Understanding Terpenes

Understanding Terpenes

Posted on April 27,2016

Understanding Terpenes

The cannabis industry is evolving quickly and more so now then ever terpenes are becoming a hot topic. But many people don’t know what they are or what they do.

Terpenes provide a unique aroma and taste to some plants including cannabis, spices, fruits and herbs. As explained in a recent article by High Time, it is estimated that there are over 200 various terpenes found in cannabis. The primary ones identified include limonene, myrcene, linalool, pinene, caryophyllene, and humulene. Below are more detailed descriptions of the terpenes and their effects.

This is best known for the pleasant floral odor it gives to lavender plants. Linalool has been isolated in several hundred different plants including lavenders, citrus, laurels, birch, coriander and rosewood and has been used for several thousands of years as a sleep aid. It has been used in the treatment of both psychosis and anxiety, and as an anti-epileptic agent. Linalool also grants relief from pain and has been used as an analgesic. Its vapors have been shown to be an effective insecticide against fruit flies, fleas and cockroaches.

Caryophyllene is found in many plants including Thai basil, cloves and black pepper, and has a rich spicy odor. This terpene is known to posses be anti-septic, anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.

Myrcene is a precursor in the formation of other terpenes and because of this, it is one of the most important terpenes know to scientiests. Myrcene is found fresh mango fruit, hops, bay leaves, eucalyptus, lemongrass and many other plants. Moreover, it is known to be anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and used in the treatment of spasms. It is also used to treat insomnia, and pain. Research has also shown it’s effectiveness in lowering the resistance across the blood to brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier easier and more quickly. Steep Hill Labs claims that high Myrcene levels in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) result in the well known ‘couch lock’ effect that Indica strains tend to have.

Limonene is a cyclic terpene of major importance with a strong citrus odor and bitter taste and it is best known for treating gastric reflux and as an anti-fungal agent. Its ability to permeate proteins makes it ideal for treating toenail fungus. Limonene is also useful in treating depression and anxiety. It’s also been shown to be effective anti-tumor while at the same time being an immunostimulant. Limonene is one of two major compounds formed from Pinene.

Humulene is an isomer of ccaryophyllene and is found in hops, cannabis sativa strains, and Vietnamese coriander, among others. It is anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (suppresses appetite). It has commonly been blended with caryophyllene and used as a major remedy for inflammation, and is well known to Chinese medicine.

Pinene is important physiologically in both plants and animals, and to our environment. It tends to react with other chemicals, forming a variety of other terpenes and other compounds. Many generations have used Pinene as a bronchodilator in the treatment of asthma. This can be tested for yourself. Take a hike through a pine Forrest and breath deeply. You might notice your breathing is deeper and more full. This is because it’s found in conifer trees as well as some of your favorite cannabis strains!

Information sourced from Steep Hill Labs