Does CBD really help prevent or treat a coronavirus infection? What about marijuana? Experts break it down.
The buzz took off last month, when researchers at the University of Chicago published findings from a laboratory experiment on rodents that suggested CBD — a compound in cannabis — may block the coronavirus from replicating in cells. And so came the headlines claiming that weed could prevent or treat COVID.
But scientists who study the ways cannabis interacts with pathogens, our cells and the immune system say understanding the impact cannabis has on SARS-CoV-2 is not so simple.
COVID-19 is a complex disease, and cannabis is a complex plant. Different compounds in the plant — like THC and CBD — have vastly different effects that, for the most part, aren’t well understood. And even though certain compounds derived from cannabis have shown success against SARS-CoV-2 in lab experiments, those findings don’t necessarily translate to humans in the real world. Robust clinical trials haven’t yet been done to clearly understand the dosing and the mechanisms of action in the human body.
Excerpt: Susan Trapp, Ph.D., the CEO, and founder of Terpedia, would like to see the terminology changed, though. “In the cannabis industry, the entourage effect is understood as a theory that all compounds in cannabis work together when taken together,” she says. “This really implies a ‘synergy’ as opposed to ‘entourage.’ Nevertheless, terpenes, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoids our bodies produce all work in concert with each other inside the human body.”
Excerpt from the article link above.
Open your stash and take a sniff. Is it pungent and skunky? Bright and citrusy?
More of a floral scent? What you’re smelling are the terpenes. They give each strain of cannabis a unique aroma.
Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons produced in the same glands of the cannabis plant that make the cannabinoids, like THC and CBD (more on those in a bit). Most plants produce these organic, oily compounds to attract pollinators or ward off predators. Their relationship with cannabis, however, is a bit more complex.
While research on the effects of terpenes is lacking, it is believed they offer their own therapeutic benefits, in addition to playing a vital role in elevating the effect of each individual cannabis strain.
Taylor Olson, the retail marketing manager for Verano’s Zen Leaf dispensaries, is devoted to making sure that terpenes play a greater part in the cannabis conversation. “In doing so, this helps cannabis users -connect to the plant and offers a deeper understanding of how various strains and terpene profiles will affect their bodies, and begin to enhance overall wellness,” she says.
HOW TERPENES WORK “Terpenes are one of the many pieces in the chemical equation that make up the truly unique characteristics of cannabis,” says Tessa Adams, chief marketing officer at Moxie Extracts. They are also one of the most overtly distinct identifiers of a cannabis strain. “Yes, they contribute to the aromatic and flavor profiles. They also play a huge role in modulating the uptake by the consumer, depending on the ratio of minor and major cannabinoids.” Terpenes stimulate the olfactory system, which is strongly connected to the part of our brain that processes memories and emotions. Do you know how a whiff of Love’s Baby Soft cologne can take you back to a junior high dance? Terpenes work in a similar manner, soothing or stimulating the body.
TYPES OF TERPS
Taylor Olson, the retail marketing manager for Verano’s Zen Leaf dispensaries, explains how to identify five of the most prevalent terpenes in cannabis.
Click to listen to the Blue Bird Botanicals Podcast Episode 58 interview with Dr. Susan C. Trapp
Dr. Susan has over 20 years of experience in the biotechnology field as a plant-microbe molecular biology researcher and “beyond the lab bench.” In this episode, Susan talks to us about her work creating a digital terpene encyclopedia, Terpedia, and how genomics and data can influence personalized medicine and product development of the future.
She has held scientific, management, and early-stage development positions within the biotech industry, academia, government, and start-up community, from algae biofuels to genomes. Dr. Trapp participated directly in the human genome project with Dr. Craig Venter early in her scientific career.
Susan’s vision is to accelerate cannabis and endocannabinoid research in a challenging federal environment through education and research. Dr. Trapp’s segway into the cannabis industry is her extensive terpenoid research background. Susan’s Ph.D. and postdoctoral research examined the molecular evolution of the largest class of natural plant products – TERPENOIDS (terpenes). Susan has been consulting in the cannabis industry for the past several years and, in 2018, co-founded an ancillary database cannabis company –TreatmentX – with the mission to advance scientific understanding of cannabis and treatment legitimization through the collation of patient outcomes and cannabis consumption DATA.
In her spare time, Susan enjoys educating beyond cannabis and the sciences. She also enjoys teaching biology at her local community college, yoga, swimming, and disabled skiing. She is a lover of world travel adventures, music, Karma, her cat, and dabbles as a charcoal artist.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you are in need of medical care, and before making any changes to your health routine.