Introduction to Terpene Science

1.1 What are Terpenes?

Terpenoids are biomolecules made up of multiple isoprenes (Hydrocarbons). These terpenoids can be linear, cyclical, or both. When a terpenoid is modified with a functional group it is referred to as a terpene. Terpenes are categorized by size. C5H8 Monoterpene (C5H8)2 Sesquiterpene (C5H8)3 Diterpene (C5H8)4 Sesterterpene (C5H8)5 Teterpenes, and so on.

Each terpene behaves differently based on the category and functional group. Many Have pharmacological and biological activities. These terpenes work on the endocannabinoid system In a process called the Entourage Effect.

1.2 Terpenes in Nature

Plants produce various types of metabolites. Terpenoids are a product of the chloroplast’s secondary metabolism. Terpenes and cannabinoids are produced within the trichome cells through biosynthesis. Terpenes act like the plant’s “hormones”. Plants also use these terpenes to protect them against fungus and bacteria. Terpenes also attract pollinating insects. 

1.3 Terpene Sources 

Plant Derived Terpenes go through a distillation process. There’s no perfect way to Extract Terpenes from organic sources. As with most things, it’s a cost-benefit analysis – how do you eliminate impurities like fats, chlorophyll, and other plant metabolites without damaging the precious compounds you’re trying to preserve? There’s also the issue of time – the longer the process takes, the less efficient it is for commercial use and the more chances there are for impurities to work their way into the finished product. There are a whole host of methods and technologies that are used in pursuit of that goal. In order to isolate one needs to find a suitable source and method.

1.4 The Scientific Method

Science is a process of knowing about the natural universe through observation and experiment. Scientists go through a rigorous process to determine new knowledge about our surroundings; this process is generally referred to as the scientific method. Science is broken down into various fields, of which Terpene Science is one. This science consists of multiple disciplines including Chemistry, Biology and Pharmacology and is both qualitative and quantitative.

1.5 Terpene Research

Terpenes can form long or branched chains or rings and have other attached atoms. There is essentially an unlimited number of possible organic molecules.

Functional Groups consist of other atoms, such as oxygen or nitrogen, and are included in an organic molecule. Functional groups are represented by R and R’  addition to hydrocarbon group for a complete molecular structure. The addition can change the physical and chemical properties dramatically.

To understand, control or modify chemical reactions of living organisms, we must understand life on the molecular level. While living things are extremely complicated the chemical reactions and Molecules are relatively simple.

1.6 Terpenes in Cannabis

THC and CBD are Cannabinoids, which bind to receptors in the human body, specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors control the Endocannabinoid System which is responsible for regulating mood, immune function and hormone secretion. Different terpenes change cannabonoids’s affinity to the cannabinoid receptors. It makes them bind at different levels and control their overall psychoactive effects. Some terpenes might promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others potentially promote focus and awareness. 

1.7 Terpene Profiling

New Quantitative Analytical Techniques are constantly developed directed towards cannabis research. Due to these techniques we are able to further biological understanding of cannabis. Mastering the main principles behind these techniques is crucial.

1.8 Biochemistry

There are four major classes of biochemical compounds – Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. We can not predict the role cannabis will serve in the future and how our intervention will impact future strains’ genetics, but there is still much research to be done.

1.9 Product Development

Cannabis contains over 500 distinct Compounds, which include cannabinoids, flavonoids, nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, hydrocarbons, enzymes, terpenes, and more. These compounds altogether contribute to the unique pharmacological and sensual function. It is important to keep products consistently providing desired effects to maximize Cannabis’s Potential.

Quantitative Cannabis Profiling Techniques

By understanding the theory behind analysis methods in the Cannabis Industry, we can talk about which are favored by cannabis labs and for what application.

Preferred Method

High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), usually paired with mass spectrometry (MS), is one of the most popular testing methods used to test for the potency and composition in a Cannabis strain or byproduct. 

