The Rotation: Vol. 12
Examining the Scientific Validity of the Entourage Effect, How Federal Prohibition Fails Young People and Decriminalization of Cannabis in Thailand
Debunking Myths Around Terpenes
The debate around the validity of the entourage effect is intensifying and despite the proliferation of companies and brands touting it as fact, a recent article by long-time cannabis advocate and educator Adam Greenblatt published in StratCann takes a nuanced and evidence-informed approach around these claims.
- The article begins by analyzing the long-standing myth that mangos can intensify the high associated with cannabis due to being rich in myrcene.
- Myrcene is rarely the dominant terpene in mangoes and likely accounts for fractions of a milligram in most varieties.
- Cannabinoids are rapidly absorbed and distributed through inhalation and the same may very well be true for terpenes to some extent which “lends plausibility to the hypothesis that myrcene, and terpenes generally, may meaningfully contribute to the therapeutic and psychotropic effects of herbal cannabis.”
- However, as stated in the article, medical and psychotropic terpene effects are largely hypothetical and the overall evidence for terpene “entourage” is low quality and “based almost entirely on preclinical cell culture and animal experiments employing doses much greater than found in herbal cannabis, terpene supplements, or fruit.”
Companies claiming that their added flavors have medicinal or psychotropic properties has led to the ubiquitous acceptance of the entourage effect as fact within cannabis culture, despite a clear lack of scientific evidence, particularly as it relates to terpene infused edibles and supplements. It is important to remember that no clinical trials have been carried out and we agree that if companies want to make these claims, it is their responsibility to fund the research necessary to support the marketing and messaging they are putting out there. We highly recommend following Adam on Twitter and @weedpro on TikTok. Not only does he provide fact-based education as it relates to cannabis, but he is also extremely funny and isn’t scared to stir the pot.
A New Approach to Prohibition Rhetoric Needed
Jenna Valleriani, cannabis researcher and former Director of Social Impact and Advocacy at Canopy Growth penned an op-ed in Rolling Stone that makes a strong argument for the detrimental impact federal prohibition has on young people in the U.S.
- Despite non-medical cannabis being legal to access in 18 states now, an analysis by Pew Charitable Trust found that one in three of the possession-related arrests made in 2019 were for cannabis.
- Opposition to legalization typically believe that outright prohibition is the only way to protect young people and focus their arguments on risk, abstinence, and potential individual health harms.
- This approach “misses a broader lens that captures all potential harms, including the impact of criminalization, especially for young people from justice-impacted communities.”
- The piece argues that young people should be receiving evidence-based education and not the abstinence-based programs such as D.A.R.E that have simply failed at curbing drug-use in any significant way.
The War on Drugs has been an abject failure and despite some progress in the U.S., there is still a long way to go before the disastrous consequences of prohibition are adequately addressed. There is mounting evidence that the harms of prohibition far outweigh the potential harms of substance abuse. Moreover, the archaic approach of “just say no” fails to acknowledge the undeniable harms of criminalization.
Medical Cannabis Legalization in Thailand Made Official
Cannabis will be decriminalized in Thailand starting on June 9th, reports Bloomberg.
- Thailand will be the first country in Asia to decriminalize cannabis, the next step in Thailand’s cannabis liberalization, which began in 2018 with the legalization of medical cannabis.
- It will no longer be a crime to grow and trade cannabis and hemp products but will still be limited by the country’s ban on recreational use and the production of anything with more than 0.2% THC.
- The recreational use of cannabis and hemp products and extracts at home legally, could still technically lead to charges for smoking cannabis, which is considered a public nuisance.
- However, potential charges related to cannabis consumption have been rendered moot with the announcement that police will be unable to arrest anyone in possession of cannabis when it’s officially removed from the Category 5 narcotics list.
- Thailand’s Health Ministry plans to distribute a million plants free of cost to households.
Despite some clear contradictions in the laws, this is a great step forward for the cannabis industry in Thailand, a country known for strict policies on drug trafficking and rich cannabis history. With that said, Thailand is effectively only decriminalizing the use of hemp and CBD products and there is no indication that dried flower will be available. Regardless, the fact that Thailand will be releasing more than 4,000 inmates charged or convicted in connection with cannabis-related offenses is progressive policy that should be celebrated, and we look forward to seeing the cannabis industry develop in Thailand and the impact this might have on other countries. For a great overview of these upcoming changes to cannabis laws in Thailand, we also suggest checking out this recent blog by Carl k Linn