Pharmacological Foundations of Cannabis Chemovars

Cannabis is divided into several chemical phenotypes defined by principal cannabinoid. Type I THC-predominant cannabis is the most common type in both medical and recreational marketplaces in North America. Type II cannabis, much less common until recently, produces both THC and CBD, while CBD-predominant cannabis is Type III.  Certain Type I chemovars have achieved considerable market success in the US based upon their unique essential oil (terpene) expression.  Predominant terpenes commonly produced by popular Type I cannabis cultivars include myrcene, limonene, beta-caryophyllene and terpinolene. There is a large body of popular claims that variations in terpene content are responsible for the varying sedative, stimulating or other mind-altering effects noted among these cultivars by consumers. It has been posited by Russo, Watson, Clarke and others that pharmacological synergies are evident between cannabinoids and terpenes that may explain the difference in effects. Some of these specific chemovars have common and often colorful names like Blue Dream, OG Kush, Trainwreck, Purps and a myriad of others. This presentation will examine and attempt to codify these synergies, while extending beyond Type I, high-THC chemovars, in hopes to create a vocabulary for the cannabis industry to communicate effects of alternative chemotypes.

Speaker: Dr. Mark Lewis