Let’s get the jargon out of the way first. What on earth are terpenes and what do they have to do with my hemp products? Simply put, a terpene is a compound that exists in plants that gives them a strong aroma. If you’ve ever smelled an evergreen tree or a lilac bush, congratulations! You’ve experienced terpenes. There are tens of thousands of terpenes in the natural world, and many of them exist in cannabis plants. Terpenes give different strains of cannabis their unique aromas and flavors and, when combined with other compounds in hemp (such as cannabinoids), they can enhance the impact of your product.
Below we have a few of the different types of cannabis terpenes explained.
Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes you will find in cannabis, and because of this, the scent is one of the most recognizable. Most people describe myrcene as having an earthy, musky scent. Depending on the concentration, myrcene may have calming or energizing effects and could potentially help with inflammation.
Even if you haven’t used hemp-based products, you have probably smelt the second most common cannabis terpene. Limonene exists in (shocker) citrus fruits like lemons and oranges and is often used in citrus-scented cleaners. Limonene has been associated with mood elevation, especially in response to anxiety and depression. It may also help with acid reflux and indigestion.
There has been a lot said of the relaxing aroma of lavender. Fortunately, the terpene that makes lavender smell the way it does can also be found in cannabis. Like lavender, linalool is associated with calming effects and may help with sleep, depression, anxiety, and even pain.
The most common terpene in the world, pinene is associated with a pine smell (shocker, right?), though it is also found in rosemary, basil, and parsley. Pinene may help improve airflow in the lungs the same way taking a deep breath in a pine forest makes your lungs feel more open. It may also help with inflammation, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.
Another friend of conifers is terpinolene, though its smell is more often associated with floral scents like lilacs and is found in a lot of perfumes and soaps. Terpinolene is most associated with a sedative effect, and some are researching potential anti-cancer traits in it.
Caryophyllene is on the terpenes map for being the only terpene to interact directly with the endocannabinoid system. Its aroma is associated with spices like pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and oregano. Because of its association with the endocannabinoid system, it may help with related issues like sleep, stress, and pain. It may also help with alcoholism.