What are Terpenes and how do they effect the body?

Terpenes are naturally occurring substances produced by a wide variety of plants. (Some example of terpenes are listed below.)

Terpenes do more than just provide flavor and aroma….thanks to modern science, we’re learning even more about their health benefits.

Terpenes are a large class of molecules that are produced by many species of plants. They are the main ingredient in essential oils, and are the fragrant compounds responsible for plants' distinctive smells.

Terpenes contain a broad range of the biological properties.  According to a 2007 study done they explored the benefits of terpenes and described a range of potential applications, including chemo preventive effects, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic activities. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00005-007-0039-1 Terpenes are also presented as skin penetration enhancers and agents involved in the prevention and therapy of several inflammatory diseases. 

One of the most common found terpene is Lemonene. It is from the “Lemon” family contain high levels of the terpene limonene, a compound commonly associated with citrus aromas and stress relief.

Menthol is probably the most familiar and well know terpenes and is useful for a variety of ailments. Studies show that menthol was able to increase the pain threshold of rats when applied topically and that it could be considered a natural analgesic component.

We cannot ignore that terpenes are naturally present in your CBD.  These oils are secreted in the cannabis flower’s sticky resin glands, the same ones that produce THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.  Terpenes interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system helping cannabinoids enter the bloodstream in a process called the “Entourage effect”. The Cannabinoid are being naturally absorbed into the body will increase the permeability of cells which means that cannabinoids can be absorbed more quickly.

It’s a not wonder mainstream medicine is embracing the power of nature’s best-smelling medicine.

Here are a few examples of Terpenes below:

Menthol

The most well-known terpene is probably menthol. This terpene is famous for the cooling sensation it provides, which is useful for relieving throat and skin irritations and pain relief.

Mycrene

Found in hops, bay leaves, and lemongrass and emits an herbal, root, and spicy scent.

Para-Cymenene

Found in parsley, myrtle, Mediterranean cypress and mangoes. Its aroma has been described as spicy, with musty, nutty and coffee-like notes.

Alpha-Santalene

Has been found in sandalwood and has an odor described as woody.

Beta-Caryophyllene

Found in a variety of herbs and spices, hence the spicy flavor. Though the scent is minor, it’s compared to that of black pepper.

Terpinolene

Found in allspice and many essential oils such as citrus and juniper. Its aroma is sweet and piney.

Limonene

Limonene is found in things like citrus peels, fresh pine tips, and fennel. 

Beta-Phellandrene

Found in nutmeg, fir bark, Scots pine and mandarin orange leaves. Its aroma has been described as minty and peppery with hints of citrus.

Para-Cymene

Found in many essential oils, such as cumin and thyme. It has a slight citrus smell but also imparts a gasoline-like odor

Eudesmols

Found in beer and chamomile root. The aroma of this group of terpenes is shrouded in mystery. Or maybe they don’t even have one.

Alpha-Bisabolol

Found in German chamomile. Emits a mild and sweet floral aroma.

Linalool  

Found in a variety of sources such as cajuput oil, pine oil, and petitgrain oil. Linalool is a terpene with sedative like qualities that can be found in cannabis and lavender plants.

Selinadienes

Found in hops and celery seed oil. The aroma of this group of terpenes is shrouded in mystery. Or maybe they don’t even have one.

Guaiol

Found in the oil of Guaiacum wood and Salvia. It emits a mild woody and floral aroma, similar to roses or (sometimes) violets.

Beta-Pinene

Found in allspice, lime peel oil, ginger and many other plants including bitter fennel, rosemary and sage. The aroma is pine-like.

Alpha-Pinene

Found in pine needles and emits a pine, sage, or rosemary scent.