Currently, we live in a society where prescription and over-the-counter medications are synthetically made, which is notably true in the United States and other Western cultures. What is required, however, is that they be the exclusive way to healing ailments or improving human wellbeing. Not to be forgotten is the beginning point of this journey. Cannabis sativa L.-based medicines were once the sole treatments accessible for the treatment, cure, and alleviation of suffering caused by a wide range of illnesses, including cancer. Most chemically produced, clinically approved medications have been inspired by naturally occurring bioactive substances, as evidenced by history and the fact that this continues to be true today.
Botanicals have been shown to benefit both our physical and psychological well-being, which is not surprising. Examples include chamomile, which has been extensively investigated and is well-known for its relaxing and anti-anxiety properties. Lavender has a calming effect on the mind and the body. For example, turmeric is used to treat arthritis, gingko is used to treat memory loss and dementia, flaxseed is used to treat weight loss and heart disease, echinacea is used to treat colds and boost the immune system, and tea tree oil is used to treat acne and other skin problems. You’ll be surprised at how many plants are utilized for medicinal purposes if you take a look around.
All of these plants have one thing in common: they all have therapeutic properties. This is the aspect that practically every one of them has in common.
TREE TERPENES: TINY MOLECULES WITH OUTSTANDING RESOURCES.
They are terpenes, sometimes known as “terps,” and they are the precursors to terpenoids, which are a class of compounds. They each have their own set of medicinal and bioactive qualities that distinguish them from one another. Terpenes are responsible for the delightful scent of fruits, flowers, vegetables, and spices. However, these hydrocarbon molecules are more than just pleasant-smelling and delectable-tasting aromatherapy ingredients. Cannabis contains terpenes such as pinene, limonene, limonene-alpha-terpinene, myrcene-alpha-terpinene, linalool, and caryophyllene, which have been scientifically proven to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, anti-anxiety, sleep-inducing, and mood-boosting therapeutic properties. Terpenes are compounds found in different concentrations in cannabis that Among the essential oils, pinene helps with concentration, linalool is good for relaxation, bergamontene is good for stress and insomnia, and myrcene is good for rest. In order to ensure that these terpenes can provide their medical benefits to patients seeking plant-based medicines, it is critical to retain these volatile components at every stage of any plant oil extraction procedure.
When you think of terpenes, the first thing that comes to mind is turpentine, which is the sap from tapped trees or the distillate made from wood. The use of turpentine in traditional Chinese medicine was for toothaches and breathing problems. Despite their high volatility, terpenes evaporate rapidly at room temperature. During the morning hours, plants release terpenes in their highest concentration, which allows the air to smell fresher than it would otherwise because the sun evaporates them throughout the day. The preservation of terpenes in cannabis during harvest is a critical undertaking because producers want to retain the various flavor profiles and bioactive properties of these fragile and easily degraded plant chemicals throughout harvesting. Cannabis producers often harvest their crops in the early morning hours and flash freeze them shortly after harvesting in order to preserve the terpenes present in their plants’ flowers. For even greater protection of these special compounds, which are extremely sensitive to heat and humidity, cultivators and processors must carefully control environmental conditions during handling to avoid degrading or vaporizing the naturally occurring terpenes found in cannabis as well as other botanicals. Even minor variations in environmental variables, such as wind, sun exposure, temperature cycling, and precipitation, have an impact on a plant’s growth and maturation. Inevitably, the terpene profile of a medicinal plant will be diminished as a result of mechanical harvesting rather than manual harvesting, excessive handling, and irresponsible storage procedures. Quality assurance testing, experienced master growers and extractors, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and other protocols typical of the pharmaceutical and food manufacturing industries can help ensure that not only terpenes, but also flavonoids, polyphenols, and all other plant compounds are consistently retained from batch to batch.
Terpenes, cannabinoids, and other phyto-compounds are what give cannabis, including so-called industrial hemp with low THC potency and its oil, its distinct medicinal benefits, taste, and smell. Terpenes, cannabinoids, and other phyto-compounds are what give cannabis its unique medicinal benefits, taste, and smell. The trichomes on the surface of cannabis plants are glands that are responsible for the production of the terpenes that are found in the cannabis plant. In order to boost the medical properties of hemp extracts, the addition of terpenes, which can either be produced from cannabis or synthesized, is recommended. Naturally occurring terpenes number in the thousands, but researchers are also developing synthetic terpenes and terpene combinations in the laboratory because this class of molecules has been linked to a slew of medicinal, as well as health and wellness, advantages.
