What in the World are Terpenes and Why do They Matter?

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I love the smell of cannabis products. Whether it is flower or a CBD lotion, the scent is so delicious to me. Sometimes it’s earthy, sometimes it’s sweet, and sometimes it’s a mixture of things. The reason that cannabis has such a unique smell is because of the terpenes that the plant produces. You might think this is just a bell or whistle for cannabis and doesn’t have any real benefit besides aroma, but there is a lot to unpack when it comes to terpenes in cannabis.

What are Terpenes

Terpenes aren’t just found in the cannabis plant, a variety of plants produces them. The terpenes are what you smell, but they can do more than make the cannabis smell good (or bad, depending on who you are asking!).

Terpenes are aromatic oils that give the cannabis distinct flavors. Some flavors you might already be familiar with like:

  • Citrus
  • Berry
  • Mind
  • Pine

These terpenes are secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids like CBD. The reason that cannabis has terpenes is that it is a defense mechanism. Cannabis developed terpenes to repel predators and lure pollinators.

There are over 100 different terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis plant, and there could be even more to discover! Each strain of cannabis seems to have it’s own terpene type and composition, meaning that the descendants of the strain are likely to have aromatic qualities of the starting plant.

But these terpenes aren’t just for smelling! One of the most exciting traits of these oils is that they work alongside cannabinoids like CBD. Scientists and growers believe that terpenes play a crucial role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains.

More Than Aroma

Studies have shown us that each terpene has its own unique effects, proving to us once again how beneficial full plant cannabis is. Some terpenes can promote relaxation while others can boost your energy. Terpenes play a vital role in the “entourage effect” which is when the cannabis plant is more effective because there are more plant components present. Scientists also believe that terpenes can add medicinal value by mediating the body’s reaction to cannabinoids.

Sarah Potts

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