Terpenes are one of the many various compounds found in plants such as cannabis. These multifunctional compounds play an essential role not just within cannabis but also within nature in general. To understand why cannabis offers the many benefits that it does, it is also essential that you understand the therapeutic potential of cannabis terpenes.
Essentially, terpenes are organic compounds found in the trichomes of cannabis flower, which contain aromatic properties that give cannabis strains their unique aroma and flavor profiles. But, on the other hand, terpenes are much, much more than that. Terpenes serve many purposes within nature, including but not limited to the following.
While indica and sativa are primarily descriptive terms used to describe how a plant appears during cultivation, there is a common belief that indica cannabis strains make you relaxed and that sativa strains have a more uplifting effect.
What many consumers and patients do not realize, though, is that terpenes cause those common side effects. Terpenes that are known to be relaxants are more commonly found in indica cultivars, while terpenes that are known for their energetic effects are more often found in sativa varieties.
Some research suggests that terpenes could also play a role in the concentration of cannabinoids that are absorbed by the body and ultimately utilized by the endocannabinoid system. As a result, some terpenes, or combinations of terpenes, could ultimately make a strain more potent by increasing the THC content absorbed by the body, whereas other terpenes or combinations could have the opposite effect.
Now that we have a better understanding of the importance of terpenes and the many roles they play within the cannabis experience let’s take a closer look at common terpenes found in cannabis as well as the characteristics and therapeutic benefits that they offer.
Caryophyllene, also known as beta-caryophyllene, is a terpene found in high concentrations within black pepper, rosemary, clove, basil, ylang-ylang, hops, and cannabis. This terpene offers a strong herbal and spicy aroma and flavor profile with undertones of wood and moss. This terpene commonly produces a euphoric and relaxing effect for most patients and consumers.
Research suggests that when consumed orally, this terpene is also able to bind with the CB2 cannabinoid receptor found in the endocannabinoid system. At this time, it is believed to be the only terpene that has the ability to activate and bind with a cannabinoid receptor.
Studies for many decades have shown that this terpene offers various therapeutic properties, including but not limited to the following.
While this terpene is found in almost every cannabis strain, it can be found in high concentrations in strains such as Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Skywalker OG, Chemdawg, and Bubba Kush, to name a few.
Humulene, sometimes referred to as alpha humulene or a-humulene, is a terpene found in cannabis as well as ginseng, hops, black pepper, cilantro, and tobacco, among other plants. This terpene has a woody, earthy, and spicy aroma and flavor profile with strong herbal notes throughout. Aromatically this terpene produces a calming yet uplifting effect for many.
Being the prevalent terpene that it is in nature, there is much research surrounding humulene showing that it offers the following therapeutic potential and more.
While humulene isn’t the most abundant terpene in cannabis, it is prevalent in many strains in abundance. These strains include but are not limited to Sherbert, Girl Scout Cookies, Candyland, Headband, Deathstar, Super Lemon Haze, White Widow, and Original Glue.
Limonene, sometimes called D-Limonene, is a prevalent terpene found in cannabis that is also found in high concentrations in lemon and orange rinds, juniper, rosemary, fennel, pine, and peppermint. Limonene is known for offering a fruity and citrusy aroma and flavor profile. This terpene is associated with providing uplifting and energetic effects.
Limonene, like other terpenes that are found in abundance within nature and in hundreds if not thousands of cannabis strains, there is significant research surrounding this terpenes therapeutic potential. Some of the benefits that limonene has been shown to offer include the following.
While limonene exists in many cannabis strains and is thought to be one of the most abundant, it is found in the highest concentrations within strains such as Wedding Cake, Black Cherry Soda, Banana OG, Purple Hindu Kush, Tahoe OG, MAC l, and Strawberry Banana to name a few.
Linalool is a common terpene found in cannabis that is also highly associated with lavender. This terpene can also be found in citrus fruits, cinnamon, birch, hops, basil, bergamot, eucalyptus, and coriander, among others. Linalool is known for offering a fresh floral scent and aroma with light undertones of wood. This terpene commonly produces feelings of relaxation in patients and consumers.
Research to date surrounding this terpene suggests that it offers the following therapeutic potentials and more.
