What purpose do terpenes serve?
Terpenes are chemical molecules in plants that perform a variety of lifesaving functions. They not only give cannabis its unique taste and aroma but serve as a natural protector against pests and environmental stress. In a way, terpenes act like nature’s gatekeepers, keeping cannabis flower healthy and preserving its overall medicinal quality. Unlike other plants, cannabis contains over 100 different terpenes.
Part of the reason everyone’s starting to discuss terpenes in greater detail comes down to this: terpenes could have far-reaching health benefits and the potential to change the way people select cannabis products.
Seasoned consumers tend to go for high THC: CBD content, assuming that stronger flower yields stronger effects. Although these cannabinoids house the medicinal properties of cannabis, they alone don’t tell the whole story.
What are the benefits of terpenes?
Terpenes are believed to work synergistically with cannabinoids, often referred to as the “entourage effect.” Within the scientific community, researchers speculate that terpenes positively impact the therapeutic quality of cannabis, alongside THC, CBD, and other common phytocannabinoids.
Supporters of the “entourage effect” argue that the combined effects of terpenes and cannabinoids explain why different strains make us feel energetic, creative, relaxed, or sleepy. Theoretically, the “entourage effect” makes sense, but how it works from a biological standpoint is still unclear. When considering how terpene profiles change THC: CBD effects, most of what we know comes from anecdotal evidence.
That said, on their own, terpenes do have calming effects, similar to the way aromatherapy works. Lavender, citrus, and pine-scented essential oils all contain terpenes. A couple of whiffs from an oil diffuser and you may experience an enveloping sense of calm. That’s terpenes in action! If you’re hearing about terpenes for the first time, you may be surprised to learn that terpenes are everywhere and in everything from perfumes and soaps to fruits, veggies, and herbs.