How It Works
MyTEPI stands for My Therapeutic Effects Potential Index.
It is a proprietary technological framework (“MyTEPI Framework”) designed to solve the problem of objective differentiation between cannabis products.
Built and maintained utilizing latest publicly available pharmacological data and research, the framework looks at the plant’s chemical composition and ratios between its active compounds to make directional judgements about its potentially therapeutic content.
MyTEPI evaluates and constructs a pharmacological profile (“MyTEPI Profile”) of any cannabis product supported by a valid COA (a third-party testing analysis conducted by a licensed laboratory).
MyTEPI Profile provides a consumer-friendly descriptive summation of the plants organoleptic characteristics, highlighting primary and secondary base pharmacological effects (eg. Primary: Mood, Secondary: Focus).
The profile also rates the product in terms of balance of terpenes to cannabinoids and overall richness of its metabolome (MyTEPI Rating). The ranking system aims to guide consumers towards more balanced products with the most therapeutic potential and minimum adverse events.
MyTEPI Evaluations help retail buyers, budtenders, and consumers. MyTEPI Evaluations is a monthly report that assigns a MyTEPI Profile to each eligible product based on the corresponding Certificate of Analysis (COA). Inventory Evaluations are only available to MyTEPI Members. As a Member, you are eligible for 12 months of service, with ability to renew membership.
How to Use MyTEPI
Dispensaries are able provide self-guided navigation by integrating MyTEPI Effects and Ratings into their product descriptions in-store and online. MyTEPI Effects and Ratings can be manually entered into any platform that allows for typed product descriptions.
Currently, dispensaries are challenged with educating consumers on how chemovar quality (richness of profile, balance of cannabinoids to terpenes, harvest dates, etc.) can affect price. With MyTEPI Ratings, budtenders can provide consumers with transparency in pricing, boosting confidence and trust.
Whether customers are shopping online or in-store, MyTEPI offers self-guidance as well as improved recommendations. Interactions can become quicker and easier by directing consumers to the products that are right for them.
For thousands of years, humans have used cannabis for religious and medicinal purposes around the globe. Scientists debate on its specific ancient origins, but modern technology is beginning to unravel the mystery behind humanity’s close relationship with this special herb. To better understand these finding, let us first begin with the plant itself.
What’s In Cannabis?
Cannabis is a flowering herbal plant that possess over 400 compounds including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Cannabinoids are the molecular compounds found within cannabis, with the two primaries being tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and cannabidiol (“CBD”). There are at least 120 cannabinoids, but we have only identified a handful of these unique compounds and know even less about their individual and synergistic therapeutic capabilities. It is worth noting that while the industry uses the term “strains” to differentiate between plants, this is a misnomer as botanicals do not have “strains”— only viruses and bacteria do. Plants have chemovars, or chemical varieties. These chemovars are what account for the difference in effect.
The major cannabinoids, THC and CBD, were first discovered in the 1940s by American chemist, Roger Adams. Later in the 1960s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his team were the first to isolate and synthesizes these compounds in the lab (prior to the launch of Nixon’s War on Drugs). While research is still nascent because of these policies, we have observed that these two compounds appear to have a modulating relationship (Chung H, 2019) (Russo & Geoffrey, A tale of two cannabinoids: The therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, 2006). In other words, one balances out the other. However, commercial demand for THC or CBD only has led to a selective breeding which minimizes the quantity of these two cannabinoids in any given plant. There are other notable benefits of these compounds in isolation, but they also appear to be vital in the modulation of other therapeutic constituents, such as terpenes (Russo E. , 2011).
As mentioned, there are only a handful of minor cannabinoids that have been identified. They are referred to as the “minors” because they lack prevalence in the plant. Today, the market has mostly demanded high THC or CBD varieties, which has led to a lack in diversity between cannabinoids for commercial products. It does not mean that their therapeutic potential is any less than the majors. We simply have not had enough time (or legality) to research and evaluate the multitude of potential effects. Furthermore, we believe the minors will play a greater role in the years to come. Until that time, the major cannabinoids will be the primary focus in the determination of therapeutic potential.
The demand for high THC or CBD narrows the cannabinoid assortment found in today’s commercial markets. The chemical variety amongst cannabis products is largely due to their terpene profiles (Casano, 2011). The indica/sativa/hybrid “effects” classification model is not based on these profiles and are largely inaccurate and unreliable. Since the cannabinoid diversity is limited to primarily THC and CBD, we can focus on the terpene profiles to deduce the expected effect (LaVigne, Hecksel, Keresztes, & Streicher, 2020).
