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Phytochemicals

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Higher Grade’s goal with providing this education is to expand our customers' and budtenders' conversations about cannabis beyond individual flavor preferences and Sativa/Indica classifications,
to include the phytochemically rich and diverse nature of cannabis and its
connection to flavor profiles and effects.

*Please note that when discussing the effects and medicinal value of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, we usually reference studies of isolated versions of the particular phytochemical, many of which are performed on rodents or cell cultures, not humans. Higher Grade is in no way suggesting that consuming cannabis that contains any or all of the discussed phytochemicals will produce a medicinal effect or cure an illness, especially regarding anti-cancer properties. Cannabis is still federally illegal, which means research on the impact cannabis consumption has on various health issues and diseases is extremely limited.

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Phytochemicals are active compounds responsible for the colors, flavors, aromas, effects, and therapeutic value of cannabis. Phytochemicals are found all over the cannabis plant, with the highest concentration in the trichomes. Trichomes are the shiny, sticky, bulbous “crystals” that cover the flowers, upper leaves, and stems. Trichomes develop during the flowering cycle and appear clear until the plant matures, then they become dark and cloudy. These resin glands house a molecular mixture of hundreds of active phytochemicals, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These are the most well-known and well-studied of the many active phytochemicals.
 

Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Most people know that consuming cannabis can produce a psychoactive or mind-altering effect and that THC is the culprit. THC is one of many compounds produced by cannabis, known as cannabinoids. Upon discovery in the ’60s, cannabinoids were first thought to be unique to the cannabis plant. However, over the last few decades, we have come to understand that humans and cannabinoids are intrinsically connected.

We produce endocannabinoids internally that are part of a complex cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The purpose of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis within our bodies. We produce endocannabinoids, as needed, to keep our internal functions in balance. Two primary endocannabinoids are identified; anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids bind to receptors located all over the body as an ECS response to things like stress or pain.

 

There are two main types of endocannabinoid receptors in the body where endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are active. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the central nervous system, which includes nerves in the brain and spinal cord, and they affect memory, cognition, coordination, movement, appetite, emotion, energy, and immunity. CB2 receptors are located primarily in the peripheral nervous system, which includes all the nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord and extend to our muscles and organs, and affect our renal system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, reproductive system, immune system, digestive system, connective tissue, bone, skin, and eyes.

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Cannabis plants produce over 100 different cannabinoids, also called phytocannabinoids, that interact with our CB1 and CB2 receptors and other receptors to affect our internal balance. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most known cannabinoids, followed by CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), and CBN (cannabinol). Cannabis plants do not directly produce these cannabinoids and instead synthesize the cannabinoid acid CBGA, the chemical precursor to THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. Specific enzymes inside the plant break down most CBGA and direct it toward one of the previously mentioned cannabinoid acid lines.

The resulting cannabinoid acids, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA, and the leftover CBGA must be activated through a process known as decarboxylation to produce the sought-after cannabinoids THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG. Decarboxylation of cannabinoids happens naturally and partially over time through drying and curing, but more powerfully and direct with the application of heat, such as smoking, vaporizing, and baking.

Alternatively, CBNA, the precursor to the very sedative cannabinoid CBN, is synthesized through the decomposition of THCA, which happens over time from exposing dried cannabis to the air. Similarly, CBNA must be decarboxylated to yield CBN.

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 CANNABINOIDS 

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Dried cannabis flower is rich in THC’s biological precursor THCA, which, unlike THC, is not psychoactive. It has therapeutic value, relieving insomnia, inhibiting cancer cell growth, suppressing muscle spasms, increasing appetite, and acting as a neuroprotective agent. THCA does this by activating CB2 receptors without altering the mind. Most people cannot access the THCA in their cannabis, as it is converted to THC when heat is applied. If you are interested in the therapeutic effects of isolated THCA, isolated versions exist in a patch, tincture, and topical forms.

