Cannabis Delivering Distinctive Effects – Interview with Dr. Tristan Watkins Chief Science Officer LucidMood
Can you predict the moods cannabis is going to give you as an effect of consuming it? The answer is yes! In fact, the industry has been heavily exploring “effects” and how to produce the right interaction of terpenes and cannabinoids within strains given the demand for outcomes consumers are looking for.
We recently spoke with Dr. Tristan Watkins, a neuroscientist that studies how terpenes and cannabinoids interact with the nervous system and he applies this knowledge to creating cannabis formulas that deliver distinct and consistent effects.
His cannabis research began as a passion project during graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where he researched reward system activation in cannabis users and how changes in brain structure and function lead to changes in cognition and behavior – publishing six papers in the process.
Dr. Watkins currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer of LucidMood, the leading brand of functional cannabis products and we sat down with him to talk about Lucid. Here’s what he had to say:
[Q.] Dr. Tristan, what drew you to get involved in the cannabis industry?
[A.] Absolutely! I just couldn’t wrap my head around how cannabis, and THC specifically, had so many different potential benefits. It didn’t make sense that THC alone could make someone feel alert yet sleepy, less anxious yet more paranoid, and many of the other reported effects.
So I started researching the plant as a whole, beyond THC. My research quickly uncovered a world or terpenes, flavonols, and other cannabinoids.
From there, I began researching the neurobiological effects of each individual compound naturally expressed in the cannabis plant. It became clear to me that curating and formulating specific compositions — and not just relying on full-spectrum extracts — would allow the typical cannabis consumer to experience dialed and differentiated effects.
[Q.] Tell us a little bit about LucidMood and how you fit into the cannabis industry?
[A.] At LucidMood, we are always looking to create unique experiences. That’s why we formulate all of our products from the ground up, based on current and ongoing research. We believe that cannabis naturally offers a variety of effects, and that we can highlight certain effects by selecting the perfect combination of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Our products aren’t just strains, but designer highs, allowing you to fully experience any moment.
[Q.] LucidMood focuses on reducing negative side effects that cannabis can sometimes bring with it in an effort to make the experiences wholly positive. What is the process of creating specific formulations in your pens to create clearer effects?
[A.] Less is more. Cannabis naturally expresses hundreds of unique compounds and many of these compounds point towards one particular effect.
Our formulations only contain compounds that point in the same direction, making a very clear and differentiated effect. If we were to add other compounds that point in an opposing direction, you would experience a muddled and unfocused effect, almost as if you are being pulled in multiple directions.
With LucidMood, you can easily select the best option to take you wherever it is you wish to go
[Q.] That’s incredible! What have been some challenges you’ve faced in the quest to streamline mood-specific effects of cannabis?
[A.] Although there is a solid amount of peer-reviewed literature on how individual terpenes act in the body, there is very little research on how these compounds can be combined to produce unique effects or experiences.
As such, our initial R&D efforts led to a number of missteps, dead ends, and even some unexpected successes. That being said, this is an inherent aspect of any new scientific field — someone needs to be the pioneer
[Q.] When it comes to cannabis products, what do you think customers should be aware of?
[A.] The two most important things to understand are that (1) there is so much more to cannabis than THC and (2) the indica v. sativa dichotomy limits the variety of effects cannabis can deliver.
THC is really only one of many neurobiologically active ingredients found in cannabis. These other ingredients, specifically terpenes and other cannabinoids, have a significant impact on how high you feel and how you feel.
Since cannabis can make you feel so many different ways, why do we simplify cannabis down to simply indica v. sativa?
Cannabis can help you feel alert, relaxed, intimate, giggly, dazed, exuberant, and many other unique ways. Consolidating all of these unique feelings into awake (sativa) or in-da-couch (indica) does a disservice to the beautiful complexity and multifaceted benefits of cannabis.
[Q.] Why is it so important to approach cannabis products with a perspective that keeps other terpenes or botanicals in mind, rather than just focusing on THC itself?
[A.] THC is only a single note of cannabis. It is the composition of the surrounding compounds that differentiates experiences, and the products that deliver those experiences.
In the same way that a mixologist delicately balances and bolsters flavors to create a uniquely memorable cocktail, LucidMood carefully curates the perfect composition of terpenes and cannabinoids for you to create memorable experiences.
[Q.] Speaking of products, we heard you have a new version 2 lineup, launching soon. Could you tell us more?
[A.] We never quit researching and discovering new ways to bring you the best possible cannabis experiences. Our new designer highs are 2 years in the making and we are extremely excited for everyone to see and try them.
We now offer a wide range of THC:CBD ratios, meaning you can more easily control how euphoric you feel. Our terpene compositions perfectly match these ratios, allowing you to partake in a distinctly rewarding experience.
[Q.] How does the V2 differ from your current product line?
[A.] The most obvious difference is that we expanded beyond the 1:1 THC:CBD ratio.
We now offer a 1:2, 1:1, 2:1, 4:1, and 8:1, which allows you to find your perfect mood throughout the day. We dramatically upgraded our pens and carts for better performance.
Visually, our new line is a stunning mix of vibrant color gradients and geometric patterning. When it all comes together, LucidMood delivers a brighter experience.
[Q.] How will the V2 elevate experiences and how will it transcend experiences current cannabis products offer out there?
[A.] We placed a great deal of effort into finding the perfect composition of cannabinoids and terpenes to elevate any moment of your day. One of the main ways we achieve this is by using CBD to reduce many of the unwanted effects that conventional cannabis products produce.
Our curated terpene blends deliver a bright, clean, high so that you can make the most out of your plans. LucidMood is more than just about getting high; it’s about fully experiencing a moment.
[Q.] What else would you like people to know about LucidMood going forward?
[A.] This is our passion. We believe that cannabis has much more to offer than we currently know, and our goal is to simplify the complexity of the plant — for you. In our continued passion for knowledge we will continue to research and develop new ways for people to interact with our products.
Thanks for speaking with Cannabis Magazine Dr. Tristan!
Thanks for having me!
Dr. Tristan Watkins – Neuroscientist & Chief Science Officer at LucidMood