What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are organic compounds found in a variety of plants. They contribute to their flavor, scent and color. But, unlike cannabinoids they are not unique to cannabis. These organic compounds are the building blocks for essential oils and plant resins. They are often used in food additives, perfumery and aromatherapy. Some terpenes are thought to have medicinal properties and to help in fighting bacteria, fungus and environmental stress. Terpenes originate in the same glands of the cannabis plant as THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.
Familiar plants like rosemary, mint or basil have a strong terpene profile and this is why they are referred to as aromatic plants. In the case of cannabis there are over 200 various terpenes and it is thought that they interact synergistically with the cannabinoids in the plant and enhance the health effects of cannabis.
There are a lot of different terpenes in cannabis, but there are 11 profiles you should know.
1. Limonene is a terpene found in cannabis. It is also present in citrus fruits, juniper and peppermint, and has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-depressant effects. It is also suggested that this organic compound has anti-carcinogen properties, and is known to increase blood pressure. Many believe Limonene can help promote weight loss, prevent and treat cancer, and treat bronchitis. It can also be used to make ointments and medicinal creams that penetrate the skin better. The cannabis strain Super Lemon Haze gets its name partially from the aroma and has its distinctive smell because it contains Limonene.
2. Myrcene, another terpene, is found in menthol, lemon grass and most varieties of marijuana, and is widely used in the perfumery industry. It also has anti-microbial and anti-septic properties and acts as a natural anti-depressant, anti-carcinogen and anti-inflammatory agent. It’s a relaxing substance and in cannabis-derived products, it increases the cell membrane permeability, allowing for higher amounts of THC to travel to the brain cells. Although a lot of strains contain Myrcene, a Swiss study found the cannabis strain Lovrin 110 contained over 65 percent Myrcene.
3. Linalool is a terpene that has a floral scent with a hint of spice. It is believed that it has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to modulate motor movements. One study found that Linalool could be used to help treat liver cancer. Lab studies reveal Amnesia Haze contained slightly over one percent Linalool.
4. Alpha Bisabolol also has a floral scent and is found in chamomile. Research suggests that this terpene can be effective in healing wounds and fighting a number of inflammations.
5. Delta 3 Carene has an earthy and piney scent. Studies have found it to also be an effective anti-inflammatory agent. It is frequently found in many of the more popular strains.
6. Borneol has an earthy aroma and has the smell of camphor. It has been used as an analgesic, anti-insomnia, anti-septic, and bronchodilator. Studies have shown that K13 Haze contains high amounts of this terpene.
7. Alpha-Pinene/Beta-Pinene is terpene found in pine trees and accounts for their scent. Some studies have shown that Pinene has anti-inflammatory properties. One study that examine 16 cannabis plants found all of the strains contained notable amounts of alpha-pinene and beta-pinene.
8. Eucalyptol is an essential oil or terpene that is found in some species of the generic Eucalyptus oil, camphor laurel and bay leaves. Eucalyptol is an ingredient in many brands of mouthwash and cough suppressant Although Eucalyptol is found in many different strains of cannabis, it is usually found in small amounts.
9. Terpineol is found in cajuput oil, pine oil and petitgrain. Terpineol can refer to any combination of four monoterpene alcohol isomers (the most common of which is α-terpineol) occurring naturally in over 150 plants, including cannabis. Terpineol has a pleasant odor similar to lilac and is a common ingredient in perfumes, cosmetics, and flavors. Studies have suggested that terpineol has antioxidant, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some testing laboratories indicate that terpineol is found in the cannabis strain Jack Herer.
10. Caryophyllene is a terpene that is a constituent in many essential oils, especially clove oil. Some studies have shown caryophyllene to be beneficial in treating anxiety and depression. One study found that the soil-grown strain Train Wreck contained 0.33 percent caaryophyllene. The Trainwreck strain is very popular among patients suffering from ADHD, anxiety, stress, migraines, headaches, PTSD, and chronic aches and pain.
11. Camphene has a pungent smell and is found in minor quantities of turpentine, cypress oil, camphor oil and citronella oil. Studies have shown Camphene to have anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties