Certain elements of cannabis are highly necessary for an enhanced experience and a better understanding of the kind one consumes. A well-known quality of cannabis is that it affects the mind and behavior when consumed. The main compound that produces such psychoactive effects on individuals is THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Extensive research has been done on this compound. However, there exist a large number of other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenoids in medicinal marijuana that play an important role in helping understand cannabis and its effects. Not a lot of people know about the terpenes present in cannabis. Through this article, we would understand what are cannabis terpenes, and why they matter.
Introduction to terpenes
Are you wondering what terpenes are? Well, you are already familiar with them! Terpenes are the aromatic organic hydrocarbons that are found in a number of plants. The cannabis plant has a variety of compounds and chemicals, and about 140 of them can be classified as terpenes. Often the terms terpene and terpenoid are used synonymously, despite them having different meanings. The difference between the two is that terpenoids are terpenes that are denatured due to chemical modification or oxidization, while terpenes are hydrocarbons.
Terpenes are produced inside the glandular trichomes of the secretory cells of cannabis, with the help of exposure to light. In simple words, they are the aromatic oils that cause different cannabis plants to have distinctive flavors such as: citrus, mint, pine, berry, etc. In cannabis plants, terpenes act as a repellant for predators, and help lure pollinators. Factors such as the climate, age, fertilizers, soil, and exposure to light, influence the development of terpenes in plants. Terpenes are important elements that help distinguish the effects of different cannabis strains.
Different terpenes serve different purposes, for instance, certain terpenes might have relaxing and calming effects on individuals, while some might help them focus properly. Myrcene, one of the known terpenes is present in strains such as Blue Dream and Granddaddy Purple, and helps users relax. Limonene, pinene, linalool, caryophyllene, humulene, etc. are some other known terpenes. Although basic information about terpenes is available, the subject needs more research.
Why are terpenes important?
Terpenes are important for a number of reasons, some of which are discussed below.
- Hightened effects: A paper published in 2011 explored the way in which cannabinoids and terpenes work together in order to boost the effects of each other in our bodies’ endocannabinoid system or the ECS. Therefore, terpenes can help increase or decrease the effects of CBD, THC and other compounds in the body. Terpenes also affect the high and lead to the entourage effect on individuals. For instance, myrcene helps increase the effects of THC.
- Medical benefits: Terpenes have certain medical benefits. Myrcene helps those struggling with insomnia and fatigue, and acts as a sedative. It is also anti-inflammatory, and helps alleviate pain. Another terpene called Limonene has energizing effects on people, and acts as an anti-depressant. It is also used in aromatherapy.
- Taste and Flavor: Terpenes help accentuate the natural flavor of cannabis and vape oils. They help us experience the citrusy, the pine, the berry, and the mint aroma. They are used in essential oils as well.
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The information provided above helps one understand what terpenes are and the effects they have on consumption. Terpenes enrich the cannabis plants as well as other plants. They play an important role in the survival of multiple plant species. However, due to minimal research, a lot of its benefits remain unknown. More research is needed in the field, in order to uncover the potential medicinal and therapeutic benefits of terpenes.