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What Are Cannabis Terpenes and their Potential Benefits?

September 05, 2022 5 min read

What Are Cannabis Terpenes and their Potential Benefits?

What Are Cannabis Terpenes and their Potential Benefits?

Terpenes are scented compounds based in most plants. However, terpenes are often affiliated with cannabis because it contains high amounts of the compound. The article below defines cannabis terpenes and their potential benefits.

Terpenes are the base of most plants' scents, from Lavender to cannabis to pine. The characteristic scent of several plants is due to terpenes. Note that the level of terpenes in plants differ. It is why some plants have stronger scents while others have mild scents., Terpenes shield plants from predators and contagious microbes. Terpenes also have several benefits when ingested, although the impact depends on how an individual uses them and their concentration.

Defining Cannabis Terpenes

According to Booth et al. (2019), terpenes are organic elements constituted in animals and plants. They are accountable for the distinct scents, tastes, and hues of different types of floras. Regarding cannabis or marijuana, terpenes are responsible for the different tastes and smell in the plant's strains. Companies have processed cannabis terpenes into pesticides, dyes, and solvents. Terpenes are found in most plants. However, they are predominant in citrus fruits, cannabis, and fragrant herbs like thyme and sage.

Perveen et al. (2019) stated that terpenes shield the plants from predators and extreme weather conditions. However, research on its benefits to humans is still inconclusive. Often, some folks confuse between terpenes and terpenoids, while others use both terms interchangeably. Terpenoids are different organic chemicals sourced from isoprene, a 5-carbon compound, and terpenes are degenerated to become terpenoids. Various terpene compounds exist, but scientists have managed to link a few to certain effects. Below are some types of terpenes and their well-researched effects on the human body;

Pinene

Pinene is an organic terpene that occurs in two forms; b-pinene and a-pinene. This compound is responsible for the vibrant scent in most plants like basil, pine needles, and rosemary. Research also claims pinene has many therapeutic effects on the human body, like an anti-inflammatory.

Limonene

The masses know limonene due to its distinct scent. The compound gives citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons their distinct smell. Certain research studies have also shown that limonene has a ton of benefits to the human body when ingested, such as;

  • Anticancer
  • Antidiabetic
  • Antiviral
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory

Limonene is claimed to affect the behavior of certain cells, which may shield the body from certain disorders.

Linalool

Linalool is predominant in Lavender and is responsible for its distinct scents. It is also the most commonly used compound in aromatherapy because it has a calming effect on the mind and body. Although there is no conclusive research on the benefits of linalool to the body, its ingestion may offer certain benefits to the body. Some of the well-researched benefits are;

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticancer
  • Antidepressant
  • Neuroprotective
  • Antimicrobial

Myrcene

Myrcene is abundant in thyme, hops, cannabis flowers, and mangoes. Research on the benefits of myrcene to the human body is still inconclusive because most tests have been performed on rodents and a few on humans. When given in high doses, the compound myrcene can stimulate antibacterial and antifungal effects.

Beta-Caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene is found in most vegetables and herbs like black pepper, rosemary, and cloves. Comparable to other terpenes mentioned above, research on beta-caryophyllene shows that the compound may have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Bell et al. (2021) suggested that beta-caryophyllene may dutifully manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Humulene

Humulene is abundant in ginseng and ginger. However, it may also be found in other plants, such as cloves, albeit in moderation. Haro-González et al. (2021) suggested that humulene may have a lasting impact on allergic reactions like asthma. Di Sotto et al. (2020) revealed that humulene might impact the formation of some cells, which could wade off the emergence of cancerous cells. However, these studies are not backed by substantial research, meaning people cannot fully rely on humulene for allergic or anti-cancer benefits.

Other Terpenes

The terpenes cited above are among the most abundant in plants. However, there are other types of terpenes, which the masses may know little about. Examples include;

  • Phytol
  • Geraniol
  • Ocimene
  • Nerolidol
  • Terpinolene

Cannabis Terpenes and the Human Body

Perricone et al. (2015) stated that most terpenes are bioactive and affect a cell, living organism, or tissue. The bioactivity of terpene is centered on its use and concentration. Most terpenes have distinct scents, which are the foundation of most essential oils and therapies like aromatherapy. Inhaling the scents of certain terpenes may have a lasting impact on an individual's stress levels and mood. Some people assume that terpenes may impact how cannabis affects the human body, also known as the entourage effect. They believe terpenes may change or boost the impact of CBD and THC on the human body. Note that terpenes are not intended to give off the psychoactive feeling. However, certain strains of terpenes are deemed psychoactive since they affect the brain. People who consume terpenes emphasize the THC content instead of centering on the level of terpenes for the needed effect.

Choosing the Right Strain of Terpenes

Read the Label

 Some cannabis products may contain terpenes, the three predominant types. Therefore, if an individual is against certain strains of terpenes due to personal or medical reasons, it is paramount that they read and comprehend the label.

Look out for Expiry Dates

Purchasers must look out for manufacture and expiry dates. However, if an individual is unsure of a product, it is recommended that they sniff it. It may be expired or not legit if it gives off a stale scent.

Conclusion

Terpenes are essential compounds because they are accountable for certain plants' taste, smell, and color. In cannabis, terpenes give certain plants different flavors and scents to be easily distinguishable. In the industrial sector, cannabis terpenes are processed into dyes, solvents, and pesticides. When ingested into the body, terpenes have various effects on the human body, from anti-inflammatory to antibacterial. However, an in-depth research is needed on terpenes before making conclusive remarks about their different strains. Note that the impact of terpenes in the human body is based on their concentration and frequency of use. Some terpenes are bioactive, meaning they stir an effect on the body to boost better body functions. Embrace terpenes for health benefits.

References

Bell, S. J., Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Ling, P. R. (2021). Beta-Caryophyllene, An Anti-Inflammatory Natural Compound, Improves Cognition. Journal Of Food & Nutritional Sciences, 3(2), Journal-Of.

Booth, J. K., & Bohlmann, J. (2019). Terpenes In Cannabis Sativa–From Plant Genome To Humans. Plant Science, 284, 67-72.

Di Sotto, A., Mancinelli, R., Gullì, M., Eufemi, M., Mammola, C. L., Mazzanti, G., & Di Giacomo, S. (2020). Chemopreventive Potential Of Caryophyllane Sesquiterpenes: An Overview Of Preliminary Evidence. Cancers, 12(10), 3034.

Haro-González, J. N., Castillo-Herrera, G. A., Martínez-Velázquez, M., & Espinosa-Andrews, H. (2021). Clove Essential Oil (Syzygium Aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): Extraction, Chemical Composition, Food Applications, And Essential Bioactivity For Human Health. Molecules, 26(21), 6387.

Perveen, S., & Al-Taweel, A. (Eds.). (2018). Terpenes And Terpenoids. Bod–Books On Demand.

Perricone, M., Arace, E., Corbo, M. R., Sinigaglia, M., & Bevilacqua, A. (2015). Bioactivity Of Essential Oils: A Review On Their Interaction With Food Components. Frontiers In Microbiology, 6, 76.