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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Food Science

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

David Sela

Second Advisor

D. Julian McClements

Third Advisor

Jeffery Doherty

Subject Categories

Chemicals and Drugs | Food Science | Laboratory and Basic Science Research | Microbiology | Nutrition | Pharmacology


The use of plant bioactive compounds as medicinal and dietary supplements is not a new concept, however, the research regarding the efficacy of these treatments is just emerging. Cannabis is a plant with a long history of medicinal use, and within the last century has gone from being prohibited to recreationally legal in parts of the United States. The demand for cannabis is primarily due to cannabinoids, a type of molecule which are being increasingly incorporated into food products.

In a 2017 report, the National Academies stated there was substantial evidence supporting the benefit of cannabis for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. To establish the scope of research that has investigated cannabidiol (CBD) and another type of gastrointestinal function, intestinal motility, a systematic review was performed. This revealed there is promising pre-clinical evidence supporting an effect of CBD on intestinal motility, however, clinical trials have not found a benefit.

Cannabinoid research has, in part, been difficult to interpret due to a lack of standardization. Thus, a methodical approach in studying cannabigerol (CBG) was undertaken by investigating the impact of dietary intake and delivery vehicle on the pharmacokinetic profile. It was predicted that dietary fat and emulsification would enhance CBG absorption due to the lipophilic nature of cannabinoids. Participants completed a double cross-over human feeding study where they ingested CBG (isolate and emulsified) and consumed either high-fat or low-fat meals. Dietary fat was found to significantly increase the total exposure (AUC) and maximum concentrations reached (Cmax). Contrary to what was predicted, it was the isolate that reached the highest Cmax and AUC. In addition, using the SCIEX Molecule Profiler software, potential CBG metabolites were identified in both plasma and stool samples.

Another plant bioactive compound of interest are cranberry proanthocyanidins (PACs). To establish the effect of PACs on a probiotic bacteria, Lactoplantibacillus plantarum, in a complex microbial community, an in vitro batch-culture fermentation was performed using stool. The characterization of the microbial community using amplicon sequencing found the enrichment of specific bacterial genera, however, production metabolites did not differ during supplementation with L. plantarum or PACs.

In summary, this work investigated the potential applications for plant bioactive components and characterized the pharmacokinetics of the minor cannabinoid CBG.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Sunday, September 01, 2024