What Are Cannabis Terpenes And What Do They Do?
Cannabis terpenes are a relatively recent discovery, but they’ve already been shown to have many applications. Among these are their uses in aromatherapy, as well as for the treatment of certain inflammatory conditions.
Tetra hydro cannabinol (THC) is the chemical that gives cannabis its psychoactive properties. Although this is the most well-known of cannabis’ ingredients, others may be just as, if not more, beneficial to your health and wellness.
Terpenes work with cannabinoids to create an effect when inhaled or smoked. Cannabis contains over 200 different terpenes, which allows for a wide variety of complex aromas and effects from each strain of marijuana.
By understanding how these terpenes affect your high and the way you feel, you can further understand what makes certain strains more beneficial than others. Read on to learn more about cannabis terpenes.
What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinct aroma. They can also be identified as the source of the effect of a cannabis plant. Terpenes produce citrusy, piney, and minty flavors and influence cannabis’ psychoactive effects.
These essential oils are a large and diverse class of organic compounds produced by many plants (hops, conifers, and more). They emit distinct aromas that aid in pollination and attraction while also an insect repellent. Terpenes are also natural pesticides that protect plants from bacteria and fungi.
Why Do Terpenes Matter?
Cannabis terpenes are crucial for cannabis users because they give you a different pot experience. Terpenes are responsible for the effects of marijuana in addition to their scent and flavor.
This means that if you enjoy the smell of your favorite strain, there’s an excellent chance it has positive effects for you.
It’s not just about how it smells! Terpenes bind to our body CB1 receptors, which cause various effects. Terpenes and phytocannabinoids work synergistically in our Endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Strains rich in terpenes could potentially be used as wellness supplements, acting as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidepressant and even as an antiseptic.
Common Types of Terpenes
- Myrcene – Earthy, musky aroma that’s often described as “cannabis” smell
- Humulene – A spicy, herbal note with aromas of hops
Limonene – A citrusy, lemon-like scent that’s also found in lemons and oranges
- Linalool – Floral, lavender scent with sweet overtones
- Caryophyllene – Black pepper spice that can also be found in cinnamon and cloves
- Terpinolene – Spicy, woodsy aroma reminiscent of green pepper or pine needles
- Alpha-pinene – Pine needle aroma that can also be found in rosemary or basil
- Beta-myrcene – Sweet, earthy notes of mangoes or Artemesia; typically found in indica strains
Note: Myrcene and limonene make up between 50 to 70% of all cannabis strains. Therefore, it can be said that these two terpenes are responsible for the majority of effects seen from cannabis use.
Medical Benefits of Terpenes
Terpenes have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. They’re often called “the building blocks of life,” and for a good reason.
Terpenes are used in plants for self-defense against predators, reproduction and even as weapons against fungal infections (it’s believed that the reason cannabis is so effective at fighting off mold is due to its high terpene content).
Cannabis terpenes can support many aspects of wellness and vitality thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. They work synergistically with THC and CBD to reduce inflammation throughout your body, which may help protect you against heart disease, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Terpenes also have antibacterial properties that can inhibit bacterial growth in your lungs and sinuses as well as provide relief from respiratory illnesses such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.
The different terpenes found in cannabis have other properties. For example, myrcene is often associated with sleep, so strains high in this terpene may be suitable for treating insomnia or promoting relaxation and calmness.
Limonene is thought to be an antidepressant, while linalool helps fight stress. Alpha-pinene helps open airways and fight inflammation, while beta-caryophyllene is a cancer fighter. Most of the products we carry at Phoenix Weed Delivery have high levels of terpenes that can help benefit our patients immensely in a number of ways.
Terpenes & The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is a theory that suggests that the interaction between active ingredients in cannabis can produce a more significant impact than one ingredient alone.
It’s essentially the sum being greater than its parts. This is why different strains are associated with different effects, even when they have the same levels of cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
The relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids has been studied extensively. Even a study suggests that over eighty percent of medical cannabis users believe there’s a direct correlation between terpene profile and their experience.
While we don’t have all the answers just yet, we know this interaction can be pretty powerful.
How Are Terpenes Preserved In Cannabis?
Terpenes are incredibly delicate and very volatile (. As soon as a plant is harvested, it begins losing terpenes through evaporation and oxidation. The rate of loss, however, differs from one terpene to another.
Some terpenes evaporate quickly at room temperature (the most volatile ones), while others disappear more slowly. Some degrade when exposed to oxygen; this happens mostly to monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes.
All of this means that if you want to preserve as many terpenes as possible in your cannabis, you need to handle your plants with care at each stage of the process (from harvest to consumption).
Choosing the proper harvesting method is very important. You don’t want to trim too early because you’ll be trimming off some of the most aromatic parts of the plant.
Terpenes are also sensitive to light and heat, so storing your cannabis in a cool, dark place is best. Avoid exposing your herb to direct sunlight, as this will cause some of the terpenes to degrade. These compounds are known for their medicinal properties, so if you want to maintain them, keep your cannabis in the dark place where temperatures stay steady.
The next thing would be to add some moisture back into the bud by wetting it with clean water or adding a little bit of humidity back in with a humidifier. You can also place a plastic bag over the bud for a few days will help rejuvenate some more terpenes.
Just make sure not to get it too wet or leave it sitting in water for days on end because that can cause mold to grow on your herb, which you want to avoid since mold can affect the taste of cannabis.
Cannabis terpenes are the next big thing in cannabis concentrate customization. There’s still plenty of research to be done, but these plant compounds provide a fantastic array of benefits, both mentally and physically.
They’re not psychoactive, but they may be more critical to the industry’s future, whether it’s in recreational or medical applications. Whether you’re smoking a joint or vaping some wax at home, terpenes can both enhance your high and improve your health.