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What are terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds found in cannabis strains alongside cannabinoids like CBD and THC. They are created in the flower buds of cannabis plants, giving each variety its unique smell and flavor. Some of the same terpenes found in CBD cannabis strains are also found in fruits and vegetables. There are over 120 known terpenes in cannabis.

The best CBD terpenes have significant health benefits and mood-altering properties. Science shows us that terpenes contain compounds that can affect many systems in the body to boost immunity, relieve pain as well as produce a long list  of other positive healthful effects.

CBD interacts with a vital regulatory system in your body. That system is called the endocannabinoid system or ECS. Proper functioning of your endocannabinoid system is critical to your overall health.  Terpenes and CBD together expand the effectiveness of your endocannabinoid system.  Your body self-regulates constantly. Sometimes it needs a little help. That’s where CBD and terpenes come in. Terpenes together with CBD restore balance. They make your ECS work better so you feel better.

Cannabis strains and terpenes have different effects on different people. That said, it is recommended to start off slow. See how strains and terpenes interacts with your specific body chemistry. Then, increase or decrease your dose as you feel appropriate.

Confused about CBD dosages?  There’s a CBD dosage guide right here.

Terpenes can:

ReStart CBD Terpene Profile - Austin TX

The presence of these terpenes along with secondary cannabinoids like THC, CBDa, CBG, CBN, and others activate a therapeutic phenomenon known a the “entourage effect” or cannabis synergy.

According to research, terpenes play an important role in enhancing the properties of the cannabis plant. Some have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that work in synergy with cannabinoids such a CBD and THC, producing better effects that couldn’t be experienced if each terpene worked in isolation.

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that give cannabis strains like Suver Haze and Charlotte’s Cherries their well-known taste and smell.

Research shows they can do so much more.

In cannabis, terpenes are made in the trichomes of the plant. Trichomes are the shiny, sticky, mushroom-shaped crystals that cover the leaves and buds. Trichomes on cannabis act as a defense mechanism in nature, protecting the plant from insects and animals through the production of fragrant terpenes that repel these dangers.

Cannabis is an incredibly diverse plant regarding its biological makeup and potential benefits — and terpenes – are no exception.

Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain produces a unique terpene type and composition.  

The most fascinating characteristic of the terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with other compounds like cannabinoids, specifically cannabidiol – CBD.

RESTART CBD Common Terpenes
PHOTO: LEAFLY

For the most part, terpenes can be broken down into four categories:

Each category further breaks down into more specific smells. These specific smells consist with certain strains, which in turn correlate to the effects of that plant.

How Terpenes Affect your Mood

A sour-smelling flower may have a strong lemon scent to it. Lemon scented strains are often correlated with strains like super lemon haze; these are zesty sativas that give you a boost of energy and euphoria. 

Some terpenes also bind to these receptor sites and affect their chemical
output. Others can modify how much of each compound CBD and THC
passes through the blood-brain barrier. Their hand of influence is called the “entourage effect” and even reaches to neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin by altering their rate of production and destruction, their movement, and availability of receptors.

The effects these mechanisms produce vary from terpene to terpene; some are especially successful in relieving stress, while others promote focus and acuity.

Common Terpenes in Hemp Flower:

Terpenes all have different gifts and effects. They can affect our mood, our stress response, and our mindset.

While a sativa and indica distinction can be a general guide in choosing a product for your desired effects, their differences primarily pertain to the physical appearance of the plant.

As biochemical components of the plant, terpenes are a more reliable source when picking the right strain for your needs.

Whereas THC or CBD typically makes up 10-30% of a flower’s dry weight, terpenes occurs in trace amounts, generally less than 2%.

Best naturally occurring terpenes in CBD Hemp.

Guide to Taste, Smell and Benefits

This guide backed by the latest studies.

Let’s get started.

Knowing about terpenes will help guide you and friends in buying decisions — the more you know, the more likely you are to get the effect you expect.

Terpene charts often show up to 120 different terpenes found in high CBD cannabis strains.  Most of those terpenes are present in very small quantities. The 16 terpenes in the list below are the ones that will have the most effect on your experience.

Once you successfully dial in the entourage effect for your body, CBD products become more effective.

