What are terpenes?

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Have you ever wondered why we love the soothing smell of cannabis, or the citrusy smell oranges have? The answer is plain and simple: terpenes. Although this term might sound new to you, the existence of terpenes is something we’ve all come across at one point or another. Let’s dive right into the details!

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are, scientifically speaking, aromatic compounds that can be found in nearly every plant, herb, or fruit. This means that these particular compounds give each plant its unique smell and flavor. Terpenes have been around since the beginning of time, basically, but they hit their all-time high level of popularity when people got familiar with all the wonderful properties and benefits of the cannabis plant.

Cannabis terpenes

Terpenes in cannabis are particularly intriguing because there’s an abundance of them! According to science, the cannabis plant contains over 100 terpenes & terpenoids! All these terpenes have a say in the aroma and flavor of cannabis strains. The terpene profile in a cannabis plant is what makes different strains have different flavors. But, the terpene profile also determines the effect a certain strain is going to have on you! This is, for example, what creates such a huge contrast between Indica and Sativa strains.

Terpenes vs. Terpenoids

You might think that these two terms hold the same meaning, but there is a tiny difference between them!

On the one hand, terpenes occur in plants naturally and they remain there until we harvest and dry them. They have a very simple chemical structure.

Terpenoids, on the other hand, are derived from terpenes and undergo a little change in their chemical structure in a process known as oxidation. This makes their chemical structure a bit more complex.

Benefits of terpenes

Terpenes may sound a bit boring, but they are actually one of the most common compounds on Earth that offer a wide array of benefits! Many companies use them in their products for several reasons.

Firstly, terpenes, and especially those found in cannabis, can have a huge calming effect on our bodies. This explains why we love smelling and using essential oils to pamper ourselves. Terpenes have the potential to be very good for our physical and mental health because they can really relax and soothe us – this is why our sense of smell is such a fascinating process! We can change the way we feel solely by using our noses. Isn’t that amazing?

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Secondly, terpenes come with lots and lots of helpful properties. Some terpenes are anti-inflammatory, some are antifungal and antiviral, and some even have analgesic properties! This, again, depends on the terpenoid profile of the plant. This means that when we ingest them or use them topically, they can certainly provide relief for any type of discomfort we might be feeling.

Types of terpenes

These terpenes listed below are the most popular and researched ones, and what makes them awesome is that they are all unique in their properties and effects they produce. They later form the CBD terpenes (which we will talk about shortly). Here’s a few of them:

  • Humulene – with a strong effect, this terpene gives off a very earthy and musky aroma (and flavor). Apart from cannabis, this type of terpene can also be found in basil, black pepper, coriander, and many other plants. This terpene is also known for causing minor appetite suppression.
  • Limonene – does this name ring a bell? It’s the terpene that’s most commonly found in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits! This terpene is known for being very uplifting.
  • Linalool – this terpene is found in lavender, so you already know that it promotes relaxation and offers anti-anxiety effects.
  • Pinene – the name of this terpene also sounds like something we’re already familiar with…pine trees! The unique, characteristic smell of pines comes exactly from this terpene. It’s most popular for being antifungal and antiviral.
  • Myrcene – although studies for this terpene are limited, this terpene is known for its highly relaxing effect. It can be found in mango, lemongrass, and hops. A very similar terpene to myrcene is the camphene that can be found in the cannabis plant, as well as sage ginger, and rosemary.
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Types of CBD terpenes

As we’ve already mentioned, the cannabis plant contains over 100 terpenes, so listing all of them would be a rather hard and exhausting task. Here are just a few of the most popular ones that are commonly found in CBD oils, tinctures, lotions, or edibles!

  • Sour Diesel – as you can see, the names for CBD terpenes are much cooler than the regular ones. Sour Diesel is a potent terpene with humulene as its major terpene component. The effects of this terpene are practically the same effects you would expect from humulene!
  • Granddaddy Purple – this terpene’s major terpene component is myrcene, which has antioxidant properties, so it’s great to use in skincare and edibles such as CBD honey! Some studies also point to the fact that this terpene is very relaxing and sedating, so it’s great to use before sleep.
  • White Widow – this CBD terpene contains pinene and camphene as its major terpene components and works great for promoting feelings of inspiration and happiness. Using this CBD terpene helps combat viruses and bacteria, and also induces anti-inflammatory processes.

The entourage effect

The entourage effect is something that lacks more scientific research, but in short, this effect is a concept that we experience while using cannabis. The entourage effect suggests that all the compounds present in the cannabis plant (which includes terpenes as well), all work together in harmony and synergistically to maximize the positive effect of the consummation.

For example, in the White Widow strain (which consists of pinene and camphene, among others), the terpenes present in it work together to fully bring out all the positive effects we mentioned above.

Bottom line

Terpenes are a fascinating work of nature, and the fact that today we’re able to recognize them and enjoy all the things they offer is truly one of the wonders of the modern world! Terpenes are one of the main reasons why many people enjoy using full-spectrum CBD products rather than isolate.

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