Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Cannabis terpenes are chemicals secreted in the same glands which produce cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. These are aromatic oils that give color to the different cannabis strains, as well as different flavors such as berries, mint, citrus, and pine.
Terpenes also play an important role in the differentiation of the effects of different varieties of cannabis. Some terpenes help increase the stress relief and relaxing properties of cannabis, while others may promote concentration and alertness.
Like other fragrant plants and flowers, the growth or development of terpenes in the cannabis plant started for purposes of adaptation. Terpenes are used by the cannabis plant to repel predators and increase the likelihood of attracting pollinators. Many factors influence the development of terpenes in plants, including the time of year, climate, types of fertilizer, age and maturity, soil type, and also the time of day.
There are more than 100 different terpenes currently identified in cannabis plants and each strain tends to have a unique terpene type and a unique terpene composition. In other words, a variety such as myrcene and its offspring most probably will have a distinct myrcene smell, and the offspring of eucalyptol will often come with the smell of eucalyptol.
Terpenes are also likely to play a major role in understanding and differentiating the effects of different varieties of cannabis, but there is a need for more studies in this area to understand these differences and to what extent they are a factor.
What Are the Key Features of Terpenes?
The terpenes in cannabis are responsible for the various physiological effects associated with the cannabis plant. For example, the beta-caryophyllene is the only terpene known to be able to bind to cannabinoid receptors, particularly the CB2 receptors.
A study conducted in 2017 revealed that the CB2 receptors play a role in the production of dopamine in mice. This could be the reason why beta-caryophyllene could be a useful treatment for the management of anxiety and stress. Also, the activation of the CB2 receptors by the beta-caryophyllene can possibly provide relief from pain and inflammation.
These flavors are thought to have several medicinal properties and collaborate with cannabinoids to ensure a therapeutic relief to patients. Both of them together create what is known as an "entourage effect". This is what enhances the unique therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant.
The entourage effect plays a major role in the effective treatment of patients with various health conditions who are using cannabis plants. Patients must understand the phenomenon of the interaction, and the synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes. They should, therefore, choose various products with robust and natural terpene profiles. Each cannabis strain has a different proportion of terpenes. This is important because a different terpene profile can help bring a significant and unique sense of relief to patients.
How Do Terpenes Interact With Our Bodies?
Terpenes interact with the endocannabinoid system of the human body and work with cannabinoids to increase their therapeutic benefits. These different terpenes have different and unique properties. For example, a particular terpene may be characteristically either energizing or sedating. Therefore, it is essential to understand their roles. This will help you find the various products that best fit your lifestyle.
Specific terpenes may be controlled and regulated in products containing CBD to induce the different effects or to improve the aromatic profile of the CBD product. The current research in this field is important in understanding how terpenes and their regulation in CBD products can be used to improve wellness. Many people and brands in the CBD space believe that the study and understanding of terpenes can help to further the future and direction of the CBD and cannabis industry.
List Of Major Cannabis Terpenes
This is also present in mangos and basil. Myrcene is mostly used to induce sleep, but it is also used to reduce the "blood-to-brain barrier". This means a faster onset of active ingredients. It is not only naturally abundant, but also easily cultivated and used for pain relief as well.
This terpene is not only found in cannabis but also in lavender. It has incredible anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. It has also shown promise as an anti-epileptic agent.
This terpene is one of the most abundant. It is not only found in cannabis, but in rosemary, pine needles, and also parsley. It has several potential effects which include memory retention, anti-inflammation, and anxiety treatment.
Limonene has a unique citrus scent and is a natural mood stimulant and stress reliever, with antifungal properties as well. This is majorly effective in topical applications since it enhances the absorption of cannabinoids through the skin.
Other terpenes include but are not limited to the following:
Alpha-pinene and beta-pinene
Delta 3 carene