Must-know facts about terpenes

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There’s more to terpenes than meets the eye

Terpenes are a type of compound that is found naturally in all types of hemp and cannabis. They are what provides the plants with their unique aroma, but also are capable of working with cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to provide certain health benefits. In order to understand them a little better, here is some nice-to-know information about the compounds.

Although most often associated with cannabis, terpenes are “a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers,” according to the Wikipedia page on the subject. They attract pollinating insects, which help in plant reproduction, and can ward off or kill predators. Terpenes are able to slow plant maturation and regulate metabolism and some develop from a plant’s natural reaction to stress factors, such as an excessive amount of heat.

Depending on the scientific classification of the product, the number of terpenes can range from 100-200. For example, terpenes are found in cannabis, lemons and oranges – the reason for the citrus smell – but each has different concentrations of the amount.

There are nine prominent types of terpenes – limonene, pinene (Alpha/Beta), terpineol, mycerne, linalool, eucalyptol, nerolido and carophyllene. Mycerne is the most common type found in hemp, with some strains seeing as much as 60%. Limonene follows behind and, like mycerne, contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-carcinogenic properties. Limonene can reportedly protect against Aspergillus and other carcinogens that are prevalent in cigarette smoke.

These are only the most common types of terpenes – there are plenty of others. As the cannabis industry continues to evolve and be better understood, the benefits of the different components of hemp and cannabis are coming to light and the plants are able to be broken down to extract the exact source of their healing benefits. Although a considerable amount of research has been done in the past decade, we are still just scratching the surface of what is possible and what characteristics Mother Nature’s wonder drug holds.