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The Significance of Terpenes in Cannabis Plant

October 2, 2018

                          The Significance of Terpenes in Cannabis Plant

 

Source: ReceptraNaturals.com


There has been a considerable amount of debate over the use of marijuana worldwide in the recent few years mainly revolved around its use in medical treatment. These days cannabis seeds are being openly sold in many countries of the world through online seed banks. Although cannabis growers cannot purchase seeds online to be shipped into the U.S., several States such as Florida have home-grow provisions in their medical marijuana laws which means that you can buy seeds at medical marijuana dispensaries in the State.

One of the latest the latest trending aspects of cannabis is terpenes. Terpenes give cannabis its aroma. But research has shown that terpenes may have more significance than just giving marijuana its smell.

Read on to learn more about terpenes and their significance.

What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are a class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons produced by a large variety of plants and some insects. Terpenes get their name from turpentine and are major constituents of conifer resins and essential oils of medicinal plants such as thyme and black pepper. Terpenes are known to have strong odours which not only lend smells to plants but drive away bacteria, fungus, insects, and other predators.

Terpenes in Cannabis
Cannabis has around 120 compounds responsible for its characteristic odour, most of which are terpenes. Terpenes are synthesized in the resinous trichomes of the cannabis plant. This synthesis is enhanced upon exposure to light. Different strains of cannabis have different blends of terpenes.

Some of the well-known terpenes found in cannabis are Myrcene, Linalool, Humulene, Pinene, Limonene and Caryophyllene with Myrcene being the most common. Myrcene has aromas of musk, herbs, cloves and citrus fruits and has a relaxing effect on the mind. Terpenes like Pinene, on the other hand, smell like sweet pine and make the mind more alert.

The Significance of Terpenes in Cannabis
Cannabis has 113 different cannabinoids, giving it its psychotropic characteristics. The two most notable compounds in cannabis are THC and CBD. While cannabinoids like THC have been intensely studied for over five decades, compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids have not received similar attention. Terpenes are generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.

THC-Terpene Synergy- Scientific research has indicated that the interaction between non-cannabinoid components of cannabis such as terpenes with THC can have a synergistic effect by countering its psychoactive effect and increasing its therapeutic effect. This is often called the “entourage effect”. It is expected that this synergistic effect will help in the treatment of several health issues including inflammation, mental health disorders, acne, fungal and bacterial infections such as MRSA, and even cancer. This is possible due to the terpenes’ own unique therapeutic qualities.
 
Therapeutic Effects of Specific Terpenes- Studies have found that different kinds of terpenes found in cannabis have varying therapeutic effects. Some of these are mentioned below-
Myrcene is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. It also acts as a sedative and muscle relaxant.
Alpha-pinene, the most widely found in nature, has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and memory-enhancing effects. It also acts as a bronchodilator and indicated possible synergistic effects on MRSA.
Limonene is known to be a powerful anxiolytic agent which helps in treating disorders such as anxiety and depression. It also helps with digestive trouble such as gastro-oesophageal reflux and has been found to facilitate the destruction of breast cancer cells.
Linalool, also found in lavender, shows anticonvulsant activity which helps in seizures. It also has sedative and anxiolytic properties.
Beta-Caryophyllene has anti-inflammatory properties. It is claimed to have treated duodenal ulcers and also antimalarial properties.
Nerolidol is an anti-fungal, anti-malarial, and has sedative properties.

Transdermal Drug Delivery- Terpenoids are lipophilic in nature which makes them pharmacologically versatile. They interact with cell membranes, enzymes, muscle ion channels, neurotransmitter receptors, second messenger systems, etc. This allows them to act as penetration enhancers for transdermal drug delivery, a method of administering drugs in patients as an alternative to intravenous and oral delivery.

Final Verdict
While research on terpenes in cannabis has indicated that it may have therapeutic effects on the human body, it is still scientifically a grey area. Scientists are working towards proving that whole plant medicine might be more beneficial than using THC and CBD only medicines. This can only be done by showing conclusive proof of the synergistic effects that THC and terpenes have when used together.

Meanwhile, the key is in the strain. Since each strain of cannabis is different with different kinds of terpenes, it is important for medical marijuana patients visiting both offline and online dispensary to choose their strain carefully based on the effects desired.

 

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