What Are Terpenes?
Terpenoids or Terpenes are a naturally occurring compound that can be found in all plants and flowers, including the cannabis/hemp plant. Cannabis has the largest variety of terpenoids in a single plant, in the plant kingdom. Science and experimentation are showing us that terpenoids are similar to cannabinoids in the sense that they have dynamic and notable effects on the body’s nervous, cardiovascular, circulatory and digestive systems. However, terpenoids are most widely known for creating the smell associated with the plant or flower.
Understanding the Different Terpenes
There are as many different varieties of terpenoids in the cannabis plant, as there are cannabinoids. Both compounds are produced by the same set of glands in the plant, making them highly intertwined. Each terpenoid in cannabis interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system differently, much as cannabinoids do. It is important to note which terpenes are best to use for the result you are seeking, and so continued clinical research is considered important.
The most notorious terpenes are Myrcene, Linalool, Pinene, Humulene, Limonene, Caryophyllene, and Terpinolene. All terpenes fall into one of five major categories determined by hydrocarbon count. Terpenes are differentiated from one another scientifically based upon how many carbon units are needed to create the molecular structure of the terpene itself such as C5 which falls into the Hemeterpenes category. There are more than 100 terpenes naturally occurring in the cannabis plant, some rarer than others, and over 30,000 known terpenes in the plant world.
Why Are Terpenes Important?
Terpenes and their cannabinoid collaborative efforts are the subjects of much research and discussion in a world growing increasingly more focused on hemp cannabinoids as medicine. Researchers are finding that when combined, isolated compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids, can create what’s often referred to as the entourage effect. Increasing the capacity to ease what we’re previously thought to be “untreatable” symptoms, some associated with chronic illnesses. Their contributions to the body are innumerable, ranging from mildly relaxing to invigorating… possessing the ability to calm debilitating conditions.
Terpenes have an important role to play in hemp cannabinoid medicine as their “biological mate” but we are seeing that when curated and paired with certain cannabinoids like CBD, terpenes can create astonishing results in the body. From what science has shown us thus far and what we have gained from centuries of recorded practices, terpenes are proving to fast track the efficacy of cannabinoids and deserve recognition and further investigation.