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What Are Terpenes & How Do They Work?

By July 1, 2021Cannabis
what are terpenes

Cannabis is one of the most diverse plants on earth when it comes to scents and flavors. In cannabis flowers you can smell everything from citrus fruits to earthy musk to candy and so much more. But have you ever wondered where those scents come from? It’s all thanks to terpenes. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally-produced hydrocarbon chemical compounds found in all plants on earth. Each one is responsible for the way a plant smells or tastes. Terpenes are often considered the essence of a plant. When many terpenes come together, they become a terpene profile or an essential oil.

Scents and flavors are all made up of many different terpenes. Each one serves a unique purpose within the plant, such as pest or disease control, seed dispersal, and so on. Each terpene that makes up a plant plays a special role in the ecosystem.

With that said, every terpene isolate comes with its own list of health benefits and therapeutic uses. The same terpenes that cause the bitter flavor in strawberry leaves also have antibacterial and insecticidal properties, while the same terpenes that cause the sweet flavors act as anti-inflammatories and digestive aids.

Terpenes play a huge role in the environment, but they also play a huge role within our own bodies when we eat or smoke them. For example, the terpenes found in cannabis have been found to share a unique relationship with cannabinoids like THC. In a phenomenon known as the entourage effect, terpenes actually boost the effects of cannabinoids. In turn, cannabinoids also boost the effects of terpenes.

Terpene Effects

Terpenes offer a lot of different effects when ingested, including anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and antibacterial effects. However, they don’t have to be smoked or eaten to be useful.

Terpenes are frequently used as scent enhancements in cosmetics and soaps because of their antibacterial properties. However, they also play an important role in our senses. Have you noticed that products meant to be used in the morning are typically citrus scented or that nighttime products are normally lilac or lavender? It all comes down to terpenes.

Terpenes like Linalool, which is found most often in lavender flowers, are known for their potent anti-anxiety and sedative properties. Studies have actually shown that these scents affect us the way they do for a reason — because of the effects of the terpenes.

Many aromatherapy infusions rely on curated mixtures of natural terpenes to help people experience specific effects. Pine scents are relaxing and have been shown to improve memory and focus thanks to the presence of Pinene terpenes. In the same vein, citrus scents are energizing and focusing thanks to terpenes like Limonene.

Many people have started switching to terpene infusions for aromatherapy in their day to day lives outside of cosmetics. For example, Dope Candles relies on hand curated terpene infusions to make their candles. The terpene infusions promote all sorts of effects, from stress relief to sleep to energy and so on.

Each one is even capable of removing smoke odors during a cannabis sesh. The combination of terpenes burning in the candle as well as the terpenes burning in the smoke can help kickstart the entourage effect and make cannabis products feel more potent.

All in all, terpenes are exciting scent and flavor molecules that can enhance your cannabis products and promote a number of physical and mental effects.