Effects of THC
Changes in perception, mood, consciousness, and behavior, Antispasmodic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulating, antinausaint, antiemetic, sedative, anticancer, bronchodilator

A Note on POTENCY:

When we discuss the potency of our Higher Grade strains, we are referring to the Total THC percentage. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s 2019 Hemp Rules, a sample’s Total THC” potency is calculated at a conversion rate of 87.7% THCA to THC.

THC is the most active of all cannabinoids, and it’s the molecule responsible for the feeling of being “high.” THC can activate CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors and other receptors in the body, making it very pharmacologically (medicinally) powerful. In addition, THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid, and by activating specific CB1 receptors in our central nervous system, it can affect temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness, and behavior. Consumption of THC can be intoxicating, inducing feelings of euphoria and enhanced senses.
 

Studies of the use of isolated THC have shown it can offer relief from muscles spasms, convulsions, pain, and inflammation, with 20 times the anti-inflammatory power of aspirin and double the power of hydrocortisone. Additionally, THC is a bronchodilator, opens the lungs, making it easier to breathe.

 

THC is a neuroprotective antioxidant, targeting oxidative stress in the brain to protect neurons by regulating glutamate production. Glutamate is a powerful neurotransmitter that, at normal levels, is crucial for brain function, but at too high levels can become toxic and cause cellular damage. THC can stimulate the appetite by binding to and activating CB1 receptors in the brain and gut dealing with hunger, satiety, and food palatability.

THC’s activity on CB1 receptors and intracellular pathways increases levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, increases food intake, and promotes fat storage, partially accounting for “the munchies” many people experience with consuming cannabis. THC can reduce nausea and vomiting by activating specific CB1 receptors in the brain and stomach. THC can be very sedative when activating our CB1 receptors that deal with cycadean rhythm.

Studies of isolated THC show it is valuable in cancer treatment for its palliative, appetite-stimulating, antiemetic power, and antitumor activity. THC is currently being studied for its potential to impair tumor progression by inducing cancer cell death (apoptosis) and inhibiting tumor cell proliferation and invasion.

 

While THC has a rich therapeutic value, it can cause unwanted side effects when consumed in significant amounts. For example, after smoking THC-rich cannabis or eating a potent edible, some people report feeling anxious and paranoid. THC is also known to cause short-term memory loss, as it temporarily reduces the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain.

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CBD can be an anti-convulsant and is studied as a possible therapeutic agent for treating epilepsy. Like THC, CBD has extensive cancer-fighting potential. Different studies of CBD’s effect on cancer cells show, in some cases, it is a potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth and invasion, as well as an inducer of cancer cell death.
 

CBDA, the chemical precursor to CBD, has shown the potential to have similar effects as CBD, only more powerful. Unfortunately, HG strains have negligible CBDA and CBD, as modern cannabis strains are typically cultivated for high THC levels. If the therapeutic and non-psychoactive effects of CBD and CBDA are what you are interested in, consider looking for 100% CBD flower, patches, tinctures, capsules, topicals, or edibles with isolated CBD/CBDA.


Effects of CBD

Anti-nausea and vomiting, neuroprotective, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, acne-fighting, pain perception and pain relief, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, cancer-fighting

CBD is the most commonly found phytocannabinoid in hemp varieties, with smaller amounts found in modern cannabis strains. CBD is a powerful cannabinoid; however, it is not psychoactive or mind-altering like THC. CBD does not directly activate CB1 receptors like THC, and when consumed together, CBD can block CB1 receptors, reducing THC’s ability to stimulate them. As a result, CBD can help mitigate the adverse effects of too much THC, like memory loss, elevated heart rate, hunger, and anxiety. If you experience anxiety or memory loss occasionally with cannabis use, it might be good to keep a high CBD strain or isolated CBD product on hand.
 

