What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are found in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Terps are aromatic oils that fill hemp varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, pine, skunk, tropical scents, etc.
Terpenes play an important role in differentiating the effects of various hemp strains. Some terpenes have been proven to promote a relaxation and stress-relief effect, while other terps potentially promote focus and acuity. Depending on the terpene profile each strain produces can pair with the users specific intent of usage. We do our best to allow our consumers to pair the strain with the exact effect or wellness benefit they desire. Unlike other intense smelling plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, the development of terpenes in hemp began for adaptation purposes: to repel predators, lure pollinators, and survive in the wilderness. There are an endless amount of factors that influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil, exposure to sun light, and even the time of day.
There are well over 50 different terpenes which have been already identified in the hemp plant. Every strain holds a unique terpene type and composition which gives strains their unique effects and smells. For example, a strain like Sour Diesel and its descendants will likely have an intense diesel/gas like smell, and Strawnana varieties often inherit the smell and taste of strawberries and bananas! Terpenes are known to also play a key role in differentiating the effects of various hemp strains, but more studies are needed to understand how and to what extent. With the push toward legalization, research will open up and allow the important study of how the unique terpene profiles along with cannabinoids come together to give the user the specific effects the individual requires for the perfect smoke!
Myrcene Potential Effects:
Does myrcene make you sleepy?
Herbal medicitions containing myrcene have a long history of being used as a sleep aid. In Mexico, myrcene-rich lemongrass infused tea has been used in as a sedative and muscle relaxant.
Can myrcene relieve pain and reduce inflammation?
Lemongrass tea containing high levels of myrcene has played a role in Brazilian folk medicine for its claimed anti-anxiety and pain-relieving properties. The first published claim for myrcene reducing pain was generated in 1990 by scientists in Brazil.
Aroma/Smell: Cardamom, cloves, musky, earthy
Vaporizes at: 332ºF (167ºC)
Potential effects: Sedating, relaxing, drowsy
Potential therapeutic value: Antioxidant; treatment of insomnia, pain, and inflammation
Also found in: Mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops
Limonene Potential Effects:
Despite limonene’s potential therapeutic benefits, little is known about how it works in the brain and body, and what doses are required to achieve these benefits. In many of the limonene studies to date, high doses were used—much higher than amounts found in hemp. More hemp research is desperately needed, but studies on limonene so far have shown potential in the following applications:
- Elevated mood
- Stress relief
- Antifungal properties & antibacterial properties
- May help relieve heartburn and gastric reflux
There’s also promising evidence for limonene’s anti-tumor effects. In lab rodents, limonene inhibited the growth of skin and mammary tumors. These studies were followed up with a Phase I human clinical trial which found that limonene was somewhat effective at reducing breast cancer tumor growth for nearly a year. Later studies found that daily limonene supplementation for 2-6 weeks silenced a protein that promotes breast cancer tumor growth, suggesting that daily limonene consumption may inhibit the growth and spread of breast tumors.
Additional reports have revealed benefits of limonene in laboratory models of lung cancer and brain cancer by causing tumor cell death. But like limonene’s benefits in breast cancer, high doses are likely needed beyond what may be present in cannabis alone. It’s unknown, however, whether the presence of certain cannabinoids extends limonene’s anti-cancer effects. Currently, there is not nearly enough evidence to conclude that cannabis products high in limonene will be effective as cancer treatments in humans.
Vaporizes at: 348ºF (176ºC)
Potential effects: Elevated mood, stress relief, euphoric
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain, and cancer
Also found in: Fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
Caryophyllene Potential Effects:
Studies on caryophyllene indicate a wide variety of therapeutic potential. A 2014 study shows pain-relieving properties of the terpene in mice, and another rodent study shows caryophyllene’s potential to reduce alcohol intake, making this terpene a possible treatment for addiction.
Caryophyllene has also been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and to be a possible therapy for treating inflammatory bowel disease. Research has even found that caryophyllene may be able to treat anxiety and depression.
Current studies are hoping to unveil even more of the therapeutic potential behind caryophyllene, including research indicating that it may help with lifespan longevity by reducing gene stress.
Aroma: Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves
Vaporizes at: 266ºF (130ºC)
Potential effects: Stress relief
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of pain, anxiety/depression, ulcers
Also found in: Black pepper, cloves, cinnamon
Terpinolene Potential Effects:
As an essential oil, terpinolene may have antibacterial and antifungal qu alities, according to a 2005 study—which could be another reason, besides its fresh scent, that it’s a common additive in soaps and cleaning products. Other research suggests it can help repel pests like mosquitoes and weevils.
Emerging research is also looking at terpinolene’s potential to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in concert with other nutrients, and its possible role in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Keep in mind, researchers are still teasing out the possible effects of terpinolene. In addition, many scientists believe that terpenes and cannabinoids work in tandem to create a strain’s overall effect—so don’t expect a strain that contains terpinolene to necessarily have relaxing, sedative properties.
