Altria Client Services has filed numerous patent applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) related to vaporizer technology, including several that mention cannabis as well as nicotine.
On August 4, the company had published three related applications that focus explicitly on the cannabis plant. More specifically, on its “flavor and aroma characteristics,” according to Cannabis Wire.
One application, titled “Terpene production in plants,” filed by Altria Client Services and the University of Virginia Patent Foundation, details the “composition and methods for the modification of the secondary metabolic functions of glandular trichomes in plants, such as tobacco or cannabis, that control the formation of terpenes that impart specific flavor and aroma characteristics to the plant leaves are provided.”
The pine or citrus smells and flavors of cannabis buds are typical terpene scents.
“Terpenoid levels in plants such as tobacco and Cannabis can be enhanced and modified by targeted manipulation of gene expression of genes in terpene biosynthetic pathways in order to improve flavor and aroma characteristics of downstream plant-based products,” the application reads.
A related application is titled, “Increasing trichome density and improving transport of metabolites in plant trichomes … terpenoids constitute the largest and most diverse class of plant metabolites,” the application reads.
“The amount of secondary metabolites produced is often tightly correlated to the glandular trichome density present on the plant epidermis,” it continues. “One way to increase the amount of secondary metabolite production in plants is to increase the density of trichomes present on the plant epidermis.”
A third related application is titled “Tissue-specific promoters in plants.”
“Due to the important role of glandular trichomes in the biosynthesis and secretion of terpenoids, there is a need for the identification of trichome-preferred, or trichome-specific, promoters and associated cis-regulatory elements,” the application reads.
Taken together, these patent applications provide the clearest picture yet of Altria’s interests and priorities when it comes to future cannabis products.
Altria’s entry into cannabis made headlines in 2019 when it acquired a significant stake in Cronos, a Canadian cannabis company.