If you are familiar with "essential oils" you already have some experience with terpenes. Terpenes are found in high quantities in various essential oils. For example, limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes, alpha and beta-pinene are found in the essential oil of pine needles. The terpenes in these essential oils contribute to the uplifting effects you experience if you smell the rind of a lemon or walk through a pine forest. All of these terpenes, and thousands more, are found in high concentrations in the bud of cannabis.
Terpenes are organic compounds that provide aroma and flavor in cannabis and a variety of other organisms, including plants. Terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavors of cannabis, and influence its effects by interacting with cannabinoids. Terpenes also play an incredibly important role by providing the plant with natural protection from bacteria and fungus, insects and other environmental stresses.Thanks to the wide variety of factors, over 200 terpenes have been noted to date.
The nose knows.
Aroma and flavor are subjective, and different aromas will appeal to different palates. A distinct, pungent, and unmistakable aroma — regardless of its particular flavor — is evidence of terpenes hard at work within the cannabis plant. So what does this mean for cannabis users? Basically, it gives merit to the idea that “the nose knows.” Our bodies and brains subconsciously have a preference for a particular terpene profile.
So why should I care about terpenes?
What are the most common terpenes?
Effects: Sedating, calming
Also found in: Thyme, mango, lemongrass, and hops
Smells like: Earthy, musky, cloves
Potential therapeutic value: Antioxidant; treatment of insomnia, pain, and inflammation
Effects: Elevated mood, stress relief
Also found in: Fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
Smells like: Citrus
Potential therapeutic value: Elevated mood, stress relief, anti fungal properties, antibacterial properties, heartburn and gastric reflux. Improves absorption of other terpenes and chemicals by way of the skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract.
Effects: Stress relief
Also found in: Black pepper, cloves, cinnamon
Smells like: Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of pain, anxiety/depression, ulcers
Also found in: Nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs
Smells like: Piney, floral, and herbal
Potential therapeutic value: Antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer
Effects: Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects
Also found in: Pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill
Smells like: Pine
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of asthma, pain, Inflammation, ulcers, anxiety, cancer
Also found in: Hops, coriander, cloves, basil
Smells like: Hops, woody, earthy
Potential therapeutic value: anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and appetite suppressant
Effects: anti-oxidative, uplifting
Also found in: Mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mangoes, orchids, and kumquats
Smells like: Sweet, herbal, and woody
Potential therapeutic value: Antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, decongestant, antibacterial
Effects: Mood-enhancement and sedation
Also found in: Lavender
Smells like: Floral
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease
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