WHAT EXACTLY ARE TERPENES?
Likewise, as the cannabis industry expands, so does study into the health benefits provided by the plant’s two well-known cannabinoids: 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are both found in high concentrations in the plant’s leaves (CBD). However, research into terpenes, which are less well-known but equally important chemical components found in cannabis, has only recently been underway. These naturally occurring hydrocarbons are abundant in cannabis trichomes, and they contribute unique qualities and benefits to the plant’s effects as they work in conjunction with THC, CBD, and lesser-known cannabinoids, such as CBC, CBG, and CBN, as well as their acidic forms, such as THCA, CBDA, CBCA, CBGA, and others, in the human endocannabinoid system.
TERPENES AND THEIR EFFECTS ON THE BODY
Terpenes are fragrant oils produced by a wide variety of plants. They’re volatile compounds that evaporate quickly, and each has a distinct aroma and flavor to distinguish it. These plant constituents are responsible for many of nature’s scents and flavorings, such as the scent of a pine forest, the citrus aroma of lemons and oranges, and the bitter, peppery taste of hops in beer, to name a few examples.
Terpenes, in the same way, are responsible for the wide variety of aromas and flavors found in cannabis. They’re extremely concentrated within the plant, and the amount varies depending on the strain. The flavors of some cannabis strains, such as Pineapple Express and Strawberry Cough, are derived from terpene combinations that give them a “fruity” taste, while others, such as Thin Mint GSC and Alaskan Ice, are peppermint-flavored with notes of spice and herbs. Terpenes have been discovered in cannabis in greater quantities than any other plant, and many more are still to be discovered.
Terpenes, in conjunction with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids (i.e., the entire plant), have been shown to enhance the effects of cannabis on the human endocannabinoid system, according to research. Terpenes’ capacity to operate in harmony with other cannabinoids has been dubbed the “entourage effect,” and their presence in the cannabis plant’s profile indicates that they are essential. The complete medical and recreational benefits of each strain are increased in a different way depending on which terpenes are present.
Terpenes that are commonly found and their effects
Each terpene has its own profile of flavor, aroma, and effects that are distinct from the others. Terpenes, which are not restricted chemicals and are generated from a wide variety of botanicals, have been studied for decades, and much of this research shows promise in terms of providing scientific proof of the effects of various terpenes on a variety of physiological processes.
The following are the four most commonly encountered terpenes in cannabis today:
Myrcene. This terpene accounts for more than 20 percent of the total terpenes discovered in cannabis, and myrcene is present at high concentrations in 40 percent of cannabis strains. Also present in hops, which impart a peppery, bitter flavor to beer, as well as in lemongrass, which is used as a therapeutic herb. Myrcene has traditionally been used as an anti-inflammatory and to generate a sleepy, relaxed condition, but no scientific evidence has been found to support these traditional uses. Muscle-relaxing properties have been demonstrated in animal experiments, but no evidence has yet been found to support this claim in human research.
Limonene. This terpene is the second most abundant terpene discovered in cannabis, behind thujone. Limonene, which is most known for its citrus scent, is also found in large quantities in cosmetics and cleaning goods. According to the research so far, limonene may improve mood, reduce stress, and have antibacterial and antifungal characteristics, among other things. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that limonene has anti-cancer properties.
Linalool. Over 200 different species of plants contain linalool, which has a lavender aroma with a tinge of spice. Linalool is present in many different types of plants. This terpene has been shown to be an effective anti-microbial and to lower levels of anxiety and sadness. Other possible benefits of linalool include its muscle relaxing and pain-relieving properties, as well as its potential to be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Pinene. Pinene is a general name that refers to both the alpha-pinene and beta-pinene terpenes found in plants. Originally discovered as a plant-protective molecule, these two chemically related compounds emit piney fragrances and are closely connected to one another. Pinene can be found in a variety of plants, including conifer trees, orange peels, and parsley, in addition to cannabis. Despite the fact that more research is needed, studies have found that pinene has anti-inflammatory qualities, serves as a bronchodilator, and aids in the prevention of short-term memory impairment associated with THC consumption.
CULTIVATING FOR TERPENES IS A DIFFICULT JOB.
Selective breeding may blend terpenes in an unlimited number of combinations, resulting in strains with aromas ranging from woody to flowery to citrus in nature. There’s no doubt that as more study and experience with terpenes is gained, more designer-flavored strains will be developed and released. Terpenes can be refined to provide flavor and aroma combinations that are appealing to the recreational market. Terpenes can be selected, amplified, or isolated for use in the medical market based on the therapeutic benefits that are required.
Increasingly, as more scientific evidence becomes available, cannabis consumers are choosing strains for their terpene profiles rather than only their THC and CBD (and other cannabinoids) concentrations. The cannabis market is increasingly catching on to the importance of terpenes, which means that now is an excellent moment for people working in the sector to learn about selective breeding for terpene production.
The advancement of cannabis gene mapping will aid in the improvement of breeding by allowing breeders to select certain terpenes and pinpoint specific desired cannabis characteristics. Breeders can shorten the amount of time it takes to breed selectively for features by finding terpene genes early in the process. The development of a comprehensive cannabis gene map will make the process of creating terpene-specific strains considerably faster and easier.
A terpene breakdown, which analyzes the level of the most prevalent terpenes present in a cannabis product, is becoming becoming standard practice in the industry. Several states that have legalized cannabis now demand that the complete profile of terpenes be printed on the labels of cannabis products.
TERPENES: THEIR FUTURE IN THE ECONOMIC WORLD
Terpenes are entering a new era right now. New methods of determining the identification and strength of terpenes in cannabis are being developed, which means that the potential for increasing terpene potency and diversity is on the horizon. As more answers to research questions become available, more equipment specializing in terpene measurement and selection will undoubtedly make its way to the market. Despite the fact that terpenes were identified in the late 1800s, the cannabis industry did not recognize their critical role in therapeutic cannabis use until relatively recently. In contrast to the fact that consumers tend to focus on cannabinoids, growers place an equal amount of emphasis on terpenes.