In this process, cannabis products are mixed into a solvent solution and pass through an instrument filled with tubular tunnels. Matrices throughout these tubes separate the individual components by Polarity, Ionic Strength and Molecular Size.

High Pressure Liquid Chromatography

HPLC is a nondestructive method using liquid solvent to detect elemental composition. Heating is not necessary for HPLC. Heating cannabinoids cause a Decarboxylation Reaction whereby cannabinoid acids lose a -COOH group and transform biological function and potentially cause inaccurate readings. Cannabinoid Detection through HPLC will be more likely to give an accurate neutral-acidic cannabinoid profile than with gas chromatography (GC).

Mass Spectrometry 

MS is normally paired with chromatography methods as it is able to sort components by their mass-to-charge ratio and then give a readout as to the molecular composition. After the mixture is separated by how quickly it passes through the matrix, MS can detect the different components at each speed. More specifically, MS measures and separates components by their mass-to-charge ratio through processes involving ionization and being subjected to electric or magnetic fields. The results are then displayed as a spectra, which can be easily compared to known data to confirm your results. The mass spectrometer is also useful for the detection of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides as well as residual industrial solvents.

Gas Chromatography 

In GC,  the sample is vaporized to the gas phase rather remaining in the liquid phase. This Method involves the use of heat and is better utilized to check for the presence of volatile terpenes or residual solvents. Flame Ionization Detection (FID) specifically generates ions through combustion of the sample material with a hydrogen flame. This generates differently charged ions based on the composition of  sample material and through quantifying these ions, various molecular compounds and their concentrations can be identified.

Using GC paired with (FID) and a headspace autosampler unit for uniform and efficient detection. It is possible to profile cannabis products and determine the Relative Potency effectively. 

It is important to note FID measures only organic species, while MS can measure inorganic and organic species. While both methods generate ions, MS can do so in solid, liquid, and gas phase samples using several ionization methods. 

Thin-layer Chromatography

TLC method, consists of stationary phase and mobile phase. Unlike previous methods this one does not rely on complicated instruments and utilizes basic chemical properties to provide an approximation of Cannabinoids. This method is visual, inexpensive and time consuming.  Extracted cannabinoids using solvent, apply them to the chromatography plate matrix, let the compounds separate, dye the plate, and see the resulting cannabinoid compounds. Using multiple results, develop a calibrated ruler.

Polymerase Chain Reaction

PCR amplifies a Specific Region of a DNA strand (Target) commonly used fluorescent dye binds double-stranded DNA molecules by intercalating between the DNA bases. It is used in quantitative PCR because the fluorescence can be measured at the end of each amplification cycle to determine, relatively or absolutely, how much DNA has been amplified. While PCR paired with a fluorescence is not ideal for mycotoxin detection it is increasingly popular due to recent automation of the process. 

New quantitative and analytical techniques are constantly developed directed towards cannabis research. Due to these techniques we are able to further biological understanding of cannabis. Understanding the main principles behind these techniques is crucial.

Creating Medicine from Cannabis

Cannabis’s unique medicinal properties and Active Compounds are widely documented. Cannabinoids interact within the Endocannabinoid System. THC has proven medical benefits in particular formulations. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved THC-based medications, dronabinol and nabilone, prescribed in pill form for nausea and appetite treatment, aiding cancer and AIDS patients.

In addition, several other cannabis -based medications have been approved or are undergoing clinical trials. Nabiximols, a mouth spray that is currently available for treating the spasticity and neuropathic pain that may accompany multiple sclerosis, combines THC with CBD.

The FDA also approved a CBD-based liquid medication called Epidiolex® for the treatment of severe childhood epilepsy, specifically, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The medication is being delivered with reliable dosage and reproducible route.

Cannabis posses nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, proteins, glycoproteins, enzymes, sugars and related compounds, hydrocarbons, alcohols, acids, esters, aldehydes, ketones, fatty acids, lactones, steroids, terpenes, non-cannabinoid phenols, flavonoids, vitamins and pigments already used in Botanical Medicine and are yet to be empirically proven and peer reviewed. While some of these compounds are found in other Botanical Sources, it is likely that there are unique combinations found only in cannabis.

