Most people are familiar with THC. This is the most widely recognized compound in the cannabis plant. Coming in second is CBD or cannabidiol. These two compounds found in the highest (no pun intended) quantity in the plant are responsible for its therapeutic effects and in the case of THC it’s psychoactive effects.
But there is another lesser-known class of compounds found within the cannabis plant that deserves a shout out, The Terpenes!
Terpenes are hydrocarbons found in the essential oil of the cannabis plant, specifically within the plant’s trichomes. Yup, the same place you will find THC and CBD. These terpene gems give the plant their aromas and flavor profiles. When you smell buds you are smelling the terpenes.
Terpenoids are not native to just the cannabis plant. There are some 20,000 terpene compounds found in nature. This is where essential oils and aromatherapy come from. But there are over 200 that are found specifically within the cannabis plant. It has recently come to light that these terpenes while providing the smell and flavor of cannabis, also have their own therapeutic effects, just like essential oils. Though the study of these effects is really just beginning, we do know the therapeutic effects of some of the main ones.
The main flavors/aromas of the terpenes found within cannabis can be broken down into five main categories:
Spicy – earthy, woody, musky, herbs, peppery, piney
Sweet – candy, floral, fruity, berry, tropical, minty
Bitter – acrid, pungent, skunky, astringent, metallic
Savory – creamy, cheesy, buttery, oily
Sour – tart, citrus, lemon, fuel oil
The strains you consume can have a mixture of terpenes, therefore a mixture of flavors and aromas and consequently therapeutic effects.
Some of the most predominant terpenes found with in the cannabis plant are:
Linalool – Also found in lavender. Effects – antianxiety, sedative, and anticonvulsant
Phytol – Also found in green tea. Effects – sleep
Limonene – Also found in lemons. Effects – immune stimulant, antidepressant and antianxiety
Alpha-pinene – Also found in pine needles. Effects – antibacterial, bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory
Beta-caryophyllene – Also found in echinachea. Effects – anti-inflammatory
Caryophyllene Oxide – Also found in lemon balm. Effects – antifungal
Myrcene – Also found in hops. Effects – sedative, pain reliever, anti-inflammatory
Nerplidol – Also found in oranges. Effects – antifungal, sedative
Alpha bisabolol – Also found in camomille. Effects – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory
Borneol- Effects – bronchodilator, antiseptic, sleep, analgesic
Camphene – has an herbal flavor. Effects – anti-inflammatory, antibiotic
There are many more as well. So you can see this is exciting news for patients. Not only do you get to use the THC and CBD of the cannabis plant for its many medicinal benefits but you get to use the terpenes part as well. Terpenes can be extracted out of the plant and used on their own as well as in combination with THC and CBD. Great stuff and good times for the cannabis user.
At Blair Wellness Center, we will strive to carry a variety of cannabis products with varying therapeutic effects so you can find the one that works for your needs. Our knowledgeable staff will help guide you through the process of figuring out what you need! Opening soon – come see us!
Reference: Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana By: Dan Michaels copyright@2014