Terpenes - What You Need to Know

Terpenes - What You Need to Know

Cannabis contains a wide variety of terpenes, which are aromatic compounds responsible for the distinct scents and flavors of different cannabis strains. Each terpene has its own unique profile and potential therapeutic benefits. Understanding the different terpenes found in cannabis can help users make informed choices based on their desired effects and preferences.

One of the most common terpenes found in cannabis is myrcene. Myrcene has an earthy, musky, and herbal aroma. It is known for its potential anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and sedative effects. Some studies suggest that myrcene may contribute to the relaxing and calming properties of certain cannabis strains. Additionally, myrcene may enhance the absorption of other compounds, including cannabinoids, due to its ability to increase cell permeability1.

Another prominent terpene in cannabis is limonene, which has a citrusy, lemony, and fruity aroma. Limonene is believed to have uplifting and mood-enhancing properties. It may have potential anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects, making it beneficial for managing anxiety disorders and mood-related conditions. Limonene is also associated with potential anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective properties. Furthermore, it may enhance the absorption of other compounds, including cannabinoids2.

Pinene is a terpene with a distinct pine, woody, and herbal aroma. It is known for its potential bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory properties. Pinene may have a role in supporting respiratory health and is believed to counteract some of the short-term memory loss associated with THC. Additionally, pinene has shown antimicrobial and antifungal effects in certain studies3.

Linalool is a terpene characterized by its floral and lavender aroma. It is known for its potential calming and relaxing effects. Linalool may have anxiolytic and sedative properties, making it potentially useful for managing anxiety and stress. It also has potential analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, offering potential benefits for pain management4.

Caryophyllene is a terpene with a spicy, peppery, and woody aroma. What sets caryophyllene apart is its unique ability to interact directly with the body's endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB2 receptors. It has potential anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, making it valuable for pain relief. Additionally, caryophyllene may have gastroprotective properties, which could be beneficial for conditions such as ulcers or gastrointestinal inflammation5.

Terpinolene is another terpene found in cannabis, although it is less researched compared to others. Terpinolene has a floral, herbal, and pine aroma. It is believed to have potential sedative and relaxing effects. Some studies have also indicated that terpinolene may possess antioxidant properties. Terpinolene contributes to the overall aroma and flavor profile of certain cannabis strains6.

It's important to note that the effects and benefits of terpenes can vary depending on their concentration, the presence of other compounds, and individual differences in response. Furthermore, terpenes may work synergistically with cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, to produce enhanced effects. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect, where the combination of various cannabis compounds results in a more comprehensive therapeutic experience.
While these terpenes are commonly found in cannabis, it's worth mentioning that they are not exclusive to cannabis. They are also present in various other plants and fruits, contributing to their characteristic scents and flavors.

Exploring the different terpenes found in cannabis can provide a deeper understanding of the plant's potential therapeutic benefits and help individuals tailor their cannabis experience to their specific needs and preferences.

Citation List:

  1. Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344-1364. Link
  2. Peana, A. T., D'Aquila, P. S., Panin, F., Serra, G., Pippia, P., & Moretti, M. D. (1999). Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils. Phytomedicine, 6(2), 113-119. Link
  3. Romano, L. L., & Hazekamp, A. (2013). Cannabis oil: chemical evaluation of an upcoming cannabis-based medicine. Cannabinoids, 1(1), 1-11. Link
  4. de Cássia da Silveira e Sá, R., Andrade, L. N., de Sousa, D. P., A Review on Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Monoterpenes. Molecules 2013, 18, 1227-1254. Link
  5. Gertsch, J., Leonti, M., Raduner, S., Racz, I., Chen, J. Z., Xie, X. Q., ... & Zimmer, A. (2008). Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(26), 9099-9104. Link
  6. Leela, N. K., & Joy, B. (2018). Terpinolene, a component of herbal sage, downregulates AKT1 expression in K562 cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018. Link
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