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Smell of cannabis more important than THC levels, say researchers

THC potency is not always a sign of better quality or a more enjoyable experience, according to researchers. Aroma - not THC - drives the cannabis consumer experience, and new study has evidence to prove it.

In a recent article, Dr. Ethan Russo and colleagues found that aroma is more significant than THC content when it comes to enjoying cannabis flower.

Study On Cannabis Terpenes

The study is the result of years of work led by a research team including esteemed breeder and cultivator Jeremy Plumb (Chair, Science Board & Head of Genetics & Cultivation at True Terpenes) and Ethan Russo, MD (neurologist and medical researcher, pioneer of the Entourage Effect, and Founding Member of the True Terpenes Science Board).

In contrast to THC strength, dose, or terpene expression, a recent study is the first to show that a pleasant scent is connected to a more favourable experience with inhaled cannabis flower.

This month, a study co-authored by famous cannabis researcher Dr Ethan Russo entitled "‘The Nose Knows: Aroma, but Not THC, Mediates The Subjective Effects of Smoked and Vaporized Cannabis Flower’ " was released in the journal "Psychoactives."

You can find the full article by TrueTerpenes here.

You can view the paper here.

Customers always want to be able to purchase high-quality cannabis, and past research indicates that they are prepared to pay more for it. What, though, is "excellent" cannabis? Although THC potency and terpene content are frequently mentioned by consumers as indicators, it has not yet been characterised.

Dr. Russo and his team conducted their investigation with the goal of determining the characteristics of cannabis that contribute to its alluring subjective effects.

Commercially accessible cannabis flower products were administered to "healthy" volunteers in a randomised, double-blind approach, and they afterwards responded anonymously to a survey on their effects.

Independent researchers then conducted an analysis of the data.

Cannabis: Terpenes Are King

They discovered that a "pleasant subjective scent" was more strongly connected with pleasant subjective effects than terpene expression, THC strength, or THC dose.

According to the study, "These results indicate that, unlike THC potency, pleasant scent is predictive of positive subjective effects."

The aroma of cannabis inflorescence "appears to be a powerful indicator of the quality of cannabis inflorescence, similar to other agricultural commodities such as coffee and tea."

"Less is more"

Additionally, it seems that when it comes to cannabis use, less may be more.

Researchers discovered a link between overall appeal and cannabis consumption, with individuals who consumed less saying it had a stronger appeal.

Those who used marijuana less regularly also found it to be more enjoyable. The results showed that persons who reported a weekly or less consumption frequency on average were more likely to report higher appeal scores.

The vast majority of volunteers (88%) had followed the advice to wait 48 hours before ingesting the samples.

"Impairment and delight are unrelated phenomena," the authors write.

Although high-THC cannabis might make users feel high, it is not necessarily pleasant to take.

The Effects Of Terpenes On Cannabis

The effects of THC on various demographic groups were also the subject of several fascinating research findings.

Males were more likely to report positive effects of high-THC flowers in the study, which may indicate that women are more sensitive to THC's effects. In contrast to other age groups, participants 60 and older indicated the highest overall attraction.

THC potency was only weakly correlated with tachycardia but not with widely reported side effects including dry eye, dry mouth, or increased appetite.

Public Health & Cannabis

Given the "well-established health hazards of THC misuse," according to the authors, these findings may have significant ramifications for public health.

High-THC products account for a significant portion of the market in countries where cannabis is legal for adult use and are frequently thought to be in more demand than products with lower THC levels.

Producers are under pressure to develop more potent strains because of their higher market value and public demand (potency is still a significant role in consumer decisions, according to research).

But as prior studies have demonstrated, exposure to high-THC cannabis on a regular basis may be harmful, raising the chance of adverse effects like psychosis, cannabinoid hyperemesis, and cannabis use disorder.

Cannabis Consumer Safety

According to Dr. Russo and colleagues, these discoveries may enable customers to choose cannabis products in a safer and more responsible manner.

"There is a significant need for consumer education on how to consume safely and responsibly," they write in the paper's conclusion. "With a constantly expanding global legal cannabis consumer base."

These blinded, unbiased findings, which are consistent with harm reduction strategies, imply that little doses of low-potency cannabis with a nice scent, especially when used once a week or less, may be used to reach the highest level of recreational enjoyment.

The study's findings "may aid consumers in adopting evidence-based choices that can increase subjective happiness while lowering health risks."

Additionally, they suggest that the market should be "diversified" to provide a wider variety of products containing less than 20% THC, that aroma should be considered a "primary criterion" when evaluating product quality, and that products should be regulated in a way that allows consumers to smell before they buy.

"These evidence-based methods would have considerable public health implications," they continue, "by minimising THC as the major market demand driver and so reducing the dangers associated with THC overconsumption."

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Jul 28, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

terpene profile is super important for me. it really makes a difference in my opinion!

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