What are Terpenes?

With the recent interest in cannabis plants and cannabinoid products, another term has come into vogue- Terpenes. Many of us are unfamiliar with it but just know that it has something to do with cannabinoid or CBD or hemp. A number of studies and tests in recent times have shown us that CBD is a very useful compound that has a host of benefits to offer.  If this is true for you, then you would also benefit from knowing about Terpenes.

So, what exactly are terpenes?

Terpenes are chemical compounds that you find in cannabis plants. They are responsible for the distinct fragrance you find in these plants. But did you know that terpenes are not exclusive to cannabis sativa plants?? You will find them in many other plant varieties and even in some insects! Their function, however, remains the same. They impart a unique fragrance/ smell. You will understand better what terpene is if you have ever smelled an essential oil. It is what gives the oil its smell. Take lavender or sage, for example. The fragrance is quite unmistakable. That’s terpenes you are smelling. Terpenes gives plants, trees, flowers their scents. It maybe woodsy or citrus or floral- but it all comes from terpenes.

The main functions of terpenes

·      Protection

Interestingly, terpenes are nature’s way of protecting the plant from herbivores, insects or from environmental factors. The strong smell is a deterrent that allows the plant to flourish without disruption. They also help the plant’s oxygenation and regeneration.

Cannabis has over 200 terpenes! These are to be found in the hairs you will find on the cannabis bud and they are also produced here just like cannabinoids. In a fresh cannabis bud, you will find there is much more terpene content and, as a result, it smells more pungent.

·      Effect enhancement

But that is not all. Have you bitten into a berry and has the rich juice ooze out onto your tongue? Now can you imagine that experience without the equally tempting fragrance that fills your nostrils when you bite in?? The fragrance adds to the taste and enhances it. That’s another important function of terpenes with cannabis too- they enhance the taste and also the effect.

·      Mental and physical benefits

Terpenes are not JUST great smells. The smell actually has its own slew of health benefits. You must have heard about aroma therapy, a most effective and non- invasive way of dealing with some pains and aches and also stress. This is terpenes at their most effective best. The mere fragrance relieves stress or reduces pain or makes discomfort more manageable. You have both physical and mental effects arising from terpenes in this way.

For instance, the terpene linalool gives lavender its floral, sweet, mild scent. It has a calming, soothing effect on your mind. In peppermint, you find the terpene limonene. This one uplifts your mood and makes you feel more energetic. The terpene pinene in sage helps your memory and makes you feel more alert and aware.


The Entourage effect

In cannabis, terpenes have something that is called the Entourage effect. To put it simply, this is how terpenes enhance the effect of CBD oils that you may be using for a variety of benefits. Apart from the benefits of CBD itself, terpenes may add their own benefits to the mix. This results in far better effect from the product than you might expect. For instance, CBD is known to have great effect in support with pain. Similarly, research also shows that terpenes offer a marked relief for pain, especially in migraines and headaches.

Terpenes support CBD in working on the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce the desired effects. Thanks to them, the compound has a more pronounced effect than an isolated cannabinoid compound would. Studies show that terpenes may also work to subdue the less desirable effects of compounds in the cannabis sativa plant, such as THC. It also enhances the therapeutic value of the favorable compounds.

Many terpenes are known to have anti- inflammatory, anti- bacterial, antiseptic and anti- viral properties as per research done on these compounds. They also act as analgesics themselves and in combination with CBD pain relief products. Apart from these, terpenes are also decongestants and they can clear mucous very effectively.

In short, terpenes play a very crucial role in the pain relief, stress relief properties displayed by many plants and plant- based compounds. This is especially true in case of CBD products, where we see that terpenes enhance the CBD’s effect and add on to it. It is this fact that makes it useful for you to learn more about terpenes and their impact.

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