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What are Terpenes in Cannabis?

Body and Mind
Body and Mind August 8, 2023

Do you ever wonder where cannabis plants get their distinct smell? The answer lies in the captivating world of terpenes. But these compounds do a lot more than just make cannabis smell and taste the way it does; terpenes can also influence your cannabis experience and may have therapeutic properties of their own.

In this journey through the world of terpenes, we’ll explore their profound impact on our physical and emotional well-being while unlocking the secrets of their role in the dispensary products you know and love. Join us as we dive deeper into the array of terpenes and discover how they elevate the cannabis experience to new heights. 

The Hidden Wonders: Unveiling Cannabis Terpenes

Terpenes are natural organic compounds found in the essential oils of plants worldwide, including fruits, flowers and herbs. They’re responsible for the unique smells and flavors of cannabis strains and contribute to the wide range of scents and flavors found in nature. Terpenes act as guards for a plant throughout its life as well.

What Role Do Terpenes Play in Nature?

Terpenes are abundant in the natural world. Terpenes do a lot for the plants they’re found in, including warding off predators and pests, attracting pollinators to help them reproduce and protecting plants from bacteria, fungi and diseases. Terpenes also serve as nature’s aromatic artists, contributing to many of the scents and flavors found in nature. That’s why many terpenes have long been widely used in the food and perfume industries.

What Role Do Terpenes Play In The Human Body?

Outside of the plant kingdom, terpenes can influence humans as well. When we consume cannabis, terpenes may impact our overall experience. For example, when we inhale the scent of lavender, it may make us feel more relaxed thanks to its linalool content. Limonene, another common terpene found in citrus fruits, may possess mood-enhancing properties

Terpenes may also offer therapeutic benefits that can help make you feel better if you’re trying to manage specific symptoms. Understanding a cannabis product’s terpene profile can help you choose the one best suited to your desired experience.

Cannabis Terpenes And The Entourage Effect

Cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds in cannabis are thought by researchers to enhance or augment one another’s therapeutic effects synergistically. Terpenes contribute to this phenomenon, known as the entourage effect, by interacting with cannabinoids and other chemical compounds to amplify their individual effects. This is because terpenes can influence how cannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and potentially alter their impact on the human body.

Cannabis Terpenes in Action: Therapeutic Qualities

Many terpenes have a lot of therapeutic potential, ranging from their anti-inflammatory properties to their calming and mood-enhancing benefits. The diverse array of natural compounds found in cannabis offers a multitude of potential health benefits to enhance your well-being. Explore the purported medicinal properties of terpenes below.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects 

Several terpenes found in the cannabis plant have demonstrated potential anti-inflammatory effects. In other words, some terpenes can help to reduce inflammation or swelling. For example, beta-caryophyllene has been researched as a candidate for treating chronic inflammation due to its specific molecular targets and very low toxicity.

Analgesic Effects 

Certain terpenes also possess analgesic properties, making them promising candidates for pain relief and management. Studies have shown that myrcene, a common terpene found in many cannabis strains, presents sedative and motor relaxant effects. As a result, myrcene is sought after when crafting products geared toward relaxation or stress. 

Anxiolytic Effects 

Terpenes may play a notable role in alleviating stress and reducing anxiety. Limonene, for example, has been studied for its ability to reduce anxiety levels. Research into terpenes for anti-anxiety benefits is ongoing.

Types of Terpenes: Meet the Stars

From the refreshing citrus notes of limonene to the woody scent of pinene, terpenes contribute to the various distinctive aromas and effects of the cannabis plant and specific strains. Below is a list of noteworthy cannabis terpenes. 

Myrcene

Myrcene is the most abundant and frequently dominant terpene found in cannabis plants. This aromatic cannabis terpene lets off an earthy aroma and musky scent with hints of fruity and herbal notes. Beyond its aromatic allure, myrcene boasts an array of potential health benefits. Myrcene may have sedative effects and may aid in promoting relaxation and better quality of sleep. It also demonstrated promising anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Aroma: Earthy, Fruity, Clove-like 
  • Potential Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Analgesic

Limonene

Limonene is another significant terpene found in the cannabis plant and various citrus fruits such as lemon, orange and limes. Limonene provides a distinctly citrusy, lemon-like aroma to strains and is also believed to offer potential health benefits as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiolytic and mood enhancer. The uplifting and stress-reducing effects of limonene can promote a sense of relaxation and overall well-being as well. 