Limonene

Limonene (LYM-o-neen) LM (Citrus) –  Uplifts mood, relieves stress and anxiety by increasing our serotonin levels, the neurotransmitter also known as the “happy chemical.” It will yield a more energetic experience. Digestive issues may be improved through limonene’s potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects. Cannabis strains high in limonene are usually very social and energizing strains.

AROMA: A strong citrus scent usually means a cannabis strain is high in the terpene limonene.

Limonene: Known to be an antifungal agent, and it may also boost mood and reduce inflammation. It’s a crucial terpene in CBD because it can increase the absorption rate of other terpenes.

Limonene is not only characteristic of citrus-smelling cannabis but it’s also the exact terpene found in lemons and other citrus fruit rinds, like oranges and limes, giving them that fruity smell.It’s a natural insecticide on the cannabis plant and can even assist in treating toenail fungus in humans. Limonene is easily absorbed through inhalation and even improves absorption of other terpenes through the skin and body tissue, like mucous membranes and the digestive tract. 

More on Limonene’s Therapeutic Effects

Pinene

Do you enjoy cannabis? Then it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve experienced the terpene pinene. It’s very common in cannabis strains.

Pinene: Used in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia for it’s therapeutic benefits as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and a bronchodilator.

AROMA:  Pinene is responsible for the distinctive pine-like scent in cannabis strains. That familiar pine scent in your cannabis is likely derived from the terpene pinene.

Pinene actually comes in two types: alpha, which smells like pine needles and is the most commonly found terpene in nature, and beta, which smells like rosemary, basil, dill, or parsley.  Pinene is also found in conifer trees, turpentine and citrus peels. Pinene is a powerful bronchodilator, which helps improve airflow to lungs, making it a good option for those struggling with asthma. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and local antiseptic and has been used by cultures around the world for its healing properties for thousands of years. Pinene easily crosses the blood-brain barrier improving memory and alertness. It’s even said that pinene counters memory loss associated with THC.

According to recent studies Pinene is believed to have vast therapeutic potential.

Myrcene

If anxiety a part of your life myrcene really helps.  Myrcene one of the most common terpenes associated with cannabis and found in numerous CBD cannabis strains.  It has a dank, earthy, fruity and herbal scent – just like cannabis. Despite being the smallest terpene, myrcene can have powerful effects on the body and is known to produce a tiring effect by making you sleepy.  Myrcene helps your body uptake and make use of cannabinoids like CBD more effectively. As far as potential medical uses, myrcene has been indicated to be an antibacterial compound that may relieve pain.

AROMA: If you’re CBD flower has a “fruity” aroma, there’s a good chance you’re smelling myrcene.

Commonly found in mangoes, thyme, hops and lemongrass, myrcene is said to be one of the most abundant terpenes in cannabis. Myrcene is important because its presence determines whether a strain is indica or sativa. According to Steep Hill Labs, if a plant has more than 0.5% myrcene, it will produce indica-like effects. Anything less than 0.5% myrcene produces sativa-like effects.

Myrcene has been used for centuries in traditional medicines around the world. It is known for many properties:

If you’ve had a particularly crushing day, you might try a strain high in myrcene to your promote your evening relaxation routine. It could be a powerful aid to your rest and recovery.

Linalool

Does stress pile up on you? CBD with the terpene linalool is a natural way to restore composure.

Along with limonene and myrcene, linalool is a fairly well-studied cannabis terpene, even though few strains—mainly indicas—contain it in very high amounts. Linalool adds a light floral scent and spicy taste to marijuana when smoked or added to edibles, but its healing effects are far more significant, both on their own and in combination with other marijuana compounds.

Linalool is commonly found in lavender and its aroma is light and floral. Linalool is found in over 200 species of plants making it one the most abundant terpenes. Some fruits and vegetables contain very high concentrations of linalool.  Widely known for the ability to reduce stress, linalool is used as an anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and sedative. Linalool is also used to relieve seizure symptoms and provide relief to those suffering from Linalool also makes the immune system more resilient to the destructive effects of stress.   It’s used as a sleep aid and an anti-anxiety ingredient in aromatherapy.

Linalool has been used by people throughout history as a traditional medicine. It is non-toxic to humans in common dosages though it can be an eye and skin irritant at very high concentrations. 

