphasized that such companies remain legal only if they restrict sales of their product to within the borders of their home state. Any interstate commerce activity falls under the strict purview of federal authorities, including the DEA, and Schedule I status.   

Confusion regarding these relatively new laws surrounds many interpretations of the legal status of delta-8 THC and emerging products. Some parties believe that delta-8 derived from hemp (samples of the cannabis plant genome that feature <0.3 percent delta-9 THC) are a legal loophole that allow them to narrowly skirt any laws of prohibition at the state or federal level. 

“You have a drug that essentially gets you high, but is fully legal. The whole thing is comical,” said Lukas Gilkey, CEO of Hometown Hero CBD in Austin, Texas, during an interview with the New York Times

However, many legal authorities paint a different picture. “Dealing in any way with delta-8 THC is not without significant legal risk,” said Alex Buscher, a Colorado lawyer who specializes in cannabis law, during an interview for the New York Times article cited above.

Some companies have invested in production and multi-state marketing of delta-8 products. Unfortunately, they are doing so under the false belief that their formulations are categorized as hemp under the Farm Bill and, thus, legal.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Delta-8 and delta-9 THC fall under the identical categorization and carry the same enforcement mechanisms and penalties.     

Understanding Delta-8 THC

Regardless of the legal status of delta-8 THC, let’s compare and contrast the medicinal efficacy of both compounds. Despite its reputation for helping consumers unwind from a stressful day, delta-9 THC has a nasty reputation for causing the opposite when consumed in strong doses: Elevated anxiety, paranoia, and sometimes panic attacks. Disorientation, confusion, and other forms of distress resulting from too much delta-9 have been documented by hospital emergency rooms and psychologists for decades. 

Delta-8 THC has been reported, through both formal research and anecdotal testimony, to deliver roughly two-thirds of the psychoactivity of the delta-9 isomer, but without the paranoia. This provides an option for those who avoid delta-9 THC or cannabis overall due to a previous negative experience with the herb. 

That said, it should be noted that the potential for consumers, especially novices, to experience increased anxiety or paranoia when consuming any psychotropic substance, especially in potent doses, always exists. Doctors and wellness professionals should experiment over time and “start low and go slow” with the dosing of delta-8. Many consumers have reported positive experiences when consuming delta-8 THC, especially in comparison to delta-9. 

One distinct difference between these two analogs is their relative volumes in plant samples. Most modern cultivars and chemovars (“strains”) of cannabis have been bred to increase delta-9 THC levels (which typically range from 10 to 30 percent), not CBD or delta-8. As such, delta-8 THC is found in small quantities in natural plant samples (typically well under one percent, similar to CBG). Delta-8 is sometimes extracted and concentrated by complex processing equipment requiring specially trained technicians. More often, however, it is synthesized from molecules that feature similar molecular structures, such as CBD and delta-9 THC. 

Some doctors, including Dr. Benjamin Caplan (a clinical practitioner in Boston who recommends legal cannabis to his patients), are finding superior results with their patients when they mix the correct doses of delta-8 and delta-9. Some wellness professionals are employing such a formulation instead of the more traditional delta-9 and CBD mix. 

“While the combination of delta-8 and delta-9 often yields a less euphoric experience, it can be a very pleasant alternative to blends of delta-9 THC and CBD,” Caplan told me during an exclusive interview.

In addition to appetite stimulation, delta-8 THC delivers anxiety reduction, can help treat pain, has shown antioxidant efficacy, and is a powerful tool in the treatment of nausea. Caplan described delta-8 THC as a “fan favorite” among his patients. 

Delta-9 Tolerance Break Tool?

Some companies and caregivers have begun exploring the use of delta-8 THC as a tool to help daily users, especially heavy cannabis consumers, to lower their tolerance to delta-9 THC. Even slight improvements in the relative potency of delta-9 based on reduced tolerance can equal significant monetary savings for such large volume consumers. 

