The Role of Terpenes in Cannabis: Beyond THC and CBD

Medical cannabis has several aspects. The cannabis plant yields approximately 480 different natural chemicals, besides THC and CBD, that may have medicinal applications. Recognizing the role these additional chemicals play in the actions of the plant is crucial to realising the full potential of medicinal cannabis.

Terpenes are a significant chemical constituent of the cannabis plant that has been found to have an impact on results. Actually, a variety of over 100 distinct terpenes make up the distinct terpene profile of each cannabis strain. But specifically, what are they? Let's explore together.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are a group of aromatic chemicals found in almost all plants. They are essential to the development and survival of plants and were initially designed to ward off predators and draw in pollinators. By creating the distinctive flavours, scents, and colours that are often connected to particular plants, they accomplish this. Plant regeneration and defence against environmental stresses are further functions of terpenes.

The glands known as trichomes, which are found all over female cannabis plants, secrete large amounts of terpenes in addition to other compounds and cannabinoids. Environmental elements like light exposure, temperature fluctuations, and the presence of nutrients can have an impact on terpene levels in addition to strain genetics.

Do terpenes have medicinal benefits?

Terpenes have advantages that extend beyond the plants they live in. Terpene-rich plants like ginger, lemon, and mint have long been used by humans in traditional medicine as a way to promote health and relieve symptoms. These days, terpenes are found in essential oils, which can be applied topically (tea tree oil has terpineol) or utilized for aromatherapy (lavender oil contains linalool).

Research into the potential applications of terpenes in the treatment of different ailments is still underway. Numerous terpenes have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, antioxidant, and sedative effects by scientists. Given that terpenes are abundant in cannabis plants, more research is necessary to comprehend how these compounds interact and affect the effects of medicinal cannabis.

What are the most common terpenes in cannabis?

The oils derived from plants contain a wide variety of terpenes, each of which has a distinct flavour and aroma and affects both people and animals when consumed. More than 150 terpenes are found in the cannabis plant alone, and each one adds to the medicinal properties and possible health advantages of the plant.

Some of the most well-known terpenes that are present in other plants and in medicinal cannabis treatments are as follows:

1. Caryophyllene

  • Found in: Cloves, Black Pepper, Cotton
  • Aromas: Wood, Spice, and Pepper
  • Potential Applications: Herbs include anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-depressant, and more.

2. Limonene

  • Found in: Fruit Rinds, Lemon Juniper
  • Aromas: Orange, Lemon, and Citrous
  • Possible Applications: Stress reduction, digestion, and antibacterial

3. Farnesene

  • Found in: potatoes, roses, and camomile
  • Aromas: Wood, floral, and sandalwood
  • Potential Applications: Humulene as a muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergy

4. Humulene

  • Found in: Hops, Ginseng, and Sage
  • Aromas: Wood, Spice, and Earth
  • Possible Applications: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and suppressor of appetite

5. Myrcene

  • Found in: Lemongrass, Thyme, and Mango
  • Aromas: Citrous, Musk, and Earth
  • Possible Applications: Pain relief, relaxation, and anti-inflammatory

6. Terpinolene

  • Found in: Rosemary, Sage, and Lilac
  • Aromas: Herbal, Floral, Pine
  • Possible Applications: Antimicrobial, calming, sleep aid

How do they compare to THC and CBD?

There are more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, THC and CBD are the two most prevalent and well-researched. Although they are two different substances, terpenes and cannabinoids can both provide you with some indications about what to expect from a cannabis product.

Nevertheless, it appears that they all engage in social interactions known to specialists as the "entourage effect." According to this theory, the "full spectrum" of cannabis, which includes all of the terpenes, cannabinoids, and other chemicals present in cannabis, collaborates to create the effects and experiences associated with cannabis.

Put differently, the theory suggests that a small amount of each item may be more advantageous than a large amount of any one item.
A 2010 research According to studyTrusted Source, for instance, THC by itself was not as helpful at managing pain as CBD and THC together.
According to a 2018 studyTrusted Source, cannabis extracts were superior to pure THC alone in treating breast cancer tumours grown in Petri dishes. However, it was thought that terpenes, not other cannabinoids, were primarily responsible for those synergistic impacts.

When utilising CBD for medicinal purposes, this is something you should definitely consider. Try a full-spectrum CBD product instead of a CBD isolate if you find that the former doesn't have the intended effect. Full-spectrum CBD products also contain terpenes and other cannabinoids, though not much THC.

Matching terpenes to your needs

Selecting the appropriate strain requires considering not only the desired effects but also the situation and mood at the time. Here are several ways that distinct terpenes might enhance different emotional states.

1. Relaxing and Relieving Stress

Myrcene, linalool, and limonene-rich strains are great options for times when unwinding and relieving tension are top priorities. Terpenes like these have mood-enhancing and soothing properties that ease stress and encourage peace of mind. Seek out strains that are mostly Indica.

2. Creativity and Concentration

Strains with high levels of pinene and limonene can be a great way to spark imagination or improve creativity. Because of their stimulating and invigorating qualities, these terpenes are highly recommended for creative or brainstorming sessions.

3. Relaxation and Pain Relief

Strains with high caryophyllene and myrcene content are beneficial for people with chronic pain or seeking relief from physical discomfort. With their analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities, these terpenes provide pain treatment without the sedative effects that are sometimes linked to some Indica strains.

4. Improvement of Mood and Happiness

Strains with high limonene and linalool content are great for improving mood and uplifting the spirits. These terpenes are good for social events or self-care periods because they foster emotions of happiness and wellbeing.

5. Rest and sleep

Strains that have large quantities of myrcene and linalool may be helpful for people who are having trouble falling asleep at night or waking up during the night. These terpenes promote deeper and more restorative sleep by inducing relaxation and maybe aiding in the onset of sleep.

Can you add terpenes to cannabis products?

You can add terpenes to almost any cannabis product. Consider including them in:

- Dry Bud: Terpenes can make a flower better than it is, or they can improve a flower that isn't very good (like a weak strain or an old, stale, or dry bud).

- Distillate: Many of the terpenes that boil out during the distillate process can be reinfused by concentrations of terpenes.
Shatter: When added correctly, terpenes can improve shatter (see below).

- Oils: Terpenes have the potential to augment the inherent advantages of oils, particularly in terms of fostering slumber.

- Drinks: Since terpenes diffuse throughout the beverage, they are easy to drink and vape.

- Concentrates: If terpenes are correctly matched to the strain in question, they can enhance the flavour of concentrates that don't accurately reflect that strain.

Terpenes continue to be beneficial in more cannabis products. All things considered, they can enhance cannabis consumption in any way that suits you.

Last words

It's critical to recognise the need for greater study on the possible effects and interactions of terpenes in people as therapeutic cannabis usage grows in acceptance. The majority of the current body of research supporting terpenes' potential as a treatment comes from preclinical models and animal studies. It's also clear that terpene concentrations must be high in order to have any meaningful effects.

In spite of this, terpenes' health advantages and possible medical uses are gaining popularity. hopeful new directions for future study on medicinal cannabis products and patient outcomes, the identification of terpene synergy with other cannabis-derived compounds is a hopeful development.