What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are a diverse class of organic compounds produced by plants, which give off particular aromas and healing properties. People are most familiar with using terpenes that have been extracted into essential oils often using them to for aromatherapy for their different healing properties.

There are more than 200 different types of terpenes found in cannabis plants, I high quality cannabis, about 2-5% of its weight is made up of terpenes. Some terpenes, such as pinene or myrcene, are found in abundance, while others are more rare.

In cannabis, terpenes are found within the trichomes — the frosty white hairs on the tips of cannabis bud. Terpenes are different than cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which are also contained in the trichomes, though some terpenes such as caryophyllene behave in similar ways to cannabinoids and the two substances interact in important ways.

Think of terpenes in cannabis a bit like herbs and spices in a dish: they might not be the main ingredient, but they're essential in creating a well-rounded and enjoyable meal. Same with cannabis. Just like fried chicken and chicken cacciatore are different expressions of the same type of meat, two strains from the Haze lineage can be completely different from one another, because they have different terpenes.

Terpenes can range from floral to peppery to spicy, and can incorporate notes of pine, musk, citrus, or lavender. Botanicals offer more of a straightforward terpene profile like the terpene limonene which is found in lemons.  

Cannabis terpenes can be much more complex but very interesting as they the major factor in what effect you feel from different strains of cannabis. Terpenes lend to the understanding that cannabis is far more effective beyond the amount of THC.

Fun fact: As a plant dries, in cannabis production, the terpenes oxidize and become terpenoids.

What do different terpenes do?

 

Some of the most common terpenes are linalool, limonene and myrcene. Known for being sedating and calming, linalool has hints of citrus and spice and is good for stress, anxiety and pain. Limonene has notes of citrus, lemon and orange and is said to have the ability to elevate your mood and relieve stress. Finally, myrcene offers scent profiles of musk and cloves, and is said to have antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Identifying what needs you may have when it comes to mood enhancement or even specific neurological functions, can be helpful in choosing which terpenes can work.


Pinene

The most common natural terpene in the world

 

You may know this from: Pine needles, Orange peels, Rosemary, Dill, Basil & Parsley

Smells like: Pine, forest & herbs

Reported effects: Focus, mood improvement & creativity

Potentially helps with: Alertness, Good for memory, asthma, pain, ulcers, anti inflammatory

CBD strains high in :

Silver Haze


Caryophyllene

 

The only terpene known to act as a cannabinoid, which can activate the endocannabinoid system to act as an anti-inflammatory.

 

You may know this from: Black pepper, cloves, cinnamon

Smells like: Pepper, Diesel, Spicy, Woody

Effects: Uplifting, calming, pain relieving

Potentially helps with: Stress Relief, anxiety, pain, activates cannabinoid

CBD strains high in Caryophyllene:

Super Skunk

Berlin Skunk

Silver Haze

What is Myrcene?
 

 

Also found in: Thyme, mango, and lemongrass

Smells like: cardamon, earthy, cloves

Helps with: Potential effects relaxing, sedating Health Benefit Antioxidant, may treat insomnia, pain, and inflammation

CBD strains high in Myrcene:

Vanilla Sky

Banana OG


What is Limonene?

The most common natural terpene in the world

 

 

You may know this from: lemons, limes, juniper, orange rind

Smells like: Lemon & citrus fruits

Reported effects: Uplifting, euphoria, creative

Potentially helps with: Elevates mood, stress relief, depression, focus

CBD strains high in :

Lemon Haze

Super Skunk

LA Chocolate

Silver Haze

What is Linalool?
 

 

You may know this from: sage, rosewood, lavender, birch bark

Smells like: floral, fresh, lemon & citrus fruits

Effects: calming, relaxation, pain relief

Potentially helps with: neuroprotective, Mood enhancement, sedation, May be used to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation

CBD strains high in :

Banana OG

 


What is Humulene?

 

You may know this from: Spice, Wood & Hops

Smells like: Earthy woody

Potentially helps with: anti-inflammatory

CBD strains high in :

 

What is Terpinolene?

One in ten strains is rich in terpinolene, believed to have uplifting effects

 

You may know this from: Lilacs, nutmeg & cumin

Smells like: Sweet & Floral, slightly piney

Potentially helps with: antifungal and antibacterial properties.

CBD strains high in :

 

 

Are there more terpenes?

 

  • Eucalyptol: Also known as menthol, eucalyptol occasionally shows up in cannabis and delivers a mint-y, clean smell, and is known for a soothing, calming effect.
  • Geraniol: Another rare terpene (as far as your stash bag is concerned), geraniol smells like roses, and has a soothing effect.
  • Ocimene: Sweet, herbal, and a little bit woodsy, ocimene is prized by the perfume industry and has antibacterial and antiseptic effects. It is found is mint, parsley and orchids.
 

What's the science behind terpenes in cannabis?

Terpenes are bioactive which means they affect the body, though it depends on how it is used, and the concentration. These complex compounds are also found in many of the things we eat mainly, in spices such as rosemary, basil, black pepper, cardamom.Their distant floral smells are also used in perfumes and body products.

In a study done by researcher and neurologist, Ethan Russo, found that cannabinoids and terpenes work together to boost and modulate the effects of one another. Sometimes they can counteract.

Additionally, certain cannabinoids such as CBD can interact with terpenes to increase or decrease the effects of THC. Russo writes, “The difference between an energetic and uplifting high compared to a sedating and relaxing high is at least partially a factor of the terpenes within the strain”.

Plants use terpenes to deter herbivores and attract helpful predators and pollinators. Cannabis contains high levels of terpenes that can enhance the “high”

What do terpenes do?

They are organic compounds that are found in cannabis and other plants and are known for providing unique, fragrant scent but also have therapeutic benefits.They are also naturally in some spices that we cook with and can be manipulated to achieve an array of benefits.

Depending on the amount and type of terpenes in your cannabis strain the psychological benefits could include relief from anxiety, depression, and mood enhancement as well as pain relief and helping with sleep.

Are terpenes safe?

Yes, they have been known to have a direct psychological effect on the body such as boosting serotonin levels.

It is especially important to exercise caution when vaping as using high temperature when producing vapor can be dangerous. It is recommended that you use the lowest voltage to preserve flavor and get medical benefits.

Are terpenes legal?

Yes, they are naturally occurring in plants and attract animals as well as humans. They are often used in essential oils and perfumes as well as other body products for their sweet fragrance.

They are also naturally in some spices that we cook with and can be manipulated to achieve an array of benefits.


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