  • Aroma: Citrus, Lemon-like
  • Potential Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, Anxiolytic, Stress-Reliever 

Linalool

Linalool is commonly found in cannabis and various other plants, such as lavender and basil. Its aroma can be described as floral, sweet, and slightly spicy. Linalool is believed to offer calming and relaxing effects and may have anti-anxiety properties. Linalool has also shown promise as a sleep aid and anti-inflammatory. 

  • Aroma: Floral, Light, Refreshing 
  • Potential Benefits: Sedative, Anxiolytic

Pinene

Pinene is a prominent terpene in cannabis and other plants like pine trees. As its name implies, pinene has an aroma of fresh, woody pine needles. Apart from its aromatic properties, pinene has gained popularity for its anti-inflammatory effects and potential to promote relaxation and may help with pain relief. 

  • Aroma: Pine, Earthy, Woodsy
  • Potential Benefits: Anti-inflammatory properties, Anxiolytic, Stress-reliever 

Beta-caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene (β caryophyllene or BCP) is a terpene that emits a spicy, peppery aroma and contributes to the specific scent of many cannabis strains. Unlike other terpenes, β caryophyllene has been identified as a fully selective agonist of CB2 cannabinoid receptors, which means it’s been observed to activate a cannabinoid receptor in the endocannabinoid system. β caryophyllene has also been reported to exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

  • Aroma: Peppery, Clove-Like, Sweet 
  • Potential Benefits: Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory

Which Cannabis Products Have Terpenes?

Terpenes can be found in a wide range of cannabis items. If you’re choosing any of the following, you can expect to find terpenes in them.

  • Flower: Quality cannabis flower is full of terpenes, providing the classic cannabis aroma and flavor that many enthusiasts love. When cultivated properly, the terpene profile of certain strains can provide for more balanced, well-rounded effects.  
    • Concentrates: Quality cannabis concentrates often retain high concentrations of terpenes due to careful processes meant to preserve terpenes in the cannabis extract. Look for extracts like live resin for terpene-rich extracts.
  • Vape carts: Some vape cartridges filled with THC extract are formulated with cannabis-derived terpenes. These terpenes are reintroduced into the oil to mimic the flavors and effects of specific cannabis strains like Amnesia Haze, Sour Diesel and many other popular options.
    • Topicals: Some cannabis topicals, such as creams, lotions and balms, may contain terpenes. In many cases, these terpenes may be derived from other plants aside from cannabis. They’re used like essential oils for scent and may also contribute to the overall effect of the product.
  • Tinctures: Cannabis tinctures often preserve high concentrations of terpenes from the whole cannabis plant during extraction. 
  • Edibles: Certain edibles may incorporate terpenes during production to enhance flavor and provide potential therapeutic properties. 

Choosing Cannabis Strains: A Guide Through the Terpene Landscape

Understanding all plant compounds in cannabis, including terpene profiles, are invaluable for making informed decisions that align with your needs and preferences. Whether you’re a recreational cannabis consumer or a patient seeking out specific medicinal properties, begin by considering your desired effects and how terpenes play a role in those goals. If you seek relaxation and stress relief, for example, choose strains high in myrcene, such as Blue Dream and Afghan Kush. For a more uplifting experience, look for limonene-rich strains such as “Wedding Cake.” 

By exploring the terpene content of common strains available at Body and Mind dispensaries, you can tailor your cannabis experience to suit your individual preferences and desired effects. 

How To Preserve Terpenes In Your Cannabis

Terpenes are volatile compounds that degrade and deteriorate quickly and easily in cannabis and other plants. To preserve terpenes, it‘s best to store products in a cool and dark environment. Minimize temperature fluctuations and exposure to light. You should also limit air exposure by keeping your products in an airtight container, as oxygen can also cause terpenes to break down. Finally, store your products in dry conditions with stable humidity, as moisture may lead to mold or bacterial growth. 

Most products have an expiration or use-by date listed on their packaging past which the quality is expected to degrade. However, by practicing proper storage procedures, you can significantly extend the shelf life of your products and preserve the natural aroma and benefits. 

A New Appreciation For The Magic Of Cannabis Terpenes

As we continue to explore the world of cannabis, it becomes evident that terpenes enhance your experience. Terpenes activate the senses — their aromatic compounds add a new dimension to cannabis, while their potential medicinal benefits are uplifting in multiple ways.

Understanding terpenes and their effects can tailor your cannabis experiences to your needs and preferences. For the finest selection of terpene-rich cannabis products, look no further than Body and Mind dispensaries, where you can shop confidently, knowing you’re exploring only the highest-quality products available. 

Body and Mind
Body and Mind August 8, 2023

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