What are terpenes?
Terpenes are a type of organic aromatic hydrocarbons (chemicals that are composed of carbon and hydrogen) that provides the cannabis plant with it’s flavor profile. Cannabinoids themselves are odorless, and the presence of terpenes are what give the cannabis plant it’s scent that makes it unique from other strains.
Terpenes can be found in the trichomes (the clear mushroom shaped structures) where the cannabinoids are located. Plants produce terpenes to prevent predation by insects and animals, and can also be used to lure pollinators to the plant. T he development of terpenes can be influenced by a variety of factors such as the amount or intensity of sunlight, soil quality, average temperature, moisture/humidity, and the maturity of the plant when harvested. Terpenes are found in all plants and even some types of fungi; there are over 50,000 that exist in nature. About 120 different terpenes have been found in cannabis, however, there are 5 major terpenes that are found in high enough quantities to have an effect.
Why should we focus more on terpenes?Cannabinoids (compounds such as delta9THC and CBD) are thought of as the main active components of cannabis. However, new studies show that terpenes (the secondary components) can also work in conjunction with cannabinoids to provide a more unique set of benefits.
There can be more than one type of terpene present in a cannabis plant, which is why no two cannabis strains are the same. Two indica strains can be dramatically different based on the terpene profile of the plant, which means each strain can provide different benefits even though they are both indica. “ Entourage effect” is the idea that the cannabinoids work in conjunction with secondary components (terpenes) to provide a unique set of benefits. There are different mechanisms of this effect, such as:
- Ability to treat multiple parts of the body
- Improve absorption of THC and CBD
- Ability to overcome bacterial defense mechanisms/kick start immune system 4. Counteract negative effects of cannabinoids