Terpenes are a kind of fragrant component that may be found in a wide variety of plants; yet, the majority of people primarily identify them with cannabis due to the high quantities of terpenes found in cannabis plants.
These aromatic chemicals are responsible for giving many plants their distinctive aromas, including cannabis, pine, and lavender, as well as the perfume of fresh orange peel. A variety of terpenes are responsible for the aroma that is produced by the majority of plants. Terpenes like this serve an important role in nature, shielding plants from damage caused by grazing animals and pathogens.
Terpenes, on the other hand, may also provide the human body with certain advantages to its overall health. More and more study is being done by academics to investigate the potential health advantages of cannabis as rules around the drug grow less stringent.
Expanding on Terpenes
Terpenes are chemicals with a strong scent that are responsible for the smell of a wide variety of plants and herbs, such as rosemary and lavender, as well as the odor of certain animals.
Terpenes that have been separated and purified are used as a flavoring and fragrance ingredient in a wide variety of consumer goods, including perfumes, body products, and even meals.
Terpenes have an important function in plant life. In certain plants, terpenes induce a strong response to repel predators, such as insects or animals that are looking for food, whereas in other plants, they have the opposite effect and attract pollinators.
Some terpenes serve the plant in a defensive capacity, assisting the plant in repairing itself after it has been injured, while others perform functions similar to those of the immune system, warding off contagious pathogens.
Terpenoids is another name that is sometimes used. Terpenoids and terpenes, on the other hand, are not the same thing.
When these chemicals are found in a living plant, they exist in the form of terpenes, which is their natural state. During the drying and curing processes of a plant, such as those used in the manufacturing of cannabis, the terpenes oxidize and transform into terpenoids.
How do cannabinoids differ from these other substances?
Chemical components found in cannabis are referred to as cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are what stimulate the receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system in the body. When someone uses cannabis, they will feel something referred to as a "high" as a result of this.
Cannabidiol, often known as CBD, is another kind of cannabinoid that is gaining popularity as a result of the therapeutic benefits it offers. CBD stimulates some of the same receptors as THC does, but the effect it has on those receptors is quite different, and it does not produce any euphoria.
Even while THC and CBD are the cannabinoids that get the most attention, the cannabis plant really contains over one hundred different cannabinoids, with THC and CBD being only two of them.
Terpenes, which are among the most common chemicals found in nature, are present in cannabis as well. Terpenes are among the most numerous substances.
Terpenes are the primary odorants that give most plant compounds and certain animal compounds their characteristic aroma. However, there is a possibility that some may also have an effect on the endocannabinoid system in the body in a manner that is analogous to that of cannabinoids. The primary distinction is in the manner in which the body absorbs and makes use of these various chemicals.
Terpenes—do they have any effect on people?
There are a lot of bioactive terpenes, which means they may have an effect on the body. The intensity of this impact will change depending not just on the content of the terpene but also on how a person makes use of it.
Terpenes, which are known for their pungent odors, serve as the building blocks for many essential oils and are a vital component of a wide variety of alternative treatments, including aromatherapy. It is possible for a person's mood and level of stress to be affected when they inhale the aromas of certain plants and essential oils.
There is a school of thought that asserts terpenes have the ability to modify or amplify the high that is induced by cannabis use. The term for this phenomenon is the entourage effect, and it suggests that the effects of THC and CBD in the body are enhanced or altered by the presence of terpenes.
These assertions are supported by a body of research. For instance, a study that was published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology Reliable Source discovered that patients with epilepsy who took an extract that was high in CBD had reduced symptoms and fewer adverse effects than those who took CBD in its purest form. This provides support for the hypothesis that the other components of cannabis, such as terpenes, may influence how the body utilizes CBD.
Terpenes that have been isolated are the subject of a significant amount of study in the medical field; some of this information may even find its way into clinical practice. According to the findings of a research published in the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions, certain terpenes have shown to have positive effects on the body and have the potential to be used as alternative medicines or treatments.
Types of Terpenes
Terpenes are abundant in the natural world; nevertheless, only a select few have been investigated by scientific research.
The following are some examples of well-known terpenes:
The aroma of limonene, a prevalent terpene, is familiar to the vast majority of individuals. Limonene is responsible for the zesty aroma that is found on the rinds of fruits such as lemons and oranges, as its name indicates.
