Cannabinoids and terpenes are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that often work together to provide various therapeutic effects, although they are completely separate active compounds.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are large molecules produced by the cannabis plant that interact with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) found in our bodies. The cannabis plant produces cannabinoid acids, such as THCA and CBDA, the chemical precursors to THC and CBD, respectively. These acids must be activated through high heat, a process called decarboxylation, to produce the underlying cannabinoids THC, CBD, and many others. Cannabinoids influence the human ECS, and the central nervous system, the immune system, and other functions.
The ECS regulates various bodily functions and processes, including sleep patterns, memory, mood, pain sensation, reproduction, appetite, and more. Ongoing research continues to validate the interaction that cannabinoids have with human ECS receptors to provide therapeutic effects such as:
- Reducing inflammation
- Relieving pain
- Soothing anxiety
- Helping with insomnia
- Diminishing seizures
- Stimulating appetite
- Alleviating nausea
- Slowing tumor growth
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are organic compounds found in many plants and are abundant in cannabis plants. Different strains of cannabis will feature different terpenes more prominently. Terpenes are found in plants and herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, citrus, lavender, and many others. Terpenes are often used in essential oils and perfumes, cleaning products, and many other consumer products to add a pleasing aroma.
Terpenes also provide other functions, like protecting the plant from fungus and bacteria, and have been shown to provide therapeutic effects on their own. They are found to work much better, however, when combined with cannabinoids to deliver what is known as the entourage effect. This may be because terpenes do not bind to the CB1 receptors, and therefore they do not provide psychoactive effects such as THC and other cannabinoids.
Terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids to provide optimal effects. Some of the most common terpenes and benefits provided include:
- Alpha-Pinene – this terpene provides the recognizable aroma of pine trees and is also found in basil, rosemary, and sage. It provides anti-inflammatory effects and can also help with gastrointestinal issues.
- Beta-Caryophyllene – provides peppery and spicy notes found in cloves, cinnamon, oregano, and rosemary and is shown to exhibit anti-anxiety and antioxidant properties.
- Limonene – this is the second most abundant terpene found in cannabis and is also found in oranges, lemons, and limes, delivering a citrusy, bright scent. This terpene is thought to contain antibacterial properties and reduce stress.
- Myrcene – this is the most prominent terpene found in cannabis and delivers a fruit-like, earthy scent that is found naturally in lemongrass, thyme, and cloves. Myrcene provides a sedative effect and is helpful to reduce pain and inflammation.
Terpenes play an important role in the cannabis plant, providing signature strains with unique aromas and delivering potential therapeutic benefits for various afflictions.
Both cannabinoids and terpenes are found inside the trichomes, those shiny hairlike structures that look like long thin mushroom heads under a microscope. Trichomes are what you see sparkling all over the outside of buds. Preserving trichomes by carefully handling cannabis during the flowering stage and right through drying and harvesting is important to preserve the many cannabinoids and terpenes found inside them.
The more you understand about cannabinoids and terpenes, the easier it will be to select the cannabis strain to best to your individual needs and preferences.
Mosca Seeds offers a wide range of high-quality cannabis seed strains with a variety of cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Our seeds are bred with the best practices in cannabis genetics, producing several cannabis cup award-winning strains. Check out the Seed Bazaar now and get started on your cannabinoid and terpene journey with quality cannabis seeds online.