The cannabis community has grasped the importance of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, but a different part of the cannabis plant, Terpenes, is taking front and center as people become true connoisseurs of cannabis.
Enter terpenes, one of the most miraculous parts of the cannabis plant.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes aren’t new to plant science. We’re surrounded by terpenes every day in the foods we eat, and in some of the products we use that are enhanced by terpenes such as cosmetics and household cleaning products.
Terpenes are the metabolites in cannabis that create the aroma and flavor of the plant.
When isolated on their own from plants, certain terpenes can produce therapeutic effects. For instance, linalool, which is found in lavender provides soothing effects, which is why many choose this essential oil for relaxation. On the other hand, pinene, found in pine needles, dill, parsley, and many other things is believed to give off a scent that is energizing and invigorating.
In cannabis, terpenes are the building blocks of the scent and aroma of the plant, providing the foundation for cannabinoids. Every cannabis plant and strain has unique terpenes that determine the smell and taste of the dried buds when lit, which is what leads many people to follow their nose when choosing the cannabis strain for them.
Each cannabis plant has unique terpenes that determine the smell and taste of the dried buds; this is why you may find that certain cannabis tastes or smell differently. Terpenes also produce certain medicinal and therapeutic benefits.
Here are some common terpenes being celebrated in cannabis:
Earthy, woody, and spicy, humulene is found in cannabis as well as basil, hops, and coriander. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and can be utilized as a pain reliever and tonic.
Limonene is one of the most common terpenes that has widespread familiarity. Limonene can be found in foods, fragrances, and some household cleaners. Limonene is known for its citrus aroma and taste in cannabis, and it’s also found in peppermint, juniper, and of course citrus rinds. Limonene is explored for its powerful effects on the gastrointestinal system’s overall health as well as for its antidepressant, anxiolytic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s been said that limonene also helps with mental focus, concentration, and clarity.
Linalool gives off a spicy and floral scent and flavor. It’s found in common plants and herbs like lavender, mint, cinnamon, and rosewood. It’s celebrated for its sedative and calming effects and has been a popular sleep aid for centuries. Linalool is also revered for its anti-depressant, anxiolytic, and anti-inflammatory properties, offering pain relief.
Commonly found in the resin of coniferous trees like the pine tree, α-pinene (“Pinene”), a primary isomer, can be found in cannabis, sage, eucalyptus, olive, rosemary, and sassafras to name a few examples. Pinene has been used for centuries, acting as an antioxidant, antibacterial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory.
Found in apple, cumin, some citrus fruits, tea tree, marjoram, and oregano, Terpinolene is a smoky and woody terpene used for its sedative effects, as well as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties.
Myrcene is a terpene with a fruity, yet earthy aroma that can be found in mangoes, hops, lemongrass, thyme, and basil. One study suggested that in cannabis that contains myrcene, it can make up to 50% of the plant’s composition. Myrcene is known to be a sedative, as well as hold anti-biotic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Entourage Effect
The Entourage Effect is one of the most fascinating things about how the cannabis plant works. The Entourage Effect, first theorized in 1998 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat, refers to the synergistic action of different cannabinoids, flavonoids, fatty acids and terpenes when acting on receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This means that when these compounds work together, greater effects are produced, with each increasing the effectiveness of the other.
Many CBD and cannabis products on the market today are isolated compounds, meaning that they contain only one or two cannabinoids, commonly either CBD and THC. To see the Entourage Effect come to effect, opt for full-spectrum compounds that include multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty-acids.
Terpenes are just as important as cannabinoids when choosing the right cannabis for you to get the desired effects. Your nose is a great indicator, so where possible, smell your cannabis products to get an idea of how it’ll be enjoyed. Explore different terpenes while you explore your strains to truly become a connoisseur of cannabis.
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