Expanded safety program to underline True Terpenes’ unmatched commitment to science, research, and safety in creating a stronger industry
In the wake of OLCC actions, company looks ahead to create partnerships with regulatory agencies nationwide with goal of setting the industry standard for science-driven testing and analysis
PORTLAND, Oregon – December 21, 2020 – True Terpenes, the leading global platform for terpenes innovation, research, and development, today announced the expansion of its Testing and Safety Program. The company hired Shawna Vreeke, Ph.D. as its first Senior R&D Chemist to spearhead the Program in early August 2020, building on its long-standing commitment to public safety, including the first company to feature GMP/ISO certifications, and the most stringent safety testing program in the terpene industry with the lowest allowable levels of contaminants.
In a role not typically found at companies servicing the cannabis industry, Dr. Vreeke is responsible for investigating each compound used in True Terpenes products and identifying potential health risks associated with its common end uses. While True Terpenes is a B2B supplier and does not manufacture consumer goods, True Terpenes expects to build the most robust database of safety information in the terpene industry, and support policy-makers with pragmatic and specific guidelines to advance public safety, establish standards for testing in real-world scenarios, and provide consistent regulatory frameworks informed by science.
The company is addressing evident gaps in the science and research surrounding the safety of cannabis products and using these findings to inspire finished goods that optimize these discoveries. Dr. Vreeke’s complete safety analysis of True Terpenes’ products is underway, and initial results will be available in early 2021. The initial analysis includes a comprehensive review of available literature, thermal degradation, and exposure limits to create guidelines that will be shared with regulators to support future safety testing programs and regulations. True Terpenes remains committed to taking meaningful steps every day toward an even more full understanding of the plant and its interactions with ingredients and hardware used in various manufactured products and delivery systems.
“We have seen some questionable data used to make conclusions and often the results are incomplete and not representative of real-world use,” said Shawna Vreeke, Senior R&D Chemist at True Terpenes. “In my new position, I will be setting the highest standard for testing and safety with True Terpenes, and publishing research that expands public knowledge of potential health risks that is critical for consumers, manufacturers, and regulators as the cannabis industry expands.” With a Ph.D. in chemistry, Vreeke brings experience in biopharmaceuticals and quality control. Dr. Vreeke earned her doctorate from Portland State University, where she received the Paul Emmet Award for Excellence in Research for her studies on electronic cigarettes’ toxin formations under Dr. Robert Strongin.
“With the continued advancement of the cannabis industry, we anticipate regulatory refinement on the state and federal level, as we’ve seen in recent months,” said True Terpenes CEO Chris Campagna. “As industry leaders, we believe that we are in a unique position to help regulators use proper test methodology and sound science in their decision-making processes. Our SAB, R&D, and Quality Assurance team has two PhDs, five Chemists with Master’s Degrees, and a Medical Doctor. We will continue to encourage regulators to leverage our internal resources and work together to make a stronger and safer industry.”
Dr. Vreeke will work in tandem with Andre Martinez, Director of Technology at True Terpenes, to ensure all findings are reflected throughout the manufacturing process, as well as identifying and implementing innovative avenues of research. As an analytical chemist, Martinez has spent the last fifteen years investigating and developing methodologies to purify natural compounds that impact human health and wellness. In his role with True Terpenes, he has sought to use the applications of science and technology to bridge the gap between product development and market execution, and established new standards and methods to expand research capabilities throughout the industry.
On a related note, following the recent regulatory actions taken by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) with respect to cannabis vape products, which banned certain purported adulterants and modified labeling requirements, True Terpenes applauded the regulatory commission on its commitment to creating a safer industry. In response, True Terpenes swiftly moved to broaden its already comprehensive safety program to further its investment in guiding the cannabis industry in safe and reliable practices.
Upon notification of the OLCC investigation, True Terpenes immediately and voluntarily contacted all affected customers and began an unprecedented partnership with the OLCC to support the regulatory agency. The company provided its research related to the additives and guidance on available data to support the OLCC’s investigation. True Terpenes also offered clarifications regarding the validity of the agency’s conclusions and presented missing data based upon real-world use scenarios.
The OLCC singularly praised True Terpenes for being helpful in its investigation and highlighting the many recognized unknowns about its analysis. “They [True Terpenes] have offered their help and assistance, and certainly without them, we could not have, as speedily, identified where their third party mix got into our market,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks.
“We see this action as the beginning of a new era of very productive cooperation between True Terpenes, policy-makers, and other key stakeholders highly invested in making the Oregon cannabis market a safer place,” said True Terpenes CEO Chris Campagna. “We see our partnership with the OLCC as the beginning of a unique and necessary relationship between True Terpenes and regulators across Oregon and throughout the country. As a relatively new and emerging marketplace, it’s vital that regulators and industry participants work together to create safer products and better-educated consumers. With an increased focus on research and data, the industry will strengthen, and so will consumer confidence.
Earlier this year, True Terpenes launched a Scientific Advisory Board to research the medical potential of terpenes and the entourage effect, where the benefits of medical cannabis can be enhanced when combined with terpenes. The Board is composed of several leading researchers, including Dr. Randall Murphy, former Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder of Metagreen. Dr. Murphy has spent a career in small molecule development for advanced medical applications in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, academic, and public sectors. The Board is led by pioneering cannabis researcher, Dr. Ethan Russo, a board-certified neurologist and trailblazing researcher of the entourage effect, minor cannabinoids, and terpene science.
About True Terpenes
True Terpenes is the industry-leading producer of terpene and terpenoid blends, manufactured in a state of the art GMP/ISO/FSSC facility. Using ultra-refined botanical terpenes and other phytocompounds, the unique blends are used for beverage, cannabis, cosmetic, food, industrial, and pharmaceutical products. The company uses advanced scientific analysis and specialized formulations to provide a scalable, safe, and legal solution for companies in various industries looking to leverage cannabis flavors and effects.
About Shawna Vreeke, Ph.D., Senior Research and Development Chemist, True Terpenes
Dr. Shawna Vreeke earned her PhD in Chemistry in 2019 for her investigation into electronic cigarettes’ toxin formation. She identified different flavor additives and devices that led to increased toxic formation within the inhaled aerosol. Shawna was awarded the Paul Emmet award for her excellence in research from Portland State University. Outside of academia, she has worked at Baxter Bioscience, a start-up biotechnology company, and her current position as a chemist at True Terpenes. Shawna is passionate about the therapeutic properties of natural products and understands the importance of developing science based guidelines to protect consumer safety.
About Andres Martinez, M.S., Director of Technology, True Terpenes
An analytical chemist by training, Andres has spent the last fifteen years of his career investigating and developing methodologies to purify natural compounds that impact human health and wellness. Andres began his work in the cannabis industry over ten years ago by investigating the entourage effect synergies between cannabis terpenes and beer. Over the last five years, Andres has expanded his focus to include the application of science and technology to bridge the gap between product development and market execution. Specifically, he has established standards and new methodologies to expand capabilities in the realm of chromatography, remediation of pesticides and isolation of minor components in complex plant matrices with the goals of maximizing longevity and increasing quality of life.
Prior, Andres amassed well over a decade of experience in both the public and private sectors, working on problems such as: drinking water remediation, heavy metals in fish, pesticides in wine, groundwater management, pesticides in foods, and proxy methods driving abrupt climate change. Andres holds a B.S and an M.S. degrees from the University of Southern California, is an avid homebrewer, and is an active participant in local youth science programs.
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