The hemp plant, which contains terpenes.

We likely don't have to tell you that the interest in cannabis is seemingly growing by the day. 

With the increasing conversation surrounding the cannabis sativa plant, more and more people have shown interest in knowing as much about it as possible.

This want for knowledge has people talking about terpenes. A mere five years ago, the word "terpenes" was unknown to many cannabis users, even though they were continually experiencing the effects of terpenes.

Now, "terpenes" is quickly becoming a term that cannabis consumers are using to make sure they get the exact product they are looking for.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis its range of varieties and distinctive flavors like citrus, mint, berry, and pine.

In other words, these organic compounds are what cause each cannabis strain to have a different scent.

There are over 100 terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis plant. They develop in the same glands that produce cannabinoids, the most commonly known of which are the cannabinoid THC and the cannabinoid CBD.

Every cannabis strain has a unique terpene type and composition. For instance, you can find a cannabis strain with terpenes that give the cannabis a cheese-like smell, a distinct scent that cheese aficionados would no doubt love. You can also find a cannabis strain that remarkably has the smell of blueberries, another unique scent that some may gravitate to. 

This is one of the reasons why there are so many cannabis varieties to choose from--so that there's something for everyone available.

Cannabis terpenes and blueberries on a table.

But besides providing unique aromas for different cannabis varieties, terpenes are responsible for so much more.

Like other plants, the cannabis plant naturally creates terpenes in order to repel insects. Many factors influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including climate, weather, maturation, fertilizers used, soil type, and time of day.

Why Terpenes Are Important

Terpenes can make all the difference in the way cannabinoids bind to the receptors in the brain, and therefore influence the effects and health benefits that an individual experiences.

The diverse characteristics of terpenes and each cannabis plant are incredibly interesting, but perhaps the most fascinating part of terpenes are what they can do when combined.

The interaction of different terpenes with other compounds such as cannabinoids within the cannabis plant is proving to have incredible effects for the consumer. In fact, cannabinoids and terpenes work together to boost and specifically change the effects of one another in the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Additionally, experts can specifically breed terpenes to contain high levels of THC (the cannabinoid known for its psychoactive effects) as well as strains that have very small levels of THC.

Many people considered THC the only chemical of psychoactive importance in cannabis for a long time. Now, with the abilities to change the effects for specific medical benefits, other components, such as the cannabinoid CBD are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

While there have been well over 100 identified terpenes in the cannabis plant, the following 8 terpenes are the most commonly found.

We've provided a terpene profile for each one to help you learn about its scent and potential health benefits.

+Alpha-Pinene

Aroma:

Pine | Pine trees

Potential Effects:

  • Maintaining normal alertness

  • Promoting relaxation

  • Supporting normal memory recall

  • Counteracting some effects of THC

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Helping with occasional discomfort

  • Supporting a healthy inflammatory response

  • Fighting free radicals

Also Found in:

  • Pine needles

  • Rosemary

  • Basil

  • Parsley

  • Dill

+Myrcene

Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene found in cannabis and so is a common terpene you'll find in cannabis varieties. Additionally, experts claim the myrcene concentration dictates whether a strain will have effects of an energetic cannabis sativa or the effects of a sedative cannabis indica.

Aroma:

  • Cardamom

  • Cloves

  • Musky

  • Earthy

  • Herbal

Potential Effects:

  • Helping maintain calmness

  • Promoting relaxation

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Helping with occasional discomfort

  • Supporting a healthy inflammatory response

Also Found in:

  • Mango

  • Lemongrass

  • Thyme

  • Hops

+Limonene

Aroma:

Citrus | Citrus fruits

Potential Effects:

  • Helping manage normal stress

  • Promoting relaxation

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Helping maintain normal emotional balance

  • Helping with occasional discomfort

  • Supporting a healthy inflammatory response

  • Fighting free radicals

Also Found in:

  • Fruit rinds

  • Rosemary

  • Juniper

  • Peppermint

Cannabis terpenes, lemons, and hemp plant leaves on a table.

