Terpenes are a large part of what makes up medical cannabis, yet many patients don’t know much about them. That’s why we’ve created this guide, to help patients understand the usefulness of cannabis terpenes.
Cannabis Terpenes: What Are They?
Terpene molecules are oils which reside within the resin glands of cannabis flowers. Terpenes are the molecules responsible for the smell and taste of individual strains, while cannabinoids and THC are odourless. Terpenes may also influence the effects of varied strains. Outside influences on the cannabis as it is grown do not alter the smell or flavour, but will affect the amount of terpenes each plant generates. This has led Licensed Producers (LP’s) to choose strains that exhibit a desired terpene profile, while they try to achieve the highest number of terpenes through their cultivation process. As terpenes are extremely potent, just a small number of these molecules will have the cannabis smelling strongly. It should be noted that terpenes are not specific to cannabis. They are found in other herbs, fruits and even coniferous trees.
How do terpenes work in cannabis?
The terpenes found in cannabis bind with the receptors inside the human body. These include the scent receptors found in your nose and mouth, as well as your brain and nervous system cannabinoid receptors. The terpenes bind to your receptors, causing you to experience smell and taste. They might even have a maximizing effect on the cannabinoids through what is known as the “entourage effect.”
The effects of medical cannabis terpenes
Medical cannabis gives patients it’s beneficial effects when the cannabinoids bind with the cannabinoid receptors, (CB1 & CB2), in your brain and nervous system. While terpenes have not been proven to affect the medical properties of cannabis, they may be responsible for raising dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain. Research is ongoing into the exact effects of terpenes and how they influence patient treatment. There seems to be a lot of synergistic potential happening between terpenes, cannabinoids and the human body which we don’t fully understand.
So far, research suggests that terpenes will bind to your cannabinoid receptors as well, possibly affecting chemical activity and how your body reacts to cannabinoids. As there are many types of terpenes, each may bring with it a differing effect, such as feelings of euphoria, focus or even altered THC absorption. Some terpenes also appear to have no measurable effect whatsoever.
Types of cannabis terpenes
To date, researchers have identified 100 terpene types, with 6 being classified as primary terpenes.
As its name suggests, Pinene has been found in coniferous trees and gives a tart, piney aroma when smelled. Cannabis strains that promote pinene production include Indica, Sativa and Hybrid strains.
Found in the highest volumes within mostly Indica cannabis strains, Myrcene produces an earthy, fruity smell that can come off as quite strong and musky.
Found in its highest concentrations within Sativa cannabis strains, Linalool delivers crisp notes of citrus that are sometimes almost sweet … Read More