Headspace Sensory Smell Study Achieves Wide Attention as New Science Challenges Traditional Cannabis Concepts

FORT COLLINS, Colorado, July 10, 2018 -- Headspace Sensory LLC’s groundbreaking sniff-study of cannabis strain aroma, published just five months ago in PLOS ONE, has already been downloaded over 500 times and viewed nearly 3,000 times.

Company found Avery N. Gilbert, PhD, attributes the attention the study is receiving to a larger trend in cannabis science. “In recent months, there have been large-scale studies looking at strain differences in genetics, terpene content, and cannabinoid levels. Our work on aroma profiles fits into this bigger picture.”

Gilbert believes the new, data-driven approach will have a major impact on the traditional way of classifying cannabis cultivars. “Until now, standard practice has been to describe strains as being sativa, indica, or a hybrid type. These classifications aren’t based on a clear, objective standard, but on received wisdom, oral history, and proprietary knowledge, all of which vary greatly in reliability. The new science shows that the sativa / indica / hybrid framework is pretty flimsy. There are other, more objective ways to characterize strains, using chemical, genetic, and sensory data.”

Despite approaching strain differences from completely different scientific directions, the new studies arrive at a similar conclusion. Says Gilbert, “There are over 600 named cultivars that display an enormous range of chemistry, genetics, and aroma. Yet these new studies converge on one theme: strains can be organized into a handful of groups–two to five, depending on the variable measured. There is great diversity in cannabis, but the underlying patterns are fairly simple.”

Gilbert expects that the new science will change how cannabis is described and marketed. “The industry has been trapped in sativa / indica / hybrid thinking for a long time. The new data opens up alternative and possibly more useful ways to characterize a strain. It could make it easier for consumers to find their way to a strain that’s right for them. It will give the industry more accurate, yet more nuanced, means to describe the product. It’s going to be exciting.”

 

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About Headspace Sensory, LLC

Headspace Sensory is a privately held startup based in Fort Collins, Colorado, founded in 2016 by well-known smell psychologist and entrepreneur Avery N. Gilbert, PhD. The company is pioneering the sensory evaluation of cannabis to bring consumers, growers, and dispensaries into the conversation about strain-specific aroma. It uses quantitative methods and an authoritative olfactory lexicon to create data-based aroma profiles for dried cannabis flower for many of the most popular commercial strains.

For more information about Headspace Sensory, visit http://www.headspacesensory.com

Send media inquiries to media@headspacesensory.com

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Headspace Sensory Founder Avery Gilbert Presents New Cannabis Aroma Study

FORT COLLINS, Colorado, April 18, 2018 -- Headspace Sensory LLC announced today that founder Avery N. Gilbert, PhD, will present results of a new study of cannabis strain aroma today at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences in Bonita Springs, Florida.

The new study follows Headspace Sensory’s ground-breaking report published February 5th in the peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal PLOS ONE. That study found that cannabis consumers can reliably describe the aroma of different cannabis strains such as Durban Poison and Lemon Diesel, when using a check-all-that-apply ballot of odor adjectives.

According to Gilbert, the new study confirms and extends the original results. “We asked regular consumers to sniff dried flower, but this time they rated each odor descriptor on a numerical scale. This gives us better precision in creating strain-specific aroma profiles.”

The rating technique in the new study is one widely used in the fragrance and flavor industry to quantify consumer impressions of smell and taste. It enables researchers to determine how even closely similar aroma profiles differ from one another in small but telling ways.

Gilbert says the new results will enable Headspace Sensory to commercialize a proprietary aroma rating system for cannabis. “We can give consumers, growers, and retailers a reliable way to discuss each strain in terms of sensory impression. Smell is central to the cannabis purchase and use experience, but until now its been done informally and subjectively.”

Beyond improving the retail experience—especially online, where pre-purchase sniffing is not possible—Gilbert hopes to elevate the conversation about cannabis. “The aroma differences from strain to strain are simply remarkable. I want to see the aesthetics of cannabis talked about at the same level we discuss beer and wine.”

