Cannabis terpenes are aromatic compounds found in the cannabis plant that give it its distinct smell and taste. They are produced in the trichomes of the plant, the same structures that contain the cannabinoids. While terpenes are mainly known for their fragrance, they also have several therapeutic properties that contribute to the entourage effect, a phenomenon where the various compounds in cannabis work together to enhance their therapeutic benefits.
Myrcene: Myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis and is also present in hops, lemongrass, and thyme. It has a musky and earthy aroma and is known for its sedative and relaxing effects. Myrcene can also enhance the permeability of cell membranes, allowing other compounds like cannabinoids to be absorbed more easily.
Limonene: Limonene is a citrusy terpene that is also present in citrus fruits, juniper, and peppermint. It has a mood-lifting and energizing effect and is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Limonene is also believed to help with anxiety and depression.
Pinene: Pinene is a pine-scented terpene that is also present in pine trees, rosemary, and basil. It has a stimulating effect and is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and bronchodilator properties. Pinene is also believed to improve memory and alertness.
Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene has a spicy and peppery aroma and is present in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic effects and is believed to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, making it the only known terpene to have cannabinoid-like properties.
Linalool: Linalool has a floral and lavender-like aroma and is also present in lavender and coriander. It has a sedative and calming effect and is known for its anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. Linalool is also believed to help with sleep disorders and promote relaxation.
Humulene: Humulene is a woody and earthy terpene that is also present in hops, sage, and ginseng. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and appetite-suppressing effects and is believed to have potential in treating inflammatory diseases.
Terpinolene: Terpinolene has a piney and herbal aroma and is present in nutmeg, tea tree, and conifers. It has a relaxing effect and is known for its anti-cancer and antioxidant properties.
These are just a few examples of the many terpenes found in cannabis and their effects. While more research is needed to fully understand their therapeutic properties, the existing evidence suggests that terpenes play a significant role in the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. It is important to note that the effects of terpenes can vary depending on the dosage and the other compounds present in the cannabis strain.