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What Are Cannabis Derived Terpenes

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What Are Marijuana Derived Terpenes?

Cannabis Terpenes effects On The Human Body?
cannabis terpenes effects infographic
Terpenes are secreted from the same glands as Cannabinoids. These “compounds” are oils that give the pleasant aroma and add color to cannabis. When you hear people say that a certain cannabis plant has a citrusy taste to it for example, or a minty taste to it…what you taste are in fact, terpenes. The Terpene composition is what gives flavor or aroma to the cannabis plant. Terpene development in plants is heavily dependent on external plant factors such as climate, fertilizers, type of soil, time of day, age of the plant and time of maturation. Terpenes are produced inside structures called glandular trichomes. Prior to aging, terpenes are mostly found in high concentration in unfertilized females. Terpene oils or “essential” oils are extracted from the plant via steam distillation or vaporization. Because of this, we can confidently say that all essential oils are composed of 100% cannabis terpenes.

There have been over 100 different terpenes discovered so far and it seems every strain has a different composition of them. However, it is important to note that although different strains might have different compositions, a particular strain will always smell a little like their descendants. A strain that has a minty smell will most probably produce offspring that also have a minty flavor or aroma to them.

There have been studies showing Terpene-associated beneficial effects on human health. Some terpenes have the ability to reduce stress, promote focus and relaxation. One example is the Myrcene – found in the strain, Blue Dream that is known to have relaxation properties. Again, like mentioned above, the composition of the terpenes in the strain can play a huge factor. A phenomenon known as the entourage effect can happen where surrounding compounds can change the overall effect of cannabinoids and other terpenes present. A terpene from one strain might have a different effect than the same Terpene from another strain.

What Is The Entourage Effect

This term was first used in a text published in 1998 by a group of scientists known as the “father of cannabis research” and Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. This term has been mainly used to describe the interaction of cannabinoids with terpenes in cannabis research.

entourage effects explained infographic

This theory suggests that all the compounds in cannabis work together to produce better effect than when taken alone.

Ideally, in my opinion, this is not true for most instances. Sure, taking THC with a combination of terpenes might promote efficacy, but it is also important to note, that it could also have antagonistic interactions. If the theory was 100% true, then taking CBD and THC together would have an elevated/additive effect – but this is not true. However, this theory should not be completely trashed. In the field of biochemistry, there are chemicals that behave better together than when alone. It is just a matter of finding the chemicals that behave synergistically, even in cannabis research.

Where To Find Good Cannabis Derived Terpenes (For Sale)

Cannabis essential oils are theoretically cannabis-derived terpenes. Oils from cannabis are pure extracts and the aroma comes from the Terpene profile of the specific cannabis strain. Did you know, approximately 30% of all cannabis oils are comprised of terpenes[1].

The Terpene Store (www.theterpenestore.com): This creative company goes way back to 2015 when they first started off with only 5 strains and today have over 180 profiles. With both new and old flavors, this company has sold their products to many popular brands.

Mass Terpenes (www.massterpenes.com): This small company began in 2018. All terpenes that are on sale are highly concentrated and consist of 30-50 isolates of each strain. With a cost of $10, Mass Terpenes ships products globally. Like other companies, this company also produces pure terpene products without any traces of THC or CBD.

True Blue (www.true-blue.co): This company is based in Los Angeles, California. Their products contain zero traces of CBD and THC and have never been made with synthetic agents such as propylene glycol.

Cannabis-Derived Terpenes: Benefits

People and companies that state that the benefits from “Cannabis-derived terpenes” is greater than other plant-derived terpenes – is false. Some companies still use this statement to advertise and market their products. They claim cannabis terpenes increase the entourage effect in the body as opposed to other plant-derived terpenes. When buying terpenes from a company that claims such notion, please be advised that this is misinformation. All terpenes, cannabis-derived AND other plant-derived, can both increase the entourage effect. Once terpenes are isolated from either a Cannabis plant or any other plant, there is no difference between the compounds.

As mentioned before, only 30% of the weed plant is made up of terpenes. The other 70% is what causes the “skunk-like” infamous smell of marijuana that we are all very familiar with.

