What are Cannabis Terpenes?Cannabis terpenes are aromatic oils produced right along with THC and CBD in a marijuana plant that give the buds a distinct smell and flavor. While terpenes are responsible for the fruity or skunky smells and flavors commonly found in marijuana, they can also be a defense mechanism to ward off insects of other pests that may try to eat or destroy a cannabis plant as it matures. A cannabis plant may contain many different terpenes that all combine to make a distinct terpene profile. Terpene profiles are heavily influenced by a few key factors including the climate the plant is grown in, the age of the plant ,as well as the soil and fertilizer used for cultivation. More than 100 terpenes have been identified in cannabis plants but some are much more common than others. Terpenes are not isolated to cannabis and are produced in many common plants and even some animals.
The Different Effects of Terpenes
If you are a seasoned cannabis user, it's likely you've experienced many different kinds of terpenes and their effects. One of the most common terpenes found in cannabis is Myrcene. Myrcene is an herbal terpene known to provide a calming and sedating effect when ingested or smoked; it can also be found in mango, lemongrass, thyme and hops. Lemongrass tea is a popular evening drink used to help calm some before going to bed. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Terpinolene is known to be more energizing and uplifting when consumed. Terpinolene can be found in herbs and fruits like cumin, lilacs, nutmeg and tea tree.
Most cannabis plants produce multiple terpenes that when combined, can induce a variety of different effects on the human body. Knowing what terpenes are present in your cannabis can help you understand and determine what the ideal strain is for you and your activities that day.
Do Terpenes Have Medical Benefits?
Currently, there is not enough research to claim that terpenes are a proven treatment for any of the following conditions in humans. Exploratory tests have shown that terpenes may be effective treating anxiety, asthma, ulcers, inflammation, insomnia, congestion, and depression while also maintaining anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and cancer fighting properties. Certain terpenes have been effective in slowing the growth of colon, liver, pancreatic, skin, and stomach cancers as well as reducing the size of tumors in animals. There has also been research into certain terpenes that may also be effective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting cell death over time. Terpene research is still very much in its infancy. Most of the controlled tests have been performed using animals and there are very few human studies. Research has picked up over the past few years as many states continue to legalize medical and recreational marijuana that allow for further testing.
Learn about the most common cannabis terpenes
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