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What are Terpenes?

What you need to know about terpenes!

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are found in many plants, and are heavily associated with the cannabis plant, as cannabis is very terpene rich. These compounds are responsible for the characteristic scent of plants and play many different rolls in how they benefit plants. 

What are they? 

Terpenes are the aromatic scent of a plant that can help us identify them, for example the smell of lavender or an orange peel or herbs like rosemary and oregano. Terpenes also play an important role in different plants from protection against predators, to attracting pollinators and enhancing a plants immune system or ability to recover from damage. 

We use terpenes in alternative therapies like aromatherapy from essential oils, as well as perfumes, skin care products and even some food products. 

Terpenoids vs Cannabinoids.

Terpenes are found in cannabis and play a synergistic role with cannabinoids to create the entourage effect. When Cannabis is dried and cured the terpenes present oxidise and become terpenoids the compounds almost remain identical with similar benefits but involve some slight chemical changes that involve oxygen and hydrocarbons before and after the drying and curing process.

How are they different to Cannabinoids? 

Terpenes in the cannabis plant carry a botanical advantage for the plant itself by protecting it from grazers and pests, as well others fungi that might affect the growth and yield of the plant. These terpenes also create a different sensory experience both in taste and effect depending on the strain of cannabis. 

Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis that interact with the human endocannabinoid system, which is an advanced cell-signalling system that assists in regulating many functions in the body, including mood, sleep, appetite, memory, reproduction and fertility. The human ECS plays are far greater role in human health and its interaction with cannabinoids that we are yet to fully understand. In short the simplest way to describe its function is, “the balance of all systems” in the body. Terpenes also interact with the ECS in multiple ways. 

How do they interact? 

Terpenes play a role in helping cannabinoids create an “entourage effect” in the body. The entourage effect is the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids interacting with the human ECS, and enhancing the specific effects and benefits of the cannabis plant both in a sensory and therapeutic manner. The interaction of terpenes and cannabinoids is being studied in its effectiveness to produce synergy with respect to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.

Terpenes also play a role in regulating the intoxicating effects of THC in cannabis by improving the psychoactive experience and helping to regulate anxiety induced by THC while high. 


Types of Terpenes


Cannabis is one of the richest sources of diverse terpenes compared to other plants, let us show you some of the more common terpenes found in Cannabis. Here is an example of some of the Terpenes found in Cannabis and their purpose. 


Terpene Profile


Summary

Aromatherapy has been used as an alternative natural treatment for thousands of years, and essential oils are prolific in our modern culture where we strive for natural living and ways to make our home space calm, natural and comfortable. Cannabis and its range of terpenes offers an insight as to just how effective these natural compounds can be to add balance to our lives with a healthy ecosystem of plant botanicals that serve an important purpose in our health and wellbeing.

 Thank you for reading!

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