I originally got interested in terpenes in 1998 when I was trying to get one of my racehorses who was recovering from colic to eat again. I tried various pharmaceutical and herbal products to stimulate her appetite and they all failed. So, I began thinking that maybe I could turn on her appetite with terpenes. I had a working knowledge of terpene chemistry but not knowing that much in 1998 I have to attribute my success with her as “beginner’s luck.” Yes, that sometimes happens in science. In any event, that one index case of incredible equine success has led me into my nearly two-decade love affair with olfaction, in general, and terpenes specifically.
Until recently, even though I have manufactured many hugely successful terpene-based products, including the world’s best-selling diet product, generally speaking, there was no consumer interest in terpenes. Cannabis changed all that in an instant! Today, no self-respecting cannabis researcher or proponent would enter discussions about THC or CBD without a thorough knowledge of the 200 plus terpenes that are associated with cannabis.
For those of you who are new to terpenes, I will make it easy for you. Terpenes are natural compounds common in plants, including fungi and tree resins, that are used to make drugs, food additives, perfumes, and a wide variety of other products.
Still confused? Ok, if you ever enjoyed the scent of a Christmas tree or fresh cut roses, then you are familiar with terpenes. Terpenes were discovered over a century and half ago and believe it or not science has cataloged over 50,000 different terpenes. Since humans can only distinguish about 10,000 different smells, that number gives you an idea of the complexity of terpene science.
Fast forward to today where I am going to tell you something that even the students of terpenes might not have known. We can manufacture terpenes from bacteria as well! Here is where it gets interesting. For years, I have also been interested in prebiotics. Prebiotics are natural organic plant matter that feed the countless microorganisms that live in and on the body. My research with organic plant matter predates my terpene interests by two decades and has yielded a number of incredible products, including the most popular oil scavenging products that major petroleum companies like Standard Oil use to contain oil spills, water and soil reclamation products and skin care and systemic prebiotic health products. When it comes to prebiotics, the positive effects come as a result of a 60-fold increase in creating beneficial enzymes. It turns out that many of these same enzymes are able to catalyze the production of terpenes.
In fact, recent research at Brown University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found 262 gene sequences that code for terpene synthases. The researchers used several of those enzymes to isolate 13 previously unidentified bacterial terpenes. Research such as this suggests that there may be many new terpenes yet undiscovered hiding in the genomes of bacteria.
Myself and my science staff are currently creating full spectrum hemp oil products rich in CBD and other cannabinoids that not only contain all the terpenes indigenous to cannabis but also have a variety of terpenes added which facilitate the activities of CBD and other full spectrum plant compounds. Many believe that this is the future of health.