Terpenes 101: Going Beyond Cannabinoids for Health

There is no doubt that cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are well known for their beneficial properties but did you know that the hemp plant also contains another type of therapeutic compound called terpenes. 

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that give all plants, fruits and fragrant vegetables their distinctive aroma.  They are what make mint smell like mint and lavender like lavender.

The strong odours of terpenes are also responsible for protecting plants by warning and putting off animals and insects that might want to take a nibble.  Similarly, terpenes also attract insects like bees and butterflies to help with pollination. 


WHY TERPENES ARE IMPORTANT

Terpenes originally evolved to repel predators and lure pollinators by working on the olfactory system and acting directly on brain cells to modulate activity.  Scientists have found that because of this terpenes can also have a therapeutic benefit.

The ability of terpenes to interact with our sense of smell and in turn our brain is why aromatherapy works. This is why you may feel better after spending time in a forest and why certain smells can boost your mood and make you feel more energised.

Cannabis or hemp terpenes in particular are quite adept at providing additional therapeutic benefits.  The reason for this is because hemp terpenes are formed in the same resinous trichomes as cannabinoids, which means the terpenes found in hemp have the same ability as cannabinoids to bind to the endocannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. 

Additionally scientists have found that when terpenes work together with cannabinoids these beneficial properties are magnified in what is known as the entourage effect. In other words, terpenes and cannabinoids work better together than they do on their own.

 

8 Main Terpenes in Hemp

There are eight main terpenes found in cannabis and hemp, each with their own aromas and therapeutic benefits.

 

1. Humulene

Herbal, woody aroma

Also found in:

Hops, sage, ginseng, coriander, cloves, basil and ginger

Vaporises at:

106ºC

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

2. Limonene

Citrusy, lemony aroma

Also found in:

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, rosemary, juniper and peppermint

Vaporises at:

176ºC

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

3. Pinene

Fresh, pine aroma

Also found in:

Pine, conifers, rosemary, basil, parsley and dill

Vaporises at:

155ºC

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

4. Myrcene

Peppery, spicy, herbal aroma

Also found in:

Mango, thyme, lemongrass, parsley, hops and bay leaf

Vaporises at:

167°C

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

5. Linalool

Floral, spicy or woody aroma

Also found in:

Lavender, birch bark, some citrus, rosewood, laurels and coriander

Vaporises at:

198°C

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

6.  Caryophyllene

Peppery, spicy, woody, clove aroma.  Also the only terpene that acts as a cannabinoid and activate the endocannabinoid system.

Also found in:

Black pepper, cloves and cinnamon

Vaporises at:

130ºC

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

7.  Terpinolene

Piney, floral, herbal aroma

Also found in:

Nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs

Vaporises at:

186ºC

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

8.  Ocimene

Sweet, herbal, woody aroma

Also found in:

Mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mangoes, orchids, and kumquats

Vaporises at:

50ºC

Therapeutic Benefits:

 

The terpenes in cannabis have various benefits which is why our Otherside CBD oils have a range of naturally occurring hemp terpenes and the full spectrum of cannabinoids to help ensure that you get the best of what this special plant has to offer.

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