Cannabis Terpenes: What are they and what do they do?
Think of the different aromas you get with different strains. Think about strains that smell and taste like citrus, why do most of them make you feel happy or uplifted? Or what about the ones that smell floral, why do those make you relaxed? Limonene and Linalool are the 2 terpenes represented here. Working with cannabinoids to provide the stellar effects we get from cannabis. So why do these terpenes work and how to they react in out system? Let’s delve into the amazing world of terpenes and how they affect us.
Terpenes are the naturally occurring aroma carries in plants, and especially in cannabis. Leafly’s Cannabis 101 Page can provide some more clear information on what exactly a terpene is and where it comes from. Cannabis and other plants share the same terpenes, so the medicinal effects of aromatherapy apply to cannabis. Each terpene smells and tastes differently, and they also provide different effects. While some terpenes are remarkably similar, some are incredibly different. With each terpene working with cannabinoids, many edible companies like Camino, use terpenes to provide the benefits of different edibles. For example, the Midnight Blueberry Camino Gummies include CBN but also have linalool, which is like that found in lavender plant, to provide relaxing effects to help someone fall and stay asleep.
Linalool, as stated before, is terribly similar to that which is found in the Lavender plant. Linalool provides relaxing effects that, according to www.trulieve.com, is amazing for combating anxiety and depression, as well as insomnia. While studies are still being done, linalool is being researched for to help treat diverse types of cancer. Linalool can is found most in Do-Si-Dos and Zkittlez strains, which are most known for their relaxing benefits. Linalool can also be used for aromatherapy and cleaning, as it has natural antimicrobial properties. Linalool has been used to provide sedative like effects, and many praise it for the anti-epileptic properties. According to Leafly.com, linalool can also help to boost the immune system against the negative effects of stress. More studies, including how linalool may be able to reduce or reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, are still being researched and discovered each day.
Limonene, a terpene on the opposite side of the spectrum, is best known for its citrus taste and smell. Found in citrus plants, and most commonly in lemons, citrons, and yuzus; limonene is responsible for an uplifting and happy effect found in most daytime strains. Strain Genie says its best known for the elevating and energizing effects it brings to sativa strains. Limonene has been shown to elevate the mood and combat stress. Limonene is also praised for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. According to Leafly.com, limonene may also help to bring relief of gastric reflux and heartburn. Limonene is currently being studied for its cancer killing abilities as well. Known benefits of limonene are increase to serotonin and dopamine, in specific areas of the brain that control anxiety, OCD, and depression. Limonene is found heavily in Jack Herer, Berry White, and Sour Diesel strains.
Pinene, most found in Pine tree resin, has a very outdoorsy aroma sure to make you feel as though you took a deep breath of forest air. Pinene is best described as smelling exactly like pine and gives any strain a piney and earthy flavor. Containing extremely therapeutic benefits, Pinene boasts as a bronchial dilator, helping to open the airways into the lungs. While also being praised for the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects, Pinene increases attention and is being studied to mitigate short term memory impairment; Finest Labs says pinene plays an important role in learning and memory for this reason. Strains that are best known for their pinene contents are Blue Dream, Haze Berry, and OG Kush.
Humulene, also known for its incredibly woodsy aroma, is better known for the anti-inflammatory and appetite decreasing qualities of this terpene. Humulene is also being studied for its antitumor abilities, according to Finest Labs. This terpene reduces inflammation systemically, making it a better anti-inflammatory than most other strains, and thanks to Lab Effects, we know that Humulene can also be used to promote weight loss. With the issue of obesity in our country, scientists are studying the benefits of TCHV and Humulene in conjunction to provide a healthier and less destructive form of weight loss. Strains that contain a high amount of humulene are Sherbet, GSC and Gelato.
Myrcene, another quite common terpene, is found most dominantly in mangos, thyme, and hops, is known to provide calming effects. Leafly says that myrcene is the most common terpene found in commercial cannabis strains. Providing users with a heavy body high, myrcene is great for those searching for a couch-lock. This terpene has other amazing effects, THC Design claims that myrcene helps to increase absorption of other cannabinoids and helps to send them to the brain. Myrcene carries an earthy aroma and the strains that boast the most of this terpene are OG Kush, GSC, and Grape Ape.
Caryophyllene, most commonly found as β-Caryophyllene, is also found in black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Known for the peppery taste and aroma it leaves, this terpene is praised for its amazing effects. This is the only terpene that binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the body and bind best to the CB2. Caryophyllene is used for its anti-inflammatory abilities and is a common additive to topicals for this purpose. As this is the only terpene that does bind to the CB2 receptor, scientists are discovering the benefits of using caryophyllene as a method of rehabilitation towards alcoholism, as it also has been showing “promising” signs of treating withdrawal symptoms for alcoholism as well. More information about Caryophyllene can be found here or by clicking this link. Strains like Super Silver Haze and Skywalker are naturally high in caryophyllene.
Alpha-Bisabolol, a less commonly known terpene, is found in the chamomile flower. This terpene has a floral aroma and taste and is known for a wide variety of benefits. Alpha-bisabolol has a high anti-bacterial property, as well as being an antioxidant and analgesic (pain relief) properties. Headband and Pink Kush are strains that do have a normally high level of this terpene in them and more information regarding alpha-bisabolol can be found by following this link.
While there are many more terpenes out there, these are the most common terpenes found in retail cannabis. Leafly has an in depth look at what terpenes are, and High Times has some great information as well for anyone wishing to go more in depth to the science of terpenes. Next time you are on the hunt for a specific feeling, remember these different types of terps for a better more catered smoke.