What are cannabis terpenes and how do they affect you?
The cannabis plant consists of a wide variety of chemicals and compounds. About 140 of these belong to a large class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons known as terpenes (pronounced tur-peens). Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity as well as the different smells and tastes of each cannabis strain. Terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. Terpenes may also modulate the effects of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD concentrations.
Linalool – is a naturally occurring terpene found in many flowers and spices including lavender and coriander. It gives off a complex yet delicate floral aroma, and while its effects are myriad, it is in particular one of the substances used most widely to reduce stress. Effects: Anti-anxiety, Antidepressant, Sedative, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-epileptic, Analgesic
Terpinolene – is another isomeric hydrocarbon, characterized by a fresh, piney, floral, herbal, and occasionally citrusy aroma and flavor. It is found in a variety of other pleasantly fragrant plants including nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs, and is sometimes used in soaps, perfumes, and lotions. Effects: Anticancer, Antioxidant, Sedative, Antibacterial, Anti-fungal
Myrcene – is a terpene that occurs often in highly fragrant plants and herbs such as mangoes, hops, bay laurel leaves, thyme, lemongrass, and basil. Myrcene is produced by numerous cannabis strains, and some have suggested that it lends sedative, indica-like effects (including “couch-lock”) to strains containing more than 0.5% of this terpene. Effects: Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic, Antibiotic, Sedative, Antimutagenic, Antipsychotic, Antibacterial, Antispasmodic
Pinene – is an aromatic compound commonly found in cannabis that smells a lot like pine trees. But pinene brings a lot more to a strain’s experience than just flavor. Terpenes such as pinene are fragrant oils secreted in marijuana trichomes, and while they originally developed as an adaptive protection against predators, these compounds offer us humans a variety of benefits. Effects: Anti-inflammatory, Bronchodilator (helps improve airflow to lungs), Helps counter short-term memory loss, Promotes alertness
Limonene – is an aromatic dominant terpene in strains that have a pronounced sativa effect. Limonene has a strong citrus odor and flavour and aids in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes. Effects: Antidepressant, Stress Relief, Anti-fungal, Antibacterial, Analgesic, Antioxidant, Anxiolytic, Anti-inflammatory
Carophyllene – is a spicy, peppery terpene found in many different edible plants. Spices like black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon, as well as herbs like oregano, basil, hops, and rosemary, are known to exhibit high concentrations of caryophyllene. Effects: Analgesic, Anti-cancer, Anti-inflammatory, Alcohol craving reduction, Anti-anxiety, Antidepressant
Terpineol – is frequently used to create pleasant aromatic profiles in products like soap, lotion, and perfume. In addition to cannabis, it occurs naturally in lilacs, pine trees, lime blossoms, and eucalyptus sap. It is characterized by its ability to relax the consumer. Effects: Antibiotic, Antioxidant, Anti-tumor, Sedative, Anti-inflammatory, Antimalarial, Anxiolytic
Why does terpene analysis matter?
Terpene analysis is beneficial for physicians, patients and providers.
- Understanding terpenes is essential to helping patients identify the right strain for their symptoms.
- Terpene analysis allows physicians to customize treatment programs for their patients and optimize a strain’s pharmacological effects.
- Through understanding terpenes, Licensed Producers can selectively modulate the terpene ratios of their strains, in order to maximize desired benefits.
How is terpene testing done?
With mass spectrometry, molecules are separated in the chromatography column and blown apart by a spectrometer into predictable mass fragments that can be matched with similar profiles in our database.
With flame ionization, the compound exits the column and is burned in the flame, which will produce an electrical signal directly proportional to the amount of compound present. The tests can be adjusted based on the delivery methods used, whether eaten, smoked, swallowed, or topical.