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Terpenes: What Are They & How They Can Help You

We likely don't have to tell you that the interest in cannabis is seemingly growing by the day. The want for knowledge has people now talking about terpenes as well. With the increasing conversation surrounding the 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, it's quickly being a term that cannabis consumers are using to make sure they get the exact product they are looking for, regardless of whether for medicinal or recreational uses.

terpenes

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, the organic compounds are what cause each strain to have a different scent. They develop in the same glands that produce cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Additionally, there are over 100 terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis plant. Every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition. For instance, there are cannabis strains like Cheese that have terpenes that give the strain a cheese-like smell. Additionally, there are strains that Blueberry that remarkably has the smell of berries. But besides providing unique aromas, 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 the cannabinoids bind to the receptors in the brain and therefore, the effects and health benefits that they can have for the individual.

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 with 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 (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 CBD are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

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

+Alpha-Pinene

Aroma:

Pine | Pine trees

Potential Effects:

  • Alertness
  • Memory retention
  • Counteracts some effects of THC

Potential Medical Use:

  • Treatment of asthma
  • Reducing pain
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Treatment of ulcers
  • Managing anxiety
  • Serves as an anti-cancer agent

Also Found in:

  • Pine needles
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Dill

+Myrcene

Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene found in cannabis. 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:

Relaxation

Potential Medical Benefits:

  • Antioxidant
  • Treatment of insomnia
  • Reducing pain
  • Decreasing inflammation

Also Found in:

  • Mango
  • Lemongrass
  • Thyme
  • Hops

+Limonene

Aroma:

Citrus | Citrus fruits

Potential Effects:

  • Elevated mood
  • Stress alleviation

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Treatment of anxiety
  • Treatment of depression
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Managing pain
  • Anti-cancer agent

Also Found in:

  • Fruit rinds
  • Rosemary
  • Juniper
  • Peppermint

+Beta-Caryophyllene

Aroma:

  • Pepper
  • Spicy
  • Woody
  • Cloves

Potential Effects:

Relieving stress

Potential Medical Benefits:

  • Treatment of pain
  • Treatment of anxiety/depression
  • Reducing and managing ulcers

Also Found in:

  • Black pepper
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon

+Linalool

Aroma:

Floral

Potential Effects:

  • Mood enhancement
  • Sedation

Potential Health Benefits:

  • Treatment of anxiety
  • Treatment of seizures
  • Treatment of depression
  • Manage insomnia
  • Easing pain
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Treatment of neurodegenerative disease

Also Found in:

Lavender

+Humulene

Aroma:

  • Hops
  • Woody
  • Earthy

Potential Medical Benefit:

Powerful anti-inflammatory effects

Also Found in:

  • Hops
  • Coriander
  • Cloves
  • Basil

+Ocimene

Aroma:

  • Sweet
  • Herbal
  • Woody

Potential Medical Benefits:

  • Antiviral
  • Anti-fungal
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiseptic
  • Decongestant

Also Found in:

  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Basil
  • Mangoes
  • Orchids
  • Kumquats

+Terpinolene

Aroma:

  • Piney
  • Floral
  • Herbal

Potential Effects:

  • Relaxing
  • Potential Medical Benefits:
  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-caner
  • Sedative

Also Found in:

  • Nutmeg
  • Tea tree
  • Conifers
  • Apples
  • Cumin
  • Lilacs

Additional Medical Benefits of Terpenes

Remarkably, many experts are finding that terpenes could produce synergy with regard to the treatment of:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections

Furthermore, with the rise in popularity of essential oils, not more and more individuals are recognizing the medical benefits of terpenes and aromatherapy. Nearly all terpenes have some sort of pain management or powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

What is The Entourage Effect

Essentially, The Entourage Effect magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components through specific, individualized interactions. Again, specialists in the field are able to manipulate the terpenes in order to achieve different effects.

For example, Myrcene increases the effects of THC, helps individuals suffering from insomnia, and provides anti-inflammatory effects. It also serves as an anti-cancer agent and has pain management effects. Myrcene also can reduce resistance in the blood-brain barrier which therefore enables easier passage of other beneficial chemicals. On the other hand, the terpene Pinene helps to prevent impaired cognition and memory caused by THC. 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 anti-anxiety formula.

Additionally, when specialists combine terpenes linalool and limonene with CBD, they are finding results that prove it to be a powerful anti-acne treatment.

Furthermore, combining terpenes linalool and limonene with the cannabinoid CBG is showing to have promise in treating individuals with MRSA (also known as the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

Finally, THC with CBN has shown to have effective sedating effects for individuals suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders.

It is important to note that the phenomenon known as The Entourage Effect involves terpenes derived from the marijuana plant. As far as cannabis treatment for animals, this only safe way to utilize the cannabidiol is through single-molecule CDB derived from the hemp plant.

What is Whole Plant Medicine

Greatly differing from the compound used for treating animals, 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 medicinal results of the whole plant are larger than the sum of its parts.

Terpenes: A Final Thought

At the end of the day, the conversation surrounding recreational and medicinal marijuana is continuing to grow, seemingly by the day. We are fortunate to be able to have the Internet and a plethora of information at the tips of our fingers if we have any questions about the remarkable herb. 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. By continuing the dialogue and educating ourselves, we can put an end to the judgment surrounding the plant and help to open the minds of those who could largely benefit from it.

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/

 

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