Aroma: Piney, floral, and herbal
Vaporizes at: 366ºF (186ºC)
Potential effects: Uplifting
Potential therapeutic value: Antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer
Also found in: Nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs
Pinene Potential Effects:
Just as different cannabinoids have different effects, so do terpenes. These unique attributes contribute to the overall composition of a strain, adding a dimension to each one’s “personality.” Though research is still substantiating pinene’s effects and benefits, the following uses are currently being investigated:
- Bronchodilator (helps open airways)
- Pain relief
- May help combat short-term memory impairment associated with THC
Vaporizes at: 311ºF (155ºC)
Potential effects: Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of asthma, pain, inflammation, ulcers, anxiety, cancer
Also found in: Pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill
Humulene Potential Effects:
The medical and therapeutic potential of humulene is expansive and well-researched. A 2016 study shows that it may help terminate cancer cells when combined with phytocannabinoids and other terpenes.
Humulene is present in many therapeutic-grade essential oils and the use of such oils for healing purposes dates back centuries. The terpene is present in Balsam fir oil (a.k.a. Abies balsamea essential oil), and is believed to be an active mechanism in fighting tumors, evidenced by its ability to produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).
The oil was also shown to exhibit antibacterial properties in another study, proving to be active against the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (a.k.a. golden staph) when administered in small quantities. S. aureus is a bacterium present in our bodies at all times, but it can play a role in a host of nasty infections and diseases when exposed.
Humulene also plays a role in pharmacokinetics—the study of how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes drugs—showing potential to be distributed rapidly throughout the body via both oral and topical absorption of an oil derived from the tropical plant black sage (Cordia verbenacea). Oil from this plant has also shown anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
Humulene also plays an important function in the life cycle of a cannabis plant prior to harvest. Beginning with synthesis in the trichome head, humulene and other terpenes aid in a plant’s defense capabilities by helping to deter pests and prevent fungal infestations.
Aroma: Hops, woody, earthy
Vaporizes at: 222ºF (106ºC)
Potential therapeutic value: Anti-inflammatory
Also found in: Hops, coriander, cloves, basil
Ocimene Potential Effects:
This 2014 study shows that ocimene derived from flowers of the Citrus Unshiu plant, a close relative of the mandarin orange, had highly effective anti-inflammatory properties. For the study, a chemical composition analysis of the essential oils of the flowers was performed via gas chromatography- mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
The study revealed that ocimene made up 5.6% of the oil’s chemical constituency. The study also found supporting evidence that these oils have the potential to suppress the production of several different inflammatory substances emitted by the immune system.
Further research indicates that ocimene may help treat symptoms of diabetes by inhibiting the proliferation of key enzymes. In this 2013 study, GC-MS analysis of the essential oils of black pepper seeds revealed ocimene as a key constituent. This oil was shown to have anti-oxidative properties as well as the ability to inhibit key enzymes connected to type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Aroma: Sweet, herbal, and woody
Vaporizes at: 122ºF (50ºC)
Potential therapeutic value: Antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, decongestant, antibacterial
Also found in: Mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mangoes, orchids, and kumquats
Linalool Potential Effects:
Why would so many different plants produce linalool? Its anti-microbial properties are protective for the plant and represent a potential therapeutic use in people. Whether it was used as an early antibiotic is unknown, but linalool (often in the form of lavender or peanut stems and leaves) has been used in traditional medicine practices for its sedative and anti-epileptic properties.
Mice exposed to linalool vapors show reduced levels of anxiety and lower depression-like behaviors. In these tests, mice exposed to linalool vapors spend more time in fear-inducing environments, and they’ll continue to work to escape a seemingly hopeless situation. It’s not exactly like testing anxiety and depression in the clinic, but in these well-validated measures, linalool appears to help.
Linalool also makes the immune system more resilient to the destructive effects of stress. Stress causes a shift in the distribution of white blood cells in the body (i.e., the cells of the immune system); the percent of lymphocytes decrease, and neutrophils increase. In rats, linalool prevented this shift, and in doing so, prevented the stress-induced changes in how the rats’ DNA was expressed. Interestingly, the authors reasoned that this protection was mediated by linalool’s ability to activate the body’s parasympathetic response, which is activated when the body is resting and digesting food, thereby fitting with linalool’s anti-anxiety effects.
Vaporizes at: 388ºF (198ºC)
Potential effects: Mood enhancement, sedation
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease
Also found in: Lavender
Bisabolol Potential Effects:
The terpene bisabolol (also known as α-Bisabolol or levomenol) is a fragrant chemical compound produced by the chamomile flower and other plants such as the candeia tree in Brazil. It is also produced by various hemp strains.
While it has long been widely used in the cosmetics industry, bisabolol has more recently become the subject of research for the medical benefits it displays in hemp. Today, cosmetics companies tout products containing bisabolol as tranquilizing, soothing, and calming, some of the qualities associated with chamomile tea.
Bisabolol skin care products are very common, with the terpene believed to promote the skin’s natural healing process. Some common skin care products that may incorporate bisabolol into their formulations include moisturizers, cleansers, sunscreen, anti-aging treatments, and eye creams.
Vaporizes at: 388ºF (198ºC)
Potential effects: Mood enhancement, sedation, skin's natural healing process!
Potential therapeutic value: Treatment of anxiety, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-irritant, Antioxidant, Anti-microbial, Analgesic