Terpenes Pack a Powerful Punch Besides Smelling So Good
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in Cannabis, as well as flowers, plants, some insects and even animals. Terpenes have some interesting history, as they were discovered researching turpentine and rosin, that sticky goo stuff called pitch that runs down pine trees and is put on violin bows. (You may know it better from when it hardens over time, turning into amber.) In fact, the name terpene is from an old form spelling – “terpentine”. Many of the essential oils you may be familiar with are primarily terpene compounds. If it were not for terpenes, we would have little to create perfume with and the scent of evergreens at the holidays would not exist. (Neither would that revolting stink put off by some insects!) Terpenes are also used extensively in traditional medicine, aromatherapy, and even as additives for food and other products. Without terpene discovery, the medical community would not have steroids, used in all sorts of applications to control inflammation and reactions. In nutrition, Vitamin A is a terpenoid. A terpenoid is pretty much a terpene whose organic structure is moved around, but is basically the same compound. Terpenes are critical for human, plant, flower, and insect health.
Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons that often protect a plant or flower from insects through the use of or giving off scent. Most often it is a warning to the bug, but may also be a deterrent, faking the bug out by telling it “I am not really something tasty to eat”, and they would do better getting a great meal elsewhere. Terpenes also attract predators to the bugs trying to gnaw on their plant parts, or parasites that will attack the bugs trying to eat the plant or flower. You might call terpenes the original biological warfare, but through smell.
In the case of Cannabis, terpenes also offer some unique functions by supplying UV protection to the plant by blocking harmful rays from the sun, as well as protecting the plant from certain bacteria. Terpenes are what give the various strains of Cannabis their distinct scent or fragrance when fresh, dried, or burned. There is a lot more to terpenes than just fragrance, though.
Terpenes, it turns out, are part of the building blocks of the plant world. They are part of the hormone – molecule sterol, a waxy solid in plants that is a sort of “lipid alcohol” that provides structure and are part of how cannabinoids are made and work. Terpenes are part of what makes cannabinoids work in the human body and help create some of the various physiological responses we have to cannabinoids. Terpenes will not get you “high”, but they do work to enhance, increase, or moderate other substances found in the Cannabis plant. Alone they can also enhance, increase, or moderate your body’s response to stimuli. They are part of a fascinating field that scientists are studying a lot about called the entourage effect.
Entourage Effect – It literally takes a village….
The entourage effect is when one compound works with another to make it more bioavailable. When terpenes are present in full spectrum CBD oil, they work with the other cannabinoids, allowing the receptors in the body to more easily uptake chemical signals and transmit them. Terpenes have also been found to ease the blood-brain barrier transition for the endocannabinoids and neurotransmitters, allowing them to pass faster, more intact and completely, and with less resistance, thus facilitating them going directly where they need to be to act upon particular receptors in the brain. Particular terpenes affect different receptors that affect different parts or responses in the brain. While terpenes are not distinct to Cannabis, they are found in most plants, Cannabis has a high concentration and a wider variety of different forms of terpenes, each with their own fragrance and each with their own properties, than nearly any other plant identified to contain them. Thankfully those properties have been studied in other plants previously, and the information is readily available.
A few of the most common terpenes in Cannabis include limonene, myrcene, linalool, and a-pinene and b-pinene. You might have guessed that limonene has a citrus smell, and is found in citrus fruits as well as juniper. Besides relieving stress and elevating your mood, limonene is also used for cancer research, as an anti-inflammatory, and as an antiseptic. Myrcene is an earthy, herbal clove scent that sedates and relaxes. It is found in mangoes, lemongrass, hops and thyme. Myrcene is an anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory agent. Linalool is the floral-citrusy-candy sweet scent found in lavender. It has been used to help with depression, to help sedate or assist sleep, and helps relieve anxiety. Both a- and b-pinene are, as you might guess, pine scents, but are found not only in pine but other trees and are what give rosemary and sage their distinct smells. Besides increasing energy, pinenes have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Limonene, myrcene, linalool, and a- and b-pinene are just four of the over 200 terpenes found in Cannabis. The type of terpene and quantity vary by strain or cultivar. That is why Vid’s parent company, High Plateau Nutraceuticals, has worked for many years on crossbreeding various types of Cannabis that are low in THC, high in CBD and other cannabinoids, and offers a wide spectrum of terpenes and flavonoids. A total sphere aerial hemp extract should offer all that Mother Nature has to share, and we work hard to bring as complete and wide spectrum in as pure a form of CBD oil as is possible for your use and enjoyment.
Cannaflavins, or Cannabis flavonoids, may be the next medical powerhouse*
Another really important part of the “stuff” that makes up the various compounds found in Cannabis that won’t get you high are flavonoids. Flavonoids are similar to terpenes in that they are part of what make up the scents associated with certain strains of the hemp plant, but they are far more complex. They also work synergistically with terpenes to create the scents and flavors of the Cannabis plant. The wonderful color and health benefits you hear about in berries that contain what are called anthocyanins or anthoxanthins are what create that beautiful purple color in both berries and some varieties of Cannabis flowers. Anthocyanins are known to have strong antioxidant effects, helping the body rid itself of free radicals.
About 20 flavonoids or cannaflavins as they are truly called have been identified in Cannabis to date, and some exciting research is coming to the forefront about these organic ketone compounds. Flavonoids make up only about 10% of the compounds in any given strain of Cannabis. They also, like terpenes, ward off insects and provide beneficial UV protection for the plant. They have some affect on coloration and pigments, besides creating fragrance in hemp. Flavonoids are one of the important factors in attracting pollinators to hemp and other plants, including many fruits and vegetables. What they lack in large concentration they make up for in packing a punch for intensity and importance to the plants and whatever consumes them.
While nearly all plants and some fungi contain various ones of the over 6,000 varieties of flavonoids, Cannabis has some unique just to Cannabis, called cannaflavins. Research into the properties of cannaflavins so far has just scratched the surface for the potential medical and pharmacological benefits* researchers think. In particular, Cannaflavin A is active and shows potential to be an anti-inflammatory far stronger than salicylic acid, what you know as aspirin. Cannaflavin B and Cannaflavin C are also showing potential, as well as high levels of orientin, quercetin, silymarin, and Kaempferol, all already known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antioxidant, and anti-cancer potential. Research and future studies are needed to understand how it all works together, but there is a lot of good to be gained in researching Cannabis flavonoids.
Researchers are also interested to try and learn more about the entourage effect and how terpenes, flavonoids, phenols and cannabinoids all work together to boost, enhance, allow uptake, or perform other important functions that allow the body access to their attributes. There is talk that what they learn about how all the various compounds in Cannabis work together in the entourage effect may lead to discovery of similar cooperative systems in other plants or organisms, and has already enlightened ongoing research in neurotransmission systems in the human body. The future will be very interesting in the research field of medicinal hemp, as well as medical Cannabis.
You have our word on that.