Humulene

Humulene (HYOO-myu-leen)HM(Hoppy) One of the most abundant terpenes in hemp and other herbs. May act as an appetite suppressant and an anti-inflammatory.

Effects:

Aroma: Earthy, woody, herbal, spicy, floral, and “hoppy.” Beer drinkers will instantly recognize the scent of humulene, which is a key component in hops. Dank, woodsy and pungent, humid scent.

Besides every beer lover’s favorite plant, this terpene is present in pungent herbs & spices like cloves, coriander and basil. Humulene is also found in sage, hops, ginseng, peppermint, and black pepper.

Caryophyllene

Are you in pain? Having difficulty finding something that takes away the pain but won’t get you hooked or feel loopy? Caryophyllene has some benefits you need to hear about. Taking caryophyllene for hard to treat pain is one of its main benefits.

AROMA: Caryophyllene’s flavor is a bit spicy. It’s scent is similar to black pepper.

Caryophyllene is also found in spices like black pepper, hops, cloves, basil, and rosemary.

Unique because it may be able to interact with the endocannabinoid system, just like cannabinoids.

Caryophyllene’s benefits result from its ability to activate the CB2 receptor. The CB2 receptor is the same part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).  The CB2 receptor is the same part of the nervous system that CBD activates. Activation of the CB2 receptor may have benefits for treating multiple sclerosis as well.   The endocannabinoid system is part of your larger nervous system. It is present throughout your brain, spine, and extremities. Caryophyllene, like CBD, functions as a signaling compound. It relays regulatory signals throughout your endocannabinoid system. Caryophyllene’s effect on your ECS can help maintain good health and homeostasis (chemical balance).

Terpinene

Terpinene is a colorless liquid that smells like turpentine. It’s found infrequently in fruits and vegetables but is in multiple cannabis strains. Terpinene isolate can also be derived from cardamom and marjoram oils.  

According to a May 2019 study, terpinene has:

Guaiol

Guaiol (pronounced “gweye-all”) is found in high CBD cannabis strains as well as Cypress Pine trees. Guaiol’s smell is similar to fresh pine with hints of rose.   It has a fruit-like flavor similar to red plums. 

Nerolidol

Trans-nerolidol is a secondary terpene found in some CBD cannabis strains. 

AROMA: Has a fresh woody smell similar to tree bark and a fruit-like flavor similar to citrus.

It’s also found in jasmine, ginger, lavender, and tea-tree.

Bisabolol

Are you having difficulty getting to sleep? Does anxiety keep you awake? Try CBD tea with bisabolol. It helps change your state of mind so you welcome sleep. Bisabolol is not found in many plants but can be found in some CBD cannabis strains.

Future of Cannabis

You may start hearing companies discuss their products based on feelings. Some brands advertise solely based on their intended effects. Buying a vape pen labeled “relax” or “energy” is a game changer.  Sativa’s are not created equal.  One sativa may provide focus while another sativa may offer higher levels of energy. Varied terpene content within sativa strains will make certain products better for certain effects, and the use of mood-based branding will provide solutions for different types of customers.

AND because growing conditions and plant genetics determine terpene quality and content, growers are now able to make adjustments to the “how” and “what” they grow, in order to meet consumer demand. This is a much faster and transparent process than waiting for a new pharmaceutical drug to hit the market.

Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrids

Picking between the different strains, indica vs sativa enables us to precisely choose how we are going to feel.  But most plant profiles today are a hybrid.  Over the years, breeders have selected and crossed different sorts of cultivars, and have been quite successful in creating strains with characteristics having “the best of both worlds.

Terpenes and Vaporizing

Because terpenes have different molecular structures, their boiling points vary. The temperature at which you vaporize becomes important for understanding what produces your desired effects.

Many devices now let you change the temperature directly on the device, providing cannabis consumers with options to consume at different temperatures. Cannabinoids begin to vaporize at 285 F and combustion begins at 392 F. Playing with different temperatures will help you find your sweet spot.

Terpenes are generally regarded as having minimal side effects.

Terpenes are present in many wild plants and food crops. It is likely that you are already consuming many cannabis terpenes daily. You should expect that your regular fruit and vegetable diet will share some of the same terpenes with cannabis.

So, terpenes are nothing new to your body.

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