Since the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of Schedule 1 Controlled substances, there has been a lot of buzz around cannabis and CBD. Cannabis derived terpenes, which give cannabis strains their distinct smell and taste, have garnered attention as well. However, not everyone is familiar with terpenes and the role these compounds play in cannabis.
What exactly are cannabis derived terpenes? What other types of organisms are terpenes found in? And why should you care about the difference between cannabis derived terpenes vs synthetically derived terpenes?
Here, we’ll explore this integral part of the cannabis plant and what it does.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are organic compounds found in organisms such as plants, insects, fruits, and flowers. They are what gives organisms their unique flavor profile and scent, and prove that aromatic responses matter. They give organisms odors that help repel pests and attract food. Most significantly, they enhance the response we have to food and flowers via our cannabinoid receptors. All together, this makes up their Terpene profile.
You might not have ever heard of these compounds before, but you’ve encountered them often in your everyday life. When you walk through a rose garden, apply essential oils, or use rosemary to make your chicken smell amazing, you benefit from the aroma they produce. These organic compounds can be found in many products you already consume, such as beer and perfume.
They are also present in the resin glands of cannabis plants. It is now widely believed that they contribute to the “high” a cannabis user feels.
What Effect Do Terpenes Have?
Terpenes influence what we taste, smell, and feel when we consume or interact with fruits, herbs, and other plants. They interact with the other compounds present in plants and human pheromones to enhance the plant’s effects.
Most people are acquainted with the cannabis components THC and CBD. THC is known for being the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, which is what gets you high. However, new research is exploring whether cannabis derived terpenes might play a big role in how cannabis affects a person’s mood and cognitive processes.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is when a person ingests cannabis, they take hundreds of compounds, not just CBD and THC. Each compound has its unique properties and interacts with the other compounds present. A compound’s effects might change due to the presence of another compound, creating this effect.
It’s likely that the THC and cannabis derived terpenes work together to influence the psychoactive and beneficial effects it has on people who ingest the plant. Each cannabis strain has its own unique terpene profile. Some have theorized that it is not different strains of marijuana that elicit different types of highs, but the terpenes present in the plant.
Cannabis Derived Terpenes vs. Synthetic Terpenes
Naturally occurring terpenes of the same type are virtually indistinguishable from each other.
Examples of naturally occurring compounds are the ones found in:
· Coniferous trees
There are over 20,000 terpenes found in nature. However, not all are natural; some are synthetic. Cannabis derived terpenes, and other related terpenes, are particularly easy to replicate and are therefore synthetically made quite often, but you should know the difference between the two types:
Cannabis Derived Terpenes
Many people believe that cannabis derived terpenes are preferable to synthetically created ones. They have naturally occurring nutrients and are therefore often viewed as more beneficial. You can extract these compounds from the cannabis plant in various methods, including steam and vacuum distillation.
Synthetic terpenes come from a lab setting. For scientists wishing to study the effects of terpenes, it’s important to have access to a reliable pool of data. Synthetically derived terpenes are best for research and testing, but depending on the extraction process, the flavor profile, natural aroma, and essential oil of the cannabis flower may be stripped.
When it comes to scientific research, having as much control as possible over the experiment is important. Researchers can control the temperature, sun exposure, and other conditions of the room where the terpenes’ essential oil is created to get test specific results.
What Are Synthetic Terpenes Used For?
In addition to research, synthetically derived terpenes are also created to improve the scent and flavor of products like beverages, food, and marinades. They are even used in cosmetic products, insect repellents, gardening products, essential oils, and household cleaning solutions.
Terpenes shouldn’t be used undiluted. Typically, a 1-5% concentration by volume is ideal. Dilution may vary depending on the desired flavor or scent is.
What Are The Different Types of Cannabis Derived Terpenes?
Each type has its own benefits. Here are some of the most common terpenes derived from cannabis:
This terpene is said to have a sedative effect, terpinolene has a woodsy smell.
Pinene has a positive, uplifting effect on one’s mood. It smells, like its name suggests, of pine. It also increases focus and feelings of alertness.
Though alpha-pinene is common in cannabis, there is also the beta-pinene variety. Some think Pinene works to counteract the memory impairing effects of the psychoactive compounds of the cannabis plant.
Nerolidol is one of the terpenes known to produce a relaxing effect.
One of the most present cannabis derived terpenes, myrcene, gives off an earthy scent and has a relaxing effect.
Ocimene has a woodsy smell and is believed to have calming and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Limonene can help elevate your mood and has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is often also found in cosmetic and cleaning products because it gives off a pleasant, citrusy scent.
Cannabis derived terpenes are finally getting the attention and scientific research they deserve. There is still a lot to learn about these amazing organic compounds, but there’s no doubt that terpenes enhance our experiences with the cannabis plant, and fruits and herbs.