What are terpenes and what is the function of Terpenes?
Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds that give cannabis it’s unique scent. They originated as a defense mechanism to protect the plant from predators and to attract pollinators. The familiar smell of cannabis buds that we all know and love, whether than be skunk, citrus or pine, is all thanks to terpenes.
Terpenes are found in the essential oil of plants and fruit herbs, that give a cannabis strain its unique smell and flavour. They are secreted in the resin glands of the cannabis flowers, the same place where cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are also made.
The “entourage effect” is a phenomenon claiming that terpenes may work in harmony with these cannabis compounds and that the potential effects of a terpene may change depending on what other compounds are present, however more research is needed to confirm this.
Just like cannabinoids have the ability to bind to receptors in the brain, terpenes also have this ability. There have been over 100 terpenes discovered in just the cannabis plant alone.
Besides creating the specific scent that is so recognizable when using cannabis, each terpene could potentially produce its own physiological effects such as relaxation or focus.
The 8 most most common terpenes found in cannabis are:
Alpha-Pinene: this is a pine scented terpene that is said to increase alertness, and possibly decrease some common effects of THC
Limonene: this is a citrus scented terpene that is said to relieve stress and create an uplifting mood
Myrcene: This terpene is clove scented and may promote relaxing benefits and feelings of laziness
Ocimene: this terpene gives off sweet aromas that could have antiseptic effects
Terpinolene: a floral pine scented terpene that could also provide relaxive benefits
Humulene: this is an earthy scented terpene that is said to possible have anti-inflammatory effects
Linalool: a floral fragrance terpene that could enhance mood and have sedative effects
Beta-caryophyllene: a spicy or peppery smelling terpene that may relieve stress
Each cannabis strain has their own specific terpene profile, therefore a family resemblance has been found in these profiles. Cannabis parents have the ability to pass down the scent to descendant strains. The way terpenes develop, is highly influences by the surrounding environment. Factors such as climate type, soil type, and even the time of the day can have an effect on the scent as the cannabis plant grows. Therefore you can only be certain that specific terpene profiles are in lab tested cannabis products.
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