Just like most things in the world, the power of cannabis can be explained by science. Have you ever wondered what exactly is in cannabis that makes it do so many different things to the body? That’s all thanks to the hundreds of powerful compounds in the plant.
In this blog, we are going to talk about one of the key compounds in cannabis: terpenes.
Terpenes are a class of naturally occurring organic compounds that are produced by a wide variety of plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the characteristic scents of many plants, such as pine, citrus, and lavender.
Terpenes are even found in some animals, such as bees and termites. Each terpene has its own unique scent and flavor, and terpenes can also have different effects on the body.
Types of terpenes found in cannabis:
There are over 100 different types of terpenes found in cannabis, each with its own distinct scent and potential therapeutic benefits. Here are some common terpenes you’ll find in cannabis:
- Myrcene: Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis strains. It has a musky, earthy aroma and is found in high concentrations in indica strains. It is believed to have sedative and relaxing effects, making it useful for promoting sleep and reducing pain and inflammation.
- Limonene: Limonene has a citrusy aroma and is found in high concentrations in sativa strains. It is believed to have mood-lifting and energizing effects, making it useful for reducing stress and anxiety.
- Pinene: has a piney, herbal aroma and is found in high concentrations in some sativa strains. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator effects, making it useful for treating asthma and other respiratory conditions.
- Linalool: Linalool has a floral aroma and is found in high concentrations in some indica strains. It is believed to have relaxing and calming effects, making it useful for reducing anxiety and promoting sleep.
- Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene has a spicy, peppery aroma and is found in high concentrations in some hybrid strains. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, making it useful for reducing pain and inflammation.
Importance of terpenes in plant physiology:
Not only do terpenes benefit the humans who consume cannabis, but it also benefits the plant itself. Terpenes play an important role in plant physiology by acting as a natural defense mechanism against predators and pests. They also attract pollinators and help regulate the plant’s growth and development.
Terpenes & The Entourage Effect
Terpenes are the primary contributors to the taste and smell of cannabis. However, because of The Entourage Effect, they can also contribute to the mind and body effects of the strain.
The entourage effect is a theory that suggests that the different components of cannabis, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, work together rather than working individually, creating a stronger, more complex effect.
Research has shown that terpenes can enhance the effects of cannabinoids by increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which allows cannabinoids to more easily reach their target receptors in the brain.
Terpenes may also have their own medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic effects. In addition, one study showed that the consumption of THC in tandem with other terpenes provided greater pain relief than THC alone.
The entourage effect is believed to play a significant role in the overall cannabis experience, influencing the therapeutic effects, flavor, and aroma of different strains. The presence and ratio of specific terpenes in a cannabis strain can affect the overall experience, and different combinations of terpenes can create unique effects and flavors.
Terpenes & the Human Body
Now that we’ve got the background on terpenes, let’s talk about how it applies to the human body.
The effects of terpenes on the human brain:
- The way terpenes affect the brain is complex and varies depending on the specific terpene and its target receptors in the body.
- Some terpenes, such as limonene and pinene, can act as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which means they can increase the levels of serotonin in the brain and improve mood.
- Other terpenes, such as linalool and myrcene, can enhance the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
The potential medicinal benefits of terpenes:
Terpenes have been studied for their potential medicinal properties, and research suggests that they may have a wide range of therapeutic benefits, including:
- Anti-inflammatory effects – Terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene and humulene have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects, making them useful for treating conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Pain relief effects – Terpenes such as myrcene and beta-caryophyllene have been shown to have analgesic effects, making them useful for reducing pain.
- Antimicrobial effects – Terpenes such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene have been shown to have antimicrobial effects, making them useful for treating infections.
- Neuroprotective effects – Terpenes such as linalool and limonene have been shown to have neuroprotective effects, making them useful for treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
While more research is necessary, understanding the mechanisms of action of terpenes can help researchers develop new treatments and therapies for a wide range of medical conditions.
How to Incorporate Terpenes into Your Cannabis Experience
So what does this mean for you as a consumer? Here are some ways to incorporate terpenes into your cannabis experience to take it to new heights:
- Research the different types of terpenes and their effects. Understanding the different terpenes and their effects can help you choose strains that are best suited to your needs and preferences.
- Look for strains that have high concentrations of the terpenes you are looking for. Different strains have different terpene profiles, so it’s important to choose strains that have the terpenes you are looking for in high concentrations.
- Consider the type of experience you are looking for. Different terpenes can produce different effects, so it’s important to consider the type of experience you are looking for when selecting a strain.
- Try different strains with different terpene profiles. Experimenting with different strains can help you find the strains that have the terpenes that work best for you.
Capeway: Your Go-To Source for Education & High-Quality Cape Cod Cannabis Products
Overall, terpenes are a compound in cannabis that contributes to the flavor and aroma of each strain as well as the mind and body effects. Better understanding terpenes can help you curate a cannabis experience that works for you.
Want to learn more about compounds in cannabis? Check out our blog on cannabis’ most popular cannabinoid, THC. Also be sure to follow us on our social media channels for all the latest in Capeway happenings: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
**Always be sure to consult a physician before making any changes to your health or fitness regimen.**