According to the findings of a research published in the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions, limonene has the following medicinal properties:
Limonene seems to modify the behavior of certain immune cells, which may protect the body against a variety of diseases. As a dietary supplement, limonene is completely risk-free for human use.
Another kind of naturally abundant terpene is called pinene. A-pinene and b-pinene are the two different types of pinene that may be found. Pine needles, rosemary, and basil all get their distinct, herbal aroma from pinene, which is found in many other plants as well. Pinene may possibly have some use in the medical field.
The Japanese practice of shirin-yoku, often known as "forest bathing," consists of going on long, leisurely walks in the woods while breathing in the fresh air and taking in the sights and smells of nature.
Shirin-yoku has the potential to have both curative and preventative benefits. According to research that was published in Acta Salus Vitae, the quantity of pinene that is present in the air of a natural forest is sufficient to have a curative effect.
Pinene has bronchodilator properties, meaning it opens up the airways in the lungs and lets in more air. When breathed, it reduces inflammation and has antimicrobial properties, making it potentially effective against some pathogenic pathogens.
Linalool is found in the highest concentration in the flower of the lavender plant, which is also where it gets its name. Linalool is one of the most significant chemicals in aromatherapy, and it is the component that is responsible for the relaxing effect that many people feel when they smell lavender or the essential oil of lavender.
A research article published in Colloids and Surfaces B: According to Biointerfaces, linalool may influence the body in a number of distinct ways due to a variety of features, including the following:
Linalool does show signs of having an influence on the body, but further research into its effects is required before researchers can fully comprehend how individuals might utilize it to improve their health.
Myrcene is a kind of terpene that may be discovered in a variety of plants, including hops, lemongrass, and thyme. Myrcene is found in cannabis flowers as well as other parts of the plant.
Myrcene is an effective anti-aging antioxidant. Myrcene may be able to help protect the brain from oxidative damage that occurs after a stroke, according to the findings of a research that was conducted in mice.
Myrcene was discovered to have a similarly protective effect on the cardiac tissue of mice in a separate research study. According to the findings of the study, myrcene has the potential to be an effective alternative therapy after an ischemic stroke.
Having said that, it is essential to keep in mind that these investigations used very high doses of myrcene, reaching up to 200 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of weight.
In a cell model of osteoarthritis, a reliable source observed that myrcene seems to have an anti-inflammatory impact and may inhibit the disintegration of certain cartilage cells. This information was gleaned from the study. Because of this, it may be helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Cloves and black pepper are only two examples of the numerous plants and vegetables that contain beta-caryophyllene.
Beta-caryophyllene, like other terpenes, may have an anti-inflammatory impact on the body, which, for some individuals, may result in a reduction in the amount of pain they experience.
In a research conducted on animals, it was shown that beta-caryophyllene was effective in reducing inflammation-related pain as well as nerve discomfort. As a result of the fact that the body did not exhibit any signs of establishing a tolerance to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, the researchers came to the conclusion that these effects would be effective in the treatment of long-term chronic pain.
The hop plant is rich in humulene, which is an essential component. There are other plants that contain it as well, such as clove and ginger.
According to the findings of a research that was published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology Reliable Source, terpenes, such as humulene, may have the ability to reduce allergic responses and asthma. Humulene was shown to be effective in reducing allergic inflammation in the airways of animal models. Because of this, it has the potential to become useful in the treatment of asthma in the future using natural methods.
According to the findings of another research published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, humulene may also have a protective impact in some cell types. This preventive action could help prevent cancer from developing. Nevertheless, this is just early data, and researchers need to continue studying the effects of humulene in order to provide support for these assertions.
The terpenes that were discussed before are some of the most common and active terpenes that individuals are likely to come across. The following are some examples of additional common terpenes:
Summary of Findings Regarding Terpenes
Terpenes are the chemicals that give most plants their characteristic aroma. They are found in all plant parts. They have a plentiful supply of cannabis as well as a great variety of other plants, fruits, and herbs.
It is possible that they contribute to the wellbeing and continued existence of the plants in which they are found.
It's possible that inhaling the aroma of some essential oils, consuming plants that are rich in terpenes, or spending time in locations with a high terpene concentration might offer people some health advantages.
Researchers need to keep looking into terpenes if they want a complete understanding of the potential therapeutic and medical benefits of these compounds.