CBD is not directly active at our CB2 receptors either. However, CBD can slow down activity at our CB2 receptors, decreasing inflammation and soothing the body by regulating the absorption of our endocannabinoids, anandamide, and adenosine. In addition, CBD can modulate multiple non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels, extending its therapeutic activity beyond our ECS, interacting with our opioid, serotonin, and dopamine receptors, as well as enhancing norepinephrine activity.
 

Studies of isolated CBD have shown it aids in relaxation and reduces anxiety by activating 5-HT serotonin receptors. CBD can also affect nausea and vomiting by interacting with the same serotonin receptors in the brain and gut. In addition, it can be a neuroprotective agent, as it protects neurons from the glutamate toxicity associated with neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. Additionally, CBD is a far more potent antioxidant than Vitamin C (ascorbate) or Vitamin E (tocopherol) and can be a powerful antibacterial, and antifungal agent, with significant effect against MRSA. CBD is becoming popular as an acne-fighting agent in many facial products for its ability to reduce excess sebum (oil) production at the root source of acne. Through desensitizing specific receptors in the body that deal with pain perception, CBD has great potential to aid in pain relief.

CBC is another primary cannabinoid that stems from the cannabinoid acid CBGA. It binds poorly to CB1 receptors in the brain and does not produce psychoactive effects.
 

However, CBC interacts very well with our receptors linked to pain perception, showing promise as an effective pain reliever. Studies of isolated CBC show it's a powerful uptake inhibitor of anandamide, meaning it prevents the quick breakdown of the endocannabinoid, allowing more to remain in the bloodstream. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid and a neurotransmitter created in parts of the brain that deal with memory, motivation, movement control, and complex thought processes. Additionally, anandamide exhibits antianxiety and antidepressant effects. Anandamide has vigorous activity against breast cancer cells, and because the presence of CBC increases the amount of the endocannabinoid, CBC could be considered a chemoprotective agent.
 

CBC has anti-inflammatory effects and suppresses excessive lipid production in the sebaceous glands, making it a potential acne treatment. Research on isolated CBC shows it positively impacts cells essential to healthy brain function, helping to combat the oxidative stress, toxicity, and inflammation that lead to neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The CBCA found in raw cannabis is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and like other cannabinoid acids, isolated versions exist in capsules, topicals, and tinctures.

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Effects of CBC

Increased brain function, antianxiety, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and acne-fighting

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CBN is a very sedative cannabinoid with a slight affinity for CB1 receptors, making it mildly psychoactive, especially with the presence of THC. Research on CBN is still minimal; however, it has demonstrated anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as strong activity against MRSA. It may promote bone formation through its ability to stimulate dormant stem cells in the marrow that differentiate into various cell types like bone cells, cartilage cells, and muscle cells.

Limited studies have shown CBN to stimulate the concentration and production of multiple hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone and testicular testosterone. CBN does not stem from the enzymatic breakdown of CBGA and should be understood as the oxidative by-product of THC. CBNA, unlike the other major cannabinoid acids, comes from the breakdown of THCA due to prolonged exposure to air or oxidation.

The resulting CBNA becomes CBN up decarboxylation during consumption. If the potentially powerful and sedative effects of CBN are what you are after, leave some of your flower unsealed and exposed to the air and let the THCA convert naturally to CBNA, or search out tinctures, capsules, or topicals with isolated versions.

CBG Most strains have very little CBG, as much of its chemical parent CBGA is directed toward synthesizing THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. Any leftover CBGA becomes CBG when decarboxylated by heat or over time through drying. CBG has minimal activity at CB1 receptors and is not psychoactive. CBG helps treat glaucoma because it acts on endocannabinoid receptors in the eye, reducing intraocular pressure. Additionally, CBG can treat fungal over-growth and bacterial infections like MRSA. Research has shown that CBG offers relief from pain and inflammation and has stronger muscle relaxing properties than THC. Like other cannabinoids, CBG is a strong uptake inhibitor of anandamide (AEA), allowing more to remain in the bloodstream, to be utilized by the ECS. CBG may be a future treatment in bladder disorders, as studies have shown it reduces contractions in the human bladder. Lab tests show CBG has robust activity against certain types of colon cancer, soft tissue cancer, and breast cancer, making it a promising addition to cancer treatment.

