Perhaps, in retrospect, the legalization of hemp products in 2018 proved to be a hallmark decision. With conversations surrounding cannabis plant strains, specifically hemp, surfacing more often into the spotlight, there is a need to shed some light on what cannabis terpenes are and their numerous benefits.
One of the most prevalent chemical compounds found in cannabis is known as terpenes. Terpenes are instrumental in treating mood and anxiety disorders. With an insane amount of hype surrounding cannabis and its products, it is important to distinguish the chemical compounds and their benefits to us.
What Exactly Are Terpenes?
According to Singh et al. (2015), terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in animals and plants. They may also be referred to as aromatic compounds found in plants since they are responsible for the characteristics and scent of most plants. Terpenes are also responsible for the variety of flavors and colors exhibited by different plants.
Cho et al. (2017) explained that terpenes play a key role in protecting the plant since it keeps germs away by incorporating themselves as part of the plant’s immune system. Furthermore, terpenes protect the plant from extreme weather conditions, and the combination of terpenes helps it protect itself from predators such as animals. Moreover, terpenes also help in attracting pollinators. Terpenes can be processed to produce certain essential products, such as dyes, body products, chemical solvents, perfumes, and pesticides. Furthermore, some terpenes display therapeutic properties and can be used to treat certain sleep and mood disorders.
Some terpenes are “household names” due to their highly praised benefits and potential effects. These terpenes include, but are not limited to:
It exhibits anti-cancer and anti-depressant properties.
Helps in alleviating stress as it is used in tandem with lavender oil for aromatherapy fanatics
Has been used for its energizing effects
Has antifungal and antibacterial properties
What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
With an in-depth look at terpenes from a general perspective, it is important to highlight terpenes concerning cannabis. There are no qualms about the unique pungent scent displayed by cannabis. It may be safe to say that most enthusiastic cannabis users can “single-handedly” detect the aroma of cannabis “from a mile away.” Terpenes are responsible for the distinct color cannabis displays. Furthermore, the most prominent terpenes present in cannabis work synergically to bestow terpenes with their unique scent profiles.
Certain factors determine the number of terpenes produced by cannabis. Factors such as the temperature, nutrient levels, exposure to light, and particular growing conditions influence the number of terpenes produced by cannabis. Moreover, certain extraction methods determine the number of terpenes available for extraction. For example, using live resin to extract terpenes ensures a significantly high number of terpenes. Live resin is recommendable since terpenes are volatile compounds that can be easily lost during extraction.
How Cannabis Terpenes Affect The Body
There is a common disconnect in conversations surrounding terpenes, CBD and THC. Many people tend to misconstrue their individual properties, with a common misconception being that they all “make the user feel high.” To put this into perspective, cannabinoids (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are chemical compounds found in cannabis. Cannabis has several plant strains, such as hemp and marijuana. These plant strains contain compounds such as CBD, THC, and terpenes. THC is a psychoactive chemical compound, while CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound. Therefore, THC is responsible for the” high” feeling experienced while using cannabis.
According to Barrie et al. (2019), CBD, on the other hand, has therapeutic properties, such as relieving muscle spasms and alleviating pain, and is vital in treating Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Terpenes are responsible for the characteristic scents of plants. Therefore, it is no surprise that terpenes have been harnessed for this purpose and used to create essential oils such as lavender. Lavender oil is commonly used in aromatherapy. Researchers recommend trying aromatherapy to improve your sleep quality since creating a peaceful aura in your room relaxes the mind and eases the tension your body feels.
Besides the therapeutic relief offered by terpenes present in cannabis, terpenes have a high medicinal value:
A distinctive feature of terpenes is that it is highly unlikely to affect healthy cells or cause any side effects. It is vital in treatments for ailments such as cancer. In recent years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of people diagnosed with cancer. It has led to doctors becoming more resourceful, innovative, and proactive in their quest to find a solution to this gruesome disease. According to Cox-Georgian et al. (2019), some terpenes present in cannabis help mitigate this disease by impeding the growth of cancer cells. Such terpenes include terpinene, camphor, limonene, and pinene.
According to Booth et al. (2019), terpenes can have a similar effect to cannabinoids in relieving pain. There are three types of cannabinoids: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and Isolate CBD. The full spectrum of CBD contains all chemical compounds in hemp, such as CBD, THC, and terpenes. The combination of these chemical compounds leads to the entourage effect since these chemical compounds work harmoniously to enhance the desired effects experienced by the user. Terpenes also work on the body’s endocannabinoid system to relieve pain.
With the rise in viruses detrimental to human health, researchers are coming up with innovative ways to tackle this challenge. There has been an exploration of the antiviral properties present in terpenes. Some terpenes that exhibit these properties are beta-pinene, camphor, and carvone.
How To Fully Benefit From Cannabis Terpenes
There has been a conspicuous rise in the demand for terpenes for medical and recreational use. To benefit from this high demand, evil people in business have flooded the market with substandard goods that pose health risks to avid and new users alike. Therefore, to benefit fully from the therapeutic effects of terpenes, do the following:
CBD oil, especially the full spectrum, is known to contain a significant number of terpenes. A popular way to consume CBD is by using vape oil pens because of their light and discreet nature. Remember to read the customer reviews and ascertain the ingredients used in processing CBD oils. Some toxic chemical compounds present in low-quality CBD oils include vitamin C acetate and inorganic MCT oil.
Purchase fresh products
It is essential to always check the date of manufacture and expiry on the package you purchase. It is because terpenes are volatile so that they can become stale over time.’
Cannabis terpenes are useful due to their anti-cancer, anti-depressant, and antiviral properties. Furthermore, terpenes protect the plant from harsh weather conditions and incorporate itself as part of its immune system. To maximize the benefits terpenes offer, always purchase high-quality terpenes that guarantee the safety of your health.
Barrie, A. M., Gushue, A. C., & Eskander, R. N. (2019). Dramatic response to Laetrile and cannabidiol (CBD) oil in patients with metastatic low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma. Gynecologic oncology reports, 29, 10
Booth, J. K., & Bohlmann, J. (2019). Terpenes in Cannabis sativa–From plant genome to humans. Plant Science, 284, 67-72.
Cho, K. S., Lim, Y. R., Lee, K., Lee, J., Lee, J. H., & Lee, I. S. (2017). Terpenes from forests and human health. Toxicological Research, 33(2), 97-106
Cox-Georgian, D., Ramadoss, N., Dona, C., & Basu, C. (2019). Therapeutic and medicinal uses of terpenes. In Medicinal Plants (pp. 333-359). Springer, Cham.
Singh, B., & Sharma, R. A. (2015). Plant terpenes: defense responses, phylogenetic analysis, regulation, and clinical applications. 3 Biotech, 5(2), 129-151.