“It’s not uncommon for those who use delta-9 THC to find that efficacy wanes after a long period of consistent use,” said Dena Putnam, President and co-founder of Leafwize Naturals in Orange County, California. Leafwize Naturals sells a variety of vape cart products featuring the dominant ingredient of delta-8 THC.  

Putnam explained how the delta-8 isomer of THC “may offer a way to circumvent the body’s tolerance of delta-9 while delivering similar benefitsall while taking a break from delta-9 in an effort to bring back the full effectiveness” she explained during an exclusive interview. 

Putnam said that delta-9 THC tolerance breaks “can be scary for those who depend on it for daily pain relief and mood management,” but explained that it is “sometimes necessary to reset the effectiveness of the medicine.” She explained how “delta-8 may offer a way to take a delta-9 break while providing a level of medicinal relief that is similar to delta-9.”

When queried about the success of this approach, Putnam explained how she and her staff noted two positive outcomes from their experiment: Delta-8 efficacy that mirrored that of delta-9 and the overall goal of achieving a lowered tolerance for delta-9 THC. Both target outcomes were achieved, somewhat of a unicorn in the world of science-based health and wellness.      

“We found that, after a period of switching from delta-9 THC to delta-8, that delta-8 helped in a manner similar to delta-9,” said Putnam. “More important, when the user resumed consumption of delta-9, the effects were greater, as if they had taken a conventional tolerance break,” she added.

It’s a Wrap

Delta-8 THC, only one of several THC analogs that includes THCA, THCV, and THCP, offers a number of advantages over its sibling delta-9. From the perspective of medicinal efficacy, delta-8 provides 60-70 percent of the psychotropic (psychoactive) effects of delta-9 THC while, typically, delivering little or none of the paranoia and anxiety that may result from delta-9.

Medical practitioners and business entrepreneurs are beginning to recognize the advantages of a world in which phytocannabinoids beyond CBD and delta-9 THC are readily available in thousands of products from hundreds of companies. If businesses like Southern California’s Leafwize Naturals have anything to say about it, that world will be here sooner rather than later.   

California Bureau Of Cannabis Control Announces Public University Research Grant Funding Recipients

CALIFORNIA: The Bureau of Cannabis Control (Bureau) announced that it has awarded $29,950,494 in public university research grant funding to universities across California.

“The research conducted through these public university grants will provide critical information for evaluating our legal cannabis system and its impacts,” Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax said. “This research will be a valuable tool to inform future cannabis policy in California.”

Research proposals had to fall within one of the several specified categories, including public health, criminal justice and public safety, economic, environmental impacts, and the cannabis industry. A detailed description of the list of research subjects for grant funding can be found in Revenue and Taxation Code section 34019.

In total, the Bureau received more than 100 applications for grant funds up to $2 million for any specific proposal. After a thorough review process, the nearly $30 million was awarded to the following public universities:

Public University Awarded Funding Research Proposal
UC San Francisco  

$2,000,000.00

Comprehensive Analysis of Developmental Cannabis Exposure on Brain, Immune, and Sensory Systems
 

UC Santa Barbara

 

$1,999,191.00

Surface Water Emissions from Cannabis Cultivation Sites: Quantity, Quality, Toxicity, and Relationships to Farmers’ Practices
CSU

Dominguez Hills

 

$1,866,311.00

 

Cannabis Industry in South Bay Los Angeles

UC

Berkeley

$1,827,596.00 Local Regulation of Cannabis in California
UC Los Angeles  

$1,429,001.00

Impact of Cannabis Potency on The Properties, Composition, and Toxicity of Inhaled and Second-Hand Smoke
UC San Francisco $1,384,466.00 Effects of Chronic Cannabis Use on Endothelial Function
 

UC Irvine

 

$1,351,556.00

Exploring Cannabis Policies and Practices That Influence Adolescent Use: Evolution of Local Cannabis Law, Products, Sales, and Marketing
 

UC San Diego

 

$1,321,833.00

The Public Health Impact of Cannabis Legalization in California: A Comprehensive Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis by Age, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Regions
UC Los Angeles  

