What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are organic compounds that produce highly aromatic fragrances. They largely contribute to how we smell, taste and experience cannabis along with other fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more. Along with the contributions to the aromatics and tastes of plant-based products, there are also known medical benefits that terpenes promote. This article will briefly touch on some of the impacts of terpenes and what effects they have on you.
These compounds are naturally created by both fauna and flora, while more commonly being found in plant life. Terpenes are essential to the makeup of oils and resins, which are often found in a wide variety of plants, frequently the resin of conifers such as pine trees, and the oils on plant flowers like hops and cannabis. Terpenes are sold wholesale to marijuana distributors in states where cannabis is legal and are added to products.
Effects on Aromatics and Taste With Cannabis
Terpenes are a fundamental part of cannabis and are greatly responsible for the odor and flavors produced. The contributions of terpenes in these plants affect the different smells and tastes of the distinct strains of cannabis. With over 100 identified compounds of terpenes in cannabis, there is an incredible range of diversity in fragrances and the perceived tastes when consumed.
Terpenes are not exclusively found in trees and flowers, but also play important roles in the aromatics and tastes in all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The reason for specific fruit or herb flavors being found in flowers like cannabis or hops is due to the overlapping terpenes found in the respective plants. For example, the terpene limonene is found in citrus fruits, while also being present in citrus forward cannabis strains, such as Lemon Haze.
The effects that terpenes have on aromatics and taste are also noticed in other products that incorporate the use of plants, such as perfumes, coffee, wine, and beer. Hops which are used in the production of beer are greatly affected by terpenes, helping to add to the wide variety of different beers available on the market.
While many effects of terpenes are understudied, they have been known to host a multitude of medicinal benefits and form the foundation of aromatherapy. When implementing traditional herbal remedies like essential oils, these benefits can include anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-bacterial and analgesic (pain relieving) properties.
The effects of different terpenes vary, each promoting different sensations. While limonene has citrus, energetic, and anti-depressant qualities; terpinolene is described as a woody aroma with sedative and anti-bacterial effects.
The entourage effect is also claimed to play a key part in the synergistic interactions of terpenes and other compounds, by magnifying the medicinal effects. The theory essentially states that the terpenes combine with other compounds such as cannabinoids to create an effect that is greater than the sum of its parts.