 

CBGA, the chemical precursor to all major cannabinoid acids, as found in raw cannabis, has been shown to reduce oxidative stress associated with cardiovascular and other diseases. With the recent buzz around CBG, cultivators have started to experiment with breeding high CBGA strains, which like high CBDA strains, will not get you “high” but could have significant therapeutic value. CBGA can be extracted from cannabis plants a few weeks into the flowering cycle and converted into CBGA/CBG tinctures, topicals, patches, and capsules.

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*Please note that when discussing the effects and medicinal value of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, we usually reference studies of isolated versions of the particular phytochemical, many of which are performed on rodents or cell cultures, not humans. Higher Grade is in no way suggesting that consuming cannabis that contains any or all of the discussed phytochemicals will produce a medicinal effect or cure an illness, especially regarding anti-cancer properties. Cannabis is still federally illegal, which means research on the impact cannabis consumption has on various health issues and diseases is extremely limited.

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WHAT ARE TERPENES?

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Terpenes play a significant role in the way we experience cannabis. The distinct and unique aromas of cannabis that we know and love come from aromatic oils secreted in the trichomes, called terpenes. Terpenes exist in many kinds of plants beyond cannabis and a few types of insects. In plants, terpenes have an important evolutionary function, as these aroma-heavy oils developed over time to ward off herbivores, attract predator insects that feed on a plant’s “enemies,” and attract pollinators.
 

Cannabis plants produce well over 100 different terpenes in varying concentrations and combinations. The terpene content and concentration of a cannabis plant will vary depending on the location on the plant where it’s synthesized. Exposure to light, moisture, and temperature changes also affect terpene content and concentration during the growth cycle, harvest, and processing. When you observe a strong aroma upon opening a jar of flower, it’s the terpenes rapidly escaping into the air. Terpenes dissipate very quickly and are the first molecules to vaporize when heat is applied to cannabis.
 

Terpenes are very pharmacologically active and interact with our lipids, cell membranes and membrane receptors, ion channels, neurotransmitter receptors, second messenger systems, and enzymes. Upon consumption, terpenes are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through our fat cells, some even permeating the blood-brain barrier through inhalation. While there are over 100 terpenes produced in cannabis, only a few show up consistently in our terpene content test results. The predominant terpenes found in Higher Grade's flower are:

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 PINENE 

The terpene Pinene is the most widely found terpene in nature and provides robust, fresh, piney, woody aromas characteristic of pine trees and their needles. Other than pine trees, needles, and cones, Pinene is found naturally in dill, rosemary, parsley, cedar, basil, turpentine, tee tree oil, and eucalyptus. There are two types of Pinene, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, and we test and provide results for both. The main difference relevant to this conversation between these two terpenes is their aroma: Alpha-pinene is fresh and earthy like pine and rosemary, and Beta-pinene is fresh, woody, and spicy like dill and basil. Both can have similar effects on the body.

Pinene is a known bronchodilator and expectorant, which means it can ease breathing by opening or clearing the airways when inhaled. Cannabis strains high in Pinene could potentially be more tolerable for those with lung issues. Pinene has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body through multiple pathways. It is very active with our prostaglandin receptors involved in inflammation, blood flow, formation of blood clots, labor induction, and contractions. Pinene is very active in the brain, increasing mental alertness, clarity, and overall cognitive function.

It has the potential to be a memory aid and neuroprotectant. The mechanism behind Pinene’s ability to improve cognitive function and memory is its ability to block the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, thus allowing for greater concentrations of the neurotransmitter in the brain. Pinene can mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC, helping to produce a high that is clear and alert, not sleepy and sedative. Current scientific studies are exploring Pinene as a potential treatment for cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Pinene has intense activity against MRSA and other bacteria, viruses, and microbes. It's a powerful antioxidant and active against multiple types of cancer. Strains with higher levels of Pinene often have landrace Sativa strains somewhere in their lineage.

