There are a lot of compounds present in the cannabis plants, each of these compounds play a specific role in producing diverse characteristics of the plant. We have discussed about various compounds called cannabinoids, we also have THC and this blog will be focused upon a group of compounds called Terpenes.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are mainly aromatic compounds that can be found in various plants basically conifers and citrus plants. They are however majorly associated with cannabis because they can be found in high concentrations within the plant.
The aromatic compounds are known to be responsible for the typical scent of diverse plants, these includes cannabis, lavender, and even pine, they are also responsible for the characteristic scent of fresh orange peels. A particular combination of terpenes is usually responsible for the fragrance of a lot of plants. Some of these terpenes also perform the function of protecting the plants from grazing or infectious diseases and germs.
As more research is been conducted to fully highlight the medical benefits of the cannabis crop, terpenes have been discovered to offer various health benefits to the human body.
A deeper dive into Terpenes...
As stated before, they are aromatic compounds found in various plants, and are responsible for the fragrance of plants, herbs, and also of some animals. Some industries isolate the compound in various plants to create the flavours and scents of common products like body products, perfumes, and food.
In some cases, people often refer to terpenes and terpenoids, however, the two are different compounds, Terpenes refer to the aromatic compound found in the live plant; they are the natural form of these compounds. Once a plant is harvested, or if such a plant dies and it is cured, the terpenes begin to oxidized and change to another group of compounds[known as terpenoids. This is always the case as in the preparation of the cannabis plant for usage.
Differentiating between Cannabis and Terpenes.
As we have established in previous blogs, cannabinoids are majorly chemical compounds that can be found in cannabis. They are capable of binding with special receptors in the human body, these receptors are known as Endocannabinoid receptors. Some cannabinoids such as THC are very famous for their psychoactive effects and CBD is known for its widespread medicinal properties.
THC and CBD are basically the two major cannabinoids; however, they are just two out of over 100 cannabinoids that the cannabis plant contains.
Terpenes unlike cannabinoids are not well-known, this doesn't dispute the fact that they are as abundant as their cannabinoid counterparts. At first, they are mainly responsible for providing the characteristic fragrance of most plant and some animals, but they are also capable of reacting with the Endocannabinoid receptors in a similar way to cannabinoids.
The major difference between the two classes of compounds is in how the receptors bind and react with each compound.
Various Terpenes and their benefits.
Many terpenes are bioactive compounds, i.e., they interact and affect the body in one way or another. The effects of each Terpene will vary based on the type of terpene and the amount or concentration used.
While there are quite a large number of Terpenes existing naturally, scientists have been able to extract, isolate and study a few compounds under the class. Here a few examples:
This is a terpene compound commonly found in plants such as thyme, lemon grass, and in the leaves and/or flowers of cannabis. This is a very powerful antioxidant; it is very effective against all forms of health complications caused by oxidative stress.
Myrcene aids in treating brain damage, stroke and some heart diseases. These are assumptions based on various researches conducted to examine the medical properties of myrcene.
A terpene abundant in nature, it is always found in two forms; a-pinene and b-pinene. It is often held responsible for the fresh and bright scent of a lot of plants.
The compound is known to be therapeutic in nature, as Forest/scent bathing a new form of therapy makes its way into the medical world, more and more practitioners are beginning to turn towards Pinene.
Its other benefits includes its anti-inflammatory properties, it serves as a bronchodilator and helps in fighting against germs.
A very common terpene, it is also very abundant in nature. They have a lot of medicinal applications, they are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antidiabetic, and aid in battling cancer.
After series of studies, researchers have determined that limonene can aid or alter the behaviour of certain immune cells, this can help combat a wide range of disorders. It is also applicable as supplements.
The third major terpene that will be considered in the blog, it is also as abundant as the first two compounds considered in the blog. It is a powerful compound used in aromatherapy because of its calming properties. Due to its wide range of properties, linalool has lots of medical advantages and some of these are:
- and also, anticancer properties.
The terpenes mentioned above are among the most abundant naturally occurring terpenes and these are the ones people are most likely to come across, however, other common terpenes include: Humulene, Geraniol, Ocimene, Phytol, Nerolidol, and Terpinolene.