+Beta-Caryophyllene

Aroma:

  • Pepper

  • Spicy

  • Woody

  • Cloves

Potential Effects:

  • Helping manage normal stress

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Helping maintain normal emotional balance

  • Helping with occasional discomfort

  • Supporting a healthy inflammatory response

Also Found in:

  • Black pepper

  • Cloves

  • Cinnamon

+Linalool

Aroma:

Floral

Potential Effects:

  • Promoting relaxation

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Promoting normal healthy brain activity

  • Supporting normal brain and nerve function

  • Helping maintain normal emotional balance

  • Helping with occasional discomfort

  • Supporting a healthy inflammatory response

Also Found in:

Lavender

+Humulene

Aroma:

  • Hops

  • Woody

  • Earthy

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Supporting a healthy inflammatory response

Also Found in:

  • Hops

  • Coriander

  • Cloves

  • Basil

+Ocimene

Aroma:

  • Sweet

  • Herbal

  • Woody

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Promoting the body's innate resistance to pathogens

Also Found in:

  • Mint

  • Parsley

  • Pepper

  • Basil

  • Mangoes

  • Orchids

  • Kumquats

+Terpinolene

Aroma:

  • Piney

  • Floral

  • Herbal

Potential Effects:

  • Promoting relaxation

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Promoting the body's innate resistance to pathogens

Also Found in:

  • Nutmeg

  • Tea tree

  • Conifers

  • Apples

  • Cumin

  • Lilacs

Terpenes beside two bottles of CBD oil.

Terpenes and The Entourage Effect

Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system or "ECS." Similar to the immune system, the ECS helps protect, regulate, and restore the body. The balanced presence of terpenes and cannabinoids in CBD products like full spectrum CBD oil encourages the ECS to operate at a higher and more efficient level, promoting overall homeostasis in the body.

What's particularly exciting is that specialists are able to manipulate the terpenes in order to achieve different effects.

For example, myrcene increases the effects of the cannabinoid THC, which can promote relaxation and supporting a healthy inflammatory response. It can also fight free radicals and help with occasional discomfort. myrcene also can reduce resistance in the blood-brain barrier, which therefore enables easier passage of other beneficial chemicals.

Each terpene has its own unique ways that it can benefit an individual. However, when terpenes pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene are combined, the result is an incredibly effective formula that can help people maintain calmness and a normal emotional balance.

Additionally, when specialists combine terpenes linalool and limonene with the cannabinoid CBD, they are finding results that prove it to be powerful in supporting skin health. And THC with CBN has shown to promote relaxation in individuals.

What is Whole Plant Medicine?

Whole plant extractions typically include CBD, THC, and more than 400 naturally occurring trace compounds.

Again, this is where The Entourage Effect comes into play. Many experts believe (and studies continue to support) that the potential health benefits of the whole cannabis plant are larger than the sum of its parts.

This is why full spectrum CBD products, which contain a variety of naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, have been shown to provide more substantial results than CBD isolate products, which simply consist of CBD on its own.

Terpenes: A Final Thought

The conversation surrounding marijuana, hemp, and the cannabis plant from which both varieties are derived continues to grow.

Fortunately, we live in a time when there's a plethora of instant information available at our fingertips if we have any questions about cannabis and its many potential benefits.

However, even with all of this information available, there is still a fair amount of uncertainty and miscommunication surrounding the cannabis plant. Many people are still wary when it comes to just how helpful cannabis truly can be and are still learning about the powerful benefits cannabinoids and terpenes can provide.

By continuing the dialogue around cannabis and committing to continuously educate ourselves, however, we can put an end to the stigma surrounding the plant and potentially change lives by doing so.

Terpenes FAQs

What are terpenes? What is terpenes? What are terpenes in CBD? What are CBD terpenes? How to use terpenes?

Sources 

https://www.heylocannabis.com/post/what-are-terpenes

https://www.projectcbd.org/science/terpenes/terpenes-and-entourage-effect

https://hightimes.com/guides/what-are-terpenes

https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-and-cbd/

https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/cbd-vs-thc/

https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/cbd-isolate-vs-full-spectrum-cbd-oil/

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