What Are Terpenes?Dr. Jim Collins
If you love the flavors and aromas of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, and lavender, then you are already acquainted with terpenes. These organic compounds, which are not exclusive to hemp, produce flavor and aroma in foods such as oranges, lemons, mangos, basil, rosemary, pepper, and lavender.
Terpenes also exist in the hemp and cannabis plant, and are thought to have a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. They provide these without any of the high often associated with THC (the psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant). Terpenes interact together with other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant and produce what is called the “Entourage Effect”, meaning they all work together to produce more potent results.
The hemp plant has a better chance of surviving its natural predators because terpenes repel them with their taste and aroma. They are also influenced by the extraction process, climate, and plant maturation. Terpenes may lose their quality when CBD is improperly stored or exposed to excessive light or heat.
Four of the most common terpenes found in the hemp plant include:
- Beta-caryophyllene – helps protect the gastrointestinal tract and has anti-inflammatory properties
- Limonene – acts as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and may reduce stress
- Myrcene – has antibiotic and pain-relief properties
- Linalool – may help with mood conditions like anxiety and depression and can act as a sedative
Until recently, not much attention was paid to terpenes. Instead THC and CBD have received most of the attention. But that is changing. With continued research, we may soon hear about more health benefits of terpenes.