The medical cannabis industry is growing at an exponential rate. As the selection of strains available to the public has grown, it is realized that some strains are especially helpful towards individual needs and ailments. Much of what draws someone to a specific strain is the aroma that is given off by the flower. While some people are particularly drawn to deep, earthy scents, others prefer citrus or fruity undertones. These individualized and often distinct scents are created by terpenes, naturally occurring chemical compounds that plants secrete. Terpenes are responsible for giving plants like pineapples, rosemary, pine trees, mangoes, hops, etc. their individual smells and flavors. Because of the wide array of genetic makeups found in the cannabis plant (due to years of human cultivation and breeding) there are several terpene profiles that give your favorite strains their distinct scent and taste. As expected, terpenes are also used in perfumes, in cleaning products, in healthcare and insect repellents.
Terpenes have amazing potential both alone and with cannabis. The FDA has recognized terps as being safe and they have proven to have holistic benefits, widening opportunities for research and improving our knowledge about cannabis and all its potential benefits. Alone, terpenes can be used for a number of purposes. For example: Linalool has been shown to be an anti-epileptic and D-Limonene can combat gastro-reflux and is effective as an anti-fungal. This article from Steep Hill Labs goes into detail about the abilities of cannabanoids, terpenes, and terpenoids — it’s worth checking out.
Terpenes have also been shown to produce different effects when combined with various cannabanoids; this relationship between the different compounds is known as the “entourage effect.” For instance, ß-Myrcene, which has shown promise in alleviating pain and inflammation, can combat muscle spasms when combined with THC, THC-A and CBD. Utilizing the full advantages of cannabis requires a deeper understanding of terpenes and how they interact with the endocannabanoid system. As the cannabis industry grows and changes, terpenes are likely to play a large role in medicating for certain illnesses. Knowing what terpene profile is present in the strain you are using can explain its particular effects and help make educated decisions in choosing your medicine.
Some helpful hints in discovering the best terpenes profiles for you:
- Follow your nose. When something smells good, it’s probably going to benefit you in some way.
- Read up on different terpenes and their effect.
Every Tuesday, the HMH Blog showcases a terpene: their chemical structure, medicinal benefits and strains with the terpene present.
- As with all medicines, cannabis comes with a little trial and error. Learning what works for your individual needs takes time & our staff at HMH is happy to answer any questions you have.