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Flavor: pine, fresh, woody, herbal, earthy, dill, cedar, basil

Feelings: mental alertness, mental clarity, creativity, inspired

Therapeutic value: increase cognitive function, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotectant, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer

 
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 MYRCENE 

Myrcene is found in most modern cannabis strains, though not always in large concentrations. It's the terpene responsible for the distinct “skunky” and earthy aroma that most people associate with cannabis. Myrcene also carries sweet, musky scents, like sour dairy and overripe fruit. High concentrations of Myrcene are in hops, a genetically similar cousin of cannabis that provides the bitter, earthy aroma in beer. Lemongrass, thyme, bay leaves, basil, and mangoes all have significant levels of Myrcene. Anecdotal accounts of eating mangoes before cannabis consumption claim it intensifies the high. The boost in psychoactive effect is most likely due to Myrcene’s ability to increase blood-brain barrier permeability, allowing for more rapid absorption of THC. Therefore, when cannabis strains contain high levels of Myrcene, it will potentiate or enhance the psychoactive effects of THC.

Myrcene is a highly sedative or tranquilizing terpene, making it a helpful sleep aid. The “couch-lock” feeling traditionally associated with smoking Indica strains is now connected to the presence of high levels of Myrcene. Studies of Myrcene show that it can target inflammation, like Pinene, through its activity with our prostaglandin pathways and act as a muscle relaxer. In addition, limited studies show it can act as an antibiotic, antimutagenic, antioxidant, and anticancer agent. While most strains contain some amount of Myrcene, those with the highest concentrations tend to have Landrace Indica varieties in their lineage.

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Flavor: Earthy, skunky, musky, ripe fruit, lemongrass

Feelings: sedative, mildly psychoactive, increased high

Therapeutic value: sleep aid, antibiotic, antioxidant, anticancer agent

 
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 CARYOPHYLLENE 

Beta-Caryophyllene or Caryophyllene is naturally present in many herbs and spices like black pepper, basil, and oregano and provides spicy, warm, peppery aromas similar to cinnamon and cloves. Caryophyllene is the primary aromatic element of copaiba balsam, an essential oil traditionally used in South America as an oral and topical anti-inflammatory. Caryophyllene forms strong bonds at our CB2 receptors in our Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

It is the only terpene known to demonstrate this type of bonding relationship with endocannabinoid receptors, which is the mechanism behind

Caryophyllene's ability to relieve anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation symptoms. Bonding with our CB2 receptors also allows Caryophyllene to serve as a gastroprotective agent, protecting the mucus layer in the stomach without affecting stomach acid production. In addition, Caryophyllene can have a neuroprotective effect against nervous system disorders, such as alcoholism and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown Caryophyllene to be an antihistamine as well as an anti-malarial. Caryophyllene can act as an anti-cancer agent by increasing the effectiveness of other cancer-fighting medicines, inhibiting the proliferation of cancerous cells, and encouraging cancer cell death. Because of its powerful and direct activity with our ECS, Caryophyllene is a very medicinal terpene with great therapeutic value.

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Flavor: spicy, peppery, warming, cinnamon, clove

Feelings: soothing to the mind and body

Therapeutic Value: Direct activity with ECS, pain relief, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antianxiety, gastric relief, neuroprotectant, antihistamine, anti-malarial, anti-cancer agent

 
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 LIMONENE 

Limonene is the terpene responsible for the intense citrus elements in the aroma of many cannabis strains. It's found in the rinds of lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, and juniper, and mint. Limonene is highly bio-available, meaning rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Because of its bioavailability, Limonene quickly stimulates the olfactory system and has direct cellular action. Many of the citrusy essential oils, known to lift the mood upon inhalation, contain Limonene as their primary element. Studies show Limonene can relieve stress and depression and reduce OCD-related behaviors via oral ingestion and inhalation.