$1,082,815.00

Assessing the Feasibility and Consequences of Implementing a Cannabis Potency Tax in California
UC San Francisco  

$1,067,483.00

The LEAF Study: Lung Effects and Function Associated with Cannabis Use
UC Los Angeles  

$1,048,857.00

Study of Employment Conditions and Equity in California’s Cannabis Industry
 

UC San Francisco

 

$1,038,782.00

Public Health Impacts of State Policies Mandating Point-of- Sale Warning Signs Regarding Cannabis Use During Pregnancy
UC Davis $1,034,730.00 Understanding the Impact of Cannabis Use in Early Psychosis
UC San Diego  

$987,738.00

Evaluating the Impacts of Packaging and Labeling on Cannabis Edible Use among Youth
UC San Francisco $952,540.00 California Cannabis Poisonings Under Proposition 64
 

UC Los Angeles

 

$896,794.00

Assessing the Impact of Proposition 64 on Cannabis Use, Maladaptive Cannabis Use, Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment, and Public Health
UC San Diego  

$887,101.00

The Role of Cannabidiol in Anandamide-Related Improvement in Alexithymia and Health Outcomes
UC Los Angeles  

$781,707.00

A Demographic Analysis of the California Licensed Cannabis Industry and Consumer Market
UC Los Angeles  

$758,517.00

The Impact of Cannabis Marketing on California’s Youth: Neuro-Behavioral Studies for Informing Policy
 

 

UC Davis

 

 

$726,816.00

Cannabis Industry: Assessment of the Location, Structure, Function, and Demographics of Licensed Cannabis, Focusing on Geographical Price Differences, and Differential Impacts of Local Prop-64 Related Regulations on the Competitiveness of Licensed Businesses
UC

Berkeley

 

$658,306.00

Transformation of Unregulated Cannabis Cultivation Under Proposition 64
 

 

UC Davis

 

 

$655,564.00

Economic Impacts: Market Prices for Licensed and Unlicensed Cannabis and the Effects of the Current and Alternate Cannabis Tax Structures and Tax Rates on the Private and Public Sectors in California, Including Government Administrative Costs and Revenues
 

 

UC Davis

 

 

$562,240.00

Environmental Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation in California As Affected by the Farm Economics of Licensed and Unlicensed Cannabis Production, Including Effects of Testing Regulations and Compliance with the Criminal Prohibition of Unlicensed Cannabis
 

UC

Berkeley

 

 

$489,762.00

Assessing Environmental Impacts of Cannabis-Related Noise and Light Disturbance to Inform Management of California Wildlife
UC

Berkeley

 

$465,902.00

Examining Tribal Sovereignty Over Cannabis Permitting on Native Ancestral Lands
CSU

Humboldt

$464,997.00 Cannabis Business Entrepreneurs and Jobs
UC Los Angeles  

$414,183.00

Understanding the Impact of Cannabis Marketing on Cannabis Use Disparities Among Sexual and Gender Minority Youth
UC

Berkeley

 

$328,916.00

Cultivation Bans, Local Control, and the Effects and Efficacy of Proposition 64
UC

Berkeley

 

$319,091.00

Cannabis and Wildfire: Current Conditions, Future Threats, and Solutions for Farmers
UC

Berkeley

 

$314,417.00

Cannabis Water-Use Impacts to Streamflow and Temperature in Salmon-Bearing Streams
UC

Berkeley

$270,269.00 The Effect of Local Cannabis Regulation on Property Prices
UC San Diego  

$235,039.00

Evaluating Risks and Benefits of Cannabis Use by Older Adults: A Pilot Study
CSU

Humboldt

 

$183,015.00

The Economic Impact of Cannabis Legalization in Rural Northern California
 

UC Davis

 

$144,949.00

California Cannabis Workers: Perceptions, Beliefs, and Knowledge of Occupational Health and Industry Hazards

Thousands Of Peer-Reviewed Studies Specific To Medical Cannabis Have Been Published Over Past Decade

ISRAEL: The total number of peer-reviewed scientific papers dedicated to cannabis, and the therapeutic use of cannabis in particular, has increased exponentially in recent years, according to data published the journal Population Health Management.

