This article focuses on Terpenes, the compounds responsible for the aroma and flavor of cannabis strains. I explain the importance of “The Entourage Effect,” the synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes which gives medical cannabis its myriad of medicinal benefits.
Terpenes vs Terpenoids
Terpenes belong to a large class of organic hydrocarbons responsible for the aroma and flavor in cannabis strains. The chemical compound of terpenes consists of 5 carbon molecules and 8 hydrogen molecules. They also interact with cannabinoids to elicit many different physical and psychological benefits. Terpenes are secreted by fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, insects and even some animals such as termites and swallowtail butterflies.
Terpene formulation occurs inside the secretory cells known as glandular trichomes. Exposure to light increases their production. They are most prevalent in unfertilized female cannabis flowers prior to maturity. The essential oil is extracted through steam distilliation or vaporization. The major roles of terpenes are three-fold:
- Protect the cannabis plant from invaders such as bacteria and fungus, insects and other pests.
- Production site of resin
- Attract insects to pollinate the cannabis buds
Terpenes are more volatile than THC, so they can disappear or evaporate when cannabis strains are subjected to higher temperatures during the production processes.
Terpenoids are chemically similar to terpenes but they contain additional atoms associated with the oxidation process that takes place during the drying and curing of plants. The two terms are increasingly being used interchangeably.
The Entourage Effect
Cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids work together synergistically in cannabis products to provide a myriad of medicinal benefits, known as “The Entourage Effect.” Terpenes influence the bioavailability of cannabinoids in any given cannabis strain which effects each patient uniquely. Terpenes have been shown to inhibit some of the psychotropic effects of THC, thereby boosting its therapeutic properties. When the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids all work together, the result is the nourishment of the endocannabinoid system while minimizing any adverse side effects of cannabis.
Physical Effects of Terpenes
Mental Impact of Terpenes
- Insomnia relief
- Stress relief
When they craft their cannabis strains, more and more cultivators are paying much more attention to the terpene content and profiles then they did previously.
We, at Bloom Medicinals, value the importance of the terpene profiles in all our cannabis products. We want our patients to know as much as possible about the cannabis products they are purchasing at our dispensaries. For that reason, all of our labels list the percentages of 7 different cannabinoids and 12 different terpenes.
Bloom Medicinals Strain Content
Percentages of the following cannabinoids:
Percentages of the following terpenes:
Here is a video of our menu items so you can see for yourselves.
Here are the details on just some of the terpenes that appear on our labels:
Humulene Boiling Point 222°F
- Woody and Earthy
- Medical Value: Anti-inflammatory
- Hops, coriander, cloves and basil
Ocimene Boiling Point 122°F
- Sweet, Herbal and Woody
- Medical Value: Antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, decongestant, antibacterial
- Mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mango, kumquats, orchids
Terpinolene Boiling Point 366°F
- Piney, Floral and Herbal
- Medicinal Value: Antioxidant, sedative, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anticancer
- Nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, lilacs
Trans-nerolidol Boiling Point 252°F
- Woody and Citrusy
- Medical Value: Antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, anticancer and antimicrobial
- Jasmine, lemongrass and tree tree oil
Alpha-Pinene Boiling Point 313°F and Beta-Pinene Boiling Point 330°F
- Medical Value: Antiarthritic, antiasthmatic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, improves respiratory function and gastric imbalance
- Rosemary, orange peels, basil and parsley
Myrcene Boiling Point 330°F
- Earthy and Fruity
- Medical Value: The most abundant of the terpenes in cannabis. The addition of myrcene to your cannabis strain allows faster absorption of cannabinoids by increasing cell permeability, making them more bioavailable. With its sedative effects, it is a great sleep aid. Many consumers are already aware that eating a ripe mango 45 minutes before consuming cannabis will heighten the effects of THC. That is because mangoes contain an appreciable amount of myrcene which increases its absorption rate.
- Cloves, red grapes, mangoes
Limonene Boiling Point 350°F
- Lemony and Sour
- Medical Value: Increases the neurotransmitter, serotonin, to levels that enhance mood. It is also an antidepressant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, aids digestion and has been shown that it may help reduce cancer tumor size.
- Citrus fruit rinds
It is recommended that you purchase a vaporizer which has temperature controls.
While information about the 2 main cannabinoids in medical cannabis, THC and CBD, is getting most of the media attention, more and more cannabis resources are being devoted to educating consumers about terpenes. I hope the takeaway from this article is that terpenes are just as important as cannabinoids when choosing the best medical cannabis strain for your needs.
- Leafly.news, What Are Cannabis Terpenes and What Do They Do, Bailey Rahn, February 12, 2014
- Thestreet.com, Terpenes: Effects, Examples and Products, Stee Fiorillo, August 22, 2018
- Medicaljane.com, Terpenes: What Are Terpenoids And What Do They Do?
- Greencamp.com, Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects Explained (Complete Guide), Helena