Aroma Trumps THC as Consumer Lure

Welcome to Cannabis Conclusions, a unique educational series from Higher Learning LV that is targeted at hemp and cannabis industry professionals. This series provides readers with the conclusion section from important modern peer-reviewed research studies.

A November 2022 study entitled "The Nose Knows: Aroma, but Not THC Mediates the Subjective Effects of Smoked and Vaporized Cannabis Flower" that was published in the journal Psychoactives investigated the effects of commercial marijuana cultivars rich in aromatic terpenes. The study involved Dr. Ethan Russo, the pioneering cannabis researcher who was the recent subject of The Higher Learning LV Interview.


"The goal of this study was to characterize the subjective effects of phytochemically-rich commercially available cannabis cultivars in blinded, healthy adults."

"The goal of this study was to characterize the subjective effects of phytochemically-rich commercially available cannabis cultivars in blinded, healthy adults," reported the researchers. They noted that an "unbiased evaluation of the subjective effects of cannabis inflorescence allowed us to examine the relative contributions of chemotype and aroma to subjective desirability."


Study Conclusion

"With a constantly growing worldwide legal cannabis consumer base, there is a great need for education about how to consume safely and responsibly. Aligned with harm reduction approaches, these blinded, unbiased results suggest that optimal recreational enjoyment may be achieved by the use of small amounts of low-potency cannabis with a pleasant aroma, particularly when used once per week or less.


"Optimal recreational enjoyment may be achieved by the use of small amounts of low-potency cannabis with a pleasant aroma, particularly when used once per week or less.

"The results of this study may help support consumers in making evidence-based decisions that can support subjective enjoyment while decreasing health risks. The results clearly support:

  1. Using aroma as the primary criterion in assessments of product quality

  2. Regulating cannabis in a manner that allows consumers to smell flower before buying it (either in open or vented containers)

  3. De-emphasizing the market value of high-THC products

  4. Diversifying regulated retail marketplaces to include a variety of inflorescence from 0.3–19 percent THC

"These evidence-based practices would have important public health implications by minimizing THC as the primary driver of market demand and thus reducing the risks associated with THC overconsumption."


View the original study.


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