What the Heck is a Terpene?
CBD use comes with a slew of jargon that you may have never thought you’d have to interact with. Don’t sweat it, the Outch team is here to keep you up to date on the important terms you should be familiar with.
So, what are Terpenes?
Terpenes (pronounced tur-peens) are aromatic metabolites found in the oil of all plants. They are natural compounds found in all forms of hemp that give the plant its bouquet of smells. There are more than 25,00 terpenes in existence and at least 100 produced by the hemp plant.
Let’s break it down
When it comes to hemp, terpenes are made in the trichomes of the plant. Female plants produce the shiny, sticky, hair-like trichomes that protrude from the flowers and leaves. Trichomes house everything from cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, to the terpenes we’re talking about today. To us, terpenes act as a guide to discovering which cannabinoids our endocannabinoid system is most attracted to and will benefit most from.
Broadly speaking, terpenes can be broken down into four categories: sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter. Each category can be broken down further based on aromas created by specific terpenes. The most common terpenes are: Myrcene, Linalool, Limonene, A/B-P, and Trans-Caryophyllene. They each have their own unique aromas and health benefits!
The Entourage Effect
There have been several studies dedicated to discovering the link between terpenes and the bloodstream. These studies have shown that terpenes and cannabinoids (like CBD) work together to pass through the bloodstream with ease, and actually lower the blood-to-brain barrier.
So, depending on the type of terpene you’re using, you will feel more or less of the effects as they interact with the blood stream. This is called the “entourage effect” because of the way the different components can work together – either enhancing or downplaying the end effects.
The medical uses of terpenes are staggering. Producers are able to draw out particular terpenes and incorporate them into their products. Whether this means adding more terpenes with anti-anxiety to combat mental health or adding terpenes with anti-inflammatory properties to fight aches and pains.
While research is still ongoing, it is accepted knowledge that terpenes compound or lighten effects of cannabinoids by binding to endocannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters and imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce to regulate emotions, health, etc.
To recap: Terpenes are the it kid when it comes to CBD.