You may have recently come across the less frequently used phrase “terpenes” in addition to more typical cannabis terminology like “cannabinoid,” “indica,” and “Sativa.” These are other substances discovered in marijuana.
How about terpenes, though? How crucial is it to understand the varieties and concentrations of cannabis before purchasing a product? Find out what scientists currently know by reading on.
What precisely are they?
Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical substances that can be found in some animals and plants. They’re in charge of giving many species of vegetation their distinctive smells, fragrances, and even colours. Terpenes are the compounds in cannabis that give some strains their distinctive flavour or aroma.
Additionally, they can be turned into goods like colours, insecticides, and cleaning solvents. Some even have healing qualities.
Terpenes are found in almost all plants, but some of the more popular places where individuals can find them are as follows:
- Citrus Fruits
- Sage, and Thyme
- As Well Cannabis
What effects do terpenes have on the body?
Terpenes’ aromatic characteristics have long been known. Terpenes have a variety of bright fragrances that humans have long used to create essential oils for applications like aromatherapy.
Anyone who has applied linalool-containing lavender oil behind their ears, for instance, is aware of its potential relaxation benefits. The terpenes in some cannabis strains can also enhance their effects.
Terpenes, however, seem to have effects that go beyond those that make people feel good and reduce stress. Another emerging area in cannabis treatment is terpenes.
Up until recently, attention was almost solely drawn to the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, but as our knowledge of terpenes deepens, it is becoming clear that these fragrant chemicals are also potent medical agents.
Each terpene possesses a special blend of healing qualities. Unsurprisingly, some of the impacts terpenes have on people are similar to how they work in cannabis and other plants, such as assisting in the defence against infections and undesirable bacteria.
The Therapeutic Advantages of Terpenes
Terpenes have been linked to a number of therapeutic advantages in vitro (in test tubes) and in preclinical animal investigations.
However, it should be mentioned that terpene research is still in its early stages and hasn’t been widely carried out on humans. To firmly establish our understanding of these chemicals, more study is required.
New antiviral chemicals are always being sought after by scientists. Numerous terpenes, such as alpha- and beta-pinene, caryophyllene, camphor, and carvone, may have potent antiviral effects.
The search for substances that can help suppress cancer is being driven by the rising rates of many different types of cancer. Some terpenes, including those in cannabis, have anticancer properties that can hinder the development or activity of cancer cells.
Along with other terpenes like pinene, camphor, terpinene, and beta-myrcene, limonene may be a particularly noteworthy anticancer and antitumor agent.
Terpenes may have a special advantage in treating cancer because they are unlikely to harm healthy cells or have negative side effects.
Twenty-five per cent of antidepressant medications is made with terpene-rich plant extracts. Among the several plant extracts utilised in antidepressant drugs are linalool and beta-pinene.
Many different terpenes have the potential to be antimicrobial or to stop a hazardous microbe in its tracks. Alpha-bisabolol, geraniol, menthol, eucalyptol, and terpinolene are terpenes that may aid in killing or halting the spread of microbes.
Some cannabis terpenes may imitate cannabinoids by having a pain-relieving effect, according to research.
One study from 2021 that mixed terpenes and cannabinoids found that pain-relieving effectiveness increased without an increase in adverse side effects. The entourage effect may be indicated by this interaction (more below).
Terpenes including humulene, geraniol, linalool, and -pinene may have pain-relieving properties. Fascinatingly, the aforementioned study also discovered that these terpenes stimulate CB1 receptors in the body, which are a component of the endocannabinoid system and affect how pain is perceived.
How do they stack up against CBD and THC?
Although there are more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, THC and CBD are the two most prevalent and thoroughly researched.
Terpenes and cannabinoids are two different substances, but they can both give you some indications of what to expect from a cannabis product.
However, they all seem to interact with one another in a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect,” according to researchers. This is the theory that the sensations and effects of cannabis are produced by a synergistic interaction between the “whole spectrum” of cannabis, which includes all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemicals found in cannabis.
To put it another way, the idea is that a little of everything might be better than a lot of one thing.
2010 research, For instance, Trusted Source demonstrated that CBD and THC together were more potent at treating pain than THC alone.
Breast cancer tumours in a Petri dish responded better to a cannabis extract than pure THC alone in a 2018 study trusted Source. However, terpenes were not thought to be the primary cause of those synergistic effects; rather, other cannabinoids were.
If you use CBD for therapeutic purposes, this is a crucial factor to take into account. A full-spectrum CBD product, which also contains terpenes and other cannabinoids, including trace quantities of THC, may be worth trying if you use a CBD isolate and discover it doesn’t have the intended effect.
The Three Principal Terpenes Present in Cannabis
As was previously said, cannabis contains an astounding variety of terpenes—more than 150 different kinds, to be exact. While many of these happen at concentrations that are impossible to notice, others of them are more pronounced.
The three terpenes that make up the majority of cannabis are detailed here.
Myrcene or caryophyllene predominates in the majority of cannabis strains. Herbaceous, spicy, earthy, and musky fragrance characteristics have been attributed to terpene myrcene, which is also abundant in hops and lemongrass. Cannabis has a somewhat sweet flavour profile thanks to myrcene, which is also present in mangoes.
Some cannabis strains have a spicy, peppery bite from caryophyllene, commonly known as beta-caryophyllene or -caryophyllene.
Other plants including cloves, rosemary, oregano, and black pepper contain caryophyllene as well. When you smell a specific cannabis cultivar, if you detect any of these aromas, caryophyllene is probably present.
Limonene’s name gives away the odours this terpene is known for clean, fresh, uplifting citrus-y scents. Ginger and citrus fruit rinds contain limonene, a terpene that is also prevalent in many cannabis strains with fruity, fresh aromas like Papaya Punch and Black Cherry Soda.