Israeli researchers assessed trends in the number of scientific publications specific to cannabis as compared to all scientific publications during the years 2000 to 2017. They reported: “The overall annual number of scientific publications … increased 2.5 times between 2000–2017 from 531,664 to 1,282,229. In contrast, the corresponding number for publications on cannabis increased 4.5 times … and increased 9-fold for publications on medical cannabis.”

Overall, authors identified just over 29,000 cannabis-centric scientific papers published during the study period, with over 3,300 of those dedicated to the subject of medical marijuana. Papers specific to medical cannabis were most likely to address its use in the treatment of HIV, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea, or epilepsy.

Over 60 percent of the papers were classified as “original research,” and 66 percent of all scientific papers originated from authors in the United States.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Trends in publications in medical cannabis from the year 2000,” appears in Population Health Management.

Study: Cannabis Leaves Possess Anti-Bacterial Activity Against MRSA

INDIA: Ethanol-based tinctures containing crushed cannabis leaves provide anti-bacterial effects against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to data published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine. Strains of the MRSA bacterium are often resistant to antibiotic treatment and can be associated with life-threatening infections, such as septic shock and severe pneumonia.

A team of researchers from India assessed the antimicrobial activities of cannabis leaf extracts, along with extracts from the leaves of the plants Thuja orientalis (a form of cypress) and Psidium guajava(lemon guava), against MRSA.

Authors reported that each of the individual extracts inhibited MRSA growth, but that these effects were more profound when cannabis was used in combination with Thuja orientalis. They concluded, “Ethanolic extract of C. sativa alone and in combination with T. orientalis provided two potential therapeutic agents for use against MRSA infections.”

Prior studies have demonstrated that constituents in the cannabis plant possess potent antibacterial and antifungal properties which are capable of halting of the spread of MRSA and malaria under controlled conditions.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.orgFull text of the study, “Antimicrobial activity of Cannabis sativa, Thuja orientalis, and Psidium guajava leaf extracts against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus,” appears in the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Sproutly Closes Acquisition of Infusion Biosciences Canada And SSM

CANADA: Sproutly Canada has completed the acquisition of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Infusion Biosciences Canada, according to a company press release.

“We are extremely excited to finalize this Acquisition, enabling Sproutly to commercialize the APP Technology in major regulated markets around the world with innovative cannabis products that target the $50+ billion bottled water and functional beverage market with naturally water-soluble molecules from cannabis and hemp”, commented Keith Dolo, Chief Executive Officer of Sproutly. Mr. Dolo added, “APP Technology is a low-cost, gentle method to produce Infuz20, a ground-breaking discovery that delivers the total effects of the strain of cannabis from which it is made; on-set effects start within approximately 5 minutes and dissipate within approximately 90 minutes.”

Infusion Biosciences has discovered water soluble forms of cannabinoids and terpenes, that naturally exist in cannabis and hemp plants.

Infusion Biosciences has discovered water soluble forms of cannabinoids and terpenes, that naturally exist in cannabis and hemp plants.

“Combining with Sproutly allows Infusion Biosciences to produce and sell innovative consumer products in several countries where cannabis use is legal. Together, we are positioned to leverage our APP Technology to become a leader in the beverage industry and broaden the consumer base with products that will deliver controlled doses that meet expectations for cannabis experiences”, said Dr. Arup Sen, Chief Executive Officer of Infusion Biosciences Inc. (“Infusion Biosciences”). “As a natural water solution, Infuz2O is the best means to deliver the medicinal benefits of cannabis to patients suffering from symptoms associated with major chronic diseases like cancer and pain”, added Dr. Sen.