The presence of Limonene has a direct effect on serotonin and dopamine levels in the body, which may account for its powerful impact on mood levels. Limonene has robust free-radical scavenging properties and is considered an antioxidant. It is beneficial in treating stomach issues, as it neutralizes gastric acid, supports normal digestive function, and treats heartburn and acid reflux. Limonene's anti-cancer properties have been observed in multiple scenarios. Limonene can block the carcinogenesis induced by the tar created from smoking cannabis.

Other studies demonstrate Limonene can cause apoptosis or cell death of breast cancer cells. Studies of Limonene show it can offer protection from different types of cancer like lung, liver, colon, pancreas, and skin. Limonene is widely known to be antifungal and antibacterial, explaining why citrus-rich essential oils are common in cleaning products.

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Flavor: zesty citrus, fresh, diesel fuel, juniper

Feelings: mood uplifting, energizing, depression relief

Therapeutic value: highly bio-available, stress relief, antidepressant, antioxidant, digestive aid, relieve heartburn, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal

 
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 LINALOOL 

Linalool is a floral terpene found naturally in flowers like lavender and rose and herbs like basil and coriander. It is the main component of lavender essential oil, used as a calming agent in aromatherapy and a healing agent in wound treatment. In lab tests of over 40 different terpenes, Linalool proved to be the most sedative upon inhalation, also providing relief from ailments like stress, anxiety, and depression when inhaled. In addition, anecdotal accounts claim diffusing lavender oil into the air while smoking cannabis can increase the calming and soothing effects of the herb.
 

Linalool is active against pain by targeting inflammation, desensitizing pain perception, and acting as a local anesthetic. In addition, Linalool can reduce seizures and convulsions by calming the nervous system. The mechanism behind Linalool’s ability to offer relief from stress, sleeplessness, pain, and convulsions is the regulation of our glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter systems. Glutamate is the most critical of all the neurotransmitters for healthy brain function, and it is an excitatory neuron meaning it encourages nerve impulse firing. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it discourages the firing of nerve impulses, thereby decreasing brain activity, allowing for relaxation.
 

Linalool is a neuroprotective antioxidant. It can protect neurons, preserve mitochondrial function, and regulate the toxicity that leads to neurogenerative disorders like MS, Alzheimer’s, OCD, and depression.

Linalool is useful for topical wound treatment because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to discourage scar tissue formation. In terms of its anti-cancer activity, Linalool can positively aid in fighting against colon cancer, Leukemia, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer.

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Flavor: floral, spicy, wood, French lavender, bergamot oil, light citrus, sweet, tropical

Feelings: sedative, soothing, calming, relaxing

Therapeutic Value: relief from stress, anxiety relief, antidepressant, pain relief, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, reduction of seizures and convulsions, topical wound treatment, anti-cancer

 
 
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 HUMULENE 

Humulene is a close chemical cousin of Caryophyllene, differing in molecular structure. It is the characteristic terpene in hops and is also naturally found in sage, balsam fir trees, coriander, ginseng, and ginger. In cannabis, Humulene often takes a backseat to the aromas of other terpenes, offering a more subtle earthy, herbal, gingery, and floral scent. Our third-party terpene testing shows, if a strain has significant levels of Humulene, it almost always has high levels of Caryophyllene. Even though they are chemically related, Humulene does not have activity at our CB2 receptors like Caryophyllene. Despite the lack of CB2 activity, Humulene targets inflammation topically and internally. Additionally, Humulene can reduce inflammation and swelling characteristic of histamine (allergic) reaction. Humulene can act as a pain reliever orally, topically, and via inhalation. Its cancer-fighting power lies in Humulene’s ability to aid in the damage and death of cancer cells.

