The Latest Science Behind The Medicinal Magic of Cannabis - Terpenes

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The Latest Science Behind The Medicinal Magic of Cannabis - Terpenes


CBD is pretty 2019 when it comes to the cannabis scene, and if you want to reap the real benefits of the plant-medicine, get ready to learn the scientific secrets behind the magic. By now, most seasoned marijuana (and hemp) enthusiasts are well aware of the healing properties of cannabinoids - but this mainstream trend is missing more than one key ingredient. The most gangster compounds that unlock the full health potential of cannabis plants, are actually found in the terpene profile. This is pretty revolutionary news, given that the CBD industry is currently predicted to hit the twenty-two billion mark by the year 2022.

So what are terpenes, and why are they so powerful in the world of cannabis?

Well, if you have ever wandered what gives a dank nug of bud its pungent fragrance, the short answer to the question is terpenes. Different strains of cannabis (and all plants, including fruits) are made up of terpene compounds, which is what gives each strain its distinctive aromas and flavours. But it gets slightly more complicated than that.

Terpenes, or terpenoids, contain a whole host of exciting health benefits that outrank even the highest CBD percentage.

This is because the Terpenes, are in fact THE compounds behind the range of affects you feel when dosing on marijuana or hemp. This means that these immune-boosters are not only medicinally incredible, but responsible for every type of buzz you can imagine. Whether you are looking for chill or euphoric vibes, anxiety or pain relieving properties, or even holistic benefits that support cognitive functions - the various effects can be traced back to the terpene profile of each strain. So before you calculate and reach for the highest-percentage-of-CBD per dollar, take a minute to learn about the ten most effective major and minor terpene compounds - and how they can change your life for the better.

1. Myrcene (Major Terpene)

Myrcene is the giant of cannabis terpenes, and is commonly found in notoriously relaxing strains like Granddaddy Purple and other indica derivatives. The fragrance of this highly sedative compound can be described as earthy or woody, with a fruity-spiciness to it. This terpene is a natural aid for sleep disorders and is also known to combat anxiety with its deeply soothing properties. As an analgesic, Myrcene is among the most effective of pain relieving terpenes. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant which makes it one of the best of immune-boosting compounds. Perhaps most amazing of the myrcene medicinal profile, is its uniquely anti-carcinogenic effect.

2. Pinene (Major Terpene)

Pinene gets its name from its fresh, pine-like aroma and diesel-tasting compounds. The invigorating terpene is effective in promoting cognitive functions such as memory and alertness. For this reason, Pinene is an excellent choice of compound for boosting focus and enhancing clarity of thought. The terpene is found in famous strains such as Jack Herer and OG Kush, as well as the rosemary herb and pine trees. A major plus for this compound is that it is a bronchodilator, meaning that it is beneficial for allergies as well as minor respiratory issues. To make Pinene even more appealing, it is a known anti-oxidant, contributing to a youthful glow and healthy immune system.

3. Limonene (Major Terpene)

Limonene (as the name suggests) has a distinctly citrus-like aroma, although unlike lemons it has a sweet and tasty flavour. The signature citrus-tasting terpene is easily identifiable in a number of famous fruity strains such as Wedding Cake and Strawberry Banana. It is primarily found in uplifting sativa-dominant strains, as well as in actual citrus fruit, and is a natural anti-bacterial. This terpene is among the most effective of anxiety-relieving compounds in cannabis, and is revered for its mood-enhancing properties. Limonene is also known to assist with acid reflux, as well as mood-disorders and inflammation.

4. Terpinolene (Minor Terpene)

Terpinolene is a minor terpene, meaning that it usually present in small amounts. Although typically found in lesser quantities than major terpenes, minor terpenes are still packed with numerous potent qualities. Terpinolene for example, is known for its incredibly uplifting properties that are synonymous with a wide variety of sativa dominant strains. The euphoric characteristics of terpinolene are offset by its mildly sedating abilities, which make this terpene the perfect choice for conditions such as anxiety and depression. Although deeply relaxing, the compound is typically found in invigorating strains, offering the relaxation without the couch lock. Terpinolene is characterized by multiple cannabis tastes such sweet, spicy, citrusy, earthy and even floral.

