What Are Cannabis-Derived Terpenes?

Table of Content

Terpenes are aromatic organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants. They are responsible for the perceived flavors and smells of plants.

Cannabis is no exception.

Cannabis terpenes are responsible for the unique aromas of different strains of cannabis. Terpenes can also affect the taste of cannabis. Some typical flavors associated with terpenes include citrus, pine, and lavender.

While most people are familiar with the role of terpenes in the flavor and aroma of cannabis, these molecules may also provide some wellness benefits. For example, linalool is a terpene that is thought to have stress-relieving properties.

In addition to their potential therapeutic benefits, terpenes can affect how cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with the body. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect, which may be responsible for the unique effects of different strains of cannabis.

In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at cannabis terpenes and the role they play in your cannabis products.

Key Takeaways:

  • Terpenes are organic hydrocarbon compounds found in the essential oils of plants that give a plant its flavor and scent.
  • Cannabis plant strains are often identified by their terpene profiles, which affect the taste and effect profile of the plant.
  • Some terpenes may also offer some wellness benefits and have the potential to amplify the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD in the entourage effect.
  • More research is needed on cannabis-derived terpenes and their potential medicinal properties, but the current findings are promising.

What Are Terpenes, And What Do They Do In Cannabis Plants?

Terpenes are organic compounds that are produced by a variety of plants, including cannabis.

These molecules are responsible for the unique aromas of different strains of cannabis, and they may also provide some wellness benefits.

You may already be familiar with aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to promote physical and emotional well-being. The oils are rich in terpenes and are typically diluted in a carrier oil and then applied to the skin or inhaled.

Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to help ease anxiety, relieve pain, boost mood, and promote overall health and wellness. Some familiar flavors associated with terpenes include citrus, pine, and lavender.

Aside from potential medical benefits, scientists believe cannabis plants produce terpenes for genetic preservation. Some terpenes are natural insecticides and anti-fungals, and others attract pollinators for reproduction [1].

Cannabis growers and breeders have influenced the terpene profiles of cannabis strains through selective breeding. By carefully selecting plants with desired terpene profiles, breeders have created strains tailored to provide specific aromas, flavors, and effects.

Cannabis connoisseurs will recommend choosing cannabis flowers based on the terpene profile rather than the THC or CBD content, as terpenes play a significant role in the experience.

For example, some cannabis strains with citrus terpenes produce uplifting and stimulating effects, while more earthy notes are generally better suited for relaxation.

How Can Cannabis-Derived Terpenes Be Used To Enhance The Therapeutic Effects Of Cannabinoids?

If you've ever wondered why full spectrum cannabis products are so popular, you can thank the entourage effect.

But what exactly is the entourage effect?

In a nutshell, the synergistic interaction between cannabis compounds gives the plant its unique effects. This includes cannabinoids like THC and CBD, as well as terpenes.

While isolated cannabinoids can be effective, they don't quite compare to the power of the full spectrum. That's because each compound amplifies the effects of the others, creating an entourage effect more significant than the sum of its parts.

For example, some terpenes have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects, while others may help to improve mood and reduce anxiety [2].

Any cannabis enthusiast knows there are two main types of strains: indica and sativa and will select their cannabis flowers and products based on their desired effects.

Generally speaking, indica strains are associated with relaxation and sedation, while sativas are more likely to provide an uplifting and energizing effect. Indicas are also known for their short, bushy stature, while sativas tend to be taller and thinner.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but understanding these fundamental distinctions can be a useful starting point. However, many experts seem to point to terpene content as a more reliable way to predict the effects of your products [3].

Why Do Hemp Plants And Marijuana Plants Smell The Same?

Hemp and marijuana plants are the same cannabis sativa plant but differ in one key component—delta-9 THC content.

The delta-9 THC is the primary cannabinoid in marijuana plants responsible for its psychoactive effects, and hemp plants are generally bred to contain a higher CBD content to create products like CBD oils, gummies, and topicals.

As they're technically the same plant, the two have the same botanical terpenes, so lighting up a hemp joint can smell like a marijuana joint. The critical thing to remember is that terpenes found in cannabis plants aren't inherently psychoactive in their natural amounts.

So although hemp might smell like marijuana, there are no chances of accidentally inducing intoxicating effects will your full spectrum CBD oils or hemp cigarettes.

Are All Terpenes Created Equal, Or Are Some More Beneficial Than Others?

While all terpenes offer some benefits, some are more potent than others. Here are a few of the most beneficial cannabis terpenes:

Myrcene

Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes in cannabis and is known for its sedative effects.

It's also one of the primary terpenes in hops, which are used to make beer. The myrcene in hops gives beer its bitter taste. You might also be familiar with the aromatic myrcene-rich essential oils used in aromatherapy. These essential oils typically have a musky, earthy smell, often used as a natural treatment for anxiety and insomnia.

Limonene

So if you ever feel uplifted after smelling a lemon, grapefruit, or limes, you can thank limonene for that boost in mood.

Limonene is a citrusy aromatic compound that's known for its mood-enhancing effects. In addition to its positive impact on mood, limonene is also a potent anti-fungal and antimicrobial agent.

Pinene

Pinene is a terpene commonly found in pine needles and cannabis. It's known for its cognitive-enhancing effects. Pinene is also found in other plants, including eucalyptus, rosemary, and thyme. The smell of pinene is often described as woodsy or aromatic. In high concentrations, it can also be minty or citrusy. When used medicinally, pinene is thought to improve circulation and respiratory function. It's also used as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene is a terpene found in many plants, including cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and cannabis. It's known for its woody and spicy aroma. Caryophyllene is a unique terpene in that it binds to the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid, which is found primarily in the immune system [4].

