While most conversations about terpenes seem to link the compounds to CBD—most plant and some animals have them too. Technically, terpenes are a collection of hydrocarbons that give a plant/flower its smell. Just as you’ll find terpenes in the cannabis/hemp plant–you’ll also find terpenes in oranges, lavender, and other plants. These compounds play numerous roles such as scaring away predators, boosting the plant’s immune system, and in CBD’s case–might enhance the effects of the cannabinoid.
Interestingly enough, terpenes are part of the defense mechanism for the cannabis plant used to scare away possible predators. Yes, we realize the irony of using these terpenes to see the effects of any strain of cannabis. There is possible evidence that terpenes by themselves have medicinal properties and intensify the effects of CBD too. So, without further ado–let’s take a closer look at terpenes.
What Are Terpenes and Where Do They Come From?
When it comes to CBD, terpenes are most commonly known for the “entourage effect”–where the combination of CBD and terpenes makes CBD more potent. While the entourage effect is put down to other chemicals in the cannabisplant, like flavonoids and the fatty acids already found in the plant–terpenes take center stage.
Terpenes are produced in the trichomes of the marijuana plant–which incidentally also produces all of the cannabinoids found in marijuana. The more trichomes that you see on a bud–the higher the concentrations of terpenes and cannabinoids. Typically, the quality of any marijuana bud is determined by how healthy the trichomes on the plant are, since the trichomes are indicative of the type and potency of the cannabinoids and terpenes in the bud.
You should make a note of the fact that cannabinoids and terpenes are two fundamentally different chemicals that are found in the female cannabis plant. While both of these are produced in trichomes, they have different effects and interact together to offer a better cannabinoid experience—particularly that of CBD.
Interestingly enough, veteran cannabis growers have observed that cannabis plants with the same genetic profiles have different terpene and trichome profiles. The most commonly quoted differences are those between cannabis plants grown indoors and outdoors. These differences have led to the idea that growing conditions are essential for producing a certain kind of effect from the cannabinoids, as well as the terpenes found in the cannabis plant.
What Are Terpenes Good for?
Now that we’ve answered “what are terpenes?” we can move on to talk about the uses of terpenes in various products. Just as with evidence for the therapeutic effects of CBD–the research is inconclusive about the effects of terpenes on the human body. The terpenes from the cannabis plant are commonly used in producing CBD based products and in isolation as ingredients for essential oils.
The current literature on the effects of terpenes shows that these might help with feelings of pain–specifically headaches and migraines. Some research also indicates that even terpenes have anti-inflammatory properties; this effect has led to further exploration of the possible use of terpenes and CBD together to achieve various health benefits.
There is still a long way to go before we can conclusively say that terpenes have medicinal value. However, the use of terpenes is still thriving in alternative medicine markets.
Terpenes and CBD
Many CBD-based essential oils make use of the many terpenes found in the cannabis plant to enhance the wellness effects of the product. Commonly used terpenes include:
- Beta-caryophyllene–which is said to have anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective effects
- Limonene–said to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects
- Pinene– Anti-septic effects
- Myrcene–Analgesic and anti-biotic
- Linalool–Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant
If ‘you’re wondering “what are terpenes? And why are they important?”–well, these can potentially enhance the effects of CBD in whatever CBD product you’re using. When used in combination, the combined effects of the terpenes and CBD used in your products can help create a more potent addition to your self-care regimens.