The worldview towards cannabis is changing a lot these days, whether it be for medical or recreational use. It seems that the days of vilifying this herb are over for the most part, as the world enters a new era of cannabis legalization.
As cannabis legalization sweeps across North America and other parts of the world, people are slowly getting educated and learning new things about cannabis and CBD. Those people include researchers and scientists who are permitted to study cannabis in a laboratory – or via clinical trials on humans – for the first time in many decades.
It also includes the general public who for years, have only related to cannabis in terms of a “controlled substance” due to so many years of prohibition. And while nothing in this world is perfect, cannabis seems to have some fascinating compounds – and other things called terpenes – which some are claiming can have a positive effect on human health and be used instead of toxic pharmaceutical drugs.
One of the best things that happened to cannabis in recent history is the Farm Act 2018. This act permits the agricultural cultivation of hemp which contains only tiny amounts of THC – the psychoactive ingredient in hemp and cannabis – for the first time in many years, and it’s at the federal level. Hemp produces CBD in abundance.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is an interesting compound in cannabis that helps people with pain, anxiety, and insomnia but doesn’t get them high. The CBD market in the US is expected to around $20 billion within five years, and that means that CBD is set to become a massive industry, at least stateside.
But cannabis and hemp contain a lot more than just a couple of active compounds. THC and CBD are only two of hundreds of known compounds in cannabis, and there’s also something called terpenes. Terpenes are “volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants,” according to the dictionary definition. Cannabis is packed full of different terpenes and there is definitely a market for them just like cannabinoids.
Terpenes are what gives cannabis its unique aroma and taste but are also responsible for other effects. Linalool, for example, is one common terpene also found in lavender that’s associated with sleep and lowering inflammation. Different terpenes like pinene, found in conifer trees, and myrcene, found in hops, are also thought to have medicinal effects when ingested or smoked.
Terpenes also rose to fame more recently when reality TV star Kim Kardashian threw a CBD baby shower. She hired True Terpenes to arrange the event, and they provided guests with anything from CBD lotions, to make-up, to chocolates and gummy bears.
As True Terpenes COO David Mclean said to Yahoo Finance at the time, “It’s fun to see a family like the Kardashian’s with such a large audience helping to educate the world about CBD and terpenes.” And with A-list celebrities like Kardashian promoting CBD and Terpenes, it won’t be long before more people’s interest is piqued and the market explodes.
There are also companies like Floraplex Terpenes who produce terpene products that mimic cannabis but contain none. “Our strain profiles are developed without using any ingredients derived from cannabis,” CEO Alec Riffle told Leafly. “Instead, we work with non-cannabis botanically derived terpene isolates, essential oils, and flavorings to recreate a strain’s terpene profile from scratch.” Terpenes are very interesting but are only being understood properly as cannabis research market opportunities around the world open up.
There’s also a complicated relationship between terpenes and cannabis compounds, as the terpenes offer what’s known as the “entourage effect.” This is essentially a symbiosis between the various elements in the cannabis plants that have a more rounded and more profound effect when activated together. No doubt, more research into terpenes and how they can benefit humans will be carried out before long, as more and more people around the world enjoy the freedom to choose cannabis over prescription medications for the first time in many years.