We seldom talk about what terpenes are and what they do. Maybe they are underrated, as such they don’t inspire as much talk as cannabinoids, but terpenes do provide a range of health benefits.
Let’s discuss terpenes, how they are different from cannabinoids and stuff related to them here in this article.
What are the Terpenes?
Terpenes are saturated organic hydrocarbons, produced by plants and small insects. Terpenes produced in cannabis plants are responsible for the fragrance and flavor of the buds. Terpenes and cannabinoids (CBD and THC) are all produced in the same gland of the cannabis plant.
Terpenes and terpenoids
Terpenes and terpenoids are used interchangeably. But the two are different. Unlike terpenes, terpenoids have oxidized atoms. Oxidation leaves cannabis dried. This is why terpenes are normally wet and terpenoids are dried.
Terpenes in cannabis
Most plants produce terpenes to push away pollinators and bugs. Factors that determine the presence of terpenes in a plant include climate, soil quality, region, etc. Cannabis terpenes often simulate the functioning of cannabinoids. A terpene called caryophyllene have effects very similar to THC. Caryophyllene and THC bind the same receptors in the brain and influence the same neurotransmitters. Normally, when recreational cannabis is processed, growers use terpenes to bring in flavor and smell.
The entourage effect
In 1998, two Israeli chemists first observed the entourage effect. In a nutshell, the entourage effect is a synergy between different compounds in cannabis, including terpenes and cannabinoids. The purpose of this synergy is to increase the beneficial effects of cannabis. Isolation disrupts the synergy and makes the compounds less effective.
Over 100 terpenes have been discovered so far. The presence of terpenes depends on the concentration of other compounds and the strain. Myrcene is among the commonly found terpenes because of the volume in which it is present. It’s hard to put fingers on the exact amount, but nearly half of total cannabis terpene is Myrcene.
Other major terpenes are Limonene and Linalool. As the name suggests, Limonene gives off a citrus odor. If you are fond of lemon aroma, limonene soaked cannabis products are for you. As for effects, it gives the light-headed feel. Limonene has medical value. Some scientists believe it protects the body from chemicals that cause cancer and destroy cancerous cells.
Linalool is a not a terpene in the truest sense. It’s a terpenoid. The benefit of Linalool is it’s a stress buster. Some even call it body’s own antidepressant and rightfully so.
Terpene types and properties
The terpene that is most effective in the treatment of ulcers and pain is Beta-Caryophyllene. Alongside cannabis, this terpene is found in cinnamon and black pepper. It comes with dry chili and peppery aroma.
Humulene is great for inflammatory diseases. It is found in coriander and basil besides cannabis. It is vaporized at a 106ºC temperature and comes with earthy and woody odor.
Pinene has two sub-varieties: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. It is antiseptic, therefore has medical value. Both varieties of Pinene are used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
When choosing a strain
Always choose a strain carefully. Don’t just look for cannabinoid content, look for how much terpene the strain contains too. Today, most strains are harvested by professional growers. They add terpenoids depending on the market, their techniques of growing and curing are also different.
It’s wise for customers not to buy into whatever a grower claims about his product. Instead, they should have their products lab-tested to find out how much terpene it contains.
Whether terpenes would be effective or not depends heavily on the consumption technique. If you are hitting your CBD product with a vape pen, use a low-heat device. If the heat is above the boiling point, terpene would lose all its therapeutic value.
Alternative to weed
Can terpenes replace weed? Some people who used terpenes said they stopped smoking weeds afterward. Smoking is injurious to health, we are bombarded with this message. Vaping is safer in comparison but nowhere as safe as using edible products.
Many CBD oil brands have a sizable percentage of terpenes in their products. Terpene oils are separately in the market too. People who smoke weed for recreation will probably continue to smoke, but those seeking for medical marijuana may switch to terpenes, especially because of tasteful flavors and aroma.
Cannabis consists of both cannabinoids and terpenes. As the market for medical marijuana is growing, terpenes will see a rise in their popularity and hopefully, new strains with a higher amount of terpenes will hit the market.