Terpenes are the drivers behind the smell and help modulate effect. For example, when your nose detects that zesty tang of a lemon or orange, that is the terpene limonene. Because terpenes are so abundant in plants, they have been studied for decades for different use cases from essential oils to homeopathy herbal blends. Like cannabinoids, they possess their own therapeutic properties (Lewis, Russo, & Smith, 2018). Cannabis is also one of the richest natural sources of terpenes allowing us to dive deeper into their use cases.
Flavonoids are responsible for the taste of the flower. These compounds may also hold unique therapeutic properties, but more research is needed before determining their effects. For the purposes of our discussion, we will only evaluate the relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids but do not rule out their potential.
The Endocannabinoid System (“ECS”)
In 1992, Dr. Mechoulam led a team of researchers who discovered the first endocannabinoid (from Greek “endo” meaning “from within”), cannabinoids naturally produced in the body (Mechoulam, et al., 1992). The team aptly named the molecule anandamide after the Sanskrit word meaning “bliss”. Shortly after, a second endocannabinoid, 2-AG, was also discovered. The detection and synthesis of these compounds proved cannabinoids were naturally produced by the body. Later investigations would reveal an entire cell-signaling system previously unknown to humanity, the endocannabinoid system (or ECS). Incredibly, we have now come to realize that all vertebrates have an ECS. This fact means that the ECS is older than homo sapiens.
The ECS is best described as an internal homeostatic regulatory system comprised of three elements:
(1) Receptor sites with psychoactive CB1 (nervous system), non-psychoactive CB2 (immune system), and sensory receptor TRPV1, as well as subtype serotonin 1A and 2A receptors (Marco EM, 2004)
(2) Enzymes which break down cannabinoids
(3) Endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) directly interact with the ECS at the various receptor sites. Endocannabinoids are produced by the body for a variety of functions, including important metabolic processes to stress reduction. The fatty acid amide hydrolase, or FAAH enzyme, breaks down the endocannabinoid after the agent has reacted with the receptor site(Pacher, Bátkai, & Kunos, 2006). This cycle of creation and destruction is what enables the body to maintain homeostasis.
In 2004, the concept of an endocannabinoid deficiency was proposed, but currently lacks clinical criteria for diagnosis. Dr. Ethan Russo is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and author. Russo is one of the world’s leading experts on cannabis pharmacology. He and a growing number of physicians believe many modern illnesses are mischaracterized endocannabinoid deficiencies (Smith SC, 2014) (Russo E. , 2016). However, given the recency of the ECS’s discovery, many researchers and healthcare professionals have been apprehensive to adopt the proposal. Insurance companies are even slower to adapt, currently hindering progress in research and diagnostics.
Thanks to the recent wave of cannabis legalization across the US, there is a revitalized interest in better understanding the ECS and its therapeutic implications. As we better understand the role of the ECS, we can begin to unravel the mystery behind the effects of cannabis. What researchers have discovered is that phytocannabinoids (from Greek “phyto” meaning “of a plant”) bind with our ECS in the similar way that endocannabinoids do, although there are some differences (Di Marzo, 2016). As a simplification, this interaction can be described as a “lock and key” mechanism — with the receptor being the “lock” and the cannabinoid acting as the “key”. Different phytocannabinoids perform a variety of functions and act upon a myriad of receptor sites. Essentially, these phytocannabinoids act as chemical messengers throughout our bodies as they bind and communicate via different receptors distributed throughout our entire body and nervous system.
The ECS is still heavily under-researched considering its purported all-encompassing function in the body. While few have studied this system in depth, their findings demonstrate just how important it is. As part of cell-signaling, the ECS is said to play a vital role in the regulation of mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and fertility. The ECS’s essential function is to keep the mind and the body in a state of homeostasis, or balance.
How Does Cannabis Interact with the ECS?
Since Dr. Mechoulam’s discovery of anandamide in the 1990s, extensive research (within the capabilities of a prohibition environment) has been launched to better understand the pharmacological interactions between cannabis and the ECS. While the pharmacology of CBD is less understood, researchers have been able to “relatively establish” the pharmacology of its well-known counterpart, THC (Zagzoog, 2020). THC is believed to be a partial agonist on the CB1 and CB2 receptors. To be a “partial agonist” means to partly activate a receptor. When a receptor is activated, the cannabinoids can deliver their therapeutic effects.
