A couple of years ago, I showed a friend of mine a bud of THC-low hemp. He looked at it attentively, carefully taking it between his thumb and index finger and slowly bringing it to his nose. “It smells just like weed!” he exclaimed in surprise.
The sweet, earthy smell of cannabis is arguably one of the most recognizable scents in nature (also enjoyable if I may add). Most people, however, link the sweet cannabis taste with THC. Actually, until recently, most people attached any characteristic of cannabis to THC. The recent CBD revolution changed that. Now, its time to go a bit deeper down the cannabis hole.
As you probably concluded already, the familiar smell of cannabis does not stem from THC, nor any other cannabinoid.
Cannabis owes its unique taste to a whole another group of natural compounds called the terpenes.
Terpenes, CBD and Nature
Even though the smoking of cannabis is slowly abdicating the throne of mainstream usage to a safer and arguably more enjoyable CBD vape method, the importance of CBD terpenes and the awareness of this importance is only growing.
Terpenes are aromatic, vaporous oily substances found all around the plant world. Next time you find yourself enjoying a whiff of flower or feeling refreshed by the sharp smell of citrus fruit, know that you owe your enjoyment to terpenes. Terpenes surround us, and most of us had no idea of them.
Just like THC and CBD, terpenes saturate marijuana’s and hemp’s flower tops. We could say that CBD terpenes (to differentiate, I will call the terpenes in cannabis CBD terpenes) let the cannabinoids have the central stage. At the same time, they do their work behind the scenes, not only giving cannabis it’s distinctive smell and flavor, but also producing an array of therapeutic effects.
CBD Terpenes, Vape Taste, and Going High or Low
Some of the cannabis plant’s most alluring characteristics, and one of the main reasons why we choose certain strains over others, are the aroma and flavor we enjoy during the consumption process. A variety of popular strains owe their name to their specific taste. Pineapple Express got its name from the distinct overtone of pineapple and undertone of pine, and Lemon Skunk owes its name to its distinct flavor of fresh citrus. At the same time, Banana Kush tastes like a banana.
Whatever the taste you enjoy while vaping, it is the CBD terpenes that are working hard to deliver that full taste of wood, citrus, skunk, pine, cheese, or coffee.
That is not where the magic of terpenes ends. The other reason why you choose your favorite strain is the specific effect of our beloved terpenes.
Even though the intensity of the experience depends on the THC and CBD concentration, the path which the experience will take, that is whether it will be relaxing, uplifting, euphoric, or something completely new is due to CBD terpenes. There is a helpful analogy with a car. If cannabinoids (THC and CBD) are the engine, the CBD terpenes are the steering wheel. If cannabinoids provide the power and the drive, CBD terpenes know the destination.
Terpenes and Vaping
CBD manufacturers have known this for some time. This knowledge, as well as the ability to extract specific terpenes, has given us an option to infuse our CBD products with various combinations of terpenes, all based on the desired effect, and aroma, we wished to achieve.
So it is thanks to CBD terpenes that we can provide you guys with such a large supply of various CBD vape cartridges. Thanks to CBD terpenes, you can choose whether to enjoy the uplifting and euphoric combination of mango, pineapple, and pine flavor in our Pineapple Express or to go a bit simpler with a care-free, relaxed kick of tropical experience with Banana Kush. If you wish to learn more about terpenes’ beneficial effect on health and some of the most important CBD terpenes, feel free to read on.
Terpenes, Aromatherapy, and Health
Terpenes also produce distinctive therapeutic effects.
They have been used for centuries as agents of aromatherapy, a process in which inhalation of specific terpenes, produces a beneficial psychological effect. Terpene linalool, found in lavender, gives a sweet floral scent, has a calming, soothing effect. Limonene, found in citrus fruits, produces a mood-elevating effect. Pinene found in sage, raises alertness and memory retention.
Besides producing a psychological and emotional effect via their scent, terpenes also have physical effects. A fascinating study, published in the Journal of Toxicological Research, explored the possible health benefits of the traditional Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing,’ or Shirin-Youku, in a terpene-rich environment. The researchers concluded that Shirin-Youku practice is indeed beneficial for health, mostly thanks to terpenes and their possible anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, and neuroprotective effects.
Terpenes have also been found to increase skin permeability, without producing any side effects, which significantly helps in transdermal drug delivery. It is one of the reasons why people are finding CBD and CBD terpenes infused topicals to be effective.
Some studies suggest that terpenes can be even used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, thanks to their neuroprotective effect.
Terpenes have also been found to have an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effect. One research showed that various terpenes (many of which are found in CBD vape cartridges) acted synergistically with certain antibiotics, raising their effectiveness even two-fold in some cases.
Terpenes, CBD and Entourage Effect
Besides being synergistic with antibiotics, terpenes are working similarly with cannabinoids (including CBD). They modulate their effect on the mind and the body. This synergistic effect is called the entourage effect. This term explains the natural phenomenon where two or more distinct molecules interact with each other in a way to produce an outcome that is both different and more powerful than the sum of their individual effects. According to Dr. Ethan B. Russo and his research, terpenes and cannabinoids reduce symptoms of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and dementia, much more potently when combined. Some CBD terpenes, such as Caryophyllene and Humulene, multiply the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD.
Furthermore, according to Dr. Russo, cannabinoids, and CBD terpenes could produce synergy concerning the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal, and bacterial infections.
MVT – Most Valuable Terpene(s)
Some of the most occurring and most important terpenes in cannabis plants are:
Myrcene, the most abundant CBD terpene. It is the one terpene producing cannabis’s signature musky earth scent and taste. Myrcene is associated with the couch-lock effect of certain strains. Health-wise, it has a sedative and anti-inflammatory effect.
Limonene is another common CBD terpene. Limonene gives bright citrus aroma to some strains. It is appreciated for “steering” the experience of limonene rich strains on the mood-elevating and euphoric road. It is also beneficial for the gastrointestinal system, calming the symptoms of heartburn and promoting healthy digestion.
Linalol gives lavender its distinct taste and smell and is also quite common in cannabis plants. Also, its one of the most healthy terpenes, modulating symptoms of pain, depression, insomnia, and even preventing epileptic seizures.
Pinene, as you can derive from its name, produces the scent of pine trees. It improves airflow and deepens breathing, which makes it extremely beneficial for people with respiratory problems. Pinene elevates the mood and reduces memory impairment, often associated with THC.
B-Caryophyllene is the only terpene proven to affect CB2 receptors directly. It makes it potent in reducing inflammation and pain. Also, has a substantial calming and sedating effect, being even able to minimize THC induced anxiety in some cases. The taste associated with Caryophyllene is spicy and peppery.
Terpinolene is prevalent at a lesser degree in cannabis plants when we compare it to the above ones. However, its effects on the brain and cognition are very conspicuous. Terpinolene produces a spectrum of various effects on different people. The mercurial character of terpinolene underlines the importance of further research on CBD terpenes. As we must deepen our understanding of terpene activity on the human organism.
I hope this article has deepened your knowledge about terpenes. I also wish I have inspired you to research some more on terpenes and their interactions with CBD. So, the next time you enjoy your favorite CBD vape cart, you will know which “wheels” are steering your experience.