Until recently, THC in cannabis was the only natural product known to interact with the human endocannabinoid system. Building on evidence that certain phytochemicals can directly or indirectly activate cannabinoid receptors (CB), my team has characterized numerous isolated triterpenes, alkylamides, and phenolics that act as CB receptor agonists or selectively interfere with endocannabinoid degrading enzymes or transport proteins. In collaboration with animal trialists, we recently confirmed these activities as a contributing in vivo mechanism of anxiolysis and analgesia.
We apply established, and develop new, biochemometric methods to identify compounds that correlate positively with activity, then target and isolate pure compounds to test for activity.
The focus of our cannabis research, including method development, is how chemistry and related bioactivity change across “strains” and through different types of processing and modes of administration. Current projects focus on the immunomodulatory effects, CB-receptor signaling, and safety of pure cannabinoids relative to different, phytochemically-defined cannabis extracts. We are also actively engaged in harm reduction and policy-focused initiatives, as well as industry R&D activities.