What Are Terpenes and Which Ones Are Best for You?
When it comes to cannabis and CBD oil products, it’s often the scents that we notice first. But the different scents and flavors of cannabis plants are not just a way to tell them apart. It also determines what kind of medicinal role each plant has to offer.
When you smell a plant, what’s giving off that scent is something known as a terpene. And it has more to offer than just a distinct smell. It is now one of the biggest areas of interest for cannabis researchers, as terpenes have the potential to help treat everything from insomnia to cancer.
Terpenes are essential oils found in all plants, flowers, vegetables and herbs, and they have healing properties by themselves. While still in the plant, they help protect the plant from various threats, like fungus, insects and stressors in their environment. When you smell the fragrance of peppermint and lemongrass, you’re actually smelling the terpenes limonene and myrcene.
Although more than 200 types of terpenes have been identified, not all of them have the same kind of value or effects. Only a few have risen to the top of the list as having useful therapeutic properties, and they are gaining more interest for their therapeutic value.
How Do Terpenes Work?
When combined with CBD, the healing properties of terpenes can benefit users by binding to neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. They can increase dopamine activity or enhance norepinephrine activity. Or they can help us relax or they may help boost our energy. Research has found that terpenes directly affect the brain’s neurotransmitters in many different ways, so learning more about what properties are provided by different terpenes can help you choose which products are best for you.
In particular, the medical cannabis industry is interested in seeing how to use this new information to improve results with cannabis products. One of the benefits of terpenes in high-THC cannabis is that they help balance the psychoactive effects of THC and can decrease the anxiety associated with it.
The much talked-about “entourage effect,” in which all of the compounds within the plant work together, has long been thought to be associated only with THC cannabis. But today researchers have found that oil from hemp plants can also produce the entourage effect, resulting in health and wellness benefits for a broad spectrum of uses.
Since terpenes have so many different effects and applications, it’s useful to do your homework as you look for the product that is best for you. Third party lab reports often include a “Terpene Profile” section where you can see the levels of each terpene in a product. Here’s a look at some of the most popular terpenes used and their common uses:
Another way of looking at terpenes would be this: