AF’s Flavor Profiles, Terpenes, and the Placebo Effect
At our core, we believe in the values of safety, transparency, consistency, reliability, and delight. It was with these values that we designed the flavor profiles that you know today as Redwood, Coastal, and Harvest. These pure, high quality, naturally-derived flavor profiles contain terpenes, and lots of other delightful tasting and smelling compounds. Some terpenes have been associated with positive health effects when tested individually.
However, there is currently no meaningful research that has consistently replicated or explained the mechanisms behind the phenomenon known as the “Entourage Effect.” Without critical research, it’s entirely possible that called-out Entourage Effects you experience with a cannabis product are just as likely (if not more likely) to be a result of placebo as they are to be genuinely effective (i.e. Feeling sleepy after ingesting a product called “Sleep.”) Until there is better research to explain and replicate the Entourage Effect, we will not deliver products that make any health or specific effect claims. “A clean experience” is what we consider to be a more generalized claim based on cannabinoid contents rather than the Entourage Effect.
“Why no cannabis terpenes?”
We love the myriad cannabis flavors and experiences just as much as all of you. Unfortunately when it comes to industry supply chains and cannabis science – from genetics to growing to extracting – no one is able to deliver the level of consistency and reliability that we want to deliver to you. We watch the market closely. When we can deliver a cannabis flavor and experience that is consistent with our values, regardless of where in the country you buy it, you can expect to see us broaden our product line in that direction. The one exception to this would be “limited edition” type product releases, but that is not in our short-term roadmap.
Science Time – Genetics and Our Flavors:
Human genetics comprehensively affect what we taste and smell. There are even cases where having just one gene be different, a person is unable to taste a specific compound. This means that everyone tastes and smells everything differently because of their unique genetic sensory profile.
AFs flavor profiles are composed of a variety of natural compounds. These compounds are pure and derived straight from the named source (Apricot is from the actual Apricot fruit). They are naturally comprised of a variety of fragrant molecules, which we perceive as specific tastes and smells, when inhaled. There are somewhere between 8 and 17 high-level ingredients per AF flavor profile. Each high-level ingredient can contain a half dozen or more individual fragrant compounds (Thyme has 6 major components, and 15 overall). Some of the fragrant compounds in these oils are the exact terpenes found in a variety of botanical and cannabis-based extractions. Overall, there are between dozens and hundreds of fragrant compounds (terpenes and otherwise) in Redwood, Coastal, and Harvest. When keeping this complexity and genetics in mind, everyone who tries one of our products is going to have their own uniquely enjoyable experience.
Lastly, while some of the terpenes in our flavor profiles meet the content requirements for pharmacological interest, we don’t list them so your experience isn’t impacted by your expectations.
The State of Cannabis
The FBI reported in 2014 that 5.5% of all arrests in the United States were for simple marijuana possession. Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes — combined. And while rates of use of marijuana are similar across the racial divide in America, black Americans are 4 times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession. As the ACLU notes, “The War on Marijuana has, quite simply, served as a vehicle for police to target communities of color.”
Advocates of private prisons argue that high arrest rates for marijuana are needed to keep our prisons full. With 2.3 million people locked up and a world-leading incarceration rate of 716 per 100,000 of population, we need arrests to fill those bunks. Our incarceration rates are more than 5 times higher than the rates of other industrialized countries although our level of crime is comparable, reports the non-profit Prison Policy Initiative.
The targeting and incarceration of “minorities and other undesirables” didn’t start with marijuana. Chinese immigrants were targeted with laws against opium use in the 1870s. Black Americans have been targeted with aggressive enforcement of laws against heroin and crack cocaine. Richard Nixon started the “War on Drugs” in the 1970s as a means to weaken two perceived opponents: black Americans and hippies. While no one has ever died from a cannabis overdose, American citizens are regularly killed by police in encounters precipitated by cannabis possession.
Despite its use over millennia as a remedy for a variety of ailments including pain, spasms, and sleep disorders, marijuana has become illegal in America. Our nation’s leaders have decided that marijuana is too valuable as a political weapon to give it up for the benefit of medicine. Even the pharmaceutical industry has lobbied against legalization. In July 2016, the journal Health Affairs published research showing that prescriptions of opiates decline in states where medical marijuana has been made legal. No wonder that big pharma opposes research into research into painkillers that may be both more effective and less less-addictive.
The time has come for the federal government to stop using drugs as a political tool and to permit research into medical uses of cannabis. It’s clear that the current strategy isn’t working. Fortunately, States are leading the way.