What are Terpenes?

What are Terpenes?

Cannabis is a unique plant with 545 known naturally occurring compounds. While most people are aware of THC and CBD, which are cannabinoids, more than 100 are terpenes. Sometimes referred to as terps, these are responsible for the different aromas cannabis flowers emit. In addition, various terpene benefits complement the plant’s other phytochemicals.

Terpenes in Nature

Unlike cannabinoids, terpenes are found throughout nature. There are at least 20,000 identified, and you experience them nearly everywhere. Terpenes give the pine trees their deep, woodsy scent, the lilac tree its sweet flowery fragrance, and the taste of sunshine when you bite into an orange. 

Terpenes are organic compounds that interact with cannabinoid receptors and produce different effects similar to cannabinoids. As mentioned, thousands are found in various plants worldwide, with many popping up in everyday items, including foods, drinks, cleaners, and beauty products. 

Common Primary Terpenes in Cannabis Strains

Terpenes play a large role in the different scents of cannabis strains. You can take a deep breath from your container and intuitively know the various terps. Here are some of the most notable in today’s top cannabis strains.

Myrcene – Myrcene can take up to 50% of a strain’s terpene content. It’s also found in lemongrass, hops, and mangos. Research shows it has antiseptic, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-cancer characteristics. 

Limonene – Limonene is a typical cannabis aroma that’s also found in lemon and citrus rinds, such as oranges, lemons, and limes. Studies indicate it has the possibility to offer stress relief, reduce inflammation, aid digestion, and improve moods. 

Pinene – Pinene is another popular cannabis fragrance that’s located in pine needles, rosemary, hops, dill and parsley. Among its various properties, reports show it has strong medicinal benefits, including anti-inflammatory, topical antiseptic, and analgesic. 

Cannabis cultivators are developing new cultivars regularly. So, while these are the most common, with some tweaking in the cultivation process, you will see minor terpenes making more appearances in the future.

Terpenes & the Entourage Effect

Terps have two critical roles. Along with unique terpene benefits, they also offer collective advantages. The entourage effect is a theory that all 545 known cannabis phytochemicals work in unison to provide better results. An easy way to explain the scientific hypothesis is that the “plant knows best.” 

Yes, research is still limited. Much of that is due to federal restrictions on medical cannabis. However, the anecdotal evidence is clear. 

Mowgli Holmes, a geneticist and founder of Phylos Bioscience, a hemp and cannabis genetics company, explains,

“We can’t do very basic studies about what’s really true … But you have thousands and thousands of people reporting the same thing. It gets hard to ignore.”

When selecting the right cannabis for your condition, don’t skip the terpene benefits. With over 100 different terps identified in various marijuana strains, it could take some trial and error to find the right combination. However, it’s more than worth the time and effort. These two naturally occurring compounds combined can help you locate the right combination for relief. 

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