“No scientist actually can keep up with the [scientific] literature nowadays,” notes Susan Trapp, Ph.D., who recently joined the institute as an expert in molecular biology, genomics (including research on the Human Genome Project), and computational biology.
The latter is a scientific discipline that uses mathematical models to understand biological systems. AI and computational biology are merging, to the extent that the terms are sometimes used interchangeably when speaking about algorithms that ingest and analyze large datasets.
Take the example of echinacea, a popular dietary supplement that is marketed for a number of health conditions, using various parts of the plants, across a wide variety of formulations. An algorithm trained to sift through the scientific literature and other sources could quickly make predictions about optimal extractions for the kind of product desired.
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.
John’s guest is Dr. Susan Trapp, whose 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 plant natural products – TERPENOIDS (terpenes)… Enjoy!
Watch the video on YouTube.
Dr. Susan Trapp’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 plant natural 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.
Susan has over 20 years of experience in the biotechnology field both as a plant-microbe molecular biology researcher and “beyond the lab bench”. 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 on the human genome project with Dr. Craig Venter early in her scientific career.
While terpenes are known for flavor, scents, and aromas in cannabis and other plants, their therapeutic benefits are less well-defined. Terpenes in the form of herbal remedies and essential oils have been utilized for centuries in traditional medicine practices, and yet there are still so many questions left unresolved within the scientific community. However, due to the increased interest in cannabinoids and terpenes, more research is being investigated, such as the way in which cannabis and all of the plant’s phytochemicals interact with our immune system. This is laying the groundwork allowing us to understand the mechanisms of action (MOA) at biochemical levels.
A recent study showing promise in the lab is the potential for cannabinoids and terpenes to act as an adjunctive treatment for COVID-19 patients.
Known as the queen of terpenes, Dr. Susan Trapp is one of the foremost experts on terpene science, and she’s bringing her expertise to the hemp and cannabis world.
In this episode of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, Matt talks about quarantine hemp cooking and cocktailing, featuring our recipe for hemp-infused bacon fat peanut butter cookies. Then Matt has a Conversation with Susan Trapp, terpene researcher and co-founder of terpedia.com.
This episode is part of our Women in Hemp series.
Terpenes are some of the most prevalent and diverse organic compounds. They create the familiar scent of many plants but serve many purposes in nature, even self-defense.
Susan has over 20 years of experience in the biotechnology field both as a plant-microbe molecular biology researcher and “beyond the lab bench.” 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.
It was a real honor to get such a terpene expert on our show, so get ready for a deep, fascinating dive into terpene science.