One of the biggest myths in cannabis that even longtime stoners get wrong is thinking marijuana sativa strains equal a head high, while indica strains zonk you out, leaving you relaxed. This is because many think sativa strains are high in THC, which causes the high in marijuana, while indicas are high in CBD. All of this is completely wrong, except for where high amounts of THC cause the high associated with marijuana.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
2. How Do Terpenes Work And Why They're Essential
3. What Are Terpenes For?
4. What Are The Terpenes In CBD?
5. Whole Plant Extractions: Full Spectrum And Broad Spectrum CBD
6. Terpenes and Cannabinoids: Final Thoughts
Now, it is true that different cannabis strains have different effects, with some making you feel more energetic, while others calm you down. But this isn’t happening because of the reasons above. Instead, it’s the same compounds that give all cannabis plants their range of aroma and flavors that's the culprit. From smelling like blueberries to smelling like pine, then there are some cannabis strains that smell like diesel gas and even cheese; there are absurd range of smells and flavors. It's all mostly thanks to the cannabis terpenes. And that is just a start at what these incredible compounds can do.
Terpenes are found in the cannabis plant along with many other fruits and veggies. These aromatic compounds greatly contribute to the way they smell and taste. Terpenes, along with terpenoids, are the primary components of essential oils. If you've used essential oils for their therapeutic properties, you're already familiar with the terpenes.
While our aroma molecules help give oranges their zesty citrus burst and lavender soothing properties, it’s the cannabis plant where you find the highest concentration of terpenes in the greatest range. Giving cannabis strains names like Blue Dream and Sour Diesel.
In fact, cannabis has over 200 different types of terpenes that have unique properties, both aromatically and therapeutically. And unlike many plants, the therapeutic benefits don't stop there. This brings up an important point.
Cannabis terpenes work in the body very much like the cannabinoids, CBD and THC, do. They largely interact with one or both receptors of the endocannabinoid system or the ECS. As well, and this is key - as the cannabinoids are more effective at working with the receptors - the terpenes and the cannabinoids interact themselves. This relationship is called the entourage effect, and it’s very significant.
As we said, cannabinoids are the most therapeutically beneficial compounds in cannabis. Which includes both marijuana products that can cause a high, and hemp CBD products that can’t. However, when you pluck the terpenes away and only consume the cannabinoids, their ability to heal and help greatly diminishes. Not only is the range of the medical properties seemingly and randomly reduced, dosing becomes more difficult. Instead of simply taking more for stronger effects - as if climbing a ladder - without the terpenes, cannabis products need a precise dosage. And, it’s such a precise window, that if too much is taken, nothing could be felt, along with if too little is administered.
But when both cannabis terpenes and cannabinoids are together, magic happens. With CBD products and other cannabis items providing an alternative to prescription medication, unlike anything that’s come before. And it’s not even close.
Terpenes make up the basis of many essential oils used to help with nervousness, digestion, pain, muscle convulsions, and more. Pretty much every plant produces terpenes for several reasons, including defense against herbivores/pathogens and signals/rewards to beneficial organisms, such as pollinators and mycorrhiza.
In the last few years, research has uncovered a lot we didn't know about the terpenes in the cannabis plant. While we always knew they had medical properties, we only now understand how important they are for fully bringing out cannabis' therapeutic properties. As well, we now know that different terpenes have different effects, though many overlap as you're about to see.
While there are many terpenes in cannabis, many terpenes only appear in very small amounts, making them hard to research. As such, we are only focusing on the top five, which greatly takes up most of the cannabis plant's terpene profile.
Piney with touches of brightness, alpha-pinene, or just pinene is one of the most abundant terpenes found across different plants. Conifer trees, rosemary, orange peels, basil, parsley, and dill, along with cannabis, are high in pinene. It is the third most common terpene found in the cannabis plant, and while there are few to no strains that feature it heavier than any others, it’s commonly the second most abundant terpene in many cannabis strains.