Acquisition Highlights

The Acquisition brings together a strategically located premium cultivation facility and a key technologic innovation in the cannabis industry. Some key Acquisition highlights are:

  • Significant Discovery and Recovery of Naturally Water-Soluble Cannabinoids – Infusion Biosciences has discovered and produced naturally water soluble bioactive molecules that deliver the full experience of cannabis paralleling the onset and offset profiles of smoking but, avoids the undesirable features that have kept a vast majority of consumers away.
  • Broadens Sproutly’s Management Team – The addition of Dr. Sen and Mr. Marcellino to Sproutly’s executive management team provides decades of experience in biopharmaceutical research, development, and technology commercialization. Dr. Arup Sen will also be joining the Board of Directors.
  • Positions Sproutly to Become a Leader in Beverages, Edibles and Tinctures –Sproutly is now positioned to fulfill its mission as a vertically integrated cannabis consumer products company focused on redefining the cannabis industry with a clear focus on beverage and additional consumer products by solving the technologic limitations associated with blending oils extracted by traditional means into water.
  • Exclusive License for Key Regulated Recreational and Medicinal Jurisdictions –Sproutly gains the exclusive rights for APP Technology in Canada, the European Union, Australia, Israel, and Jamaica.
  • Low Cost, Scalable, Gentle Process to Produce Bioactive Molecules as an Alternative to Current Oil Extraction Methods – APP Technology is a patent-pending process that uses proprietary combinations of common dietary ingredients to gently recover naturally water-soluble cannabinoids and also the free cannabis oils in natural oils. APP Technology recovers between 85% – 90% of the total bioactive cannabinoids in the plant, distributed between Infuz20 and Bio-Natural Oil.

Inside Science: Marijuana May Help Solve Skin Rash Sting

WASHINGTON: In a new video for Inside Science News Service, executive producer Karin Heineman interviews Robert Dellavalle from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who explains how some compounds found in marijuana might help stop itching and pain in people suffering from skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpM9Jsiz6H0&w=560&h=315]

Eczema affects millions of people, causing an itchy, painful rash. There are medications, but they don’t always work for patients. Researchers now want to investigate if marijuana can offer some relief for some skin conditions.

The cannabis plant has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with inflammation, itching and pain. The plant produces chemical compounds called cannabinoids; THC and CBD are the most widely known and understood. CBD however, does not make users “high” — it is non-psychoactive. Researchers want to study whether a drug containing the CBD compounds can help with some skin diseases.

The video talks about ongoing clinical trials for testing marijuana for certain skin diseases and the regulatory hurdles that researchers have had to overcome for testing marijuana — a drug that is still considered a controlled substance, and under federal law is illegal, whether you live in a state that legalized it for medical or recreational use, or not.

Meta-Analysis: Studies Refute Claims That Medical Cannabis Access Encourages Teen Use

NEW YORK:  The enactment of statewide laws regulating the use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes is not associated with increased marijuana use among young people, according to a review of relevant studies published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction.

Investigators from Columbia University, the RAND Corporation, the University of California at Davis, and the Boston School of Public Health reviewed 11 studies developed from four ongoing national surveys. The studies were published between the years 1991 and 2014. None of the studies identified any significant changes in youth use patterns that could be attributable to changes in marijuana’s legal status.

Authors concluded: “[A]ll estimates of pre-post changes in past-month marijuana use within MML (medical marijuana law) states from these studies were non-significant. … In summary, current evidence does not support the hypothesis that MML passage is associated with increased marijuana use prevalence among adolescents in states that have passed such laws.”

One of the study’s senior authors, Dr. Deborah Hasin, further stated in an accompanying press release, “For now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalizing medical marijuana has increased teens’ use of the drug.”

The findings are consistent with those of numerous prior studies, including a federally funded 2015 study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry that assessed marijuana use patterns of over one-million adolescents in 48 states. That paper concluded, [C]oncerns that increased marijuana use is an unintended effect of state marijuana laws seem unfounded.”

Separate studies report that teens’ use of marijuana and access to cannabis have declined significantly over the better part of the past two decades – during the same time that the majority of states enacted medical marijuana access programs. Data from states that regulate the adult use and sale of cannabis similarly fail to report any associated uptick in either youth use or marijuana access.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” appears in Addiction.