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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Terpenes 101

Terpenes are found throughout every single plant life form within nature. The chemical make-up of plants and flowers is so complicated that scientists are just beginning to understand the role of terpenes.

Terpenes within the cannabis plant, also referred to as Isoprenoids, determine the scent, taste and effect within the cannabis plant. They also determine the physiological and psychological effects of each cannabis strain.

These cannabinoid molecules, in part, influence a cannabis strains’ flavor and aroma. As cannabis consumption and the number of medical marijuana patients increase, there is a call to understand each element of the plant.

Cannabis strains are often named for the very terpenes that give the strains flavor and aromas. While terpenes are responsible for a plant’s scent and taste, they .  

Terpene profiling and testing technology has become popular as labs understand the importance of quantifying the value of the compounds within the plant.

There have been over 150 different types of terpenes discovered and approximately 100 different cannabinoids have been discovered and identified within the resin of a variety of cannabis “strains”. As science focuses more on the cannabis plant, it is clear how instrumental terpenes are in the efficacy of cannabis.

Terpenes and cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.) work together to create the “entourage effect.”

The “entourage effect” dictates that each of the compounds within the cannabis plant work together and modulate the various effects of THC, CBD and more.

*Image produced in the August 2011 of British journal of pharmacology by Ethan Russo, author of Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.

Dr. Ethan Russo determined that there are primary terpenes and secondary terpenes. Some of the most common primary terpenes are:

α Pinene

α Pinene is known to be one of the most common terpenoids. a Pinene is responsible for the “typical” cannabis scent that is prevalent in pine trees and turpentine. a Pinene is an effective anti-inflammatory and a bronchodilator.

Linalool

Linalool has spicy and floral hints. Linalool is known to combat symptoms of stress and anxiety. It is also used as an analgesic and anti-epileptic and to treat chronic pain.

Limonene

Limonene is typically found in Sativa-dominant strains. Limonene is known to treat depression and anxiety. This terpene is found in the rinds of citrus fruits. Limonene aids in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes.

Myrcene

Myrcene is commonly found in citrus, lemongrass, hops and thyme. Myrcene is considered the most prevalent terpene as it is found in most varieties of cannabis. This terpene helps determine whether a cannabis strain will have sativa or indica effects. Myrcene tends to induce a more sedative high when the concentration of the terpene is above .5%; when it’s less than .5%, the result will be more energizing.

Terpineol

Terpineol is known to have a relaxing quality. The scent of Terpineol is typically preferred for perfumes, soaps and beauty products. Within the cannabis plant, Terpineol has been noted for its anti-cancer properties.

Ocimene

Ocimene is appreciated for its floral aroma and is often used to create perfumes. In nature, this terpene contributes to a plant’s defenses and possess antifungal properties.

Geraniol

Geraniol is prevalent in geraniums which have a wealth of medicinal properties. Geranium is often added to perfumes as it emits a rose scent that is highly coveted in beauty products.

Geraniol is an effective insect repellent and has shown to decrease symptoms associated with neuropathy.

Humulene

α Humulene is a terpene that helps increase hunger which is advantageous to people suffering from appetite suppression in connection with chronic illness, cancer and more. Humulene is responsible for the hop scent associated with cannabis.

β Caryophyllene

β Caryophyllene was found to be one of the first terpenes to directly activate cannabinoid receptors. This terpene will offer additional medical benefits because of how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, but it is known to alleviate pain and inflammation. It is responsible for the spice in pepper plants and can also be found in hops, rosemary and cloves.  

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