Terpenes are aromatic compounds that appear in a wide range of different types of herbs and plants, and even some insects. There are more than fifty thousand different types of terpenes found worldwide. Terpenes make up an important part of the cannabis plant. So far, over 200 different terpenes have been discovered in hemp, and about 60 of them are being closely examined in scientific circles.
Typically, terpenes can be categorized into one of four wide aromatic and taste profiles:
Benefits of Terpenes
Terpenes protect plants by warding off grazing animals, killing infectious germs, attracting pollinators and fighting fungi along with providing a wide variety of benefits to humans when consumed. Along with smells and tastes, terpenes have also been shown to have other beneficial properties like:
- Anticonvulsant properties
- and many more
Some terpenes have been researched more than others, and even new terpenes are being discovered. A common terpene, limonene is recognized by its lemon and citrusy smell. It is the major component in the oil of citrus fruit peels, including lemon, orange, mandarin, lime, and grapefruit. Another terpene, beta-caryophyllene produces a spicy aroma and is found in basil, oregano, black pepper, and cannabis. Beta-caryophyllene has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain-relieving benefits.
Terpenes and Cannabis
Terpenes may also interact with the endocannabinoid system, and seem to operate synergistically with cannabinoids, and may even influence their individual effects. The body absorbs and utilizes Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, differently than terpenes. A combination of different terpenes within the cannabis plant will result in different fragrances – one strain may smell fruity while another can smell lemony.
The healing properties of terpenes, when combined with CBD, benefit users by binding to neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. They can increase dopamine activity or enhance norepinephrine activity. This may help us relax or boost our energy.