Imagine if you could sit down for a cannabis tasting—as casually as you might a wine tasting—and talk intelligently about which aromas are most appealing and effective for you. Thanks to a research with chemical compounds called Terpenes, this scenario may not be as far out as it seems.

Terpenes are organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, which often give off strong aromas. (Think turpentine from conifers.) For cannabis, exploring terpenes means isolating those aromas in order to understand more about various strains of the plant. In medicine, studying terpenes has huge implications. What if you could isolate which strains of cannabis were most helpful in reducing pain or controlling stress?

The main issue is studying these terpenes. As organic compounds, they are incredibly difficult to isolate and reproduce in a lab setting without cannabis, which makes them impossible to study.

The new alternative—Cannaroma. IVY member Kristen Yoder currently works with a lab with Dr. Jeffrey Raber, who’s developing state-of-the-art new technology that enables him to create terpene profiles that are very similar to actual cannabis. Their Cannaroma kit is as close to “tasting” the various cannabis aromas as you are going to get. Kristen and Dr. Raber sat down with IVY Magazine to talk about these new developments in cannabis and to outline the potential next few years for the cannabis industry in the U.S.

Kristen is an IVY Member (LA). Connect and collaborate with her here


Terpenes (and Cannaroma) will change the cannabis industry.

JR: Terpenes are the cannabis industry. Without terpenes, there is only THC or only CBD. We know that just THC isn’t very effective for a host of ailments. We also know from recently published research that CBD alone is not as therapeutically effective as it is when combined with other cannabis components. Other cannabinoids (and importantly terpenes and terpenoids) are what make cannabis so effective in so many ways.

Everyone can benefit from understanding terpenes better. Knowing which combinations of terpenes are most effective for producing a desired physiological response for you will help new and seasoned users select the correct product form and dosage for their needs. It improves and maximizes the efficiency of our use of the plant.

It’s like wine-tasting for cannabis.

JR: The Cannaroma Cannaisseur Collection (CCC) is a Cannabis Appreciation 101 education in a box. It trains cannabis users of all levels to identify the individual terpenes found in marijuana through taste and smell. The ingredients are not derived from cannabis and will not get you high, so the kit can be used legally anywhere.

You’ll be able to unpack the favor scent profiles of various cannabis strains and discern relative levels of beta-caryophyllene, alpha-pinene, and other terpenes through taste and smell the next time you consume cannabis responsibly. Spicy, floral, herbal and earthy are just some of the possible smells generated by terpenes. Much like using a wine enthusiast training kit to understand terroir and other wine flavor notes, the Cannaroma Cannaisseur Collection shows users the many nuances of various cannabis strains.

Tolerance is real—but it’s not related to aromas or terpenes.

JR: Each person very likely has his or her own correct balance of cannabis—your tolerance level. Monitoring your dosage and overall use is exceptionally important when consuming cannabis and cannabis-based products. There are reports that patients state they see the initial effects of euphoria or confusion subside after initial periods of consistent use of their medicine. That makes physiological sense as well.

It is very possible receptors down-regulate and reduce some of the initial physiological effects that come with cannabis intake. Euphoric feeling from cannabis can be looked at as the first side-effect of the medicine. Your body isn’t looking for constant stimulation that generates euphoric effects, it is looking to use cannabinoid receptor to balance more complex regulatory systems, such as appetite, sleep, inflammation, mood, and neuropathic pain.

The next 5 years for cannabis in the U.S. are (really) promising.

KY: California, the biggest state in the country, both by population and GDP, will very likely come online for adult recreational use during 2018. This will be a significant opportunity for all parts of the industry, from the retailers, through the supply chain, down to the growers, and not to mention all of the ancillary businesses/industries that are finding their niche in the market. Additional states will also legalize cannabis for medical use such as PA and MI.  

JR: We’ll also see significant sophistication of product packaging, product design, and cannabis delivery platforms to greatly improve and tailor an individual’s ability to interact with cannabis. Most importantly we will see increased understanding of cannabis use in real-world settings. Better information drives better policy decisions for all of society.

We are all starting to realize some things as being exceptionally helpful and reasonable, such as opioid reduction when used with cannabis for chronic pain management, and therefore we are seeing hints of a future where we may see nation-wide allowable access. Most likely, it will be determined more specifically on a state-by-state basis.

NOW is the time to invest in cannabis.

KY: With all these opportunities on the forefront for cannabis, there will be a lot of non-professional people who don’t understand how to operate businesses coming into the industry and marketplace, therefore there will be significant fragmentation in the entire marketplace. That will create an opportunity for professional investors to come in and acquire these companies.

As long as you are extremely careful in your due diligence in the people and the company and prior experience, now is a great time to invest. The key thing is you are investing in the people, NOT in the company. Do you trust the people? Do they have experience? Can they officially build the business that would deliver a successful exit for you? There are very few successful investors in early stage companies. The ones that are successful, didn’t get there by happenstance. They are successful because they performed their due diligence and believed in the people.

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