Well. It could be a great gift, or a really stinky present! Terpenes are organic compounds that are found in certain plants. They usually exhibit a strong odor, and can serve several purposes in nature, including driving away parasites and predators from plants that produce them.
What Types of Plants Emit Terpenes?
Most plants that give off a strong fragrance do so through the science of terpenes. Terpenes are found in lavender, lilac, pine trees, citrus fruits, and hops, to name a few. Look for them in the kitchen in your spice rack. They’re in rosemary, basil, dill, lemongrass, thyme, and parsley. That strong smell you take in from black pepper and cloves? You guessed it, it’s terpenes. It’s interesting to note that over 120 different terpenes have been identified in Cannabis plants, which can give each variety a different smell or taste when being burned.
How Do Humans Use Terpenes?
Terpenes are found as a component ingredient in many different industries. They are used in our food, in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, and are a major part of biotechnology. They are used in essential oils. You find them in certain varieties of wine (think about taking in the bouquet). Alternative medicine and natural supplements use terpenes as well. And, of course, the obvious uses of hops and cannabis take full advantage of terpenes for recreation.
Terpenes in Cannabis
In the cannabis industry, there is a lot of study being done on terpenes. The smell that certain terpenes can cause in some strains of cannabis is varied. Different growing conditions can result in different potencies of cannabis, and the development and density of differing terpenes. Factors that affect terpene development include the growing climate, the soil type used, fertilizers that are applied, and age of the plants.
The Study of Terpenes in Cannabis
Because terpenes can influence the effects of cannabis on the brain, it makes sense that different strains are being analyzed in labs to determine the characteristics of certain terpenes, and how they may interact with the THC component to change the feelings that a person experiences when using cannabis as medicine, or for recreational purposes.
How Do Terpenes Influence the THC Effect?
To understand how these interactions work let’s look at a few common terpenes.
Pinene, for example, emits a pine smell. It can affect your memory and make you more alert. It may counteract some of the THC effects that you expect to experience.
Myrcene, which has a strong earthy, musky, herbal smell, can make you feel relaxed and sedated. This may enhance the effect the THC has on you.
Limonene is identified by its citrus smell. It’s been known to relieve stress and improve mood. There are many medicinal properties in this terpene, which include the treatment of depression, anti-bacterial properties, and heartburn relief.
Aren’t You Glad You Got Terpenes for Christmas?
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of terpenes, and the role they can play in everyday life, as well as natural healing.