Terpenes are the aromatic hydrocarbons secreted within the resinous glands in all plants.
These oils are responsible for the scent and in some cases the distinct flavors of a plant. Scientists have discovered over 100 natural terpenes.
When it comes to cannabis, in addition to providing natural taste and smell, terpenes band together with cannabinoids to amplify the effects of the endocannabinoid system.
This synergistic relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids is called the entourage effect.
11 Most Prevalent Cannabis Terpenes:
1. α Pinene
α Pinene accounts for cannabis’ familiar odor, often associated with pine trees and turpentine. α Pinene is the most common naturally occurring terpenoid and acts as both an anti-inflammatory and a bronchodilator.
Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene in cannabis. Myrcene concentration dictates whether a strain will have an Indica or Sativa effect. Strains containing over 0.5% of myrcene produce a more sedative high, while strains containing less than 0.5% myrcene has an energizing effect.
Ocimene is frequently used in perfumes for its pleasant odor. In nature, this terpene contributes to a plant’s defenses and possess antifungal properties.
Terpineol is known for its pleasant smell and is often used in soaps and perfumes. It is known to have relaxing effects.
5. β Caryophyllene
β Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (CB2). It produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Best paired with full spectrum hemp oil.
α Humulene contributes to the “hoppy” aroma of cannabis. This terpene acts as an appetite suppressant and exhibits potent anti-inflammatory activity.
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Linalool has a floral scent reminiscent of spring flowers, but with spicy overtones. It possesses sedative properties and is an effective anxiety and stress reliever. It has also been used as an analgesic and anti-epileptic.
Limonene is a dominant terpene in strains with a pronounced Sativa effect. It is also found in the rinds of citrus fruits. Limonene aids in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes, and has been used to treat anxiety and depression.
Terpinolene has been shown to exhibit antioxidant and anticancer effects in rat brain cells. Studies with mice show that terpinolene has a sedative effect when inhaled.
Valencene is present in Valencia oranges and contributes to cannabis’ citrus aroma.
Also present in geraniums, geraniol emits a rose scent that makes it a popular perfume additive. It is an effective mosquito repellent and shows a potential protective effect against neuropathy.
The differences can be subtle, but terpenes can add depth to the cannabis experience. Most importantly, terpenes may offer additional medical value as they mediate our body’s interaction with other therapeutic plant compounds.