TERPENES

Harvested from Mother Nature & Her Friends

~3 MINUTE READ

Although there are thousands if not millions of different plant species (known and still to be discovered) every plant is extraordinary and beautiful in its own right. From their smell, to their appearance and even taste, there is a chemical compound that is just now starting to gain the attention of both the medical sector: terpenes. These chemical compounds are natural chemical compounds found in a broad variety of plants and responsible for all of the amazing characteristics which make each plant unique. And, with all the new discoveries and research being conducted on terpenes, the exact functions of how terpenes and other naturally-occurring bioactive chemical compounds work in conjunction are being understood even more.

If the word ”terpene” still makes you feel a little lost, it may be easier to think of these chemical compounds found in nature as essential oils, since most genuine essential oil extracts consist of high quantities of specific plant terpenes to obtain their characteristic smells. However, not only through smell, but terpenes can exert their effects through ingestion. While there are have been a number of different kinds of terpenes that have been identified in nature, we would like to generally focus on only a few select terpenes that work with cannabinoids found in the hemp to provide an even greater therapeutic effect in the body -- this phenomenon is known as the entourage effect. Some of the most commonly found terpenes in hemp include myrcene, caryophyllene, pinene, limonene, and linalool.

Myrcene

Commonly found in mangos, myrcene composes a signature earthy scent and is known for and providing sedative effects that have the potential to induce sleep as well as reduce seizure activity.

Caryophyllene

A terpene that exudes a peppery, spicy scent, mainly found in spices like cinnamon and you guessed it, black pepper. Science has shown this potent aromatic compound found in pepper, cannabis, oregano, and others to alleviate anxiety, through its interaction with cannabinoid (CB2) receptors in the body.

Pinene

As its name suggests, pinene is found in numerous species of conifers and pine trees and gives specific certain plant life particular scents. Additionally, this terpene holds its place in medical uses as a strong anxiolytic -- in other words, pinene helps keep anxiety at bay.

Limonene

Similarly to pinene, limonene has strong antiseptic and antifungal properties and is characterized by its strong, citrus scent. Limonene also possesses anti-stress effects, making it ideal for symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Linalool

Famous for its relaxing effects, this terpene abundantly found in lavender has been shown to contain a number of medicinal properties -- most notably, linalool is ideal for anxiety reduction.

Although we’ve briefly observed a few of the most abundant terpenes found in plant life, there are hundreds of thousands more to be studied, and with it comes the opportunity to understand the hemp plant and its beneficial properties even more. And, as terpenes show promising results for addressing different health issues in research, many companies in the wellness and alternative medicine industries are also increasingly ensuring their products contain particular terpene profiles to ensure efficacy and even greater therapeutic potential.

While terpenes may produce similar effects to cannabinoids and other bioactive chemical compounds, it’s important to note that every plant has its own unique composition. Therefore how the body absorbs and uses terpenes is a personal, yet rewarding experience.

a piece by Mell Green

Mell Green is a writer who advocates for plant life and alternative medicine. You can find much of her work in Plant People, Terpenes and Testing Magazine, the Weed Blog, and many others. Check out her latest article here!

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