Terpenes are organic compounds produced by a variety of plants and are major constituents of cannabis sativa plants, which contain at least 120 identified compounds most of which have unique therapeutic qualities. Terpenes are responsible for a plants strong odour and taste and are thought to protect the plants from herbivores, insects and fungus. Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and have varying effects, they are major bio-synthetic building blocks within the body which are linked to a series of chemical reactions occurring within cells essential for good health.
The 6 main terpenes that occur naturally in different strains of cannabis sativa plants are:
Limonene also found in citrus fruits, rosemary, peppermint and juniper. It’s thought to have anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and anti-fungal properties.
Linalool found in lavender, lemon grass, bay leaf, basil, coriander and mugwort. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety properties. Studies have shown that linalool is a sedative, anti-epileptic, and is effective in the treatment of pain.
Myrcene found in parsley, wild thyme, hops, cardamom and mango has anti-bacterial anti-inflammatory and anti-mutagenic influences and is also used for treating insomnia and pain. It is known to enhance the psychoactivity of THC.
Caryophyllene found in cloves, oregano, cinnamon, basil and black pepper it is thought to be a neuroprotective, antidepressant, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It has shown to have benefits when treating pain and inflammation.
Pinene found in pine needles and sage is used to treat inflammation, it is an antiseptic, an expectorant and has bronchodilator properties (makes breathing easier).
Humulene found in hops, sage and coriander is an appetite suppressant with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Terpenoid and cannabinoid interactions amplify the individual beneficial effects of each compound, this is known as the “Entourage Effect“. Although terpenes occur naturally in cannabis they are sometimes added to products artificially to give a greater relief of symptoms all round.