Aromatic Compounds in Cannabis and Beyond
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants. You may have heard of them before, especially if you’re a fan of cannabis. Cannabis plants contain high terpenes concentrations, giving the plant its unique smell and flavor. Terpenes are also found in other plants, such as conifers, citrus fruits, and herbs. In this blog post, we’ll discuss terpenes, their benefits, and how they can be used in the cannabis industry and beyond!
What Are Terpenes?
So, what exactly are terpenes? Terpenes are a type of organic compound, and plants produce them as part of their essential oil production. Terpenes are what give plants their characteristic smell and flavor. In cannabis, there are over 100 different types of terpenes! Each cannabis plant has a unique blend of terpenes contributing to its distinct smell and flavor. Terpenes are not just responsible for the scent and taste of plants, however. They also have a variety of benefits for both humans and animals.
How Are Terpenes Made?
Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds found in plants. Terpenes are produced in specialized cells called trichomes, located on the surface of the leaves, flowers, and other parts of the plant.
The biosynthesis of terpenes begins with the condensation of two molecules of isoprene. This reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme called terpene synthase. The resulting molecule is then divided into two parts, each of which will be used to make a different type of terpene.
The first part is converted into a cyclic hydrocarbon known as geranyl pyrophosphate. This reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme called farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase. The second part is converted into a linear hydrocarbon known as farnesol. This reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme called farnesyltransferase.
The cyclic and linear hydrocarbons are then combined to form a terpene molecule. This reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme called terpene synthase.
What Benefits Do Terpenes Have?
Terpenes have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. They help to boost immunity, improve cognitive function, and reduce stress levels. Terpenes can be used in various industries, not just the cannabis industry! For example, they can be used in aromatherapy, cosmetics, food and beverage manufacturing, and even pest control!
What Other Industries Use Terpenes?
The food and beverage industry utilizes terpenes as natural flavoring and aromatics. Terpenes are responsible for the characteristic flavors and smell of different fruits, vegetables, and spices. Some common terpenes used in food and beverage products include limonene, linalool, citral, and geraniol.
The personal care industry also uses terpenes as fragrance ingredients. Terpenes add a natural scent to cosmetics, soap, and other personal care products. Some popular terpenes in the personal care industry include lavender oil, citrus oil, and pine oil.
Lastly, the therapeutic aromatherapy industry also makes use of terpenes. Terpenes are believed to have various medicinal benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety or improving sleep quality. Some popular terpenes used in aromatherapy include lavender oil, chamomile oil, and eucalyptus oil.
Do Terpenes get you high?
The simple answer is no; terpenes don’t get you high.
Terpenes are not psychoactive because they do not interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Instead, they interact with other receptors in the body that are not associated with the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
The longer and even more important answer is that terpenes play a significant role in what kind of high you experience when consuming cannabis.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is most notable in cannabis, where the presence of terpenes and cannabinoids produces different and more potent effects than the individual compounds. For example, the terpene myrcene is known to be a sedative. At the same time, the cannabinoid THC is well known for its psychoactive effects. When these two substances are present together in cannabis, they work together to produce a more powerful sedative high than either one has on its own.
Another example, the terpene linalool is known for its calming effects, while the cannabinoid CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. When these two substances are present together, they work together to produce a more substantial calming effect than either one has on its own.
The entourage effect is still being studied, and more is being learned about how it works daily. However, what is already known suggests that the synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes may be responsible for many of the plant’s beneficial effects.
How to Choose the Right Strain
The first step is to consider what you’re looking for in a strain. Do you want something that will help you relax? Or maybe something that will help you focus? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start narrowing down your options.
The second step in finding the right strain for you is to understand the different types of cannabinoids and terpenes present in cannabis. There are many different cannabinoids and terpenes, each with its unique effects. Some strains are high in THC, and others in CBD, while some cultivars have a mix of both. Additionally, different chemovar have different terpene profiles, which can affect their effects.
Once you know what cannabinoids and terpenes are present in a particular strain, you can start to figure out its effects. For example, if you are looking for a high THC strain with a spicy flavor, you might want to try Ghost Train Haze. If you are looking for a high CBD strain with a fruity flavor, you might want to try ACDC.
The third step is to experiment with different strains to find the ones that work best for you. Everyone’s body reacts differently to cannabis, so you may need to try a few additional cultivars before you find the one that provides the desired effects.
The fourth step is to reflect on your experience and whether that specific strain/cultivar might be a good treatment option.
Terpenes are an essential part of the cannabis plant, and they can have a significant impact on the effects of cannabis. When choosing a strain, it is vital to consider the types of cannabinoids and terpenes present to find one that will provide the desired high. Experimenting with different cultivars is often necessary to find the perfect one for you. They play a vital role in the aromatherapy, cosmetics, food and beverage manufacturing, and pest control industries! Terpenes indeed are unique molecules with a variety of uses. Thanks for reading, and I hope this article was informative!