What are cannabis terpenes?
Terpenes are the primary constituents of essential oils and are responsible for the aroma characteristics of cannabis. In the last few decades, it has been speculated that terpenes along with cannabinoids are responsible for a chemical synergy. This is known widely as ‘the entourage effect.’ Initially, it was described as a pathway for the molecular regulation of endogenous cannabinoid activity. Studies showed that terpenes had medicinal properties of their own that complimented cannabinoids. This phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy could enhance treatments of: pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections. These aromatic compounds can be associated with plant scents. For instance: pine, cannabis, rosemary, lavender as well as orange peel. In practice, these scents are essential oils. Therefore meaning everyday products such as foods, perfumes, and cosmetics can contain these.
Plants that contain the Terpenes compounds protect against infectious germs or predators like grazing animals.
What is the difference between cannabinoids and terpenes?
Cannabinoids occur naturally in our bodies and are known as endocannabinoids. Phyctocannabinoids are Cannabinoids that interact with our ECS which can be also found in cannabis plants. Found in cannabis are over 100 known phytocannabinoids. The two most commonly known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
The cannabis plant also contains terpenes. Some terpenes can act on the ECS system just like cannabinoids. However, the main difference lies in the way the body absorbs and uses these compounds.
What are the types of Terpenes?
While there are numerous types of terpenes in the world, researchers are still studying the different types. There are a few which have been studied more than others. That is to say, the the main cannabis terpenes being:
As the name suggests, limonene smells of a citrus scent similar to lemons and oranges. Found in lemon, rosemary, juniper, and peppermint Limonene is a common terpene. In diluted amounts, Limonene is generally thought to be safe to consume. It also provides energising effects to its consumers.
Studies show that limonene may be helpful as an:
- Anti-cancer aid
Pinene, another form of terpene, generally produces more calming effects. It comes in two forms: a-pinene and b-pinene. Further, it has a very fresh smell of plants like pine needles, basil, and rosemary. Pinene mainly acts as a bronchodilator. Meaning it allows more air into the lungs. In fighting infectious germs, it’s also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Pinene can be used for treatments such as:
Linalool, mainly found in the lavender plant, gives a rich and vibrant smell. Used widely for the calming effects, it is the most important compound in aromatherapy. Studies show that linalool may have an effect on the body in the following ways:
- Neurodegenerative disease
Myrcene’s mainly found in plants like thyme, lemongrass, hops, and the flowers of the cannabis plant. It’s a powerful antioxidant and can produce a calming effect. For the following Myrcene can treat:
In addition, a study in a cell model of osteoarthritis found that myrcene appears to have an anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore it may prevent the breakdown of some cartilage cells. Subsequently making it useful for the treatment against osteoarthritis.
Finally, Humulene’s found in plants like hop, coriander, ginger, and clove. A study showed that humulene may have compounds to prevent allergies and asthma. Therefore, it showed reduced allergic inflammation in the airways in animal models. It has the aroma of hops, woody and earthy.