Terpenes: Effects, and How They Interact with Cannabis
Among the cannabis canon, the full extent of influence terpenes has in its psychological wheelhouse is fairly general.
In part owing to the fact that these compounds present regularly in everyday consumables like fruit and veg, the existence of their study in discourse is somewhat scant. In combination, it’s hard to pin down definitive benefits terpenes are likely to have. Their broad presence in known products ironically makes their favourable effects elusive.
We want to break it down to pure basics. How are terpenes relevant to cannabis products like CBD oil or tinctures, and how does their interaction with the plant extracts take part in your consumption?
At their base, terpenes exist in a large variety of other flower-producing plants like lavender or your household citrus fruits, and are largely responsible for the signature aromas these naturally occurring products are known for.
These compounds are bioactive by nature, meaning their effect is for the most part physiological – the most salient and well documented of which, we understand as the significance of odours on the psyche of individuals, and thereon their effects on emotions and cognitive capacity to concentrate, motivate or engage in willful behaviour.
Their existence in plants such as the above lavender is Exhibit A in this; its use case has recognition in therapeutic fields – whether in aromatherapy or clinical – for its anti-anxiety inducing effects, giving rise to physiological responses like sharper motor control, anticholinergic responses like body convulsions / depressive symptoms, and overall sense of restfulness.
Whether these effects isolate to the distinct influence of terpenes, though, remains to be conclusive – it is still, after all, only one form of bioactive compound in a host of hundreds others.
How Do Terpenes Interact in Cannabis Products?
The million dollar question, at the end of all this, revolves around how terpenes are involved in the metabolization of cannabis, to the benefit of users and prospective manufacturers.
It’s not possible to mention how these compounds induce their psychological effect, though, without understanding of their ‘entourage effect’, which has dominated much of sensationalised cannabis media and its adoption as a buzzword in frontier product development.
The Entourage Effect describes a net increase in the effects felt under the body’s metabolization of all cannabinoids within cannabis – a specific distinction from the consumption of THC and CBD isolated products. The premise follows that the consumption of other inactive bioactive components holistically improves both pharmacological and biological benefits defined in cannabis literature, by way of their activation of alternative neuronal pathways to gene activation and bodily health.
Despite encouraging implications gleaned from research combining terpenes with traditional cannabinoids THC and CBD, though, its legitimacy is still somewhat inconclusive until its results have stood the test of time among other well repeated approaches.
Frustrating to say, there is no clinically reliable endorsement of terpenes, in other words. But its trial implications are undeniable, and simply remains a matter of time until further research for its pharmacological value to comfortably enter use.