As we study this remarkable plant further, more constituents are showing promise for new and revolutionary Drug Delivery systems and Antibacterial Activities

Clearly, more research is needed from the scientific community to produce appropriate, safe utilization of cannabis. However, the FDA does not recognize the use of medical applications of cannabis. There is no reason to regulate cannabis derived medicine any different than general recommendations on studying botanicals.

Convoluted regulation of cannabis makes funding for research lacking. Independent Cannabis research cannot be done by companies as they are hindered from scaling and acquiring credit. In addition, concerns over conflicts of interest as seen with traditional drug company-sponsored studies.

In order to unlock cannabis potential cannabis possession should be deregulated so academic institutions can dedicate lab time for cannabis research.

Digital Channels need to be more lenient to discussion and allow ideas to spread and be refined. Unjustified resistance to cannabis for medical and recreational use has to be discarded. It is time regulative, communication and banking systems reform their attitude towards cannabis. As a global community we have proved that we can work fast if necessary. If you are interested in sharing cannabis related ideas or identify potential collaborations feel free to contact us privately.

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Social Advertising of Cannabis

Social advertising is the process of creating clickable ads to reach target audiences via social media platforms. Companies use social advertising campaigns to build brand awareness and generate sales revenue.

It is clear that social media is a critical form of advertising for cannabis companies, however, the reality of running a social media account for a cannabis company is more like living in an alternate reality.

The amount of time and effort dedicated to producing worthy content for these networks is a gamble. Months and years of work can be wiped out with little transparency according to “Community Standards”. Many cannabis businesses find it worth the risk because of the scale of user interaction; so many people rely on social media for their news and information.

Even companies who are listed on the stock exchange had their accounts shut down by mainstream social networks and associated search engines. Many online stakeholders are complicit.  

The vast power technological giants gained under the radar allow them to influence business and politics, effectively providing swiping powers to veto any action they deem inappropriate. While the world largely operates on democratic values, the power obtained by social networks was gained by uniformed users seeking instant gratification provided by these private and publicly traded companies.

These companies act as a cartel to regulate the price of traffic and alter the topic of conversation.

While there are some cannabis large corporations, the majority of cannabis businesses are small to medium in scale. Here are some tips on how to stay relevant and maintain your online presence.   

Stay Diverse 

When you have many channels driving traffic you are less affected by one particular channel. Cannabis Policies vary from platform to platform, while non promote the content some are more forgiving than others.

Customized Uploads

Users on various platforms consume content differently and therefore react differently to content. What may be a success on one platform can have negative consequences and penalties on another. Choose specific content for each platform and hope your exposure is not affected. 

Added Value 

Create content with added value, educate, inform or spread positivity.  Always consider your customer’s perspective and allow it to shape your future posts. Never underestimate the value of free resources or convenience. 

Request Action 

Request positive interactions Like Shares and Signups. These actions will signal the platform that your content is a welcome addition to the network. While these actions indicate interest, the post does not belong to you and can be deleted by platform staff.

Reacting Correctly 

If any violation occurs delete the post and stay off the network for 7-10 days consecutively. Do Not be tempted by messages urging you to login. These platforms rely on constant uploading to provide an environment that lewres users to engage more. On a large scale the Cannabis Industry has the ability to directly and inadvertently affect profitability and user engagement. 

Email List

As a society we are just beginning to understand the value of data. Allowing the platforms to control your company’s data is giving away assets. Be prepared, Collect Data independently so you can communicate with your customers directly.  

Forget about ROI 

There are algorithms that determine the price for every media slot and monitor ad performance, outliers are brought to marketing teams who ensure the advertisement conforms to their standards “improving advertising relevance”. The best any advertiser in the cannabis field can hope for is increased brand awareness without additional penalties.

While the world is becoming dependent on online services, excluding cannabis companies from mainstream communication channels and credit lines is hindering growth and extending the cannabis prohibition into the 22nd century. 

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