Everything You Need To Know About Terpenes Of Cannabis
You might have experienced that the smell slightly defers even when you try the same cannabis strain twice. The secret lies in the compound called terpenes. Cannabis contains more than 100 terpenes and each of them has its benefit. In short, cannabis contains large amounts of terpenes. And, you will discover more about them in the article. So, continue reading.
What are terpenes?
Secreted from the same glands that create cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, terpenes are just but aromatic oils. They have distinctive varieties with flavors such as pine, mint, berry, and citrus. Unlike other plants that have a strong smell, terpenes of cannabis are meant for adaptive purposes.
It means they are used to attract pollinators and repel certain kinds of predators. Different factors contribute to the development of terpenes in plants. And, these include weather, climate, age, soil type, fertilizers, and time of day. More than 100 different types of terpenes are found in the cannabis plant.
What’s interesting is the fact that every strain consists of a unique terpene composition and type. In short, a strain with a cheese-like smell will likely have this smell on its descendants. Terpenes play an important role when it comes to differentiating the effects of several cannabis strains like Cherry Abacus or Bubba Remedy or one of the hundreds of other hemp cannabis strains.
However, more studies have to be conducted to understand more about how they can differentiate and to what length. Certain terpenes can promote stress relief and relaxation, whereas some others might promote acuity and focus. For example, myrcene is commonly found in relaxing cannabis strains like Granddaddy Purple and Blue Dream.
The effect profile for any kind of terpene might change whenever it comes to contact with other compounds in a process called the entourage effect. Again, more research has to be done to understand the impact of each terpene when used in collaboration with other compounds. While there could be mild differences, terpenes can add their value to horticultural art.
Moreover, cannabis could have therapeutic value because of the terpenes. But it will depend on their unique medicinal properties and other features. Many analysis labs test terpene content and you can have an idea about the effects of the strain they might create. Terpenes can open up new medical and scientific areas needed for cannabis research.
Terpenes: Physical and chemical properties
While the terpenes of cannabis are colorless, some of the impure samples are found to be yellow. Boiling points depends on their molecular size, which can range from 110 to 220 degree Celsius. Because these compounds are non-polar to some extent, they are not soluble in water. Also, they have very low specific gravity and tend to float on water. And, terpenes are very much flammable because they are hydrocarbons.
Terpenoids, on the other hand, have the same physical properties. However, they are polar and soluble in water. Also, they are less volatile compared to terpenes. Highly polar Terpenoids consist of glycosides and are associated with sugars. Terpenes are also irritants and therefore, cause discomfort to your gastrointestinal tract when ingested.
Terpenes: Aromatic compounds
A terpene molecule can contain about 10 different carbon atoms that are derived from two separate isoprene units and a single double bond. The hydrocarbons are easily oxidized and the oils that contain terpenes of the highest level, are unable to keep well. Terpenes have aromatic compounds that characterize the odor found in roots, woods, leaves, seeds, fruits, and flowers.
Terpenes contain a lot of functional groups and most of them contain the important hydroxyl groups and make them terpene alcohols. Terpenes are found at less than 1mg/L and are in large quantities in aromatic grapes. These compounds are responsible for their varied character. Free terpenes are more volatile and responsible for aromas. Manufacturers use isolated terpenes to produce the scents and flavors of everyday products such as body products, foods, and perfumes. They are widely used in cosmetics, food, etc., and other biotechnological uses.
Terpenes: Effects on Body and Medicinal properties
The important effects on the human body and the medicinal properties of terpenes are hard to oversee. There are important uses of the compound and these might include antimicrobial, anticancer, antibacterial, and many more.
- Antimicrobial – The ability to stop the growth or kill microorganisms in terpenes is connected with both modern and traditional medicines. And, there are lots of terpenes that have antimicrobial properties.
- Antiplasmodial – Terpenes are believed to have antiplasmodial activities that are quite impressive. With the increase of malarial infections and drug resistance abilities, terpenes have gained more attention towards antiplasmodial activities to a great extent. Terpenes bind to the hemin portion of the infected erythrocytes and eliminate the parasite.
