What Are Terpenes?

Cannabis Terpenes: Types, Effects, Benefits and More

It’s a term that’s unavoidable if you spend any time in the cannabis space. Terpenes (or terps) are a component of cannabis plants with a wide variety of functions. Not only do they have a significant impact on the aroma and flavor of a strain, but they also exert their own effects on the human body. In this post, we’ll look at what terpenes are, the types of terpenes in cannabis, and what effects and benefits they may hold.

What are Terpenes?

Before we start looking at the specific types of terpenes, we’ll explore them as a whole. Both plants and some animals develop these organic compounds naturally within. Generally, terpenes serve one of two purposes in nature. First, they may act as a way to ward off predators. Or, they could assist a plant in attracting symbiotic animals like pollinators. Sometimes, they do both in the same plant!

Terpenes accomplish this task through their powerful aromatic properties. These compounds are some of the world’s biggest conveyors of tastes and scents. If you’ve ever stopped to smell the flowers or enjoyed the taste of a citrus fruit, you can thank a terpene. Thanks to this trait, terpenes are commonly used as food additives and ingredients in cleaners and essential oils. Terpenes are, quite literally, everywhere.

Types of Terpenes

Scientists have divided terpenes into several main groups, called monoterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. These have more to do with their chemical structure than anything, and aren’t super useful for us. Instead, we’re going to divide them into two groups of our own: those that occur in cannabis and those that don’t. We’ll be focusing on the first category.

Of the countless terpenes that exist worldwide, you can find hundreds of them in cannabis plants. Many of these are extremely rare, but here are a few of the most common ones you’re sure to run into:

  • Linalool: this herbal terpene gives lavender and other flowers their unique scents.
  • Pinene: one of the world’s most abundant terpenes, pinene has – you guessed it – an aroma and flavor reminiscent of pine trees.
  • Limonene: this terpene claims responsibility for giving citrus flavors their distinctive aroma and flavor.
  • Caryophyllene: a sharp, unmistakable terpene with a herbal essence. Caryophyllene gives pepper and other spices their trademark zing.
  • Myrcene: one of the most common cannabis terpenes, you can also find myrcene bestowing its unique blend of sweet and pungent flavors to mangos.
  • Humulene: also found in hops, humulene has a musky, bitter flavor and aroma.

Cannabis Terpenes: Benefits and Effects

Aside from their flavors and aromas, the effects of terpenes may provide humans with some benefits. In fact, terpenes may be one of the main active ingredients in cannabis. These possible benefits can be either physical, mental, or both.

  • Linalool: appears to offer anxiolytic (anxiety-soothing) properties in mice.
  • Pinene: like linalool, pinene appears to be able to soothe anxiety along with reducing inflammation. It’s also an antioxidant!
  • Limonene: this abundant terpene also seems to be able to reduce swelling and act as an antioxidant, among other things.
  • Caryophyllene: the only terpene that’s also a cannabinoid seems to be capable of reducing inflammation and shows some promise as a neuroprotectant.
  • Myrcene: some research suggests that myrcene can help reduce pain and inflammation, along with calming anxiety.
  • Humulene: like many terpenes, researchers believe that humulene reduces anxiety and may provide a treatment for asthma in the future.

What Are Terpenes: Wrapping Up

All of this information really only scratches the surface of all there is to know about terpenes, but we hope it’s been helpful in understanding the basics of these important cannabis compounds.

If you want to learn more, stop by your local UpTop dispensary to speak with our helpful team and to explore our selection of strains. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Resources Used by Writer:

Hundreds of terpenes in cannabis:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7763918/

Linalool:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206409/