Manufacturers and producers focus on three main points when creating Cannabis essential oils:

  • Cannabis terpenes are perfect for flavoring products that are meant to smell like the plant in its natural form
  • Formulas produced are organic and contain 100% cannabis derived terpenes
  • Cannabis terpenes should not be used for therapeutic effects – as research is still in progress, and there are a lot of other unknown compounds present.

Cannabis Derived Terpenes vs. Others

cannabis terpenes list

Let’s explore a few common cannabis and other plant terpenes plant strains [2]:

  1. Myrcene – Most common terpene. Promotes relaxation. Has a musky, earthy aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: Blue Dream, OG Kush
    2. Other Plants: Thyme, Lemongrass
  1. Limonene – Relief anxiety and stress. Has a citrusy aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: Strawberry Banana, White Fire OG
    2. Other Plants: Lemon rind, Orange rind,
  1. Caryophyllene – acts like a cannabinoid in which it activates the endocannabinoid system. Relieves stress and inflammation. Has a spicy, cloves aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: GSC, Original Glue,
    2. Other Plants: Black Pepper, Cloves,
  1. Terpinolene – common terpene. Have “high” effects. Has a herbal and floral aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: XJ-13, Jack Herer
    2. Other Plants: Lilacs, Nutmeg, Cumin
  1. Pinene – Has pain relief, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects. Has a Piney aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: Big Smooth, Snoop’s Dream,
    2. Other Plants: Pine needles, Rosemary
  1. Humulene – May have anti-inflammatory effects. Has an herbal, earthy aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: Gelato, Sherbet
    2. Other Plants: Hops, Wood
  1. Ocimene – Terpene frequently used in perfume. Has a sweet and herbal aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: Clementine, Dutch Treat, Amnesia
    2. Other Plants: Mint, Parsley, Orchids
  1. Linalool – mood enhancement and relaxation effects. Has a floral aroma.
    1. Cannabis Strains: Zkittlez, Do-Si-Dos, Kosher Kush
    2. Other Plants: Hops, Wood

To plants, terpenes act as essential building blocks of plant hormones, pigments, sterols, cannabinoids and other molecules. To us, terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavour of cannabis products. Now, an interesting question to think about: Based on the specific aromas a cannabis plant emancipates, can you identify the type of strain?

Several studies have shown that there are a lot of differences across and within strains when it comes to Cannabis. Whether the difference is due to environment or just purely genetics is still questionable. For now, scientists assume it’s a combination of both environment and genetics that promote these differences between and across different strains. Similar to THC and CBD levels, terpene levels are also variable across strains. Not only will the strain in question be different from the strain physically growing beside it per se, the time you harvest and at what stage of plant development you extract your terpenes from, all play a factor. But to answer the initial question as to: can you identify the type of strain based on terpene levels – in most cases if the smell is very distinct (high concentration of terpenes) then, yes you can!

Other Plant Derived Terpenes

Cannabis terpenes are widely popular, but did you know…other plants also have terpenes as well. Even better, terpene extraction from other plants is overall much cheaper than from Cannabis plants. Why?

  1. Terpenes from other plants are readily available unlike cannabis terpenes. They can be processed in bulk and can be easily extracted. Cannabis plants tend to have a lot of secondary metabolites that cause the extraction process to be a bit tedious.
  2. Cannabis terpenes and other plant terpenes have same efficacy although some companies might state otherwise. Just like cannabis terpenes, other plant terpenes can also promote or antagonize cannabinoid’s ability to behave a certain way in the body.
  3. To reduce cost, many companies such as Lab Effects can run genetic testing and analysis to match terpene profiles of botanical terpenes to cannabis terpenes – Terpenes from other plants can theoretically mimic the same aroma and flavour as cannabis terpenes.
  4. Steam distilled botanical terpenes are standardized to ensure consistent formulas. This is essential if terpenes are being used for therapeutic effects.

Asrinus Subha
Asrinus Subha
A plant geneticist with several years of R&D experience in the cannabis industry and agriculture. I can provide in-depth knowledge of basic scientific principles in the fields of cell and systems biology and cannabis science.

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