What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the aromatic molecules that give the cannabis plant, flowers, trees, fruits and other plants their wide range of scents, flavors, and effects. In simple terms, terpenes are like essential natural oils produced by all plants.
Terpenes, like cannabinoids, bind to receptors in your brain and produce specific effects. Terpenes work in tandem to either inhibit or activate the effects of other compounds within the plant. With the right terpenes, CBD does not merely outwardly improve symptoms, it also effectively treats many underlying causes. In layman terms, when cannabinoids are combined with various terpenes, you get better therapeutic benefits than the cannabinoids alone.
Below is a list of common terpenes and their benefits:
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, which is where it’s mostly found in nature. In fact, one study showed that myrcene makes up as much as 65% of total terpene profile in some cannabis strains. The smell of Myrcene often reminds us of earthy, musky notes, similar to cloves. It also has a fruity, red grape-like aroma. Strains that contain 0.5% of this terpene are usually indicas, packed full of sedative effects. Myrcene is also useful in reducing inflammation and chronic pain, which is why it’s usually recommended as a supplement during cancer treatments.
Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis, but not all strains necessarily have it. As the name itself says, limonene produces a citrusy smell that resembles lemons, which is no surprise as all citrus fruits contain large amounts of this compound. Limonene is also used in cosmetics and cleaning products.
If you’ve ever wondered what makes cannabis smell the way it does, myrcene and linalool are to blame. With its spicy and floral notes, this terpene is one of the most abundant in the majority of strains out there and, together with myrcene produces that pungent and spicy scent. Linalool can also be found in lavender, mint, cinnamon, and coriander. What’s interesting is that just like those aromatic herbs, linalool also produces sedation and relaxation.
Humulene is a moderately common terpene and is present in modest quantities in a variety of cannabis strains. It is believed to be an active mechanism in fighting tumors, evidenced by its ability to produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). It also offers anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
Camphor is found in rosemary leaves, camphor laurel trees, other laurel trees, and camphorweed and provides several health benefits. It aids in maintaining healthy respiratory function and circulation and helps prevent infection, alleviates stress, reduces inflammation, and improves libido.
Terpinene possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties. It has a woody, lemon-lime scent that is often used in essential oils and cosmetics.
Delta 3 Carene is like sitting in front of a lit fireplace on a cold day with a book in hand. The reason I say this is because it helps you achieve peace, comfort, and focus. It can be found in pine, cedar, and rosemary and has a sweet, woody, pungent smell.
Citral is derived from lemon myrtle and other lemon-scented plants and has a robust lemon-orange aroma. Research shows this terpene promotes weight loss, increases energy, helps balance hormone levels, and assists with vitamin A synthesis in the body. It can also work as a sedative when mixed with myrcene and limonene.