What are terpenes?
You have known terpenes all you life—they are the chemical compounds that make oranges smell like an orange, lemons smell like a lemon, roses smell sweet, and rosemary smell like rosemary. The CBD terpenes are in many of the plants and herbs used everyday.
Organic compounds – Terpenes are a class of organic compounds found in plants, including flowers, herbs, and trees. They are responsible for the unique aromas and flavors of different plants and are also thought to have various health benefits.
Terpenes are present in essential oils and are often used in aromatherapy and natural medicine. They are also found in many types of food, such as fruits and spices, and are used as flavorings in the food and beverage industry.
20,000 known terpenes – There are more than 20,000 known terpenes, and each type of plant has a unique combination of terpenes that contribute to its signature aroma and flavor. Some common terpenes include limonene, which has a citrus aroma, and pinene, which has a pine-like scent.
Terpenes are also present in many types of cannabis, and they are thought to play a role in the therapeutic effects of cannabis.
It is important to note that the research on the health benefits of terpenes is still in the early stages, and more studies are needed to fully understand their potential. However, many people believe that terpenes can have a variety of positive effects on the body, such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation.
Terpenes / Cannabinoids / CBD
Secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are oils that color cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine.
Researchers report that cannabinoids are large molecule produced primarily in the cannabis plant. On the other hand, terpenes are tiny molecules produced in thousands of different plant species including cannabis.
Terpenes and cannabinoids are active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, and both perform important functions. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are largely responsible for the psychoactive, therapeutic, and medicinal benefits of cannabis.
Research – Terpenes affect the body differently. Some have a more energetic or uplifting effect, and some are more relaxing or sedating. Terpenes are also thought to have an additive therapeutic effect of their own, and more research is being done to further understand their potential benefit and use for various symptoms and disease states.
CBD Terpenes – List of Primary Terpenes in Cannabis
Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpene found in cannabis as well as lemongrass, bay leaves, parsley, cardamom, thyme, and basil. May have sedative properties. In some strains, it makes up as much as 65% of the total terpene profile.
- Research Suggests – Myrcene helps to reduce inflammation and chronic pain.
This is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis, and it produces a citrusy aroma. It’s also found in the rind of citrus fruits such as oranges and tangerines and other citrus fruits. Studies show that it has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, and anti-bacterial effects.
Limonene is a mood-enhancer often used in aromatherapy.
- Research Suggests – Limonene has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Recent studies have revealed that this terpene may have a role to play in reducing tumor size.
Linalool is responsible for the floral notes in cannabis. It is also common in lavender and aromatic herbs.
- Research Suggests – Linalool has anxiety-reducing, antidepressant, mood-stabilizing, sedative, pain-relieving, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Caryophyllene binds successfully to CB2 receptors — the part of our endocannabinoid system that regulates the immune system. It is responsible for the spicy scent of black pepper and is common in cinnamon, and spices such as oregano, basil, and rosemary. It is commonly used in topical creams as an anti-inflammatory agent.
5. Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene
Pinene is the most abundant terpene in nature, found in cannabis, pine trees, and Spanish sage.
- Research Suggests – These chemicals produce anti-inflammatory effects in humans and help to improve airflow in the lungs and respiratory function. It has anxiety-reducing properties and is able to bind to neurotransmitter sites in the brain in the same way as drugs like Xanax.
Humulene is a terpene found in hops and many other plants, including basil, coriander, and ginger. It is known for its woody, earthy aroma and is often used in perfumes and fragrances. Humulene is also present in certain types of cannabis and is thought to have various health benefits.
- Research Suggests – It also helps to combat inflammation and has appetite- suppressing properties. It exhibits anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties in mice but not verified in humans.
Terpineol is a complex, lilac- and fruity-smelling terpene found in the cannabis plant. It has calming and mood enhancing properties.
- Research Suggests – That it provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits.
Valencene is a sesquiterpene that gets its name from the place it’s most commonly found: Valencia oranges.
It has a sweet citrusy aroma and offers insect repelling benefits.
- Research suggests – That this terpene can work as an anti-inflammatory, a bronchodilator, and an anti-allergic.
Terpinolene has a piney aroma with floral essences. It is also present in high amounts in sage and rosemary.
- Research Suggests – It’s known for its antioxidant properties and can be a potential anticancer agent in the body. Traditional terpinolene uses include natural antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial applications, and mild central nervous system depressant, exhibiting sedative effects, mainly when combined with Linalool.
Geraniol is a fragrant terpene that inherited its name from the geranium flower, which also contains geraniol and has a similar aroma; a sweet rose scent with notes of citrus.
- Research Suggests – It also has an array of potential medicinal uses due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ocimene is a terpene found in a variety of plants, including mint, marjoram, and basil. It is known for its sweet, floral aroma and is often used in perfumes and fragrances. Ocimene is also present in certain types of cannabis and is thought to have various health benefits.
- Research Suggests – Ocimene offers many medicinal and therapeutic uses for its uplifting effects, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.
The Entourage Effect is Part of the Terpene Effect
The entourage effect refers to the compounds present in cannabis working in concert to create the-sum-of-all-the-parts that leads to the experience of cannabis. Other cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids are considered to be part of an entourage effect.
Cannabis has among the richest and most diverse assortment of terpenes of any plant in the world.
As detailed in the article, there are numerous terpenes present in the cannabis plant and variation between strains. Based on the current research conducted, numerous terpenes have presented pharmacological effects in humans and animals.