A Basic Introduction to Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects
In simple terms, terpenes are natural compounds that give plants in nature different aromas, tastes, and a wide variety of medicinal effects. Terpenes have no psychoactive effects and are found in a variety of natural plants, including cannabis.
Many of the terpenes found in cannabis are also found in other plants in nature. Although terpenes by themselves won’t produce a psychoactive high, they do work with cannabinoids to produce an enhanced therapeutic effect. This is commonly known as the “Entourage Effect” – which is when all of the natural compounds of cannabis work together to produce a better and more complete medicinal effect.
The cannabis plant has over 200 terpenes, with Myrcene being one of the most common. Myrcene is abundant all throughout nature and can also be found in things like lemongrass, mangos, red grapes, and wild thyme. As far as the potential medicinal effects of myrcene it has been shown to be an analgesic, have anti-inflammatory properties, and act as a powerful sedative. Cannabis strains that are extremely high in Myrcene are known to have a sedating effect and are generally categorized as Indica strains.
Cannabis Terpene Therapies VS Pharmaceutical Drugs
A Hypothetical Example – Based on Personal Research into Scientific Studies by Dr. Ethan Russo on cannabis terpenes and their potential therapeutic benefits.
Let’s say we have two patients – Patient A and Patient B.
Patient A has anxiety and insomnia; Patient B has ADD and depression. Most commonly, Patient A would be prescribed a whole galaxy of multi-colored anti-depressants, Xanax, Ambien, and who knows what else.
However, with medical cannabis and terpene knowledge, Patient A could potentially transition (under the supervision of a licensed medical professional), from pharmaceuticals to cannabis strains high in Myrcene and Caryophyllene (terpenes with known sedative and anti-anxiety properties).
Patient B on the other hand might be prescribed something like Adderall or Ritalin, which have a very high risk of abuse, and other serious other health risks.
The cannabis alternative for Patient B would be strains that have higher levels of terpenes like Limonene and Pinene These are terpenes that have been proven to have a positive effect on improving memory, mood, and attention span.
Terpene Knowledge = Symptom Relief
Through a TON of personal research, I have been able to develop an extremely heightened sense of smell and taste in regard to cannabis terpenes – a Connoisseur of Cannabis. I no longer look at strain names (though it’s fun sometimes), or whether it’s Indica or Sativa (though it’s a good starting point) – I now look at terpene profiles.
Indica and Sativa are different species of the cannabis plant. These words ONLY describes how a cannabis plant looks and how it grows. Its therapeutic effects are determined by its TERPENES interacting with CANNABINOIDS.@TastyTerpenes
I know that if I can’t sleep, I need a Myrcene-rich strain like ‘Ray Charles’ by Grassroots Cannabis. If my anxiety is through the roof but I don’t want to go to sleep, I need a strain like ‘Cookie Face’ by Rythm – a strain rich in Caryophyllene and Limonene, but lower in Myrcene.
It’s best to know what terpene profile works the best for you and whatever ailments you have. The best way to do this is to do your research, try different strains, pay attention to the terpenes, and keep a journal to track what works for you.
More research and studies need to be done on cannabis and its terpenes so we can have an even broader spectrum of potential medical benefits from this amazing plant. Read on to the next article to learn about the most common cannabis terpenes, their potential effects, and what else they are also found in.