Significant evidence suggests that the presence of Caryophyllene potentiates Humulene's anti-cancer effects. Many anecdotal accounts of Humulene acting as an anorectic or appetite suppressing agent suggest it can aid weight loss. The loss in hunger probably has a connection to the terpene’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. There is a need for more research concerning Humulene and its effect on appetite. Humulene is antibacterial and antifungal when applied topically. Additionally, it is a natural insecticide, with studies showing it to be toxic to the eggs of several known Malaria carrying mosquitos

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Flavor: herbal, earthy, floral, ginger

Feelings: soothing to the body, loss in appetite

Therapeutic Value: pain relief, anti-inflammatory, weight loss aid, antihistamine, anti-cancer, topical antibacterial and antifungal, insecticide

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 BISBOLOL 

Bisabolol is a floral forward terpene with an aroma like chamomile, its most closely connected plant. Its scent is delicate and sweet, with hints of citrus, spice, and apple. Additionally, much like chamomile, Bisabolol can relieve and soothe anxiety, insomnia, and depression. For years Bisabolol has been used in the cosmetic industry for its skin healing properties. It is beneficial in topicals, as it helps other solutions penetrate the skin, making the topical product more effective. Also, when applied topically, Bisabolol has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. When taken orally, it can act as an antiparasitic and actively aid in healthy kidney function. Bisabolol is present in small amounts in most of our strains but is very pronounced in our Papaya Punch.

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Flavor: sweet, delicate, apple, citrus, spice

Feelings: soothing, calming, relaxing

Therapeutic Value: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-anxiety, antidepressant, increased skin permeability, antiparasitic, kidney health

 
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FLAVONOIDS

Flavonoids account for roughly 10% of the biological compounds found in the trichomes. Around 20 varieties exist in cannabis, with thousands more found in fruits, vegetables, and flowers. In all plants, the primary evolutionary function of flavonoids is to provide the colors or pigments that attract pollinators. Specifically, flavonoids provide non-green pigments, like the bright yellow, red, and blue hues we see in many flowers, leaves, fruits, and vegetables. Beyond attracting pollinators, flavonoids capture specific wavelengths of light, blocking free-radical formation. As a result, flavonoids offer plants protection from intense UV rays, pests, and disease and help regulate cellular cycles. A plant’s flavonoid content depends on genetics, growing conditions, light cycle, and temperature. Unfortunately, flavonoid testing for our cannabis is not currently available with local labs, so we are uncertain of the flavonoid content of our flower. Nevertheless, we discuss a few common flavonoids found in cannabis below.

In cannabis, flavonoids provide character in terms of color, flavor, and aroma. They also have known pharmacological or medicinal values. Of the 20 flavonoids identified in cannabis, some are exclusive to the plant and are referred to as cannaflavins. Research shows Cannaflavins A, B, and C provide a potent anti-inflammatory effect, with some tests showing cannaflavins can offer more pain relief than aspirin.

The deep purple colors found in many cannabis strains are due to flavonoids known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are present all over the plant but only produce visible purple, blue or red hues in areas of higher concentrations. Anthocyanins have pro-cognitive characteristics like improving memory and thought-processing speed. In addition, they are anti-inflammatory and pass easily through the blood-brain barrier.

Vitexin is not unique to cannabis and naturally occurs in other plants like passionflower, chasteberry, and bamboo leaves. Seedlings and young plants have higher concentrations. Medicinally it's used to treat gout, a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. Additionally, Vitexin prevents the production of thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme involved in thyroid hormone production. By doing so, Vitexin can help treat hyperthyroidism which is an over-production of thyroid hormone.
 

Apigenin occurs in parsley, rutabagas, and celery, and like many cannabinoids and terpenes, acts on the GABA receptors in the body. This action can have a sedative and anti-anxiety effect. Apigenin is the primary anti-anxiety agent in chamomile. In addition, studies show it decreases the side effects of immunosuppressant drugs given during an organ transplant that prevent organ rejection. Research shows Apigenin has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties as well. Like many flavonoids, Apigenin is active on estrogen receptors, and several studies have shown it to inhibit breast cancer growth.
 

