Most of us believe that the sweet flavor in the vape pens is artificial. The truth may be far from what you expect. Terpenes are the chemical responsible for giving you that great flavor. If you’re familiar with essential oils, you and terpenes have crossed paths before. But what are they?
Terpenes, or Terpenoids, are a diverse class of organic compounds found in plants and even some insects. They are responsible for giving a plant a distinct taste and scent. In insects, terpenes are mostly used as defense mechanism making them undesirable for predators.
There are a vast number of Terpenes found in nature. In hemp, there are around 120 different terpenes. Aside from its main use, Terpenes can be used for different purposes, like in aromatherapy.
When you combine different terpenes with different cannabinoids, you get what is called the “entourage effect.” This effect describes how different cannabinoids and terpenes, once combined together interact with the receptors in the brain and the Endocannabinoid System. They work together synergistically to enhance their therapeutic benefits.
The most common terpenes and their benefits
Pinene – is commonly found in Cannabis or Hemp. It smells like a forest of pine trees. One of its most popular properties is anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator.
Myrcene – is a terpene that occurs often in highly fragrant plants and herbs such as mangoes, hops, bay laurel leaves, thyme, lemongrass, and basil. It’s also commonly found most varieties of Cannabis. Myrcene concentration dictates whether a strain will be Indica or Sativa. Strains containing over 0.5% of myrcene produce a more sedative high, while strains containing less than 0.5% myrcene have an energizing effect.
Ocimene – frequently used in perfumes for its sweet fragrance. In nature, this terpene contributes to a plant’s defense and possesses antifungal properties.
Terpineol – is easily found in over 150 plants and fruits, including Cannabis. This terpene is often used to make aromatic products like soaps, lotions, and perfumes. It also has sedative, antioxidant and anti-tumor properties.
Caryophyllene – is the only terpene known to also interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (CB2). It’s present in many herbs and spices like oregano, black pepper, and basil. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties
Humulene – is responsible for the woody, and spicy notes that give the hoppy beer that distinct taste. Hops and Cannabis share this terpene. It acts as an appetite suppressant and exhibits potent anti-inflammatory activity.
Linalool – has a floral scent that takes you to a field of spring flowers, but with spicy notes. It possesses relaxing properties and is an effective anxiety and stress reliever. It has also been used as an analgesic and anti-epileptic.
Limonene – a dominant terpene in strains with a pronounced Sativa effect. It is also found in the rinds of citrus fruits. Limonene aids in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes, and has been used to treat anxiety and depression.
Terpinolene – is the least-common common terpene present in Cannabis and it carries an array of smells. Studies with mice show that terpinolene has a sedative effect when inhaled. In addition, terpinolene is responsible for many of the floral notes found in Jack Herer varieties.
Valencene – is present in Valencia oranges and contributes to cannabis’ citrus aroma.
Geraniol – Also present in geraniums, geraniol has a rose-like scent that makes it a popular perfume additive. It is an effective mosquito repellent and shows a potential protective effect against neuropathy.