If you are passionate about using holistic remedies for life’s everyday ailments, you have probably already heard the word “terpenes.” They are the primary components of essential oils. Now terpenes are becoming a buzzword in the cannabis realm as well! In short, terpenes are the natural chemicals in plants and plant-derived products that give every plant its flavor and aroma. They lend oranges their unique scent and hops their mouthwatering taste. It is also terpenes that give cannabis its distinctive odor and contribute to its earthy flavor.
How Terpenes Pair with Cannabis
There are more than 100 distinct types of terpenes found in cannabis. Although most terpenes exist in only trace amounts, the more prominent ones unite to create distinct odors in each cannabis strain. For example, the combination of terpenes found in Sour Diesel gives it an intense gasoline smell. At the same time, Super Lemon Haze conjures up the delicious aroma of fresh citrus. In addition to the array of beautiful scents, terpenes may also produce an array of therapeutic and mood-altering effects in cannabis users.
According to some experts in the cannabis oil sector, the different terpenes found in cannabis have varied characteristics. They note that these terpenes do a lot more than simply influence how a strain smells and tastes. They further believe terpenes also impact chemical agents in our bodies. This implies that terpenes impact the effects of each strain of cannabis. For example, several studies show that limonene has mood-enhancing effects with its powerful citrus scent.
The ‘entourage effect’ describes how various compounds, such as THC might impact mood. Cannabinoids bind to receptors in the brain and throughout the body. It appears that terpenes impact how this binding occurs. Ultimately, this has led industry insiders to believe that the presence of terpenes has enhanced the effectiveness of THC in some cases. Further opening up a whole new world of complex interactions between terpenes and cannabinoids, undoubtedly creating new scientific and medical research possibilities.
Popular Terpenes in Cannabis
Until recently, cannabis research has concentrated on cannabinoids rather than terpenes. However, as knowledge grows, more cannabis testing laboratories are now analyzing terpene content to provide consumers with a better understanding of what different strains may do. While terpenes are just now becoming recognized in the cannabis field, they have been well-known in aromatherapy for centuries. A closer look at cannabis shows that it contains same terpenes to those found in other plants that have been used for medicinal purposes for millennia, such as citrus or lavender.
Some of the most frequently found terpenes in cannabis include:
This aromatic chemical is also found in pepper and cinnamon, resulting in a scent reminiscent of these ancient favorites.Traditionally used to help treat pain and ulcers.
Recommended 253 strain: Orange Chiffon
Linalool is a component of lavender, which has been used for millennia to help patients relax. People have also utilized linalool for thousands of years to boost their emotions and aid with sadness and sleeplessness.Romulan and Sour Kush are two strains in which linalool is strongly present.
Recommended 253 Strain: Wedding Sunset
Also found in Mango, Lemongrass, Thyme, and Hops. A light and fragrant scent that is frequently used in air fresheners. Strains such as Amnesia and Trainwreck include myrcene. Myrcene is noted to have anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and sleep-inducing properties.
Recommended 253 Strain: Donatello Kush
Present in pine, basil, and dill plants, pinene is widely used to freshen the air and clothes. Pinene has shown promise as a pain reliever and anxiety reliever. and is available in several strains with names like Jack Herer, Island Sweet Skunk, and Blue Dream.
Recommended 253 Strain: Cake Crasher
One of the most prevalent terpenes globally, Limonene is found in citrus fruit rind, rosemary, and peppermint.Durban Poison and Lemon Grass are two examples of named strains that include high Limonene traces. Homeopathics believe Limonene helps aid with anxiety, sadness, and pain management.
Recommended 253 Strain: Cake Crasher
Can Terpenes in Cannabis Alleviate Pain?
The endocannabinoid system is a natural physiological system in humans and animals. Terpenes, similar to cannabinoids, interact with specific protein cell receptors in the body’s inner endocannabinoid system (ECS) to stimulate therapeutic effects. The ECS is a complex set of chemical interactions that occur in the body that regulate things like mood, pain, hunger, sleep, stress, and more. According to a 2008 study, the terpene caryophyllene was the first non-cannabinoid component to activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. We still have much research to do, but it is conceivable that other terpenes operate through the same pathway, activating various cell receptors in the ECS.
Do Terpenes in Cannabis Help with Anxiety?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (AADA), over 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States.
Over the years, conventional approaches to treating anxiety have lost their edge. People have shown a need for natural remedies over pharmaceutical medicine. Among these alternative anxiety treatments, cannabis-derived compounds, including the cannabinoids CBD and THC, are prevalent. Abuse of benzodiazepines, the most commonly prescribed drug for anxiety, is rampant- increasing the interest in anxiety treatments that do not have abuse potential.
Since the dawn of time, holistic medicine practitioners and healers alike have recommended a dab of lavender oil, which is rich in the terpene linalool, on the wrist to reduce anxiety. In a study conducted by Front Psychiatry, evidence suggests that linalool is beneficial for social anxiety. They administered (100 mg) of linalool to mice which decreased anxiety-like behaviors as the mice maneuvered the elevated plus maze. Further, the linalool restored social interaction in mice subjected to a social defeat paradigm compared to socially stressed mice administered saline.
There are plenty of benefits in finding a cannabis strain that is rich in terpenes. During your next dispensary visit, ask your budtender about terpenes and have fun experimenting!
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- Hoenen, M. (2016, February). Fancy Citrus: Feel Good. Frontiers in Psychology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4735708/
- Russo, E. B. (2011, September). Taming THC: National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/
- University Of Arizona Health Services. (2021, July). Study shows Cannabis Terpenes Provide Pain Relief, Contribute to “Entourage Effect.” Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714110455.htm
- Zimmer, A. (2001, July). Beta-caryophyllene is a Dietary Cannabinoid. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.0803601105
- Anxiety and Depresson. (2021, September). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics
- Schmitz, A. (2016, May). Benzodiazepine Use, Misuse, and Abuse: A Review. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007645/