Linalool is a very common terpene found in cannabis cultivars, with higher concentrations being found in strains such as Amnesia Haze, Lavender, Lavender Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Kosher Kush, Zkittles, Timewreck, LA confidential, and many of the Girl Scout Cookies and OG varieties on the market today.
Myrcene is thought to be the most abundant terpene found in cannabis today. This terpene is also found in cardamom, mango, bay, thyme, lemongrass, hops, parsley, and ylang-ylang as well as others throughout nature. The aroma and flavor profile of this terpene is known for being earthy, musky, and spicy with herbal undertones. Myrcene typically provides an overall relaxing and sedating effect for most.
This terpene, which is also found in high concentrations in mango, is believed to increase and intensify the effects of THC by increasing its permeability of the brain-blood barrier and by boosting the activation of the CB1 receptor by THC. It is thought that consuming mangoes prior to consuming cannabis may produce more intense effects for patients and consumers.
The potential therapeutic benefits of myrcene are highly documented through various research studies. To date, research suggests that this terpene possesses the following properties and more!
With myrcene being the most prevalent terpene in modern cannabis, it is easy to find a strain that contains it in abundance. However, there are strains that tend to have higher overall concentrations of myrcene, such as Blue Dream, Bubba Kush, Critical Mass, Jillybean, Harlequin, Pineapple Express, Mimosa, Tangie, Grapefruit, Papaya, and of course, Mango!
Pinene, sometimes called a-pinene or alpha-pinene, is a terpene found in cannabis as well as rosemary, parsley, dill, basil, conifer, eucalyptus, cedar, orange rinds, and of course, pine needles. While pinene isn’t the most common terpene in cannabis, it is the most prevalent in the plant world. This terpene offers a spicy, sweet, woodsy, and, you guessed it, piney aroma and flavor profile. This terpene can provide both uplifting and relaxing characteristics. Which way it leans tends to rely heavily on the other terpenes found alongside it within specific varieties of cannabis.
Being that it is the most prevalent terpene in the natural plant world, there is an abundance of research supporting its therapeutic potential. Some of the properties that pinene has been proven to possess include but are not limited to the following.
Pinene can be found in hundreds of cannabis strains today. If you are looking for specific strains that offer high concentrations of this terpene, it’s suggested that you look for strains such as God’s Gift, Harlequin, Remedy, Blue Dream, Kosher Tangie, Cannatonic, Jack Herer, Dutch Treat, Chemdawg 91 and Island Sweet Skunk.
Terpinolene is a terpene found in many cultivars of cannabis as well as parsnip, rosemary, sage, cumin, lilacs, apples, tea tree, and nutmeg. This terpene is known for offering flavor and aroma profiles that encapsulate the smell and tastes of many other terpenes all in one. Terpinolene provides a piney, floral, citrusy, and herbal flavor, and aroma profile with hints and undertones of wood, moss, and earth. When in high concentrations, this terpene often results in uplifting effects.
Even though it is thought to be one of the less prevalent terpenes in cannabis, there is still much research available regarding the potential therapeutic benefits of terpinolene because of its existence in many other plants throughout nature. To date, research has found that this terpene offers the following therapeutic properties.
Even though this terpene isn’t the most common, it can still be found in high concentrations within strains such as XJ-13, Jack Herer, J1, Orange Cookies, Golden Goat, Dutch Treat, Ghost Train Haze, Lamb’s Bread and Durban Poison.
These are not the only terpenes found in cannabis or in nature. In fact, there are many other terpenes that offer extensive therapeutic potential, including benefits that research has yet to discover. When it comes to cannabis and terpenes, there is a theory known as the entourage effect, which is supported by many in the cannabis community and medical field. This theory encapsulates the belief that cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial plant compounds within cannabis work best when they work together synergistically in comparison to when they are isolated by themselves. This means that the wider spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids that a cannabis product contains, the longer the list of potential therapeutic benefits it may offer!
As you can see, terpenes are quite vital. This is because they aren’t just responsible for making cannabis taste or smell a certain way. They, in fact, offer a plethora of beneficial properties to patients and consumers, and when combined with the powers of various cannabinoids, you get a miraculous plant known as cannabis that works in sync with our body’s endocannabinoid system to bring relief to patients with hundreds of different ailments, conditions, and disease sets.