What Are Terpenes And Why Are They Important?
When it comes to both hemp and its illicit cousin cannabis, it is often cannabinoids that are talked about. When it is hemp, CBD is the name of the game, whereas when cannabis is the topic of conversation, THC tends to be the focus. However, there is a lot more going on in these plants, with an additional family of compounds offering a whole range of effects of their own. These are known as terpenes, and today we are going to take a closer look at them and their role.
TERPENES: OUR SMELLY LITTLE FRIENDS
If you have ever been in the presence of either cannabis or hemp, you have been taken aback by their pretty distinctive smells. We have terpenes to thank for that. They are a group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of many plants – especially hemp, conifers and citrus trees. There are a lot of different terpenes out there, and each has its own smell and effect. It is why certain plants smell different – they have different terpenes in differing ratios.
Smell is not all these compounds affect, though. Each interacts with the body in a different way, usually imparting some kind of benefit. Most of the time, this can go unnoticed, or is simply part of the benefits of a healthy diet. However, the effects can become much more pronounced when acting in conjunction with something like CBD. This is known as the entourage effect. It is also worth noting terpenes are non-psychoactive, they don’t get you “high.”
THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT: CBD AND TERPENES WORKING TOGETHER
Hemp is thought to contain roughly 120 terpenes, making investigating all the effects, and how they interact with each other, pretty tough. It has less so than cannabis, hence it having a less distinct smell. However, the terpenes hemp does have been found to work upon CB2 receptors within the body – the same receptors CBD interacts with. The result is an enhanced and modified effect. This is why we leave our Cibdol CBD Oil as unadulterated as possible so that it maintains this natural terpene content.
Here are some of the major Terpenes, and what they do:
As the name hints at, pinene creates a fresh pine-like fragrance. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and expectorant properties.
Myrcene is a terpene found in such plants as hops, thyme, bay leaves, and even mango fruits. It has quite a unique property in that it helps facilitate compound in crossing the blood-brain barrier, increasing the saturation level of CB1 receptors. It is also thought to act as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic.
Limonene is actually one of the two compounds that form pinene! It is present in hundreds of plants - particularly citrus ones. It assists in the absorption of other terpenes and also has anti-fungal properties.
Caryophyllene is common in a range of spicy plants, such as cloves, cinnamon leaves and black pepper. As you can probably imagine, it has a very aromatic, spicy and woody quality to it. It has been found to bind to CB2 receptors, working in conjunction with CBD. It is also thought to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Found in sage and rosemary, terpinolene is often used in soap and perfume for its fragrant properties. It is thought to depress the central nervous system, reducing anxiety.
As you can see, terpenes have a large role to play in the future of CBD. Research has only just started out, and we are only scratching the surface – who knows how else they can be harnessed?