It’s All About the Terps: Beyond THC and CBD
While there is no denying the therapeutic value of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), both individually and in conjunction with each other, scientists are constantly discovering new cannabinoids, of which over one hundred are known to science thus far. Many consumers have only recently have learned about THC and its increasingly popular sibling CBD, yet the cannabis plant offers an entire pharmacy’s worth of medicinal molecules.
While THC is known for causing the “high” in cannabis, this effect is enhanced by what are known as terpenes. Terpenes can be found throughout the plant world (as well as in some insects) but they are major components of cannabis resin, constituting the largest percentage of essential oils contained in most plants. Most flowers, herbs and spices contain these essential oils and can be processed into various products for medicinal (aromatherapy) or cosmetic purposes (perfumes, incense, etc.) as they have the ability to considerably enhance your mood by stimulating or exciting, relaxing, focusing or making you feel satisfied. Think of your favorite aromatic bud and the various scents and odors it produces upon giving it a little squeeze. The citrusy, spicy, sweet or earthy fragrance that hits your nose is a very good indicator of what type of effect you can expect once the combination of these molecules enters your brain.
Terpenes behave the way they do for a good reason. Since a plant cannot run away from a predator or select new real estate if competition moves into its vicinity, it must defend itself and/or its territory. It does so by either attracting pollinators, killing or repelling herbivores or attracting their predators. In short, the cannabis plant uses terpenes (as well as THC) as chemical warfare for its very survival. When the terpenes in cannabis are inhaled or consumed in combination with other cannabinoids, you get what is known as the entourage effect.
Terpenes, which are produced in the same resin glands that THC and other cannabinoids are produced, have shown to provide various effects on the human body in that they can alter brain function, affect mood, as well as sensitivity and perceptions, such as balance and pain. In addition to being nature’s pharmacy, the terpenes and cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant also serve as a little spice kit. Some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis include:
Myrcene: Also found in hops, lemongrass, mangoes and thyme, acts as an analgesic, is anti-inflammatory and is associated with “couch-lock”.
Linalool: Found in lavender, this floral terpene can cause sedation and also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Limonene: Can be found in the rind of citrus fruits, this terpene has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and anti-depressant properties.
B-Caryophyllene: Found in black pepper, clove and cotton, B-caryophyllene has a woody, peppery taste and has anti-inflammatory and gastro-protective effects.
Pinene: Where skunk varieties get their odor, this terpene can be found in rosemary, sage and eucalyptus and functions as a bronchodilator, promotes alertness and memory retention.
For an unforgettable terpene experience, we recommend the following Dragon Seed varieties:
Dragonaut Cookies – Caryophyllene, myrcene, limonene, humulene
Fire Kush – Caryophyllene, linalool, limonene, humulene, pinene
Chimeran Blue – Pinene, myrcene, linalool
Crème Brute – Fenchol, caryophyllene