top of page

Terpenes: The Unsung Heroes of Cannabis

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Terpenes: The Unsung Heroes of Cannabis

Cannabis has been in use for centuries, and it's no secret that its various components are responsible for its unique properties. While most people associate cannabis with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, another essential component is terpenes. Terpenes are organic compounds that give cannabis its distinctive aroma and flavor. In this article, we will discuss the importance of terpenes in cannabis and their benefits.

Terpenes: The Unsung Heroes of Cannabis, top 5 Terpenes, illustration

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. These compounds are responsible for the distinctive aroma and flavor of the plant. There are over 20,000 different terpenes, and each one has unique properties. Some terpenes have medicinal properties, while others are used in perfumes and essential oils. Terpenes are produced in the trichomes of cannabis plants, along with cannabinoids.


Role of Terpenes in Cannabis Plants

Terpenes play an essential role in the life of cannabis plants. They are responsible for the plant's aroma and flavor, which attract pollinators and repel predators. Terpenes also protect the plant from UV radiation and help regulate its temperature. In addition, terpenes work in synergy with other compounds in the plant, such as cannabinoids, to produce the entourage effect.


Different Types of Terpenes Found in Cannabis

Cannabis contains many different types of terpenes, each with its unique properties. To highlight a few, some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis are:

  • Myrcene: This terpene has a musky, earthy aroma and is also found in hops, lemongrass, and mangoes. It is known for its sedative and relaxing properties.

  • Limonene: This terpene has a citrusy aroma and is also found in lemon and orange rinds. It is known for its uplifting and energizing properties.

  • Pinene: This terpene has a piney aroma and is also found in pine trees and rosemary. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator properties.

  • Linalool: This terpene has a floral aroma and is also found in lavender. It is known for its relaxing and sedative properties.

  • Caryophyllene: This terpene has a spicy aroma and is also found in black pepper and cloves. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

  • Terpinolene: This terpene has a woody, herbal aroma and is also found in nutmeg and tea tree oil. It is known for its sedative and antioxidant properties.

  • Humulene: This terpene has an earthy, woody aroma and is also found in hops and coriander. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

  • Bisabolol: This terpene has a floral aroma and is also found in chamomile. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

  • Terpineol: This terpene has a sweet, floral aroma and is also found in lilacs and pine trees. It is known for its sedative and antioxidant properties.

  • Ocimene: This terpene has a sweet, herbal aroma and is also found in mint and basil. It is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.

The Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is the synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes. When cannabinoids and terpenes work together, they enhance each other's properties. For example, terpene myrcene can increase the potency of THC, while limonene can increase the absorption of cannabinoids through the blood-brain barrier. The entourage effect is what makes full-spectrum cannabis extracts more effective than isolates.

Benefits of Terpenes in Cannabis

Terpenes have many medicinal properties that can benefit human health. Some of the benefits of terpenes in cannabis include:

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties: Terpenes such as pinene and humulene have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body.

  2. Analgesic properties: Terpenes such as myrcene and caryophyllene have analgesic properties that can help reduce pain.

  3. Anti-anxiety properties: Terpenes such as linalool and limonene have anti-anxiety properties that can help reduce anxiety and stress.

  4. Antimicrobial properties: Terpenes such as terpineol and ocimene have antimicrobial properties that can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections.

  5. Antifungal properties: Terpenes such as ocimene and caryophyllene have antifungal properties that can help fight against fungal infections.

  6. Anti-tumor properties: Terpenes such as limonene and pinene have anti-tumor properties that can help fight against cancer.

  7. Neuroprotective properties: Terpenes such as terpinolene and linalool have neuroprotective properties that can help protect the brain from damage.


How to Enhance Terpenes in Cannabis

To enhance the terpenes in cannabis, it is essential to follow proper growing, harvesting, storage, and consumption methods. Some of the methods to enhance terpenes in cannabis include:

  1. Choosing the Right Strain: Different cannabis strains have varying terpene profiles. By choosing a strain with high levels of the desired terpene, you can enhance the effects and benefits.

  2. Proper Growing Conditions: Growing cannabis in the right environment with proper lighting, temperature, and humidity can enhance terpene production.

  3. Correct Harvesting Time: Harvesting at the right time when terpene levels are highest can help preserve and enhance the terpene content.

  4. Proper Storage: Storing cannabis in a cool, dark, and dry place can help preserve terpenes and prevent degradation.

  5. Proper Consumption: The method of consumption can also affect terpene levels. For example, vaporizing cannabis can preserve more terpenes than smoking it.


Conclusion

Terpenes are the unsung heroes of cannabis, and they play a vital role in the plant's properties. The different types of terpenes found in cannabis have unique properties that can benefit human health. The entourage effect is what makes full-spectrum cannabis extracts more effective than isolates. By following proper growing, harvesting, storage, and consumption methods, we can preserve and enhance the terpenes in cannabis, thus maximizing its therapeutic potential. As research on the benefits of terpenes in cannabis continues to grow, it is likely that we will discover even more ways in which these compounds can benefit human health.


FAQs

  • Are terpenes only found in cannabis?

No, terpenes are found in many plants, including fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

  • Do terpenes have psychoactive properties?

No, terpenes do not have psychoactive properties. They do, however, enhance the effects of cannabinoids in the body.

  • Can terpenes be extracted from cannabis?

Yes, terpenes can be extracted from cannabis through various methods, such as steam distillation or solvent extraction.

  • Are terpenes safe for consumption?

Yes, terpenes are safe for consumption and are commonly found in foods and beverages.

  • Can terpenes be used in aromatherapy?

Yes, terpenes are commonly used in aromatherapy and are believed to have various therapeutic effects.




Terpenes: The Unsung Heroes of Cannabis - Explained

1 view0 comments
bottom of page