Contrary to popular understanding, CBD does not appear to bind with neither CB2 nor CB1 receptor sites directly. Instead, new research suggests that CBD acts as what is referred to as an allosteric modulator (Chung H, 2019). An allosteric modulator indirectly regulates a receptor’s activity and the way it reacts to stimulus and other compounds. This research could explain why CBD and THC seem to have a relationship based on balancing each other out. Another way to interpret the data is to say that CBD regulates THC’s function in the body. THC seems to be the child that runs around turning on all the lights, while CBD is the parent that dictates which switches the child has access to. The takeaway is the two demonstrate a clear harmonious relationship which gives credence to the idea that all the compounds in cannabis share a similar relationship.
To quickly recap, an endocannabinoid is naturally occurring in the body while a phytocannabinoids is produced in the cannabis plant. Both terms can be simply referred to as cannabinoids. The ECS directly interacts with major and minor cannabinoids in a variety of ways depending on the presence of other bioactive compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids.
What is the Entourage Effect?
Cannabis is notorious for having a range of effects spanning from sedating to energizing. Aside from the cannabinoids, terpenes are the drivers behind the smell and the variety of different therapeutic effects. During his multi-decade research into plant medicines, Russo observed the intelligent relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes. He discovered that while these chemical components carry medicinal properties in isolation, their therapeutic potential dramatically increased when they worked together (Russo E. , 2019). After this observation, he popularized the term, “The Entourage Effect”, which describes the relationship between cannabinoids and their smaller counterparts. For Russo and consumers alike, this theory best explained the wide variety of effects experienced after consumption.
Russo first published his theory in his widely cited article from 1998, Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects. At the time, his thoughts were relegated to mostly theory aside from observational data. As cannabis science has dramatically progressed, he believes we have enough evidence to support a clear synergistic relationship between the compounds in the cannabis plant. While the exact mechanism of interaction has not been found, Russo and others are confident of its existence.
The pharmacokinetics—the way a compound physiologically moves throughout the body—is largely unknown. What we are beginning to see evidence for is the suggestion that terpenes modulate the activity of cannabinoids (LaVigne J. H., 2021). Both compounds hold medicinal capabilities in isolation, but we see a dramatic increase in the efficacy when an interaction occurs. Terpenes do not directly act on the ECS by themselves but may be able to hit receptor sites they would otherwise be unable to in the absence of cannabinoids. In essence, the sum is greater than the individual parts.
Due to limited research, Russo’s claims remain controversial. U.S. skeptics have been mostly unsuccessful in recreating the Entourage Effect in the lab (Finlay DB, 2020). However, new research is beginning to emerge which validates the Entourage Effect. It is our postulation (and Russo’s) the scientific community is struggling to recreate nature. This fact does not invalidate its existence, but rather highlights the limits of man’s capabilities at any given time.
Russo’s research offers a foundational explanation as to why cannabis has been used for such a wide variety of health conditions. If the Entourage Effect is clinically proven (current prohibition blocks any human trials), it could dramatically alter our approach to health and wellness. Currently in the West, we approach medicine symptomatically and in isolation. The Entourage Effect could prove why a holistic approach is superior to current, conventional methods.
The cannabis plant and the ECS has existed longer than the human species has walked this Earth. Their co-evolution could be the linchpin to better understanding our relationship to nature and how we can achieve more vibrant and healthy lives. Join us on our quest to validate natural alternative medicines for the twenty-first century.
B., H. (2010). Phytotherapeutic uses of essential oils. Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications., 315-52.
Berna, F. G. (2019, April 08). Alternative or complementary attitudes toward alternative and complementary medicines. BMC Complement Altern Med, 19. doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-019-2490-z
Casano, S. G. (2011). TERPENE PROFILES OF DIFFERENT STRAINS OF CANNABIS SATIVA L. Acta Hortic, 925, 115-121. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.925.15
Chung H, F. A.-M. (2019). Cannabidiol binding and negative allosteric modulation at the cannabinoid type 1 receptor in the presence of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol: An In Silico. PLoS One, 14(7). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0220025
Cox-Georgian D, R. N. (2019). Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes. Medicinal Plants., 333-359. doi:doi:10.1007/978-3-030-31269-5_15, 333-359
Di Marzo, V. P. (2016). The Endocannabinoid System and its Modulation by Phytocannabinoids. Neurotherapeutics 12, 692–698 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0374-6. Neurotherapeutics, 12, 692–698. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0374-6
do Vale TG, F. E. (2002, Dec 9). Central effects of citral, myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) n.e. Brown. Phytomedicine., 9(8), 709-14. doi: 10.1078/094471102321621304.