THE EFFECT OF ENTOURAGE AND THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The “entourage effect” occurs when terpenes work in concert with cannabinoids and other plant components. According to others, the enhancement of therapeutic characteristics is due to the symbiotic interaction of many different naturally occurring chemicals in varied ratios in different cannabis cultivars. The “whole-plant” is more powerful than the sum of its parts, to put it simply. The entourage effect has been studied extensively, and as a result, many individuals now believe that “whole-plant” and “whole-plant medicine” are superior to highly refined cannabis extracts or isolate-based product formulations. Because when the whole spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phyto-compounds, such as flavonoids, chlorophylls, vitamins, and minerals, are ingested combined, the synergistic impact is enhanced even further. Why? These products, which are aptly referred to as “full-spectrum” hemp or plant oils, have frequently been found to be more successful in improving health when compared to the administration of the same plant constituents separately.
When groundbreaking research on cannabis revealed the existence of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the early 1990s, the landscape of medicine was forever altered. The endocannabinoid system, on the other hand, is not yet covered extensively in medical schools. The understanding of this essential “master regulatory” system has grown, and with that understanding has come new insight into how plant-derived cannabinoids can favorably signal this system, which is found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Aside from their many other characteristics, some terpenes can have a favorable impact on human health by limiting the uptake of serotonin and, as a result, operate as anti-depressants. A cascade of events in cell-to-cell communication happens when cannabinoids bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which influences neurobehavioral consequences by regulating pain, inflammation and anxiety while also stressing the appetite and regulating body temperature among other things. Moreover, they raise levels of a neurotransmitter known as GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, which inhibits nerve impulses and, as a result, helps to alleviate anxious feelings.
One piece of good news about terpenes is that the Food and Drug Administration has determined that they are non-toxic. It is also paying notice, as evidenced by the National Institutes of Health’s release of the first funding announcement for study ideas on how minor cannabinoids and terpenes alter nociception, which is the nervous system’s response to damaging stimuli such as a cut. This call for study proposals also invites a hitherto unheard of multidisciplinary approach involving scientists such as chemists, biologists, and neuroscientists, and health professionals such as physicians, psychologist, and psychiatrists.
Terpenes can be consumed orally and inhaled through the use of vaporization, among other methods. Terpenes are also commonly used in the production of diffusers, humidifiers, and perfumes. The skin, on the other hand, is a route of absorption. As a result, terpenes are found in a variety of aromatherapy treatments such as facials, massages, and baths. Terpenes are used in a variety of foods and beverages, and chefs are increasingly incorporating specific combinations to enhance flavor and aroma, as well as in functional foods for their medicinal properties, rather than just their pleasant aromas. Terpenes are also used in cosmetics and personal care products. Ohne terpenes, fruit smoothies, citrus-marinated fish, Hefeweizen wheat beer, and infused delights such as brownies would all be significantly less appealing, and the future will see far more terpenes being added to meals and beverages in order to improve the health benefits of these products.
In the last five years, interest in terpenes has surged fivefold, according to statistics from Google searches. When it comes to products that showcase and very consciously incorporate specific terps, the breadth and quantity of options will dramatically rise as consumer awareness and demand continue to develop at an alarming rate. Flavor and scent are no longer the only things to consider when preparing food. Increasingly healthful, natural, and appealing to health-conscious and highly demanding demographics will drive many traditional foods and products off the shelves, making room for newer, healthier alternatives.
Furthermore, the legalization of the THC-dominant cannabis plant and associated products, along with its high CBD and low THC hemp cousin, which are both being legalized at an accelerating rate throughout most of the world, is increasing the global market for terpenes, which is expected to grow at an exponential rate in coming years.
As with Pandora’s box, terpenes represent an untapped treasure chest that has not yet been fully explored. Cannabis would be boring and have fewer health benefits if it did not include terpenes, which enhance the flavor. Many additional plant-based medicines, health and wellness cures, consumer products, as well as food and beverages, would be affected in the same fashion. In order to substantiate and incorporate the beneficial characteristics of terpenes into human and animal health, research, science, creativity, and discovery will be essential.