For many people the word “terpene” is a strange and unfamiliar term, but it won’t be for much longer. As science and technology carry us to better understandings of cannabis, we’re beginning to see that there’s a lot more to marijuana than its cannabinoid content. To get a hint of the other therapeutic compounds in your strain, just give it a sniff.
Terpenes are fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity. They’re what give Blueberry its signature berry smell, Sour Diesel its funky fuel flavor, and Lavender its sweet floral aroma. These oils are secreted in the flower’s sticky resin glands, the same ones that produce THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Terpenes are by no means unique to cannabis; they can be found in many other herbs, fruits, and plants as well.
Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. The above infographic outlines properties of six common cannabis terpenes along with a few strains that tend to express notable levels of each.
Lastly, when choosing your method of ingestion, keep in mind that the beneficial qualities of terpenes can be seriously damaged if heated past their boiling point.
Terpenes are what give cannabis different scents and benefits/effects. But the longer version is truly scientific, which is why terpene knowledge is particularly useful when treating medical conditions with cannabis, on becoming a cannabis consumer.
Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, including cannabis. Terpenes are made in the trichomes of the plant, which typically present themselves in cannabis as sticky, mushroom-shaped fibers. In a natural state, these terpenes can repel predators - much like naturally occurring thorns on roses or cacti.
Different strains of cannabis have different terpenes. In fact, there are over 100 different terpenes currently identified in cannabis, with research continually being done to help categorize terpenes and identify their differentiating factors. Some terpenes, such as linalool, have been known to help a person relax when consumed. Others, such as limonene, are known as mood boosters. Some common conditions and suggested terpenes, below:
Pain Management: Linalool, Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene, a-Pinene, Eucalyptol
Anxiety Reduction: Linalool, Caryophyllene, Limonene, a-Pinene, Borneol
Inflammation Reduction: Linalool, Limonene, Myrcene, Humulene
Insomnia Reduction: Linalool, Myrcene, Terpineol
Neurodegeneration Management: Linalool, Carene, Eucalyptol, Geraniol
We can’t talk about terpenes without including information about the “entourage effect.” The entourage effect is a term that refers to terpenes reacting in synergy with cannabinoid compounds, such as THC. Together, terpenes and cannabinoid compounds affect your endocannabinoid system - which produces the physical reactions your body has to cannabis.
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