Cannabis contains nearly 500 different compounds. Whether you’re an expert or you’re brand-new to the plant, you’ve likely heard of cannabinoids — these compounds get the most attention. The plant also contains a variety of terpenes, and research is showing that these compounds may provide several significant benefits. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis derived terpenes.
What Are Terpenes?
You know the incredible scents and flavors that your favorite strains produce? Those are terpenes. These compounds exist in a variety of plants, including cannabis, as well as fruits and even some insects.
Each strain has a different combination of terpenes, which the plant produces in its resin glands (trichomes). The varying combinations lead to a wide range of unique aromas and flavors. They play a role in deterring pests and attracting pollinators. They may also be partially responsible for the effects you feel when using your favorite strain.
Benefits of Terpenes
Terpenes offer many different benefits. They may help provide relief from:
- Pain and inflammation
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of appetite
- Bacterial or fungal infections
While cannabis-derived terpenes provide benefits on their own, they also work in conjunction with each other and the various cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
Common Terpenes in Cannabis
Cannabis plants contain a variety of different terpenes. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common ones, along with their benefits:
Considered the most abundant terpene, myrcene has a spicy, earthy aroma. It offers calming, sedative effects that can help you relax.
Found in citrus fruit such as lemons and limes, limonene has a distinct citrusy scent. It helps to quell stress and anxiety, helping to lift your mood and promote focus.
Known for its pine tree aroma, pinene may be beneficial for pain and inflammation. It may also help to combat the short-term memory effects of THC.
Found in lavender, linalool can help to promote relaxation and alleviate stress. It may also benefit those with insomnia.
Terpinolene has a citrusy, floral aroma. It can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation. It may also provide sedative effects.
Cannabis Derived Versus Lab Created Terpenes
There’s a significant difference between cannabis derived terpenes and lab created ones. Cannabis derived terpenes come directly from the plant versus a lab.
Creating terpenes in a lab allows for greater consistency. There isn’t a lot of research on them at the moment, however, and their safety and potential side effects aren’t fully understood. Factors such as sunlight exposure and maturity affect the natural cannabis derived terpene profile. As such, consistency between different plants of the same strain isn’t guaranteed.
Even so, many users say they prefer natural terpenes, as they may more effectively promote the entourage effect — when the different compounds in cannabis work together to enhance its benefits.
Cannabinoids may get a majority of the attention, but they’re not the only beneficial compounds in the cannabis plant. Research is finding that terpenes from cannabis offer significant benefits, too. When searching for strains to provide you with specific effects, be sure to pay attention to the terpene profile as well as the cannabinoid content to find products that best fit your needs.