5. Linalool (Major Terpene)

Linalool has a uniquely earthy and floral aroma, reminiscent of the lavender plant in which it is also present. Scientists have revealed that the terpene is a powerful aid against sleep disorders, and the compound can assist in soothing hyperactive dispositions. Linalool is also an antidepressant, fatigue-reliever, antioxidant and natural analgesic. The spicy taste of this terpene can be identified in well-known cannabis strains including Amnesia Haze and Lavender Kush. Lavender is a well-known sedative, and it is only recently that science has made the link between terpenes and a range of medicinal benefits.

6. β-Caryophyllene (Major Terpene)

β-Caryophyllene is one of the most commonly found terpenes in cannabis, known for its spicy kick and musky, earthy tones with a clove-like flavour. The compound is behind the woody spiciness of the pepper condiment, and offers some pretty impressive health enhancing properties. The anti-microbial compound is the most effective terpene for cognitive function, offering neuroprotective qualities. It is thought that the natural chemical can assist in the prevention of brain-related disorders such as the early onset of dementia. It is the only terpene proven to stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain (associated with the fight or flight response). It is also an analgesic commonly used to treat toothache, as well as an anti-inflammatory rich in calcium.

7. Humulene (Major Terpene)

Humulene is found both in hops and cannabis, and offers a uniquely beer-like taste. The earthy floral aromas of the bitter terpene have gained worldwide recognition, but the medicinal benefits are less well-known. Although the compound has been used in Eastern medicine for millenia, Humulene is still making its debut in the West. The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of this terpene are unrivalled, and it is also a proven appetite suppressant. The herbaceous plant compound is found in Thin Mint GSC, and it is thought to play a role in fighting tumours and cancerous cells. This incredible terpene is also known to affect the way in which the body absorbs and excretes drugs, maximizing the healing effects of modern medications.

8. Bisabolol (Minor Terpene)

Bisabolol, also known as levomenol, has a floral fragrance not unlike chamomile (in which it is also present). This deeply relaxing terpene has been researched extensively and found to be an anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compound. Bisabolol is also a proven analgestic terpene, and has been shown to exhibit anti-cancer activities. The beautiful flavour of this aromatic compound is found in strains including Rock Star, Pink Kush and Headband. The terpene is also a known anti-irritant, and is frequently used in topical medical products.

9. Camphene (Minor Terpene)

Camphene is a minor terpene with an acrid sage-like aroma and a sweet earthy taste. The name is derived from the fact that the compound is present in camphor, and it is also found in nutmeg as well as rosemary. The terpene is a potent antioxidant and research suggests that it may assist with mitochondrial (assimilation) dysfunction. The compound has been used in traditional healing for millennia to treat both fungal and bacterial infections. For this reason the terpene is a known remedy for psoriasis and numerous skin conditions including eczema. In recent times science has provided evidence that indicates camphene has an ability to lower cholesterol levels as well as lung inflammation.

10. Borneol (Major Terpene)

One of the most commonly found terpenes in cannabis, Borneol is known for its woody and minty aroma. The terpene has been used in Eastern medicine for centuries, where it is referred to as “moxa.” Although incredibly rare in the hemp cousin of the marijuana plant, evidence suggests that the compound is among the most potent of natural pain-killers. It is also shown to facilitate the distribution of brain-targeted medications and to improve cardiovascular health. Borneol is known to speed up the healing of wounds and preliminary findings have revealed that it may be helpful in recovery from strokes as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the strain of marijuana that will be of most benefit to your needs, the bottom line is that it all comes down to terpenes. However, if you are hoping to combine multiple terpenes at home, it should be noted that very little is currently known about the synergistic effects of terpenes. The above research is based on the individual terpene profiles, and the effects of these may change if combined with other compounds – which is known as the entourage effect. Terpenes are still in the preliminary stages of scientific discovery, but the evidence is so compelling they look set to take over a number of mainstream treatments.

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