The Nose Knows! Study Shows Aroma Drives Cannabis Consumer Appeal

The Nose Knows! Study Shows Aroma Drives Cannabis Consumer Appeal
HIghtimes main

While it’s not uncommon for consumers to immediately go for the strain with the highest THC test results, a new study finds that aroma is the driving force behind the cannabis consumer experience. The study, “The Nose Knows: Aroma, but Not THC Mediates the Subjective Effects of Smoked and Vaporized Cannabis Flower,” published November 8 in the journal Psychoactives, is the result of years of work led by the research team, including breeder and cultivator Jeremy Plumb and neurologist and medical researcher Ethan Russo, M.D. The study’s purpose is “to objectively identify features of cannabis that contribute to its appealing subjective effects,” applying scientific methods to understand what the consumer actually enjoys about the cannabis they purchase. Researchers gathered consumer response data from 276 “judges” given eight to 10 samples from a selection of 278 Oregon-grown, organic craft cultivars. The study confirmed that the “strongest contribution to subjective appeal… was pleasant subjective aroma.” THC potency was not identified by the study as an indicator of enjoyment. In fact, the study concluded that “impairment and enjoyment are unrelated phenomena.” The paper describes a challenge to the sustainable growth of the cannabis industry and consumer health: the “potency effect of prohibition.” This phenomenon essentially means that more intense law enforcement increases the potency of prohibited substances. Following decades of criminalization, this means the market value of cannabis is largely determined by THC potency. “In many ways consumers and patients have been effectively blinded from discovering their own relationship with the particular cannabis character they prefer at any given time,” Plumb said. While there are surely consumers that simply want the strains with the highest THC possible, there is much more beneath the surface. In the same way most would agree Everclear isn’t the best alcohol just because it has the highest ABV,…

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