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Terpenes: All Your Questions Answered

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If you’ve been paying attention to recent cannabis news, you’ve definitely heard of the term: terpenes. If you’re not sure what cannabis terpenes are or why they matter, read on and find out why they’re considered the future of cannabis!

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are temperamental, highly aromatic molecules that occur naturally in plants and trees, including cannabis. They’re the basis of aromatherapy and responsible for all the variations in taste and smell from plant to plant, strain to strain.

There are hundreds of terpenoids but only a handful appear in large enough amounts in cannabis to make their presence known outside of laboratory testing.

What benefits do terpenes provide?

Terpenes do more than just create aromas and flavors in plants, they have therapeutic effects too. Linalool is a calming terpene found in lavender and many cannabis strains. It reduces anxiety and promotes restful sleep. This is why so many relaxation and sleep products contain lavender essential oil.

Terpenes work in conjunction with compounds like THC and CBD to enhance the effects of a strain. This is called “the entourage effect” and is the reason why CBD-only products are not as effective as those containing both terpenes and THC.

The benefits of terpenes are as varied as the terpenes themselves. Limonene, a popular citrus-scented terpene, is helpful for both improving mood and helping digestive disorders.

What are the main cannabis terpenes?

Alpha- and Beta-Pinene A-pinene is the most common terpene found in nature. Cannabis that smells or tastes like pine are typically high in the terpene pinene. Pinene is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and pain reliever.

Alpha Bisabolol is a floral terpene commonly found in chamomile. It’s an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory that is showing promise for cancer treatment as well. You can find this terpene in many anti-aging skin products.

Borneol is a woodsy, earthy-flavored terpene that has tremendous medicinal properties. It’s an antiseptic, analgesic, bronchodilator and facilitates cancer-fighting molecules. It has also shown promise in stroke prevention.

Camphene is herbaceous in aroma and flavor and is both an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.

Caryophyllene is known for its peppery aroma is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory with cancer-fighting abilities. It’s also shown effective for treatment of neuropathy.

Delta 3 Carene has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that can help with breathing conditions. It’s the focus of Alzheimer’s research and helps repair bones, making it an important terpene for seniors. It has a sweet woody aroma and is often found in sweet peppers and basil.

Eucalyptol is found in high doses in eucalyptus and bay leaves. It’s a natural antihistamine, anti-viral, antibiotic and antioxidant. It helps clear the sinuses and ease digestion. It’s being considered as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Limonene is a citrus-flavored, aromatic terpene that can help with depression and mood disorders. It can also ease digestion problems. It’s being researched for cancer treatment, particularly breast cancer. Limonene is also an anti-fungal.

Linalool smells sweet like candy and is very calming. It can help with anxiety and sleep disorders. It’s being studied for Alzheimer’s treatment due to its effect on emotional and cognitive function.

Myrcene is found in hops and has a herbaceous scent and taste. It helps with pain relief, insomnia and gastric disorders. It also has the unique ability to increase the absorption of THC.

Terpineol has a fresh, pine flavor and aroma and is often found in strains that are also high in a-pinene. It’s an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-malarial terpene found in lilacs, lime leaves and cannabis strains.