How much do you know about terpenes? Terpenes are found in ALL plants, including cannabis.
Terpenes are aromatic molecules produced from the resin of plants. Along with flavonoids, terpenes are the scents/tastes of plants. Different cultivars of cannabis have their own combinations of terpenes. This causes each strain to have its own unique scent. Cannabinoids, however, do not produce scents.
Terpenes provide several essential functions for plants. Some plants use their terpenes defensively to keep predators away. Some kill their predators. Many plants use their terpenes to attract pollinating insects, helping them reproduce. Some plants release them due to stress (even plants can stress!).
But what about cannabis?
Cannabis terpenes are not only responsible for the plant’s smell, but also the taste. But terpenes deliver much more than just smells and flavors.
A study done by Dr. Ethan Russo, MD, the Director of Research and Development at International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute and a Senior Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals, reveals they offer “complementary pharmacological activities that may strengthen and broaden clinical applications and improve the therapeutic index of cannabis extracts.” This means terpenes have synergistic effects when combined with cannabinoids and other terpenes.
While shopping for CBD products, you may find a product with terpenes works more effectively. You can find quality CBD products with terpenes from reliable companies listed on our vetted list.
Terpenes can aid in treating bacterial and fungal infections, help reduce chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, as well as many other conditions.
What is also interesting about terpenes is that they behave very similar to some cannabinoids. In fact, terpenes are very much responsible for the amount of THC that binds to cannabinoid receptors in our body. Cannabinoids and terpenes together produce a strong synergy, improving the absorption of both, along with the many health benefits.
Limonene unsurprisingly gives off a citrus aroma. Found in strains such as Super Lemon Haze, Chernobyl, & Tangie, limonene is also found in many cosmetic & cleaning products.
Research supports limonene can boost the immune system and may reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It also shows powerful antioxidant properties and may reduce the incidence/aid in the treatment of some cancers. Limonene’s benefits include pain and heartburn relief, improvement in skin repair, and reducing inflammation in the gut. It contains antifungal and antibacterial properties, indicating it may aid in cold or flu recovery.
A study conducted on mice showed the potential of beta-caryophyllene as a treatment for anxiety and depression. The study suggests beta-caryophyllene has beneficial pharmacological effects over existing benzodiazepines and SSRIs. It demonstrates that this terpene is effective in producing anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. The research also shows the CB2 receptor is involved in the modulation of emotional behavior. This makes it a possible option when it comes to anxiety and depression.
Linalool produces a floral, at times spicy aroma. Found in a variety of mints and herbs, people often use linalool to help reduce stress, inflammation, depression, & anxiety. One of the most universally-loved terpenes for stress relief, it acts as a sedative, anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, anti-microbial, & analgesic. It’s found in 200 types of plants, including lavender, lemon, mint, & coriander.
A study monitored lab rats exposed to a stressful condition while simultaneously inhaling linalool. Results showed mice exposed to linalool vapors spent more time in fearful situations. They continued to work to escape the situation instead of submitting to the stress.
A study done in 2016 supports linalool as an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s. After administering to mice with Alzheimer’s, it reversed many associated cognitive impairments associated. It also reduced brain plaques & cellular damage contributing to brain degeneration.
Myrcene is found in mangoes, hops, thyme, lemongrass, and basil. Users of this strain usually find it gives a sedative, “couch-lock” feeling. Since myrcene is found in mangoes, evidence suggests eating a mango prior to consuming CBD may help extend the effects through synergy. Myrcene benefits include antibiotic, analgesic, & anti-inflammatory.
Pinene is found in pine needles, turpentine, orange peels, dill, basil, & rosemary too. It was originally developed as a defense mechanism to ward off predators, but also attracts pollinators.
Pinene’s known benefits include: promoting alertness, anti-inflammatory properties, & boosting memory (can counter short term memory loss from THC). Research reveals that pinene’s anti-inflammatory properties can help ease symptoms of osteoarthritis. It also acts as a bronchodilator, easing asthma symptoms, aids in respiratory health, and protects the body from viruses like bronchitis.
Pinene has a strong, earthy aroma, so once you recognize it, recognize which cannabis strains contain high amounts of it. Some strains include Jack Herer, Dutch Treat, Blue Dream, Romulan, Strawberry Cough, OG Kush, and Island Sweet Skunk.
One of the most popular CBD strains is Gorilla Glue. Humulene terpene is very high in this strain. Studies show humulene to act as an anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-bacterial, appetite suppressant, and insecticidal. Humulene is also the terpene that gives beer its famous “hoppy” aroma.
Caryophyllene is found any many plants such as cloves, cinnamon leaves, Thai basils, and black pepper. It has a woody, spicy aroma. Research shows the Caryophyllene binds to the CB2 receptor and that it is a CB2 agonist.
There are many, many other terpenes! Some include terpinolene, camphene, terpineol, phellandrene, carene, pulegone sabinene, and geraniol. Understanding how terpenes work opens a whole new door for cannabis products & our health.