WHAT ARE TERPENES?
AND WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?
Terpenes have been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. One of the things that many patients ask about is THC, or THC percentage. Now, THC percentage is important. In fact, last week we talked about THC percentage, so you can check out that content if you want to learn more about THC.
But, Terpenes are one of the most important parts of the cannabis plant. They provide the unique aromas and taste, but they also play an important role in the therapeutic properties of cannabis. In fact, different terpenes can be beneficial for different kinds of symptoms. Thats why its important to know about Terpenes. So lets dive in.
1. WHAT ARE TERPENES?
Terpenes are organic compounds within the cannabis plant that enhance the effects of cannabis, affect taste, and hold numerous medical benefits. There are over 100 terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis plant. Broadly, terpenes can be broken down into sweet, sour, spicy, or bitter — with each category further breaking down into more specific smells. These specific smells consist with certain strains, which in turn correlate to the effects of that plant.
If you are familiar with “essential oils” you already have some experience with terpenes. Terpenes are found in high quantities in various essential oils. For example, limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes, alpha and beta-pinene are found in the essential oil of pine needles. The terpenes in these essential oils contribute to the uplifting effects you experience if you smell the rind of a lemon or walk through a pine forest. All of these terpenes, and hundreds more, are found in high concentrations in the flower of cannabis.
2. TERPENES PROVIDE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
The diverse palate of cannabis flavors is impressive enough, but arguably the most fascinating characteristic of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, like cannabinoids. In the past few decades, most cannabis varieties have been bred to contain high levels of THC, and as a result, other cannabinoids like CBD have fallen to just trace amounts. This has led many to believe that terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains.
Each individual terpene is associated with unique effects. Some promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others promote focus and acuity. Linalool, for example, is believed to be relaxing whereas limonene elevates mood.
The effect profile of any given terpene may change in the presence of other compounds in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to understand each terpene’s effect when used in harmony with others.
Their differences can be subtle, but terpenes can add great depth to the horticultural art and quality of cannabis. Most importantly, terpenes may offer additional medical value as they mediate our body’s interaction with therapeutic cannabinoids.
3. EIGHT COMMON TERPENES
Potential Effects: Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects
Potential Medical Value: Treatment of asthma, pain, inflammation, ulcers, anxiety, cancer
Aroma: Cardamom, cloves, musky, earthy, herbal
Potential Effects: Sedating “couchlock” effect, relaxing
Potential Medical Value: Antioxidant; treatment of insomnia, pain, and inflammation
Potential Effects: Elevated mood, stress relief
Potential Medical Value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain, and cancer
Aroma: Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves
Potential Effects: Stress relief
Potential Medical Value: Treatment of pain, anxiety/depression, ulcers
Potential Effects: Mood enhancement, sedation
Potential Medical Value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease
Aroma: Hops, woody, earthy
Potential Medical Value: Anti-inflammatory
Aroma: Sweet, herbal, and woody
Potential Medical Value: Antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, decongestant, antibacterial
Aroma: Piney, floral, and herbal
Potential Effects: Relaxing
Potential Medical Value: Antioxidant, sedative, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer
OK! So we covered some of the more common kinds of terpenes. Now, you can use this information to begin looking for strains that have test results showing the specific terpenes that your looking for. If you have any more questions about terpenes or cannabis in general, give Dr Z Leaf a visit. We are a Tulsa dispensary founded on quality products and a knowledgeable staff that can help answer your questions and make sure you find what your looking for!