Aroma healing is far from fake, and science is increasingly advancing research into the effects of terpenes present in essential oils. But what about cannabis? Come and find out!
You may have heard of terpenes, either by cannabis or the increasingly used essential oils from a diversity of plants. The truth is that, as we have already said: they are the revolution and make all the difference in the effect that each plant’s genetics brings to our body. Each creates a different smell – from the earthy, richer, to the light fruity citrus aromas – each responsible for a property, which interacts with the other cannabinoids and delivers a unique sensation.
There are still many mysteries surrounding the effects of cannabis on our bodies, and with each search, more fascinating facts are discovered. While many thought THC was the main element of the plant, terpenes were there, doing their job without taking any of the fame. Today, we know that each substance has its importance and brings a unique personality to each bud – and the Indica X Sativa differentiation loses its meaning a little, as there are thousands of other factors behind the herb.
Do you want to find out more about terpenes, their properties and what research has shown us? Come with us!
Behind the concept
Before going deeper into the subject, it is important to return to an important question: after all, what are terpenes? We already talked about them here on the blog, but it is interesting to return to their concept. Terpenes are aromatic organic hydrocarbons found in plants and insects, used as a natural repellent for predators, and also as a way to attract useful pollinators. Each plant will have a different profile of terpenes, which varies due to concentrations and also to determining factors such as climate, humidity, soil quality and others.
In addition to terpenes, we also have terpenoids. They are nothing more than terpenes that have been chemically modified through a drying and curing process, changing the amount of oxygen in the compound.
Terpenes are what you will find with the plant when “wet”, while terpenoids are the essential oils that you will find in the plant when dry and cured.
The therapeutic effect of aromas
Terpenes and terpenoids are all components of aroma and fragrance common to human diets, and have been recognized as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. The substances are quite potent and affect animal and even human behavior when inhaled from ambient air. It is this behavioral change that is explored by aromatherapy, for example. Even present in almost all ancient civilizations, which used oils, incense and perfumes, whether in cosmetics or in rituals and spiritual healing sessions, its medicinal structuring only happened in the 20th century.
- Over time, it was discovered that these compounds have antiviral, antiseptic, bactericidal and anti-inflammatory effects. They also act in the liver detoxification process and stimulate glandular functions. In addition, terpenes increase the amount of oxygen from the pituitary and pineal endocrine glands, located in the brain, and interfere with the release of monoamines, such as dopamine and serotonin.
- The terpenes found in rosemary have a high antioxidant capacity, bactericidal properties against Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphilococcus aureus, Streptococcus faecalis, Shigella flexineri, Salmonella typhi and antidepressant properties similar to fluoxetine.
- Limonene, one of the terpenes produced by citrus vegetables, has chemical activity against the bacteria Escherichia coli, sakazakii Cronobacter and Listeria monocytogenes, preventive effects against breast cancer, is antifungal against Candida species and insecticide.
And how do they act on cannabis?
Terpenes change the smell and taste of the plant, we already know this. But how can it affect us? According to science, in many ways: when combined with cannabinoids, terpenes synergize in the human endocannabinoid system – which has receptors throughout our body, including the central nervous system, that regulate brain chemical activities responsible for pain, for well-being , sleep, hunger and innumerable sensations.
This synergy is the little-known entourage effect. While many people remember when we explained how cannabinoids (mainly CBD and THC act together in our body, minimizing the negative sides of the other, many forget that yes – it also applies to terpenes!
They exhibit unique therapeutic effects that can significantly contribute to the synergistic effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts. There are phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that could produce synergy in relation to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections. There are many properties to be explored, and science already has its eyes on this.
What has already been discovered:
- In tests, the treatment with citrus fragrances normalized the levels of neuroendocrine hormones and the immune function of patients, and was much more effective than antidepressants.
- Several terpenes easily obtained in forests, such as pinene, from coniferous trees, have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic or neuroprotective activities.
- Linalool plays an important role in the anti-inflammatory activity exhibited by the essential oils that contain it, and there is evidence to suggest that the species producing linalool and linalyl acetate are potentially anti-inflammatory agents.
- Mircene and limonene have a relaxing and potentially sedative action, according to research.
Main terpenes found in cannabis
With each passing day, more terpenes and terpenoids are discovered in our incredible little plant. From the most common to the very rare, the account already exceeds the 150 known terpenes registered in cannabis. Its effects are also being investigated, and although we already have some very interesting research, there are practically unexplored territories today.
Here, we show you some of the main terpenes present in cannabis, in which strains to find them, and what are their effects known so far:
We find it incredible to discover, more and more, that there is much more than THC and CBD in the leaves and flowers of cannabis. We hope you enjoy learning all of this with us – because we love talking about this plant with all of you! So, do you have a favorite terpene? Tell us here in the comments.