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Business & Profession Legislation & policy, Terpene & residual solvent analysis

Vape Flavor Regulation: a Sour Taste in the Mouth?

The term “entourage effects” was originally introduced to describe the combined action of molecules produced by the human body on the endocannabinoid system. These effects were striking in that they influenced the binding and activity of traditional endocannabinoids, such as 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol, without binding to endocannabinoid receptors themselves (1).

More recently, the entourage effect has been used to describe similarly indirect effects elicited by molecules produced outside of the human body— most notably by the phytocannabinoids and terpenes of cannabis. In fact, recognition of such effects paved the way for the first medical cannabis systems when it became clear that FDA-approved dronabinol (purified delta-9 THC) did not provide the same benefits as the whole cannabis plant across various indications.

So, how is this relevant to vaping? As cannabis extraction has evolved in laboratories, more sophisticated refinement methods have enabled us to obtain formulations that better mirror those present in the plant. The guiding principle has become: “remain true to the original plant composition, rather than simply being whole-plant.” For cannabis vapor products, this involves formulating with terpenes and terpenoids. But, as any cannabis aficionado can tell you, terpenoids impact the characteristic flavor and aroma of cannabis, and may also exert entourage effects. Accordingly, many terpenes are regulated as flavor additives for food – and for e-cigarettes, too.

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About the Author

Brad Douglass

Vice President of Intellectual Property & Regulatory Affairs, The Werc Shop, Los Angeles, USA

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