Terpenes have garnered plenty of attention from the health, holistic and cannabis industries over the last decade. Federal marijuana legalization has invigorated medical research into every aspect of the cannabis plant, leading to the discovery of hundreds of terpenes in cannabis alone. This discovery is revolutionizing the field of natural medicine, and introducing scientists to possible synergistic and entourage effects between natural compounds.
If you’re just taking an interest in terpenes, you might be wondering how and why they’ve completely changed the way we understand plants. Look no further than this post, where we answer the most common questions on the subject.
What Exactly are Terpenes, in a Nutshell?
Terpenes are the largest and most diverse group of naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in plants. Over 15,000 different terpenoids have been discovered and described from them. The terpene products circulating the market are mostly distillates or concentrates, extracted through a mechanical distillation process.
What’s the Difference Between Terpenes and Terpenoids?
While terpenes are a class of organic compounds found in plants and some animals, terpenoids (also known as isoprenoids) are naturally occurring compounds derived from terpenes. Terpenes are a hydrocarbon, which means they are comprised of only carbon and hydrogen. On the other hand, terpenoids are denatured or chemically modified via a drying or curing process.
Because terpenes and terpenoids are used often in conjunction, they’re sometimes used interchangeably in casual discussion. However, there are definitely appreciable differences between the two.
How do Terpenes Work in Cannabis?
While it’s true that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component in cannabis, terpenes are what influence the nature of the high. Aside from lending aroma and flavor to cannabis products, different terpenes each provide a variety of curative effects.
There are terpenes with anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and antibacterial properties. There are even terpenes that ameliorate anxiety, depression and insomnia by synergizing with other compounds in cannabis before interacting with our CB2 receptors. The right strain of marijuana could considerably reduce the difficulty of coping with different illnesses.
Is There a Way Non-Smokers Can Consume Terpenes?
Yes, with a little consideration for flavor. Limonene or lemon terpenes can go very well in salads, for instance. Linalool or lavender terpenes go nicely in a cup of tea before bed and so on.
How are Terpenes Used in Everyday Products?
Terpenes and terpenoids are used to add aroma, flavor and beneficial qualities to an ever-widening range of products; from the formulation of lotions and essential oils to the mixing of cocktails and confectioneries.
A Healthier Future
From the aromatherapy revolution of 2005 to federal marijuana legalization in recent years, human interest has paved the way for research into the medical benefits of terpenes. Based on what’s currently known, major consensus within the scientific community points to larger-scale use of terpenes and terpenoids in modern medicine. This is a very good thing; whether or not you consume cannabis via smoking or vaping, terpenes offer beneficial aspects to suit practically any lifestyle.