The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp, differentiating it from marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Since the regulatory changes, hemp production (with low THC traces) has rapidly increased. Today, researchers admit the therapeutic potential of hemp plants. Its bioactive ingredients, including hemp terpenes, are also a part of their study. Terpenes in hemp oil give the plant a distinct flavor and fragrance. Scientists and product developers acknowledge this beneficial component for human consumption. Let us know more about this aromatic cannabis compound.
A Brief Introduction To Hemp Terpenes
The cannabis plant produces a class of volatile hydrocarbon chemicals known as terpenes. They give cannabis its distinctive scents and fragrances and have been used in aromatherapy by humans for thousands of years.
According to a 2019 research study, terpenes found in cannabis plants have therapeutic uses and can help enhance skin penetration and prevent inflammatory diseases. Today, different treatment medications used in modern medicine incorporate terpenes in abundance.
Terpenes exist in the sticky cannabis glands that naturally produce other compounds like CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Researchers suggest terpenes combined with CBD and THC can generate the entourage effect. A recent study shows that the synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes helps treat mood and anxiety disorders. It includes depression, bipolar disorder, and other psychiatric conditions.
How Do Terpenes Work?
Human ECS ( endocannabinoid system) tends to regulate various bodily functions, ensuring internal balance. The system helps the body adapt to changes brought on by internal or external factors. It modulates hormones, blood pressure, inflammation levels, and body temperature by offsetting harmful automatic responses of the other systems.
Terpenes interact with ECS receptors and have therapeutic effects that cause profound changes. Limonene’s antidepressant effects will likely lift your mood. Like other cannabinoids, beta-caryophyllene works with the CB2 receptor to relieve pain and inflammation. However, myrcene increases cell permeability and speeds up hemp absorption. These distinct effects suggest that terpenes influence the neurotransmitters in the brain. The outcome is relaxation or sometimes invigorating sensations.
Hemp terpenes also facilitate synergistic effects by collaborating with cannabinoids. The terpene-cannabinoid symbiosis enhances overall potential. Cannabinoids flawlessly enter the bloodstream and assimilate at a fast rate. Defense mechanisms alleviate bacterial infections and reduce any adverse effects.
Terpenes vs. Terpenoids
Many people in the hemp industry use the words terpene and terpenoid interchangeably, but there is a significant difference. Terpenoids are a class of modified terpenes because they have undergone oxidation, whereas terpenes are simple hydrocarbons. Terpenes are present in the trichomes of the cannabis plant in their unprocessed form. However, some terpenes undergo a chemical transformation and turn into terpenoids when a farmer dries and cures the flower. According to their carbon units, terpenoids are divided into monoterpenes, diterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and triterpenes.
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Common Terpenes Found In Hemp
Besides cannabis, plant sources of terpenes include tea, Spanish sage, thyme, and citrus fruits. Overall, there are more than 20,000 distinctive terpenes worldwide. Among them, about 200 terpenes come from marijuana or hemp plants alone. Let us go over a few of the common terpene types.
Apart from cannabis, myrcene appears in thyme, lemongrass, hops, and mango. This terpene smells like cardamom and cloves as it has an earthy, musky aroma. When added to beer, it imparts a balsamic, peppery, and spicy fragrance. As a sedative, it offers an ‘indica-like’ calmness.
According to a study report published in 2021, myrcene terpene is a potent antioxidant that helps treat hypertension, pain, and insomnia.
This terpene is present in many herbs, including black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, basil, rosemary, oregano, and cannabis strains. Its peppery and spicy aroma gives the nose a quirky warmth. Research shows that beta-caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors and produces pain-relieving actions. It is effective for relieving your pain of any intensity because it possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
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Limonene terpene oil gives cannabis strains a lemon-like citrusy scent. This substance is available in substantial amounts in all citrus fruits and frequently serves as the main component in cosmetics and cleaning products. Besides this, it carries neuroprotective potential. A 2021 study suggests limonene-based products to treat neurodegenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis, anxiety, epilepsy, and stroke.
This versatile terpene has antibacterial, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities. Humulene is ideal for people who want to lose weight because it helps suppress hunger. Additionally, a 2019 study found that it has the anti-proliferative potential to curb the growth of cancer cells. Along with cannabis, it is present in black pepper, clove, sage, hops, coriander, and basil. It smells like cloves and is earthy, woodsy, and spicy.
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Monoterpene camphene has a powerful, intense odor resembling fir needles, and it smells similar to the well-known marijuana aroma of myrcene. Camphor, cannabis, cypress, spruce, ginger, citronella, neroli, rosemary, and sage contain this volatile terpene. Combined with vitamin C, it functions as a powerful antioxidant that can help the body cope with stress. They work together to decrease blood pressure, calm the nerves, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eucalyptus, also known as cineole, is the primary terpene found in cannabis, rosemary, bay leaves, and eucalyptus trees. It smells distinctively cool and minty. However, not every cannabis strain has these in high concentrations. In most plants, it makes up 0.6% of the entire terpene profile. This terpene contains medicinal qualities that reduce inflammation and inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Geraniol, Delta 3 Carene, Borneol, Terpineol, Linalool, Ocimene, and Pinene are names of other hemp terpenes. Each has a unique aroma, and they all provide different therapeutic benefits. Some have analgesic properties, while others can help with digestion. Likewise, some can help relieve psychiatric disorders, while others offer cleaning and cosmetic uses.
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Benefits Associated With Hemp Terpenes
Terpenes have many botanical uses, including protecting plants against insects, fungus, and bacteria. They enhance the flavor and scent of many plants, but they are particularly noticeable in cannabis. Terpenes are what give cannabis strains their unique “skunky” smell.
Like THC and CBD, terpenes have a plethora of health benefits. They can work alone or synergistically with other compounds creating the entourage effect. The synergy between phytocannabinoid and terpenoid compounds enhances the overall therapeutic potential. A few advantages of hemp terpenes:
- Food additives
- Anti-diabetic attributes
- Sleep aid
- Analgesic and anti-inflammatory
- Inhibits cancerous cells
- Plasmodial resistance
- Potent antioxidant agents
- Relieving muscle spasms
- Mood stability
- Pain reduction
- Regulates appetite
- Boosts energy
Over the years, terpenes have been studied for several medical applications. The compound provides a better experience for cannabis users without any psychoactivity. They have natural properties, including antimicrobial, antifungal, anticancer, antiviral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic.
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Hemp contains hundreds of different terpenes, each with its unique biochemical makeup. They emit different aromas and provide varied therapeutic benefits. Some terpenes may even enhance the effects of other compounds due to cannabis synergy. Manufacturers in the hemp industry experiment with terpene blends to achieve desired outcomes. For instance, they may add terpene oil to distillates or isolates to furnish their products with desirable scents.
You can also add terpenes to CBD oil or vape juice according to your preferences. Experts advise using only a 1% terpene solution to achieve the desired flavors and sweetness. Never use terpenes in excess, or they will ruin the formulation. The carrier oil should make up most of your solution, and the stated 1% should be enough to provide the required flavor.