Basic Guide to Terpenes

Terpenes are aromatic compounds and they can be found in many types of plants. Cannabis plants have a high content of terpenes. Terpenes are what gives rise to the scent that is unique to plants like lavender, cannabis and pine. The reason that these plants contain terpenes is to protect the plant from animals grazing and to keep infectious germs away from the plant. They can also attract pollinators to the plant and repel certain predatory insects.

There are certain health benefits that we get from terpenes as well. There is a lot of research that looks into how they can be beneficial and which applications that can be used. The terpenes found in plants can be isolated and can be used to create scents for day to day items such as bath products, body products and perfumes. You may have heard of the term terpenoids. But this is not synonymous with terpenes. Terpenoids are oxidized terpenes. Terpenes are the natural form you can find for these aromatic compounds when the plant is alive. Terpenes can affect the endocannabinoid system of the body. How it affects the body is determined by the concentration used and the usage method of the individual. Because of the scents produced by terpenes, they are used as base compounds for a lot of the essential oils that you see today. Aromatherapy is a way of reducing the anxiety levels of a person.

Terpenes oil blends are used to affect sleep, provide relief from pain and stimulate feelings of calmness. A few drops can be used under the tongue to obtain wellness benefits from the oil. There are different types of terpenes as well. Limonene is a well-known terpene that is recognisable by its scent. The citrus smell that you get on the rinds of oranges and lemons are from this. The therapeutic effects of limonene are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can be taken as a supplement as well. Pinene is what gives the scent of rosemary and pine needles. Taking walks in a forest that has a sufficient amount of pinene in its atmosphere can be very therapeutic. Pinene can have an anti-inflammatory effect as well. 

Myrcene is another terpenes that you can find in plants like lemongrass and thyme. Because of the anti-oxidant properties of myrcene, there is a possibility that they can be used to keep the brain safe from oxidative damage that occurs during a stroke. There are further studies required for the application of myrcene. Lavender plants also have linalool that contributes to its scent and it is commonly used in aromatherapy. Linalool has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It can also have antidepressant properties. Terpenes can be found in vegetables as well. One example of this is Beta-caryophyllene. You can find this in herbs like cloves and black pepper as well. They also have anti-inflammatory effects similar to other terpenes and can provide relief from pain for some people. As the body doesn’t develop a tolerance for the effects of Beta-caryophyllene, there is a possibility of them aiding in the management of long-term chronic pain.

Tim Rosengarten
the authorTim Rosengarten

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