What are Terpenes?
Terpenes and terpenoids are the primary components of the essential oils of many types of plants and flowers. They create the flavor, bouquet, and how it tastes which is why they are often used in aromatherapy. We also use them to create the different flavors profiles in grapes which produce specific and replicable varieties of wine.
They were first used in the cannabis world to repel predators and attract pollinators. There are many factors that influence the development of terpenes:
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There have been more than 100 different terpenes in cannabis, and every strain tends towards a unique type. The most interesting characteristic about them is their ability to interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, like cannabinoids.
This has led many to believe that terpenes may play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains.
Where else are terpenes and terpenoids?
Nearly everywhere in nature terpenes are major biosynthetic building blocks in nearly every living creature. Some of the things we are all aware of such as turpentine, and steroids from terpenes and terpenoids. They also aid cannabis in fending off fungal and bacterial contaminants. Hops that give flavor and aroma to beer, are also terpenes and terpenoids. Even Vitamin A is a terpenoid.
What is the difference? So when oxidation or rearrangement of the carbon chemically alters skeletona terpene , the resulting compounds are terpenoids. While terpenes are hydrocarbons, meaning they have hydrogen and carbon, terpenoids contain additional functional groups.
What about flavonoids?
Flavonoids are also present in cannabis a few like cannflavin A and cannflavin B, are so far unique to cannabis, though others are in there too. Flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, they also contribute a vibrant color to many foods like blueberries and raspberries. Though we need more studies, some of them are beginning the testing for medicinal effects and it looks promising.
Meet your Terpenes
Myrcene, is very common in cannabis with some varieties up to 60% of this essential oil. A high mercene level is above 0.5% and produces the ‘couch-lock’ effect and it also allows the effects to kick in more quickly, as it lowers the resistance of crossing the blood brain barrier.
Pinene, has a distinct scent of pine and fir, and is an anti-inflammatory and a local antiseptic. It has also shown anti-cancer activity and has been used as such in Chinese medicine for many years.
Limonene, has a strong citrus smell and strains high in it promote a lift in mood. Highly absorbed by inhalation it assists other Terpenes in through the skin or other bodily tissues. Limonene suppresses fungal and bacterial growth and may be beneficial against cancers. This special Terpene also assists in weight loss.
Caryophyllene with its peppery, woody, or spicy scent is known to work with the endocannabinoid system as an antagonist. This anti-inflammatory agent is showing promise as a chronic pain treatment.
Linalool has a floral and lavender undertone, and promotes calm and relaxation. This lessens anxiety, Linalool may reduce lung inflamation by blocking the carcinogenesis, caused by tobacco.
As you can see terpenes and terpenoids are working hard in the background for you, if you would like more terpene breakdowns check them out here.