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Cannabis Terpenes

Found in every plant on the planet, terpenes are nature's magic medicine. And when we talk about the medical properties of cannabis, it's really these terpenes we're talking about. It's important to say that cannabis consumptions is NOT recommended for everyone, and should always be used with proper intention and introduced with guidance.


Cannabis "bud" zoomed in - represents trichomes and terpenes

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are hydrocarbons with small isoprene units linked to one another to form chains, while terpenoids are oxygen-containing terpenes. Terpenes can be measured using a mass-spectrometer. This type of equipment is often used in drug detection, fire investigation, and food analysis, among others.


Mass-spectronomy allows for the definitive determination of chemical substances. It works on the notion that any mixture of two elements, if heated to the precise temperature, will seperate. This test has been conducted on thousands of strains, of which


4 common terpenes/terpenoids structures have been identified:

  1. monoterpenes (two isoprene units)

  2. sesquiterpenes (three isoprenes)

  3. diterpenes (four isoprenes)

  4. triterpenes (six isoprenes)


Major monoterpenes:

  1. limonene

  2. β-myrcene

  3. α-pinene

  4. linalool


Trace monoterpenes:

  1. α-terpinolene

  2. tran-ocimene


Major sesquiterpenes:

  1. E-caryophyllene

  2. caryophyllene oxide

  3. E-β-farnesene

  4. β-caryophyllene


Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA) are the two highest naturally occurring cannabinoids in cannabis. These compounds, as well as all the other lesser known terpenes are produced in the trichome of the cannabis flower and create the unique aromas of each varietal.


Cannabis Monoterpenes


α-pinene & β-pinene

Pine scent possesses antiseptic activatory abilities as well as inhibit acetylcholinesterase in the brain - aiding in memory and minimize cognitive dysfunction induced by THC intoxication.


β-myrcene

This compound offers the musky or hop-like fragrance with the benefit of antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects. The pain management effects experienced by the ingestion of THC and CBD are cause as β-myrcene stimulates the release of endogenous opioids via the α2-adrenergic receptor. High level of myrcene (>0.5%) may result in “couch lock”, while low levels of myrcene (<0.5%) may produce feelings of increased energy.


limonene

As the name suggests, this is the citrus aroma. This terpene boosts level of serotonin and dopamine in the brain which aids in the anti-anxiety, anti-stress, and sedative effects experienced by CBD.


linalool

This terpene is associated with floral fragrance of flowers and may assist with anxiety.


Cannabis Sesquiterpenes


β-Caryophyllene

This is the spice (pepper) aroma and is the most available sesquiterpenoid in cannabis plants and extracts, especially after decarboxylation. It is an agonist with the CB2 receptor without psychoactivity. The caryophyllene oxide that gives the lemon balm-like scent is proven to have antifungal and insecticidal properties.


It is also responsible for the cannabis plant's anti-inflammatory effects. This sesquiterpene is proven to give gastroprotective, analgesic, anticancerogenic, antifungal, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antioxidant, anxiolytic, analgesic, and neuroprotective effects.


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