Alpha-pinene effects include:
- Bronchodilator (helps open airways)
- Pain relief
- May help combat short-term memory impairment associated with THC
Peppery and spicy, Caryophyllene was the first terpene we discovered that could activate the cannabinoid receptors similar to the cannabinoids. It’s the second most abundant terpene in cannabis though it’s a close race between it and pinene. Found in black pepper, hops, cloves, and rosemary.
Gaining a lot of attention for its ability to work directly with the cannabinoid receptors, researchers are finding that caryophyllene may have some significant benefits for the immune system.
Beta-Caryophyllene effects include:
- Pain relief
- Supports brain health
Citrusy and lemony, limonene is a major component in the fruit peels of citrus plants like oranges, lime, grapefruit, and, of course, lemon. But you can also find this terpene in mint, peppermint, juniper berries, and rosemary, limonene, is the fourth most common terpene found in cannabis strains today.
From elevating the mood to providing stress relief to anti-inflammatory support, Limonene’s benefits help define cannabis, marijuana, and hemp’s main therapeutic benefits.
Limonene’s effects include:
- Stress relief
- Antibacterial and Antifungal
- Digestion support and acid reflux relief
Earthy with spicy clove notes and commonly accounting for between 20-50% of the terpenes found in cannabis on average, Mycenae is without a doubt the most abundant terpene and one of the most important. Appearing in mangos, thyme, lemongrass, and cannabis’ close cousin, hops, Mycenae is a precursor for many of the other terpenes.
Said to help bring out cannabis’ medical side, Mycenae is a popular terpene in medical marijuana strains for its ability to reduce pain, inflammation, and potentially relax the body and help with sleep.
Mycenae’s effects include:
- Muscle relaxant
Found in the majority of cannabis strains, but rarely in the top five, terpinolene is called the lurker of cannabis and the benefits it delivers.
Terpinolene is a bit of a nut, and not because it's found in nutmeg. Terpinolene has many aromas, with the ability to smell like any of the terpenes we've covered.
Where some terpenes have a range of benefits, terpinolene specializes in two that we currently know of. But they are so important, that pushing to increase this terpene could be a big priority in the future.
Terpinolene effects include:
- Cardiovascular Health and help with reducing heart disease
- Inhibits the growth of cancer cells
Above, we mentioned cannabinoid products separated from the terpenes, such as CBD isolate. While in rare cases, an isolate can have its advantages, whole plant extracts such as full spectrum CBD are greatly preferred. Especially in the case of our pets, because isolates can be so tricky to dose, and they can’t tell us if we are giving them the correct amount. With full spectrum CBD, a low dosage produces a mild effect then increasing the dosage, increases the potency.
With the entourage effect fully intact, the cannabinoids and terpenes are able to work better together than by themselves, greatly extending their ability to heal the body. Research shows an item like full spectrum CBD can greatly assist and help excess inflammation, anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, poor appetite, and more.
The therapeutic benefits of the terpenes seen in flowers to pine trees have long been known. In fact, they are no strangers to holistic medicines, with their use dating back thousands of years. Even if you've never used cannabis terpenes directly before, with them terpenes found in hops, citrus fruits, lavender, and black pepper, you probably consume them every day.
However, it isn't until we have the cannabinoids and terpenes together that we see both of their true abilities. Together they give cannabis medical properties that aren't close to being matched by similar holistic items. There is no doubt THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids like CBG are the bread and butter of cannabis products. But without the terpenes, they could never reach their full ability to heal and treat a range of illnesses and diseases. Cannabinoids and terpenes work together like magic.
Remember, when looking to give your pet the many medical rewards of cannabis, stick with hemp CBD products like PurCBD+. Our pets aren’t able to comprehend the high that comes from high-THC products. As well, some animals, like dogs, are more sensitive to THC, making it much easier for them to overdose on it than a person. All of our CBD products contain a complete terpene profile and only contain traces of THC, while being rich in CBD, CBG, and CBC.
We hope you enjoyed our in-depth look at the aroma compounds we call the terpenes and the many ways they can help both us and our pets.