The Original Terpestival™ and Terpene Crown™

The Original Terpestival™ and Terpene Crown™

By Dr. Michelle Sexton

The First Original Terpestival™ and Terpene Crown™ was held in Seattle on July 23rd to a sell-out crowd, who came to celebrate the aroma and properties of the terpenes. Dr. Ethan Russo, an internationally recognized Cannabis historian, Board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher and Medical Director for Phytecs from Vashon Island, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Russo detailed the terpenoid class of compounds in cannabis and reported some of what is known about biological activity of these compounds. The Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy (CASP) reached a milestone in this successful fund-raising event. CASP collects and produces information about cannabis policy and markets in the context of state-level experiments in democracy directly affected by Legal Cannabis laws, rules, and regulations.

The event kicked off with a VIP party and food-truck event along with with sponsor booths for festival-goers to peruse. CASP also hosted the “Aroma Bar”, a place to tickle and train the nose in recognizing different terpenes common to Cannabis and other aromatic plants such as Hops, Rosemary, Sweet Orange and Black Pepper. Following Dr. Russo’s address, there was a panel focused on discussion of various methods of extraction, genetics and genetic diversity and medical aspects of the whole plant. Panel members were Reverend Jeff Church, The Ganjier, Kevin Jodrey, and Dr. Michelle Sexton, Executive Medical Research Director at CASP.

The Terpene Crown was publicized to offer 6 awards in each category for flower and solventless concentrates (CO2 extraction was accepted). Terepene analysis was performed by The Werc Shop, (using GC/FID) as an in-kind donation to CASP for the event. The Werc Shop quantified 15 terpenoids and results were reported as a percent of total weight of the sample. Winners were selected by a Judging Panel, which was blinded to the entrants, as were the laboratory and individual Judges that provided the “subjective” information on the entries. The winners were selected based on a weighted average of the subjective results and the quantitative data. The aggregate results along, with the winners in each category, are in the graphs below for Flower, Extracts and Total Terpenes for Flower and Extracts. The graphs contain the name of the entrant as well as the varietal name of the winner.

In an inadvertent misunderstanding on the day of the awards ceremony, we mistakenly “disqualified” two entries in the Extracts category. Our deep regrets to Reverend Jeff Church of Thinc Pure, whose entry of a Sour Diesel CO2 extract is obviously in a mystical and alchemically distinguished category, of its’ own. It was a clear outlier, as the terpenoid content of the 15 terpenoids measured was 38.4%. This extract was also an outlier for limonene content measuring 4% limonene. The second entry, an “anonymous” extract, was also disqualified from the standard categories but then awarded the second place “Outlier Award” for total tcontent of the 15 terpenoids quantified at 22.4% and β-myrcene content of 6.6%.

The basic hypothesis in the design of the analysis and survey was that particular ratios of terpenoids or high/low levels of individual terpenoids might correlate with the felt experience reported by the judges. However, in comparing the quantitative data to the judges’ subjective experience, there was no correlation between what the judges rated as the “Most sedating” or “Most Stimulating” entries and myrcene content, myrcene:pinene ratio, pinene content and pinene/myrcene ratio. In contrast, there was a robust correlation between pinene content and “piney” taste by the judges, and a loose correlation between limonene content and “lemony” taste.

Judge’s Award for the “Most stimulating” was for Cascadia Kush flower, grown by Hesperides’ Kevin Kelly, and Canna Tsu raw CO2 extract by Mike West of Green Lion Farms. Cascadia Kush ranked second out of the 19 flower entries for total pinene content (α + β Pinene). Pinene has been reported to act as an inhibitor for the break-down of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, which may explain the cognitive and physically stimulating effects that some users report with strains high in pinene. Canna Tsu extract had a relatively low level of pinene and pinene: myrcene ratio compared to other extracts.

The Judge’s award for “Most Sedating” was a sweep by Shawn DeNae of Washington Bud Company for Harlequin flower and “Entourage” oil, using an apparently a novel CO2 extraction protocol by Eden Labs.

These results support the idea that the “entourage” effect, attributed to terpenoids, on the cannabinoid experience is not amenable to simplistic or reductionist science (Surprised? We are not!). It is possible that our “sample size” of judges was not large enough to lead to significant conclusions. Nevertheless, it seems clear that while analytical results may say: “this one is really high in pinene” (for instance), the judges’ ability to perceive this was variable, as expected. In agreement with most published scientific data, the terpene content (based on the 15 compounds analyzed) was as expected in flower, < typically 3% from indoor-grown flower, and with an average of 1.4%. The contribution of the terpenoids to the whole plant experience may be “unquantifiable” from the user perspective, and yet this class of compounds is an critical element to both the medicinal and experiential effects. While we at CASP were celebrating the aroma/terpenes of cannabis, on the same day, medical cannabis in Washington State became confined to “closed containers” in retail outlets. In these outlets, medical and adult users alike will no longer be able to select their desired products by following their noses! This is such a strange and unreasonable policy, and we hope to be able to continue influence such public policy at CASP by providing the science and research on which such policies can be refined. 001




There were many who worked tirelessly to birth this CASP fundraiser, including our two event coordinators, Wendy Maguire of WLM and Co LLC, and Lara Kaminski. Former CASP Board member Joy Beckerman went well beyond the call of duty and brought her unrivaled expertise in event-planning and complete oversight. We are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors. At the Diterpene level: Eden Labs, ThincPure, the CPC, The Wercshop; at the Sesquiterpene Level: Northwest Cannabis Classic; Cannacon, DB3 Inc, Terpinator, Northwest Leaf, the CCSE and Wonderland; at the Monoterpene Level: Seniors MMJ Network, Cannabis Basics, TDCANN and Assoc., Blue Crow Organics, Garden Extracts, True North, Bud Nation Seattle, NW Patient Resource Center, Gleam law and Washington Bud Co; and the in-kind donations from Lyon’s Cases, Dockside, GES and The Herbalist.

We graciously acknowledge the NORML women’s Alliance, the Ganjier, and the CASP Board Members who put many hours of work in behind the scenes. Our deepest gratitude for all who participated, donated, bought tickets, entered the contest, and helped to promote the event in social networks. We are greatly touched by the support for what we are doing at CASP and for our ongoing research. We hope that this is the beginning of a trend for engaging the community in helping to perpetuate the work that we are so passionate about: collecting and producing information. If you did not get to support CASP by attending or participating in the event, we invite you to donate to our ongoing work, please visit our website!

Steve Hyde

research professional with a background in the humanities and geographical sciences. I design geographic information systems and make social and cultural documentary films.

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