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The Taste of Terpenes

In light of medical marijuana having a growing presence recently, there has been a spotlight on the medicinal properties it possesses. Typically, when cannabis is mentioned, the term tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is dropped left and right and is usually recognized as the plant’s main medicinal constituent. In reality, (THC) is one of 483 known compounds in the plant including at least 84 cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and cannabigerol(CBG).

Another class of pharmacologically beneficial compounds present in cannabis is the terpene. Terpenes (/ˈtɜːrpiːn/) are organic compounds attributed to giving plants their notable aroma and taste. Terpenes are found everywhere in nature in plants and insects. Insects use terpenes as a way of communication and even as a luring mechanism for mating. Some plants such as pine and firs use terpenes as a defense mechanism to ward away predators. Terpenes even have their own medicinal properties!

When used synergistically with cannabinoids, terpenes can enhance the effects of the cannabis plant. As cannabinoids bind to the endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, terpenes interact indirectly with them to affect their chemical output by modifying the availability of cannabinoids that pass through the blood-brain barrier. They even enhance neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine by altering the rate of production, destruction, movement, and availability of receptors.

The following is a list of our ingredients and their respective naturally occurring terpenes-

  • Mint: Alpha-Pinene, Limonene, Camphene
  • Key lime: Limonene
  • Cinnamon: Limonene, Linalool, Camphene, Beta- Caryophyllene
  • Blueberry: Limonene, Linalool
  • Cocoa: Linalool

Limonene has been described to have a citrus aroma much like a lime and an orange. Strains with high limonene presences have been known for their uplifting and motivating properties. Research shows that limonene halts the growth of many species of fungi and bacteria, thus making it an ideal method of treating ailments like toenail fungus. Plants use limoneneas a defense mechanism against predators. Further, because limonene has antibacterial properties it is even used in citrus cleaners.
Linalool is known for its floral and lavender undertones. Linalool is attributed to the calming, relaxing effects properties of lavender and has been used for centuries as a sleep aid. Linalool counteracts the onset of anxiousness and paranoid emotions provoked by high THC percentages, deeming it an effective treatment of both psychosis and anxiety. Studies also suggest that linalool boosts the immune system and has been known to restore cognitive and emotional function (making it useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease).
Camphene is described to have a pungent aroma notable in pines. According to the Vallianou et al study, camphene reduces plasma cholesterol and triglycerides in hyperlipidemic rats. Being that hyperlipidemia plays into heart disease, this study shines a light on how camphene potentially can be used as an alternative to pharmaceutical lipid lowering agents which are known to cause intestinal problems, liver damage, and muscle inflammation.
Beta-caryophyllene can be found in plants such as cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. Its aroma has been described as spicy and woody. Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact directly with the endocannabinoid system (CB2). Studies show caryophyllene sourced from black pepper oil possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pinene, as its name suggests, emits aromas of pine and fir. There are two structural isomers of Pinene found in nature: α-Pinene and β-Pinene; α-Pinene is the most prevalent terpenoid found in nature. It is most noticeable in pine woods and some citrus fruits. Pinene is used in medicine as an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and local antiseptic.

https://www.medicaljane.com/category/cannabis-classroom/terpenes/

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