Finlay DB, S. K. (2020). Terpenoids From Cannabis Do Not Mediate an Entourage Effect by Acting at Cannabinoid Receptors. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11, 359. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00359
Fox, S. P. (2010, March 24). Pew Research Center. Retrieved from Chronic Disease and The Internet: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2010/03/24/health-information/
Gallup . (2019, July ). The Short Answer. Retrieved from Gallup: https://news.gallup.com/poll/284135/percentage-americans-smoke-marijuana.aspx
Ghelardini C, G. N. (2010, May- Jul ). Local anaesthetic activity of beta-caryophyllene. Farmaco., 56(5-7), 387-9. doi: doi: 10.1016/s0014-827x(01)01092-8.
Guzmán-Gutiérrez, S. B.-J.-C.-C. (2015). Linalool and β-pinene exert their antidepressant-like activity through the monoaminergic pathway. Life Sciences, 24-9. doi:doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2015.02.021.
Hansen MM, J. R. (2017, Jul 28). Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing) and Nature Therapy: A State-of-the-Art Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health., 14(8), 851. doi:10.3390/ijerph14080851
Harrison, T. (2019, Feb). Investor Presentation. Retrieved from CB1 Capital Management: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c122da99d5abb6b0e78cda4/t/5c8f609724a694aa88c17faf/1552900308552/CB1Cap-Investors-2019-02.pdf.
Heitman, S. (2019, July 27). LOCALiQ. Retrieved from https://localiq.com: https://localiq.com/blog/cannabis-marketing/
Hillig KW, M. P. (2004). A chemotaxonomic analysis of cannabinoid variation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae). Am J Bot, 91(6 ), 966-75. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.6.966
Ito K, I. M. (2013). The sedative effect of inhaled terpinolene in mice and its structure-activity relationships. J Nat Med., 67(4), 833-7. doi: 10.1007/s11418-012-0732-1.
Jones, J. M. (2021, August). Politics. Retrieved from Gallup: https://news.gallup.com/poll/353645/nearly-half-adults-tried-marijuana.aspx
Jürg Gertsch, M. L.-Z.-Q.-H. (2008, July 1). Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. PNAS , 105(26), 9909-9104. doi:doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0803601105
Kim MJ, Y. K. (2014, May). Chemical composition and anti-inflammation activity of essential oils from Citrus unshiu flower. Nat Prod Commun., 9(5), 727-30. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25026734/
Klauke AL, R. I. (2014, April). The cannabinoid CB₂ receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts analgesic effects in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol., 24(4), 608-20. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2013.10.008.
KnowledgePanel®, Ipsos. (2020, September 15). Axios-Ipsos poll: Distrusting Big Pharma and the FDA. Retrieved from https://www.axios.com/axios-ipsos-poll-distrusting-pharma-fda-coronavirus-index-7605a67b-606d-4e0a-b85f-1887147aa8f8.html
Komiya M, T. T. (2006, Sep 25). Lemon oil vapor causes an anti-stress effect via modulating the 5-HT and DA activities in mice. Behav Brain Res., 172(2), 240-9. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2006.05.006.
LaVigne, J. H. (2021). Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity. Sci Rep 11, 8232 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-87740-8. Science Reports, 11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-87740-8
LaVigne, J., Hecksel, R., Keresztes, A., & Streicher, J. (2020). Cannabis sativa Terpenes are Cannabimimetic and Provide Support for the Entourage Effect Hypothesis. bioRxiv. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.22.350868
Lee GY, L. C. (2017). Amelioration of Scopolamine-Induced Learning and Memory Impairment by α-Pinene in C57BL/6 Mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. doi:10.1155/2017/492681
Lemberger L, M. R. (1973). Comparative pharmacology of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and its metabolite, 11-OH-Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol. J Clin Invest., 52(10). doi:doi: 10.1172/JCI107431.