- Antiviral – The emerging viral diseases lead to the research and study for new antiviral agents that are very much effective like the terpenes. Scientists evaluated different types of terpenes to know their exact properties. Among a few of them, monoterpenes gave great results.
- Anticancer – While more results from various studies are awaited, the medicinal benefits of terpenes extend much beyond pathogenic diseases. Terpenes are known for their anticancer properties as well. Terpenes have shown positive results when treating cancer that occurred in the brain, colon, prostate gland, and bones.
Treatments using Terpenes: Pharmaceutical use/studies
Terpenes are considered a naturally occurring compound that has lots of potentialities when it comes to treating many human diseases. Depending on the isoprene units, they are further classified as sesquiterpenes, tetra, tri, di, and mono. Among all the natural products available on the planet that provide medicinal benefits, terpenes play an important role.
The most common sources derived from plants are the terpenes from citrus fruits, Spanish sage, thyme, tea, and cannabis. While terpenes have a variety of medicinal uses, antiplasmodial activity is the most notable one. Its action is similar to that of chloroquine, which is a famous antimalarial drug used in many human cases.
With the rising cases of diabetes and cancer, terpenes are expected to become one of the relief providers and serve as antidiabetic and anticancer reagents. Because of their unique properties, terpenes allow the flow of flexible solutions including suppression of various types of adverse effects. Many kinds of terpenes are used in folk medicine.
One great example is curcumin, which is popular for its anti-inflammatory antiseptic, digestive, astringent, anticancer, antioxidant, antiplasmodial, and other properties. That way, curcumin has become one of the important foods to be a part of a healthy diet system. It has opened doors for several kinds of medicinal researches.
Most common cannabis terpenes:
- Myrcene – It is a terpene that is widely found in certain plants such as thyme, lemongrass, and hops. Even the flowers of the cannabis plant contain myrcene. It is a powerful antioxidant. Research conducted on mice shows that myrcene has similar properties that could be effective in protecting heart tissue.
- Limonene – It is a common type of terpene that most people can recognize by the scent it produces. As the term is self-explanatory, limonene belongs to some fruits such as oranges and lemons for their citrusy smell. Limonene has many therapeutic properties such as antidiabetic, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer.
- Caryophyllene – This is the only terpene that is reported to behave as cannabinoids. It means, these compounds can activate your endocannabinoid receptors and provide different types of anti-inflammatory effects. These are found in cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper as well. Caryophyllene has an aroma as that of cloves, woody, spicy, and pepper. It can treat pain, anxiety, depression, and ulcers.
- Terpinolene – As per the researches, terpenes consist of about one-tenth strains of Terpinolene. They are believed to have different types of uplifting effects. These compounds are found in cumin, nutmeg, apples, tea tree, and lilacs too. They have an aroma that of herbal, floral, and piney. The potential therapeutic value of Terpinolene includes anticancer, antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant.
- Pinene – It is the most common terpene that you can find in the natural world. Pinene can be found on basil, rosemary, pine needles, parsley, and dill. This compound is very useful in treating pain, asthma, ulcers, inflammation, cancer, and anxiety. Its aroma is pine. And, the potential effects might include memory retention, alertness, and certain THC effects.
- Ocimene – Other than cannabis, these are found in orchids, mangoes, basil, pepper, parsley, and mint. The aroma is woody, herbal, and sweet. Because it smells nice, the compound is widely used in perfume. Some of the therapeutic value includes antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, decongestant, and antiviral.
- Linalool – With a floral aroma, this compound promotes calming effect and deep relaxation. Also, it is found in lavender. Therapeutic value includes insomnia, pain, depression, anxiety, and inflammation.
To sum up, terpenes are the elements that are responsible for the way how plants smell. While terpenes are found on many plants, herbs, and fruits, cannabis has them in abundance. Terpenes might prove beneficial to humans. Therefore, researchers continue to study terpenes to understand more about their medicinal and therapeutic uses.