Although you’ve for sure heard all about cannabinoids like CBD and THC. There are, nevertheless, other substances present in the cannabis plant that you should be aware of. Have you ever wondered what made the distinction between cannabis sativa and cannabis indica? We’re referring to terpenes. Cannabis and hemp terpenes can have effects that are just as significant as cannabinoids. Now, what exactly are terpenes? We'll look at these intriguing chemicals and their advantages in this article.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic substances present in many plants, although they are most frequently associated with cannabis due to the elevated quantities present in cannabis plants
Most plants have a distinct fragrance due to these aromatic substances. But they don’t just render sweet or sour fragrances, they contribute far more. These terpenes shield plants from animal grazing and contagious microbes in the wild.
Moreover, terpenes may have certain therapeutic effects on humans. Researchers are doing more studies into identifying the potential advantages as cannabis and hemp take more of the spotlight.
Terpenes: A Brief History
Scientific research on turpentine in the 19th century contributed to the designation "terpene" for the hydrocarbons with the general formula C10H16. These terpenes are commonly contained in herbal natural oils that carry the plant scent, or "Quinta essentia."
Terpenoids have been extracted from both coastal and aquatic organisms, as well as fungi, in excess of 50,000 times. Prokaryotes, on the other hand, have just a few compounds known. The initial research of bacterial terpenes was based on M. Berthelot's analysis of the pungent odour of recently ploughed land, which he published in 1891. They discovered that a volatile material accountable for soil's usual earthy smell can be obtained from it using the distillation process, but they couldn't put a framework on the entire observation.
M.N. Gerber analyzed the smell of Actinomycetales microbes, which are broadly disseminated in the dirt, and established the composition of a C12 degraded sesquiterpene alcohol, the geosmin (means earth odor), which Berthelot most likely observed. Several volatile terpenes were later discovered in streptomycetes.
Where Do Terpenes Come from Today?
Terpenes are formed in the flower, precisely in the tiny rusty fibers identified as trichomes that appear on every bud of the plant.
Terpenes are a natural means of signaling used by many plants. It's like a "chemical sign language," if you will. They're used by certain plants to interact with other members of their genus. These are referred to as pheromones. They're used by other plants to interact with species from various kingdoms. Terpenes, for example, are used by sweet-smelling plants to compel pollinators such as birds and bees
Many of the terpenes present in cannabis plants can also be identified in plants of other species. This is why some cannabis varieties have a berry or lemon grass fragrance, while others have a clover or forest aroma.
Terpenes tend to play various roles in cannabis and hemp varieties in general. Many cannabis terpenes are considered as a “sun block” to protect the plant from dangerous ultraviolet rays while others are being used to drive pests and herbivores back.
Terpenes vs. Terpene Profiles
Terpenes appear to assume a significant part in distinguishing the medicinal benefits and psychoactivity of different varieties, according to emerging research. The usefulness and capabilities of an individual terpene are special. The overwhelming amounts of known plants, on the other hand, do not contain a single terpene. Plants, however, contain a wide range of terpenes. The combination of these terpenes is referred to as a "terpene profile." While some terpene blends may have a soothing and relaxing effect, others may be invigorating and focus-inducing. In the cannabis plant, more than 100 distinct terpenes have been recorded.
Indica vs. Sativa
So, it’s often been asked what does define strains to be either indica, sativa, or dominant in one of the two directions? Largely, this is defined by the terpene profile of the specific strain. Let’s use Sour Diesel as an example. This strain is comprised of many terpenes, but made up of the key terpenes caryophyllene, limonene, and humulene. All three of these terpenes have strong anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, euphoric, and creativity stimulating effects. Combined, they cause an upbeat and euphoric feeling in those using it.
How Terpenes Define Strains
The rapid growth of the cannabis industry has given birth to new and new cannabis strains. Each strain comes with its own set of benefits depending on which terpene it has been extracted from. With the evolution of the cannabis industry, these strains have adopted fancy labels like OG Kush, Golden Haze, Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, etc. Each name is with reference to the properties of the strain or casually adopted through pop culture. Our curated terpene profiles, as shown below, include a wide variety of different indica and sativa strains. On each product page, we list the different key terpenes used in each formulation as well as their defined effects.
CBD and Terpenes’ Entourage Effect
We do realize that cannabinoids and terpenes have different outcomes of their own. So what about blending cannabinoids and terpenes, or merging separate cannabinoids with terpenes? When THC and CBD are combined, the results of both THC and CBD are amplified. The entourage effect occurs when THC and CBD communicate with one another and terpenes to create a synergic activity. You may be curious which cannabinoids and terpenes formulation is best for curing a particular ailment. Sad to say, owing to years of cannabis restriction and prejudice, exploration into the entourage effect is just getting started. As a result, we don't know anything about which cannabinoid to pair with which terpene to obtain maximum results.
Since each terpene has a distinct biochemical structure, each one has a unique set of outcomes. Many cannabis strains produce a multitude of terpenes. Determining which cannabinoid-terpene combinations evoke a terpene entourage effect is in fact, practically challenging.
How are Terpenes Extracted?
Terpene extraction poses a complex set of challenges due to its fragile and unpredictable disposition. Dense resins, strong oils alkaloids, and other compounds can be collected effectively through cruder approaches that combine heating, mixing, and compressing with organic reagents and/or water. To separate and remove terpenes without compromising them, a far gentler approach is required.
Steam distillation and hydro distillation are two conventional terpene extraction approaches. A container of herbs is suspended over a reservoir of hot water during steam distillation. The steam pierces the plant material as it pushes through the punctured container. In the vapor, some lightweight oils, like monoterpenes, are dissolved. As the terpene-encrusted steam leaves the distiller's head, it falls into conjunction with a chilled condenser which liquefies the fluid and oils. The lighter oils rise on the water's surface, making them easy to collect.
How are Terpene Profiles Created?
Isolating terpenes from other biological extracts is a popular practice. Pinene, for instance, is abundant in pine needles, basil, parsley, and orange peel, and is among the most popular terpenes present in cannabis. Mangoes, hops, and lemongrass are all good sources of myrcene, a terpene with anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.
The first step is to research the cannabis strain that the terpene mix would be attempting to imitate. The terpene profile of the strain can be determined through a terpene inspection method, most commonly some kind of gas chromatography. If these terpenes have been recognized, creating a horticultural terpene mix is a simple matter of collecting the related terpenes from widely accessible biological extracts and combining them in the appropriate proportions to meet the desired strain.
Each of these terpene blends, whether cannabis-derived or botanically generated, has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Cannabis-derived terpene blends have the advantage of containing more minimal terpenes, resulting in a more precise taste alignment to the natural plant strains. If the terpene isolate is expected to have some kind of therapeutic effect rather than just enhancing taste, having a more versatile terpene profile may be desirable.
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