The cannabis plant consists of many different chemicals and compounds. Roughly 140 of these form part of a large class of aromatic hydrocarbons known as terpenes (terpenoids). They are synthesized in glandular trichomes and increases production with exposure to light.
Terpenes are usually found in high doses in unfertilized female plants. The smell from a cannabis plant is because of the terpenes present within the flower. Terpenes do much more than just provide aroma.
How Terpenes Work
They play an important role in working together with other cannabinoids. This is fairly new grounds for the cannabis community. People have only recently started looking at them more carefully.
Terpenes act on receptors and neurotransmitters and act as serotonin uptake inhibitors similar to some antidepressants. Terpenes increase dopamine activity.
According to Dr. Ethan Russo, the “Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy” increases the potential of cannabis-based medicinal extracts to treat pain, inflammation, fungal and bacterial infections, depression, anxiety, epilepsy and even cancer.
Different Types Of Terpenes
There are many different type of terpenes available. Below we’ll be looking into a short list of the most prevalent ones.
It is the most common terpene being produced by the cannabis plant. The flavor profile of myrcene is musky, earthy and herbal. Additionally, myrcene is typically responsible for the “couch lock effect” many cannabis smokers have come to known. Myrcene is also present in a wide variety of other plants including eucalyptus, wild thyme and lemon grass. Medical applications of myrcene include, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimutagenic.
It is known as a byciclic monoterpenoid and smells like pine and fir. It is the most common terpene found in nature. Pinene is one of the principle monoterps that is important physiologically to both plants and animals. Medical applications for Pinene include; anti-inflammatory, expectorant, bronchodilator and local antiseptic.
Limonene has a very high citrus like aroma. It generally creates an uplifting sensation relating to mood and attitude. Limonene suppresses the growth of bacteria and certain species of fungi. It even helps with weight loss. Plants usually produce limonene as a natural insecticide.
This non-cyclic monoterpenoid produces a calm, relaxing sensation. With an aroma close to lavender and other floral undertones, linalool works as a sleep aid. It also reduces the effects of anxiety produced by pure THC. This creates a window where it can be used for treating psychotic disorders as well as anxiety disorders. It also boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation and can restore cognitive and emotional function.
Many More Terpenes
I’m not going to go into the full list of the terpenes available today because there are many. Each one of these chemicals have significant medical applications. It’s important that we not only focus on studying the main cannabinoids within the cannabis plant, but also look more into Terpenes. There is a wealth of medicine ready to discover that could radically revolutionize the medical world forever.