Psychoactives, a peer-reviewed scientific publication, recently published a study proposing that a pleasant Cannabis aroma (not THC content) predicts pleasant effects from smoking or vaporizing Cannabis. The story struck me for several reasons; 1) There are very few Cannabis studies that report positive outcomes after smoking, 2) This study is an indication that Cannabis science is maturing beyond the novelty of THC to finer qualities of Cannabis.
As a Cannabis Scientist, I spend a lot of time following the advances in Cannabis science. From my perspective, Cannabis research is split into two camps. The first camp focuses on single agents like THC, CBD, or synthetic cannabinoids and is more aligned with traditional research paradigms. The second camp studies the whole plant with its broad spectrum of active ingredients. Although more complex, this camp reflects the real-world usage of Cannabis. Most published studies are of the first camp.
Cannabis aromas range from sweet floral to pungent fuel. In the study, 278 healthy Cannabis users selected or were given 8-10 one-gram samples of Cannabis flowers with varying aromas to take home. They were asked to smoke each sample on separate occasions and rate their experience. One caveat, they had to abstain from using Cannabis for 48 hours before judging each sample, which was difficult for the daily users.
Here are the highlights…
Traditional academic researchers (the first camp) raise concerns about high content THC products and their propensity to be associated with Cannabis Use Disorder, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, and Psychosis. In response, offering Type II (THC & CBD equivalent) and Type III (CBD dominant) Cannabis flowers institutes product differentiation and attracts the more mature consumer.
So, there you have it. It’s not all about THC. In fact, Cannabis companies have already responded by adding Cannabis with less THC and more CBD, CBG, or THCv to their inventory. Garden Society and Pure Beauty, brands that provide lower THC alternatives, offer pre-rolls with 10% THC or less. Science indicates that Cannabis aroma is likely an important quality attribute of the plant. In response, marketing “floral”, “pungent”, “sweet”, and “earthy” aromas may soon replace the unsupported designations that frequent the Cannabis marketplace
Jean Talleyrand, M.D.,