David Heldreth is the founder and CEO of Panacea Plant Sciences, an agricultural biotechnology company focusing on manipulating and increasing phytochemical yields from cannabis sativa and other high value crops.
While attending college Heldreth discovered the benefits of cannabis to treat childhood PTSD and pain from knee and other surgeries. He got his first medical cannabis recommendation in 2003. He initially attempted to openly advocate for cannabis at City Council and government meetings after returning to his hometown as a journalist. Due to conflicts with advocacy and journalism, he eventually left the field to work in medical cannabis cultivation and education in California.
Heldreth’s work cultivating and educating patients with medical cannabis collectives led him to the Werc Shop and Jeffrey Raber, pioneers in cannabis analytical testing. Werc Shop and Raber were offering terpene and cannabinoid profiling services to growers in 2012. These early tests alerted Heldreth to the existence of terpenes, cannabidiol, the entourage effect and the numerous other compounds the plant created. The ability to test for terpenes allowed him to give patients a more reproducible experience and to identify what was helping them in these varieties. The knowledge of terpenes and ability to test for them also led Heldreth to develop Panacea Plant Sciences and formulas for cultivators to increase terpenes and cannabioids in cannabis. He is the inventor on a patent related to increasing cannabinoid and terpene production in cannabis sativa. Panacea Plant Sciences long term goals are to continue identifying ways to increase or refine cannabis phytochemical yields, quantify pesticide use and residue on cannabis sativa and help develop cultivation systems to reduce pesticide use while increasing yields.
Cannabis Sativa is gaining importance across the globe as the source of medicinally and industrially relevant compounds. As these compounds continue to be researched and developed they will become more valuable and methods to increase their production will become highly desirable. In this study we investigated the ability of exogenous applications of phytohormones to stimulate production of cannabinoids or terpenes and/or shift production/diversity of these compounds in Cannabis Sativa. We used genetically identical cuttings or clones of 2 cultivars (Candyland and Girl Scout Cookies) of Cannabis Sativa and cultivated them in the same environment, with temperature, CO2, soil, nutrient, light spectrum, photoperiod, substrate and related factors as control. Our treatments commenced at week 6 of flowering. We applied abscisic acid, methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid independently and in concert. Plants were harvested for inflorescences at weeks 9-12 depending on variety, cured for 4 weeks and then tested for terpene and cannabinoid profiles.