Is there an entourage effect to ethanol? Nick Fillis is on the hunt to find out.

Fillis is the co-founder of Xylem Cider Works, a Sherwood, Oregon based creator of craft hard cider. The near-mad scientist level of dedication to experimentation with flavor is what makes Fillis and Xylem especially noteworthy. The flavor experiments led to the creation of what Fillis called the “Xylem Cider Department of Research and Dankvelopment” where they have begun to add a variety of terpenes to their ciders.

As many in the medical cannabis industry are aware, terpenes are volatile hydrocarbons that create much of the smells and tastes we experience in the cannabis plant as well as basically every plant, fungi and bacteria on earth. However, terpenes are also responsible for the diverse range of physiological effects we get from cannabis. When cannabinoids such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol) interact with terpenes, the effect is often referred to as the entourage effect after a groundbreaking paper by cannabis research pioneer Ethan Russo, MD.

“…When you talk about being drunk, it’s fairly one dimensional, much like if you smoked pure THC-A. So we are investigating if there are synergies with terpenes and alcohol, like there are with cannabis and terpenes,” Fillis said. “Is that ‘entourage effect’ replicable with fermented beverages, is the real question we are trying to answer.”

After realizing the connection of terpenes existing in cannabis as well as hops, grapes and even apples, Fillis and Xylem took the project to an obvious partner, True Terpenes. Fillis and True Terpenes Director of Marketing, David McLean, have been near lifetime friends. Xylem is now utilizing True Terpenes profile mixes to combine the flavor profiles of cannabis with cider.

“There are a lot of hopped ciders in the industry, and with the hop plant and cannabis plants being cousins, we opted for a more creative and unique spin on the ‘dry hop’ style of cider,” Fillis said. “I’m super interested in how to enhance and alter flavors, and if we can boost that ‘buzzed’ feeling to give customers a new and unique experience on their palate and their state of being.”

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