Terpenes are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. These compounds are responsible for the unique taste and smell of the plant and can also play a role in the effects that the plant has on the body.
There are over 100 different terpenes present in cannabis, but some of the most common ones include:
- Myrcene: This is the most abundant terpene in cannabis and is responsible for the plant’s earthy and musky aroma. Myrcene has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may also have a relaxing effect on the body. One study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that myrcene increased the sleep time of mice in a dose-dependent manner.
- Limonene: Limonene has a citrusy aroma and taste and is thought to have mood-boosting effects. It may also have antibacterial and antifungal properties. A study published in the Journal of Natural Products found that limonene exhibited anti-inflammatory effects in mice.
- Pinene: Pinene has a piney aroma and is found in many coniferous trees as well as cannabis. This terpene is thought to have a stimulating effect and may also help to improve memory and focus. One study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found that pinene had a positive effect on memory in mice.
- Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene has a spicy, peppery aroma and is found in many different plants, including black pepper. This terpene is unique because it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, potentially making it useful for treating conditions like anxiety and depression. One study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that caryophyllene had anxiolytic effects in mice.
- Linalool: Linalool has a floral aroma and is found in many different plants, including lavender. This terpene is thought to have a relaxing effect and may also have anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that linalool had sedative effects in mice.
- Humulene: This terpene has an earthy, woody aroma and is also found in hops. It may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
- Terpinolene: Terpinolene has a floral and herbal aroma and is thought to have a sedative effect. It may also have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Geraniol: Geraniol has a rose-like aroma and may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Ocimene: Ocimene has a sweet, herbal aroma and may have antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
- Terpineol: Terpineol has a sweet, floral aroma and may have sedative effects. It may also have antioxidant and antifungal properties.
Each of these terpenes has a unique effect on the body, but they all work by interacting with receptors in the body. For example, myrcene is thought to enhance the effects of THC by increasing its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, while limonene may help to reduce anxiety by interacting with serotonin receptors.
In conclusion, terpenes are a fascinating aspect of cannabis that play a crucial role in its taste, smell, and effects on the body. While more research is needed to fully understand their potential benefits, it’s clear that these compounds have a lot to offer. That’s why it’s so important that we test every cultivar for its terpene content, so that you can make an informed decision based on your desired taste, aroma, and effects.