8th August 2019 - Blog
What are they, where do they come from and how do they affect us?
To put it simply, terpenes are compounds which give plants, flowers and even some trees and insects, their smell and taste. In cannabis and hemp plants they are secreted from trichomes, the same glands that produce cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Made from two simple organic compounds, hydrogen and carbon, in different arrangements. Each unique arrangement or terpene has its own scent and function. So far more than 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant.
One of the more basic reasons plants, including cannabis and hemp, produce these terpenes is to attract pollinators and repel predators. However, it seems that these terpenes may also play a role in the proper functioning and delivery of cannabinoids, known as the entourage effect. Much like cannabinoids, terpenes bind with certain receptors located in the brain and throughout the body, affecting their chemical output. So far, most of the research on cannabis and hemp has focused on cannabinoids, and its only now that scientists are starting to research the relationship they have with terpenes. Although the full benefit of terpenes still has to be researched properly, we know for sure that they contribute to the entourage effect of CBD oil.
A lot of the terpenes found in cannabis and hemp plants can also be found in other plants and fruits. Common ones that have been scientifically studied include:
Limonene: Commonly found in citrus fruit rinds, this is used widely in cosmetics, cleaning products and food, giving that fresh lemony smell. So, what do we know about its therapeutic values?
What we do know is that inhalation of its vapours increases serotonin and dopamine in specific parts of the brain that are associated with depression, anxiety and OCD. What we don’t know is exactly how or why it has this effect. Other terpenes like linalool and b-caryophyllene have clearly defined brain targets, where limonene’s target remains unclear. Limonene has also been linked to several other health benefits. It has been studied for its potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties as well as fighting cancer and heart disease. It also has the ability to decrease stress and anxiety and support a healthy digestive system by protecting against stomach ulcers. Unfortunately, most of the studies have been carried out on rodents, and more human studies are needed.
Linalool: Has been found in over 200 species of plants including lavender, sweet basil, cinnamon and even birch trees, and it possesses a sweet, floral, spicy lavender scent. A study into linalool and its possible use as an epilepsy treatment deemed linalool “very powerful in its anticonvulsant quality”. It works by reducing the activity of brain chemicals involved in muscle contractions. A study on rats found inhalation of linalool acted as an anxiety reducer and also as an immune system booster. Another study in 2002 states that linalool helps relieve pain by proving it was an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic. Other potential benefits of linalool are believed to be as an antidepressant, antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and also as a sedative to improve sleep quality.
b-caryophyllene: This is commonly found in hops, cloves and rosemary and the primary terpene contributing to the spiciness of black pepper. It has a strong, spicy, woody scent. It was one of the first cannabis derived compounds with a radically different structure to the classic cannabinoids like CBD and THC which still interacted with our endocannabinoid system, sometimes called an atypical cannabinoid or sesquiterpene. It is the only known terpene to directly activate our cannabinoid receptors. b-caryophyllene selectively binds to our CB2 receptors which are found in the immune tissues throughout the body, and which increase in the brain following injury or disease. Activation of the CB2 receptors plays an important role in reducing pain, inflammation, seizures and even decreasing plaque build-up in the arteries. So far b-caryophyllene has been shown to be directly beneficial for colitis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, anxiety, depression, liver fibrosis and Alzheimer like diseases. In a cancer study b-caryophyllene was shown to stimulate apoptosis (very basically, telling cancer cells to die) and also to suppress tumour growth. Like all the other compounds found in hemp and cannabis, more research and human testing is needed.
These are just a few of the 100 plus terpenes discovered so far in cannabis and hemp, and there seems to be a distinct connection in how these terpenes interact and benefit the uptake of cannabinoids. A lot more research is needed, but the potential health benefits of these compounds is very exciting.
In our opinion, knowing all this information, it’s so important to choose a CBD oil that has all the terpenes and cannabinoids in it from the original plant, just as nature intended. Because of the boom in the cannabis and CBD industry it’s all too easy to buy cheap terpenes extracted from normal plants. Mix them with some CBD isolate (100% pure CBD, not full spectrum) and a carrier oil and boom, you have a CBD oil! However, that is not how nature intended it to be, and without the other cannabinoids and terpenes that would be found in a natural, full spectrum extract, there would be no entourage effect. So, when choosing a CBD oil, make sure you check out the cannabinoids test. If there is only CBD in it, you can be sure it’s not a full spectrum extract.
We don’t like to mess with nature. We maintain the natural terpene and cannabinoid profile found in our hemp plants as we believe they were designed to work in perfect harmony with each other. The results and feedback we have been getting only support this theory more.
One Body. One Plant. One Love.