Who is Dr. Ethan Russo?
Dr. Ethan Russo, is a cannabis pioneer. Peter Brady, in an article for Cannabis Culture titled, "Ethan Russo: A Pot Pioneer," explained him as follows: "Aside from being an ethnobotanist who has just written a book about the medicinal uses of psychotropic herbs, Russo attended medical school in France and the United States, and now has two decades experience as a pioneering neurologist helping children and adult patients in Missoula, Montana. He specializes in child neurology, migraines and chronic pain."
He has delivered a great amount of research and validated science to the cannabis discussion; he is our main source of inspiration when it comes to our obsession with terpenes.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzRIZbzRyzE] "In this video, Dr. Ethan Russo speaks at the Second Clinical Cannabis Therapeutics Conference in Portland, OR (2002). He recounts major studies on the use of marijuana by different populations; Beginning with the India Hemp Drugs Commission in 1893, Dr. Russo reports that every study came to basically the same conclusion: Society has no cause for concern regarding the effects of Cannabis use on health or crime, and in fact, it has many positives - like medicinal value, spiritual traditions, and productivity. Dr. Russo also debunks the myth that today's marijuana is stronger than 1970's marijuana. Dr. Russo cites a great reference book for further study: "Marijuana Myths; Marijuana Facts", by Lynn Zimmer and Dr. John Morgan.
Now that you know a bit more about him - let's dive into a study he published back in 2011. In the study, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, he examines the synergy between cannabinoids and terpenoids, and coins the phrase "entourage effect" to explain the complexity of the cannabis plant's remarkable therapeutic value.
"Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been the primary focus of cannabis research since 1964, when Raphael Mechoulam isolated
and synthesized it. More recently, the synergistic contributions of cannabidiol to cannabis pharmacology and analgesia have been scientifically demonstrated. Other phytocannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabigerol and cannabichromene, exert additional effects of therapeutic interest. Innovative conventional plant breeding has yielded cannabis chemotypes expressing high titres of each component for future study. This review will explore another echelon of phytotherapeutic agents, the cannabis terpenoids: limonene, myrcene, α-pinene, linalool, β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol and phytol. Terpenoids share a precursor with phytocannabinoids, and are all flavour and fragrance components common to human diets that have been designated Generally Recognized as Safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. Terpenoids are quite potent, and affect animal and even human behaviour when inhaled from ambient air at serum levels in the single digits ng·mL−1. They display unique therapeutic effects that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts. Particular focus will be placed on phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Scientific evidence is presented for non-cannabinoid plant components as putative antidotes to intoxicating effects of THC that could increase its therapeutic index. Methods for investigating entourage effects in future experiments will be proposed. Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy, if proven, increases the likelihood that an extensive pipeline of new therapeutic products is possible from this venerable plant."