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Beyond Cannabinoids: Plant Synergy and the Benefits of Terpenes

Terpenes are small molecular compounds that play a significant role in producing the familiar scent and flavors of most plants, herbs, and spices – hemp included.

We’ve talked about cannabinoids before. For example, THC is a common cannabinoid known for causing the feeling of being “high”.

What we have realized as a scientific community is that hemp plants create another group of micro-compounds named terpenes. These molecules enhance and distinguish each plant’s scent, effects, and flavor.

In the future, we could expect to see terpene profiles being the primary way to categorize different strains; giving us more in-depth information and choice when it comes to the herb we consume.

What Are Terpenes?

Oddly enough, you may already know what terpenes are because you have smelled them. Terpenes are in thousands of plants and essential oils, and they are very special molecules.

When you see a plant that catches your eye, what do you do first? You smell it, right? Let’s say we have a rose bush grown at two different times. Although they are the same plant, their scents are unique. This is caused by the differential development of the terpenes within the plants. Terpenes combined with cannabinoids and flavonoids give hemp plants their distinct effects, aroma and flavor.

Terpenes are tiny molecules that give marijuana plants and flowers their one of a kind smell and effect. These guys come from the same glands of the plant as do CBD, THC and other important cannabinoids.

These molecules work with your endocannabinoid system just like cannabinoids do. When you consume terpenes, they act as a partner with other cannabinoids and flavonoids working as a team to break through the blood-brain barrier.

Essential Terpenes And Their Benefits

When it comes to the wonderful world of plant life, terpenes are a vital element in the ever-flowing cycle. They are the building blocks of tiny molecules like cannabinoids, they can prevent insects from attacking, and protect the plant from other environmental hazards.

Terpenes are the superhero molecules that give plants their uniqueness. Not only do they provide the aromatic bouquet of scents found in each strain of the cannabis plant, but they are also the leading player when it comes to the physical and psychoactive effects of the strain.

The entourage effect is the relationship between terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. This relationship is what makes plants different from one another in many ways.

There are more than one hundred terpenes identified in various plants. Every plant is original and unique with different terpene compounds providing its make-up. All plants have different smells, effects, and tastes thanks to terpenes!

Know Your Terpenes

Caryophyllene

Most importantly known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to be the only terpene to interact directly with CB2 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system. Caryophyllene is beneficial when treating arthritis, fibromyalgia, pain from injury, as well as neuropathic pain.

Limonene

Limonene is found in citrus rinds and is also a dominant terpene in sativa-dominant cannabis strains. It has been recognized in treating anxiety and depression and helps your body absorb other important terpenes through your skin and mucous membranes. This terpene is very commonly seen in tinctures.

Terpinolene

Terpinolene has been used for well over one hundred years to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. Found in plants like conifers, lilacs, oregano, and cannabis, it also gives the Jack Herer strain its notable scent. The medical benefits of terpinolene are apart of the monoterpene category called isomers. Anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial effects on the body are all benefits of this terpene.

Humulene

Humulene Is found in hops as well as sativa dominant cannabis strains. This terpene is what gives beer its hoppy smell. Just like terpinolene, humulene has significant anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a great appetite suppressant.

Geraniol

Commonly used in perfume scents because of its floral aroma, geraniol is found in geraniums among other plants. It has the potential to protect against neuropathy and is also an effective and natural mosquito repellent.

Myrcene

The amount of Myrcene concentration found in a plant will indicate whether the myrcene will produce calming or an energetic effects. Myrcene can produce relaxing effects in higher levels, while at lower levels of less than 0.5% myrcene may produce more of an uplifting effect. You can also find myrcene in citrus, thyme, hops, and lemongrass.

Linalool

Linalool is most famous for the lovely floral scent it gives to lavender plants. It has many names such as β-linalool, licareol and linalyl alcohol. Linalool has been found in hundreds of different plants aside from cannabis including rosewood, citrus, birch, and coriander. Linalool has been used for several thousands of years to induce sleep and relaxation. Linalool is an essential ancestor in the genesis of Vitamin E.

It has been known to help and treat anxiety, mental illness such as mood disorders and as an antiepileptic agent, aiding neuropathic conditions. Linalool has been shown to reduce physical pain, chronic pain and used for anti-inflammatory purposes.  Its vapors are an effective and natural treatment to get rid of insects like fleas, fruit-flies, and cockroaches.

Pinene

α-Pinene is one of the essential monoterpenes, and it is a vital terpene for plants, our entire environment, and for animals too!  α-Pinene tends to interact with other chemicals, which creates a copious amount of other terpenes such as D-limonene among other compounds.

It has been used for centuries to treat asthma and enhance the quality of breathing. Think about it, when you stroll through a pine forest on a warm spring day, haven’t you noticed how you seem to be able to breathe deeply and relax? That is α-Pinene working its terpene magic!

Bisabolol

Aside from different marijuana strains, bisabolol is the main terpene in chamomile essential oil and is known to induce apoptosis in certain forms of leukemia. This terpene has been known to benefit the body by working as an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, analgesic, as well as an anti-irritant. It is the ultimate anti and is very helpful in taking a natural approach to healing.

Final Thoughts

Developing your own knowledge enables you to have more control over your hemp product purchases. 

More and more research is being done in regards to cannabinoids and phytocompounds on all fronts. While most of the attention has been on CBD, THC, and their effects, terpene research is still very much relevant. Having the knowledge of how terpenes work to benefit you from within your cannabis products is a great advantage! Learning about your CBD products is the best way to ensure that you find the most appropriate product for your needs. You can also always reach out to us with any questions, using our chat feature, located at the bottom right of the browser.