Terpenes are the essential oils in plants and each cannabis strain has its own unique combination, which is referred to as a terpene profile.
Terpenes are aromatic organic hydrocarbons, meaning they’re responsible for the smell and flavor of cannabis, along with other plants. Terpene profiling is believed to be the most accurate way to identify cannabis strains, and it’s something we even do on our own when deciding what to buy at a dispensary (ie. Smelling the product before buying). Cannabis Terpenes also add to the entourage effect – or the way cannabinoids and terpenes play off each other to produce the effects or “highs” that we feel.
“We started profiling terpenes in 2009,” says Franco Loja, Manager of Green House Seeds. “At first we just had a flavor-aroma approach to terpenes, because at the time it was the main purpose: to find a different tool to breed cannabis strains based on flavor and aroma, not just cannabinoid content.”
Now, cannabis terpenes are being looked at on their own and studied for their individual effects and benefits.
Popular Cannabis Terpenes and Their Health Benefits
Limonene: This is one of the most popular cannabis terpenes and also the most prevalent. As the name suggests, it’s responsible for the citrusy flavor found in Lemon Haze, Lemon Skunk, and many others. It’s also found in actual citrus fruit like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. Therapeutically, limonene has been found to reduce stress and improve moods. However, studies also show that it can be used as a powerful antibacterial and antifungal, and it can even contribute to the inhibition of tumor growth.
Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene adds a very distinct, zesty flavor to cannabis strains like Skywalker OG and it’s also found in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Caryophyllene is frequently used as an anti-inflammatory because of its ability to bind to CB2 receptors in the body. Furthermore, it can be used to alleviate symptoms of asthma and it’s also showing promising as a treatment for alcoholism.
Eucalyptol: This terpene, which is also referred to as cineole, is dominant in the eucalyptus tree. It gives a nice cool flavor to certain strains such as Super Silver Haze and Headband. Eucalyptol has been used in medicines and cosmetics for years. It’s also an antifungal and antimicrobial, but recent studies show that it may also have promising effects on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, although more research will be needed to make a full determination on that.
The rise of cannabis terpenes infused products
Luckily for consumers, terpene infused isolates is becoming more prevalent. Available on the market these days a variety of terpene extracts with very little cannabinoid content, some full spectrum extracts with a nice blend of terpenes and cannabinoids, and some completely terpene-isolated extracts with no cannabinoids at all.
Have you used any of these products? If so, we’d love to hear how they worked for you. Just leave us a note in the comment section below!