This may be why caryophyllene is being studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. Some research suggests that caryophyllene may help with anxiety and pain relief. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects. So far, caryophyllene seems to be safe for most people when taken in small amounts.

Terpenes can affect individuals differently depending on their body chemistry and lifestyle. What may be more beneficial for you may not be the same for the next person.

Natural Terpenes Vs. Synthetic Terpenes

Natural terpenes are found in nature and cannabis-derived, whereas synthetic terpenes are not sourced from an actual plant. Instead, synthetic terpenes are chemically produced in a lab.

While synthetic terpenes are still considered cannabis terpenes, they're far from natural, but they tend to hold a longer shelf-life in products and are believed to provide the same effects.

Those interested in whole hemp plant benefits will opt for natural cannabis-derived terpenes in their products, as the less processed your cannabis products are, the better they are for your wellness.

It's essential to refer to third-party lab tests to see whether or not you're getting genuine cannabis-derived terpenes or synthetic ones.

The reports often differentiate between Cannabis Derived Terpenes (CDT) or non-CDT. Pay extra attention to the contaminant report on non-CDTs as some chemicals and solvents could be left behind in the final product if manufacturers did a sloppy job.

How To Store Your Full Spectrum CBD Products To Preserve The Terpenes

Natural terpenes degrade quickly. To make sure you keep the concentration of your natural terpenes high, you want to remember the following tips:

  • Store your products in a cool, dark place. Heat and light can cause terpenes to degrade, so keep your products out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
  • Keep your products sealed tight. Oxygen can also cause terpenes to degrade, so make sure your bottles and jars are tightly sealed.
  • Use glass rather than plastic. Some plastics can react with terpenes, causing them to degrade faster. Glass is a more inert material that won't respond with the terpenes.

These simple tips will help you keep the concentration of natural terpenes high in your full spectrum CBD products.

How Can You Find Out Which Terpenes Are In A Particular Cannabis Product Before You Buy It?

If you're looking for a particular terpene in your cannabis product, the best way to find out is to look at third-party lab tests. These tests will tell you exactly which terpenes are present in the product and in what concentrations.

However, it's worth noting that terpene profiles can change over time, so even if a product tests high in a particular terpene today, there's no guarantee that it will keep that same profile tomorrow as terpenes degrade quickly, which is why it's important to shop for CBD products as close to their production date to reap the full benefits of the entourage effect.

For experienced cannabis users, another way to get an idea of the terpene content of a particular product is to go off the scent of the buds.

Certain terpenes have distinct aromas, so if you know what to look for, you can sometimes get a good idea of which terpenes are present just by taking a sniff. However, this method is far from foolproof, and it's generally not recommended for beginners.

If you're new to cannabis, your best bet is to just look at the lab tests and see what terpenes are present in the product before you buy it.

Shop Neurogan Full Spectrum Products

You won't find CBD isolate products in our catalog because we follow the science behind the significant potential benefits the hemp plant can produce when CBD is combined with its natural chemical compounds like terpenes and minor cannabinoids.

All our products contain sun-grown high CBD hemp plants and supercritical CO2 extraction techniques that allow for a higher CBD and terpene yield from each harvest.

While all our full spectrum hemp products contain a diverse range of cannabinoids and terpenes, we're excited to have launched two products boosted with cannabis-derived terpenes for more potent benefits towards specific wellness goals.

CBD Rest Gummies (3600 mg)

Our CBD Rest Gummies are a vegan-based gummy formula containing a potent 120 mg of full spectrum CBD per gummy along with boosted indica-based terpenes such as myrcene and beta-caryophyllene for a more robust action towards rest, recovery, and quality sleep.

CBD Gummies + Terpenes (3600 mg)

The CBD Gummies + Terpenes feature a boost of natural cannabis sativa-derived terpenes for daytime use. It has a robust limonene and pinene profile making it geared towards an uplifted mood and enhanced focus.

These are ultra-high potency gummies containing 120 mg of full spectrum CBD per square, so if you're new to CBD, it's best to try our best-selling regular CBD Gummies before moving up to these potent doses to help your endocannabinoid system adjust to the supplementation.

The Takeaway: Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

Terpenes are the aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinct smell. But these potent compounds do more than just make your cannabis products smell good— they also offer a range of potential health benefits.

For example, the terpene beta-caryophyllene is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, while linalool is believed to help reduce anxiety. And these are just two of the hundreds of different terpenes that have been identified in cannabis plants.

So why not get the most out of your hemp products by shopping for full spectrum products that contain a variety of these beneficial compounds? After all, when it comes to cannabis, it's not just about the CBD.

Resources:

  1. Booth, J. K., & Bohlmann, J. (2019). Terpenes in Cannabis sativa–From plant genome to humans. Plant Science, 284, 67-72.
  2. Russo, E. B. (2019). The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis: no "strain," no gain. Frontiers in plant science, 1969.
  3. Elzinga, S., Fischedick, J., Podkolinski, R., & Raber, J. C. (2015). Cannabinoids and terpenes as chemotaxonomic markers in cannabis. Nat. Prod. Chem. Res, 3(81), 10-4172.
  4. Alberti, T. B., Barbosa, W. L. R., Vieira, J. L. F., Raposo, N. R. B., & Dutra, R. C. (2017). (−)-β-Caryophyllene, a CB2 receptor-selective phytocannabinoid, suppresses motor paralysis and neuroinflammation in a murine model of multiple sclerosis. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(4), 691

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