WHAT ARE THE TERPENES?
Terpenes give cannabis varieties their distinctive flavours. They are the aromatic oils that the plant produces and that give a variety a fruity or mint taste, an aroma of earth or citrus or a smell of cheese.
Cannabis plants produce terpenes in the same glands in which they produce THC and CBD, although terpenes until recently did not get too much attention. Medical growers and researchers in the past have focused on THC and CBD, which means that knowledge of terpenes and their function is not widespread. It has only recently been discovered that terpenes play an important role on the particular effects of cannabis.
Myrcene is the terpene found most frequently in marijuana, and creates most of the aromatic oils in cannabis varieties. Myrcene can also be found in some other plants such as hops. Some compare the aroma of myrcene to that of cloves. It is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and pain relieving (analgesic) properties. Myrcene has a sedative, calming and relaxing effect.
After myrcene, limonene is the second most common terpene we find in marijuana. As the name suggests, it has a strong citrus smell. It is known for its antifungal and anti-bacterial properties. Research suggests that limonene also functions as an anti-carcinogen and may help prevent tumor growth.
Limonene can easily enter the blood brain barrier. It is known to help increase mental focus and attention, as well as promoting general well-being. Some unscientific evidence indicates that it is also beneficial for sexual health. Some products on the market today use limonene to treat depression and anxiety. It is a natural insect repellent, one of the aromatic terpenes that plants use as a natural defense against insects and other predators. Haze varieties are a great source of this type of terpenes.
Linalool is reminiscent of fresh flowers. It has a floral lavender smell with a slight spicy touch. It induces a sedative and calming effect and is used to treat nervousness and anxiety. It is thought to have analgesic and anti-epileptic properties. Furthermore, its effectiveness in the treatment of certain types of tumors is currently being researched. Linalool is the terpene partly responsible for the calming and sedative effects of some cannabis strains.
Beta-caryophyllene is a spicy flavor that is often found in herbs and spices such as black pepper. It is known to be a strong local anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Cloves, known as a natural remedy for toothache, contain good amounts of this terpene. Beta-caryophyllene is also said to have antifungal properties.
The name could be misleading; the pinene has a scent reminiscent of pine and fir trees. Many plants contain pinene; for example, rosemary and sage. This terpene is known to have local anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is also known as an expectorant and has a widening effect on the bronchi. Research has shown that pinene can positively affect our memory. Among the varieties of cannabis with a high level of pinene are the various strains of Skunk. Pinene can increase energy and is said to also improve concentration.