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Cannabis Education: So, What Exactly Are Terpenes?

Cannabis Education: So, What Exactly Are Terpenes? May 24, 2018Leave a comment

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Cannabis education has been excelling with the rise of legalization. Many folks who consume are asking more and more questions about the plant, wanting to know each of its many attributes and benefits. One of these questions is been about the terpenes found in cannabis and their function. According to a simple search on the word, a terpene is… “any of a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees. They are based on a cyclic molecule having the formula C10H16.” Even with this definition, it’s still a bit unclear as to exactly what terpenes are, and what their direct effects might be.

Terpenes have been a popular topic for quite some time in the world of plants, coffee, wine, oranges, and even some insects. However, it has become a newer, more recently exciting topic in the world of cannabis. Terpenes are classified as aromatic organic hydrocarbons and they can affect the smell, taste and even the way the cannabis effects you. From prior research we can now understand that when a terpene interacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptors in the brain, they can either help or hinder the effects of the cannabinoids. This is extremely important because this helps us to understand why people with medical conditions benefit more from one strain versus another with similar THC percentage levels.

The medical conditions mentioned can range from the relief of menstrual cramps, to soothing the effects of cancer treatment. Some terpenes have non-psychoactive compounds that can assist in treating many ailments and conditions. There are nearly literally a ton of different terpenes that can be found in cannabis which some have been narrowed down for further research and consideration. Here are some that we currently need to focus on…

1. Limonene

* Smells like: Citrus

* Medicinal uses: Limonene can be used to help promote weight loss, prevent and treat cancer, and treat bronchitis. It can also be used to make ointments and medicinal creams that penetrate the skin better.

2. Myrcene

* Smells like: Earthy, musky with slight hint of fruity flavor.

* Medicinal uses: Myrcene has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory. It also works as a sedative and muscle relaxer. This could possible contribute to the tired/stoned feeling often attributed to indicas.

3. Linalool

* Smells like: Floral with a hint of spice. Can be found in many flowers, mint, cinnamon and even fungi.

* Medicinal uses: Can be used as an anti-inflammatory. It also helps to regulate motor skill movement and can also be used in the treatment of liver cancer.

4. Alpha Bisabolol

* Smells like: Floral. Also found in Chamomile.

* Medicinal uses: Can be used to heal wounds, fight bacteria, and as a deodorizer. Research suggests Alpha Bisabolol has been effective in treating a variety of inflammations.

5. Delta 3 Carene

* Smells like: Piney, earthy.

* Medicinal uses: Studies have found Delta 3 Carene to be an effective anti-inflammatory. It is also known to dry fluids like tears, running noses, and menstrual flows.

6. Borneol

* Smells like: Camphor or earthy

* Medicinal uses: Borneol can be used as an analgesic, anti-insomnia, anti-septic, and bronchodilator.

7. Caryophyllene

* Smells like: Hops, like in beer; cannabis and hops are basically cousins.

* Medicinal uses: Studies suggest that Caryophyllene may help with anxiety and depression.

There is still much more research that needs to be done before we can implement a plan to breed the best and most medicinal gain from plant yields, but the future is very hopeful. Once terpenes can be clinically tested, the feedback will help usher in a new direction of thought of how terpene profiles can be used to benefit us more precisely.

By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)

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