Our planet is blessed with a host of therapeutical molecules that are vital to our survival; one of which is terpenes. All in all, more than 20 thousand terpenes enrich nature’s gardens, with the cannabis species hosting over 200 of them. When it comes to the cannabis plant, many of you are aware of cannabinoids such as CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but for multiple reasons which we will explore here, many cannabis breeders are more excited by the plant’s terpene profile.
What are Terpenes?
In a nutshell, terpenes are naturally derived aromatic compounds and essential oils. Their importance within the plant-world is extraordinary, as they act as both a pollinator and a plants defence mechanism by shielding them from the sun’s rays. Additionally, their pungent scents deter natural predators. As a matter of fact, it’s their diverse range of aromas that offer plants a distinguished scent. And last but not least, terpenes possess a bountiful supply of remedial efficacies; so much so, they’re a major factor in the significance of the health benefits offered by fruits, herbs, and vegetables.
And What About Cannabis Terpenes?
There is no difference between cannabis terpenes and those that are displayed within nature’s gardens. Each and every one of the estimated 200 terpenes that feature in the cannabis species are also among the 20 thousand plus that are present throughout natures multiple variants of plants and vegetables. But what they do offer the cannabis plant is diversity in strains and the effects of cannabinoids. For example, the present amount of the terpene, myrcene, is often what determines the cannabis strain to be either cannabis sativa or cannabis indica, as it enhances THC’s sedative effects. Be that is it may, terpenes are not psychoactive.
In addition to their interaction with cannabinoids effects, terpenes are the sole reason for the cannabis species variety of aromas. It’s a little-known fact that police dogs are trained to smell for cannabis terpenes, rather than the intoxicating molecule, THC.
What Are the Common Cannabis Terpenes and Their Characteristics?
From all of the cannabis terpenes, myrcene is the most prevalent. As previously mentioned, myrcene often dictates whether the cannabis strain is either an indica or sativa; in general, any cannabis strain with over 0.5 percent myrcene will classify it as indica.
The molecule produces an earthy and musky scent and can also be found in hops, thyme, parsley, and mangoes.
Fun fact: Myrcene’s presence in mangoes is so apparent that if you consume the fruit an hour or so before smoking cannabis, the sedative effects will be enhanced.
Also known as BCP, B-caryophyllene is a potent terpene. This particular terpene is closely related to cannabinoids and has proven to be an effective natural remedy for anxiety and depression.
BCP is also present in hops, rosemary, and black pepper; thus providing it with a spicey and peppery aroma.
Widely acclaimed for the horde of strains that possess a floral scent. Terpinolene is of bountiful supply throughout nature and is also supplied by nutmeg, cumin, sage, apples, tea-trees, and rosemary. Its floral aroma is also accompanied by a hint of citrus and herbal spice. Although terpinolene is abundant in nature, it’s presence within cannabis is scarce.
The molecular structure of terpineol is not too dissimilar to terpinolene. Along with cannabis, terpinolene can also be found in apples, conifers, cumin, lilacs, and nutmeg. As a result of its close relation to terpinolene, its aromas are similar but with a piney addition.
A firm favourite among cannabis breeders is the terpene, limonene. As the name may suggest, limonene is commonly found in citrus fruits, particularly lemons. The reason that cannabis breeders cherish this terpene is because of both its array of medicinal efficacies and its blissful citric scent.
Limonene is the second most common cannabis terpene, and offers strains an uplifting effect.
Lavender’s popularity in the world of alternative medicine is a direct result of linalool. This marvel of a molecule is the driving factor for lavender’s lavishing therapeutic capabilities and its lilac essence. Both the medicinal value and aura are transferred to cannabis strains that possess the compound.
Of all terpenes, pinene is the most common to be found in plants and can be found in basil, pines, and anything alike. Pinene transmits a powerful pine tree aroma.
The diversity of hosts to ocimene is staggering and is in plentiful supply in hops, kumquats, mangoes, basil, bergamot, lavender, orchids, and pepper; just to name a few. With such engaging aromas, ocimene is often used in perfumes.
Whether you believe in alternative medicine or not, the importance of maintaining a healthy diet cannot be denied. It is common knowledge that consuming vitamins and minerals is critical to our health, but the significance of upholding an intake of terpenes is just as important. The evolution of our planet is no coincidence and the fact that terpenes are in widespread supply is evidence of that. If you want to increase your terpene intake and are averse to cannabis, you can always consider a full-spectrum hemp extract. After all, hemp is cannabis but without the “high-inducing” THC.