Office Hours with Dr. Ethan Russo MD, Founderof CReDO Science and Daygold

Dr. Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and author. His accolades abound (read them all here). So, we are so honored he took the time to share some of his insight on cannabis, terpenes, and his new brand, Daygold.  
Can you explain (simply) terpenes - and in your opinion, why consumers should take the time to care what they are
Dr Russo: To understand terpenes, it is probably wise to examine their source, the essential oils derived from plants. The word essential in this context refers to the essence of their scent, but also describes the necessary aspect of their effects. So, in simplest terms, it is scent of a rose, or the aroma of tangerine peel that is so evocative of memory, and stimulating to our mind and emotion. Sure, I can describe them as a group of plant-derived 10- or 15-carbon biochemicals, but that does not convey how important terpenes are to the nuances and effects that they lend to the Daygold blends. These were designed to combine the most salutary of various cannabinoids with the terpene components that modulate their effects and extend their benefits in a fashion that we call synergy, or the “entourage effect.” It is akin to an orchestra of chemicals making unique and harmonious music.
Which are the top terpenes to know and is there a one or two word description you can use to associate with each? 
Dr Russo: Limonene is the base terpene of all the familiar citrus scents: orange, lemon, lime et al. The mere whiff of these connotes cleanliness and a brighter mood in our minds. This is more than “psychological,” but rather, the antidepressant effects of limonene have been demonstrated in human studies of depression. Limonene is also useful to counter undesirable mood effects that THC can produce, if taken to excess.

Alpha-pinene is familiar as the scent of pine needles and other conifers. This scent is associated with improved memory and clear headedness. This effect is attributed to its ability to slow the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, the neurotransmitter that is the memory molecule. Pinene is extremely useful to enhance our ability to work or study when treating pain or other conditions.

Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, and one that is conducive to sleep, while also having benefits on inflammation.

Beta-caryophyllene, while not harboring obvious psychoactive effects, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that reduces pain without intoxication.

Linalool is a terpenoid that contains oxygen in addition to carbon and hydrogen. It is most familiar as a major component of lavender, a scent well known for its ability to calm. Once more, this is a benefit that has been proven to reduce agitation, and like limonene, counteracts THC-induced anxiety. 
Will / should terpene descriptions replace the indica/sativa nomenclature? What does a customer need to know to talk intelligently to a budtender today/tomorrow?  
Dr. Russo: Yes, specifying the cannabinoid and terpene components of cannabis or blends is a far more accurate way to portray their effects. The sativa/indica nomenclature has been commonly misrepresented, and has no current scientific validity. Every consumer has the right to know what is in the material they are purchasing, and to have a good idea of how it might affect them and address their intentions for its use. When considering different preparations, it is wise to state target symptoms to address and any effects that would be undesirable. 
You are in favor of increasing the legal limit of THC in Hemp Products - that sounds good to us…. Can you tell us why, scientifically but also in a lay-people sort of way - why this should happen and the effect it will have on the CBD industry and customers?
Dr Russo: The concentration of THC in hemp products does not mean very much unless the total dose is considered and understood. In other words, too much of a low potency THC product can still produce undesirable effects. Similarly, a lesser amount of a higher potency product may be quite safe. In Daygold products, we have designed them so that taken as directed, there should be very low risks of adverse outcomes. None are just THC and CBD! Rather, all contain blends of cannabinoids and terpenoids to achieve specific aims. If a person experiences anxiety or panic after a dose of these or other product, they should certainly cut down the next time. 

We are loving Daygold's unique formulas. Specifically, it is impressive that they are so potent, even with a low level of THC. Can you explain why?

Dr Russo: Our formulas are social for 3 main reasons.   
1- the fact that we have a dozen terpenes in each blend (your questions speak to the importance of terpenes)
2- the specific ratios that are used between the different ingredients
3- the high levels of CBG in each blend

CBG (Cannabigerol) is a key component of each Daygold blend. This cannabinoid has proven to be very versatile and safe, with its consumers reporting befits on anxiety, pain and sleep disturbances without intoxicating or other significant side effects. 

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