Quercetin is a flavonoid found in nearly all vascular plants. Quercetin inhibits viral enzymes making it a potent anti-viral, and additionally, it's antifungal and antimutagenic. Also, it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent by inhibiting prostaglandin production. Current research on Quercetin shows the flavonoid might be used in future treatment protocols for fibromyalgia. Like other flavonoids, Quercetin has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
 

Orientin is a flavonoid common in cannabis and tea plants, and it is the most commonly extracted flavonoid from plants. Comprehensive studies of Orientin show it is a potent antioxidant, free-radical scavenger, and powerful inhibitor of cancer cell growth. Research also indicates Orientin can be anti-aging, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, a vasodilator, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, an antidepressant agent, a potent pain reliever, and prevent the formation of fat cells.

Synergy
 

Cannabis contains hundreds of molecules that can directly affect our minds and bodies. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids interact with different cells and receptors, influencing our experience with cannabis. These phytochemicals share similarities in therapeutic value and how we perceive cannabis through our senses. Many similarities suggest that these phytochemicals may interact or have synergy with each other. Well-known cannabis researcher Dr. John McPartland has stated that “cannabis is polypharmaceutical,” meaning diversely medicinal, and the “synergy arises from interactions between its multiple components.”

Additionally, Dr. Russo, a neurologist who has long studied cannabis and its chemical compounds, explains that both cannabinoids and terpenes increase blood flow, enhance cortical activity, kill respiratory pathogens, as well as influence each other’s mechanisms—suggesting synergy between the two in treating pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and fungal and bacterial infections.

Popular terms associated with phytochemical synergy are “entourage effect” and “ensemble effect.” “Entourage Effect” was the first term coined to describe the relationship between the phytochemicals and their combined effect on the body. The word entourage suggests one component, THC, is the main attraction, while the others are there to support. The term “ensemble effect” has recently become popularized as it suggests that all of the phytochemicals share equal importance in our experience with cannabis.


 

Most research on the hundreds of chemical compounds found in cannabis has been studies of individual isolated cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Most we know of cannabis’s powerful phytochemicals is the result of studying them in isolation; however, we rarely consume a cannabinoid, terpene, or flavonoid alone. It is much more common to consume multiple phytochemicals at once.

Studies are limited, but synergistic relationships are observed between cannabinoids and terpenes in different combinations.

 

+ Pinene counteracts the memory loss and compromised cognition associated with high levels of THC

+ Pinene, Myrcene, and Caryophyllene together calm anxiety

+ CBD reduces anxiousness related to consuming high levels of THC

+ THC combined with CBD can be strongly sedative

+ Linalool, Limonene, with CBG is showing promise as a treatment for MRSA

+ Linalool & Limonene enhance the effects of CBD

+ Combination of Limonene, Linalool, CBD studied as a treatment for acne

+ Linalool, Myrcene, and Pinene combined potentiate the effect of sedative cannabinoids showing promise as a sleep aid

+ Caryophyllene, Myrcene, and Pinene combined have value in addiction treatment

+ Myrcene reduces blood-brain barrier resistance, easing the transport of cannabinoids and flavonoids

+ THC combined with CBD and CBC is a powerful antidepressant

 

Our intent in providing this information is to introduce and support a more holistic view of cannabis consumption and aid our customers in selecting cannabis strains and products that will fulfill their particular needs and desires.

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Cannabis Education

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Learn about the history of cannabis as well as the science behind cannabinoids, terpenes, flavinoids and more!

Immersive Cannabis Experience

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Get immersed in education related to cannabis & terpenes and make an informed decision on the strains you consume.

Tasting Guide

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Find out all the information you need to make an informed decision on the strains you consume based on terpene contents and more!