What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are chemical compounds that are naturally produced by many plants, herbs, and fruits, including the cannabis plant where it’s present in high concentrations. These compounds are responsible for the fragrance and taste associated with different strains of cannabis. Different combinations of terpenes yield different flavors and aromas.

What are Terpenes Used For?

Plants produce terpenes as a defense mechanism against predators and to protect themselves from unfavorable weather conditions. In some plants, terpenes help attract pollinators while in others they help the plant heal from injuries.

Terpenes are used in the production of many daily products such as soaps and perfumes. They’re also believed to have many health benefits for humans when taken in combination with cannabinoids.

What are Terpenes in Relation to Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are another type of naturally-occurring set of compounds present in cannabis plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one cannabinoid that’s responsible for the euphoric effects that come with marijuana usage. This compound interacts with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system and alters the many bodily functions controlled by it including sleep, appetite, mood, and time perception.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is another well-known cannabinoid that comes up when you ask what are terpenes or THC. It is believed to have many health benefits that are characteristic of medicinal marijuana but without the euphoria.

Unlike cannabinoids, terpenes don’t interact with the endocannabinoid system or have any mood-altering effects. Rather, terpenes are believed to interact with cannabinoids to produce the ‘Entourage Effect’ which is associated with the ultimate health benefits of cannabis.

Common Terpenes and their Benefits

Now that you know what terpenes are and what terpenes are used for, here are some common terpenes present in cannabis and their potential benefits:

  • Humulene – May be an anti-inflammatory, protect cells against cancer, and aid with appetite suppression.
  • Pinene – Believed to be an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective compound.
  • Myrcene – Is a potential sedative, analgesic, antidiabetic, and antioxidant. May have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well.
  • Caryophyllene – Believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
  • Limonene – Might help with immunity and anxiety relief.

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