The study reported here, “Quantitative Sensory Description of Strain-specific Cannabis Aroma Profiles,” was carried out by smell scientist Dr. Avery N. Gilbert and analytical chemist Dr. Joseph A. DiVerdi. It will be presented at the poster session on Wednesday evening, April 18, 2018. 

A PDF of the poster can be downloaded here.

 

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Headspace Sensory on Twitter

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About Headspace Sensory, LLC

Headspace Sensory is a privately held startup based in Fort Collins, Colorado, founded in 2016 by well-known smell psychologist and entrepreneur Avery N. Gilbert, PhD. The company is pioneering the sensory evaluation of cannabis to bring consumers, growers, and dispensaries into the conversation about strain-specific aroma. It uses quantitative methods and an authoritative olfactory lexicon to create data-based aroma profiles for dried cannabis flower for many of the most popular commercial strains.

For more information about Headspace Sensory, visit http://www.headspacesensory.com

Send media inquiries to media@headspacesensory.com

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Headspace Sensory LLC Publishes the First Ever Scientific Study of Cannabis Strain Aroma

FORT COLLINS, Colorado, Feb. 5, 2018 -- Headspace Sensory LLC, a company dedicated to the olfactory analysis of cannabis, today announced the publication of the first scientific study of strain differences in cannabis aroma. The study appears in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal PLOS ONE.

“Smell plays a key role in how people experience cannabis,” said Headspace Sensory founder and managing member Avery N. Gilbert, PhD, the study’s lead author. “Each strain has its own aroma and the range of smells across strains is extraordinary—it rivals that found in different wines.”

The study, conducted in Colorado where adult recreational use has been legal since 2014, examined eleven cannabis strains, including such popular varieties as OG Kush, Durban Poison, and Lemon Diesel. Volunteers, all over the age of 21, sniffed samples of dried cannabis flower and rated them on a ballot of odor descriptors.

The consumer panelists found big strain to strain differences in aroma. Statistical analysis revealed a broad pattern in the data. “We found two basic aroma profiles,” said Gilbert. “One is characterized as earthy, woody, and herbal, and the other is described as citrus, lemon, sweet, and pungent.”

Study participants were also asked to estimate the psychoactive potency of each strain, based solely on how it smelled. The citrus, lemon, sweet, and pungent strains were judged to be more potent than the earthy, woody, and herbal ones. This perception had little to do with the THC content of the respective samples. “The actual amount of THC in each sample had no bearing on smell-based perceptions of potency,” said Gilbert, who believes the result has implications for the marketing and branding of cannabis. “Consumer preconceptions are important and the industry needs to understand them.”

Gilbert said Headspace Sensory is already mapping the aroma profiles of additional strains. He believes this information will be useful to all sides of the rapidly growing industry. “Cannabis users are totally into the smell of it, and they need a reliable guide to nose their way through hundreds of available strains. Growers and breeders need reliable data to create aromatic strains that appeal to specific consumer preferences. Our goal at Headspace Sensory is to begin a whole new conversation about smell.”

The study reported here, “Consumer perceptions of strain differences in Cannabis aroma,” was written by smell scientist Dr. Avery N. Gilbert and analytical chemist Dr. Joseph A. DiVerdi. Full copies of the study can be downloaded for free at the PLOS ONE website:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0192247

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About Headspace Sensory, LLC

Headspace Sensory is a privately held startup based in Fort Collins, Colorado, founded in 2016 by well-known smell psychologist and entrepreneur Avery N. Gilbert, PhD. The company is pioneering the sensory evaluation of cannabis to bring consumers, growers, and dispensaries into the conversation about strain-specific aroma. It uses quantitative methods and an authoritative olfactory lexicon to create data-based aroma profiles for dried cannabis flower for many of the most popular commercial strains.

For more information about Headspace Sensory LLC, visit http://www.headspacesensory.com

Send media inquiries to media@headspacesensory.com

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