Lewis, A., Russo, E., & Smith, K. (2018). Pharmacological Foundations of Cannabis Chemovars. Planta Medica, 84 (04), 225-233. doi:10.1055/s-0043-122240
Liktor-Busa, E. K.-M. (2021, Oct). Analgesic Potential of Terpenes Derived from Cannabis sativa. Pharm Rev., 73(4), 98-126. doi:10.1124/pharmrev.120.000046
Lopez, C. D. (2021, Feb 15). State Medical Cannabis Laws Associated With Reduction in Opioid Prescriptions by Orthopaedic Surgeons in Medicare Part D Cohort,. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,, 29(4), e188-e197. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-19-00767
Marco EM, P.-A. L. (2004). Involvement of 5-HT1A receptors in behavioural effects of the cannabinoid receptor agonist CP 55,940 in male rats. Behavioral Pharmacology. doi:10.1097/00008877-200402000-00003
Mechoulam, R., Devane, W., Hanus, L., Breuer, Pertwee, Stevenson, R., . . . Etinger, A. (1992). Isolation and structure of a brain constituent that binds to the cannabinoid receptor. Science. doi:10.1126/science.1470919
Miyazawa M, Y. C. (2005, Mar 9). Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity by bicyclic monoterpenoids. J Agric Food Chem., 9(5), 1765-8. doi:10.1021/jf040019b.
Moore, B. (2021, June 3). Member Blog. Retrieved from National Cannabis Industry Association: https://thecannabisindustry.org/member-blog-nevada-and-las-vegas-cannabis-market-analysis/
Osborne GB, F. C. (2008). Understanding the motivations for recreational marijuana use among adult Canadians. Subst Use Misuse., 43((3-4)), 539-72. doi:doi: 10.1080/10826080701884911
Pacher, P., Bátkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2006). The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy. Pharmacological Reviews, 58(3), 389-462. doi: https://doi.org/10.1124/pr.58.3.2
Pereira I, S. P. (2018, Nov 1 ). Linalool bioactive properties and potential applicability in drug delivery systems. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces., 30(171), 566-78. doi:10.1016/j.colsurfb.2018.08.001.
Rao VS, M. A. (1990, Dec). Effect of myrcene on nociception in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol., 42(12), 877-8. doi:10.1111/j.2042-7158.1990.tb07046.x.
Rogerio AP, A. E. (2009). Preventive and therapeutic anti-inflammatory properties of the sesquiterpene alpha-humulene in experimental airways allergic inflammation. Br J Pharmacol., 158(4), 1074-87. doi:10.1111/j.14, 158(4):1074-1087.
Russo EB, M. J. (2017). Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads. Adv Pharmacol, 67-134. doi:doi: 10.1016/bs.apha.2017.03.004.
Russo, E. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163, 1344-1364. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
Russo, E. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), 154-165. Retrieved from https://www.liebertpub.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1089%2Fcan.2016.0009
Russo, E. (2018). Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 12, 51. doi:10.3389/fnint.2018.00051
Russo, E. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Frontiers in plant science, 9(1969). doi:10.3389/fpls.2018.01969
Russo, E., & Geoffrey, G. (2006). A tale of two cannabinoids: The therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Medical Hypotheses, 66(2), 234-246. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2005.08.026.
Smith SC, W. M. (2014). Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) revisited: can this concept explain the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? Neuro Endocrinology Letters, 35(3), 198-201. Retrieved from https://europepmc.org/article/med/24977967
Souto-Maior, F. d. (2011). Anxiolytic-like effects of inhaled linalool oxide in experimental mouse anxiety models. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior., 100(2), 259-63. doi:doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2011.08.029.
Surendran S, Q. F. (2021, Jul 19). Myrcene-What Are the Potential Health Benefits of This Flavouring and Aroma Agent?. Front Nutr., 699666. doi:10.3389/fnut.2021.699666, 8:699666.
Williams, B. (2021, January 8). Teetotalism – Why Generation Z is choosing good, clean fun. Retrieved from Flux Trends: https://www.fluxtrends.com/teetotalism-why-generation-z-is-choosing-good-clean-fun/
Yu L, Y. J. (2017). D-limonene exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in an ulcerative colitis rat model via regulation of iNOS, COX-2, PGE2 and ERK signaling pathways. Mol Med Rep., 15(4), 2339-46. doi: doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.6241.
Zagzoog, A. M. (2020). In vitro and in vivo pharmacological activity of minor cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa. Scientific Reports, 10. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77175-y
Zia, S. (2020). “Cannabis Use Among Older Adults is on The Rise Risks.”. Retrieved from Stat News: https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/24/cannabis-use-among-older-adults-is-on-the-rise-study-says/. February 24, 2020.