Terpenes: Flavors and Medicine

 
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If you've dabbled in edible cannabis products or cooking with cannabis, you may have heard about terpenes. But what exactly are terpenes and why are they so relevant to cannabis users? 

Terpenes are organic chemicals found in the oils and resins of plants. They are responsible for a plants aroma and flavor and therefore are used to create a variety of products, like perfumes, beauty products, health products, and a lot more. They exist in all plants, although some species have more than others. Cannabis can contain up to 120 different terpenes as well as terpenoids (terpenes that have been oxidated and are often found in dried cannabis flower). Terpenes are responsible for giving various strains their distinctive flavors, such as citrus, earthy, pungent, and even cheesy. 

But beyond just giving cannabis it's many flavor profiles, they also provide medical benefits. One way they do this is by helping cannabinoids found in marijuana plants reach the bloodstream and interact with the endocannabinoid system of the brain. This response is called the "entourage effect." In other cases, they can do things like increase serotonin levels in the brain, which is very therapeutic for those using cannabis for depression or anxiety. 

There are five terpenes commonly found in most marijuana strains, and they each have their own unique flavors and therapeutic properties. 

1) Limonene

Limonene is found in abundance in citrus plants, and also gives many strains a citrusy lemon scent and flavor. It lifts people's moods and reduces stress. You can find it in strains that contain "Lemon" or "Sour" in the name, or Sativas like Durban Poison. 

2) Myrcene

The most commonly found terpenes in cannabis, Myrcene gives it the musky scent. It has sedative and anti-inflammatory benefits and is often found in more significant amounts in Indica strains. 

3) Linalool

This terpene gives cannabis its pungent and spicy aroma. It, like myrcene, helps with sedation and relaxation, which is no surprise since you can also find Linalool in soothing plants like cinnamon, coriander, and lavender. 

4) Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene

These terpenes have high anti-inflammatory properties and give strains like Blue Dream a slight piney scent. It benefits patients with arthritis and asthma, and even aids with memory loss related to THC consumption. 

5) Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene is the only terpene that binds to cannabinoid receptors and has analgesic and anxiolytic properties. It has a spicy scent and can be found in strains like Super Silver haze. 

Terpenes are another consideration when treating symptoms with cannabis. Knowing which terpenes and cannabinoids are found in each strain can help you create a more effective care plan. It can also help you be a more informed consumer and aid you in finding the strain at the dispensary. 

Sources:

1) https://greencamp.com/terpenes/