You’ll probably have come across the word ‘terpenes’ when googling CBD or reading the labels. We certainly use it in our product descriptions. It’s a vital part of the CBD oil, but what is it?
Terpenes (aka terpenoids) are found in resinous oils of plants and play a vital role in their survival. One of these roles is to secrete aromas, it’s why flowers smell beautiful, it’s why cannabis smells the way it does and how different strains can be identified. It’s why animals know not to eat a poisonous plant as the smell repels them, it’s how a plant attracts certain insects to encourage pollination. A plant will adapt to its surrounding, responding to the weather, climate, surrounding plants…
Terpenes have also proved effective on our health too with some properties including anti-inflammatory and stress relief. When we smell the fragrances secreted from terpenes, it activates receptors in our olfactory system—the membranes, neurons, and nerves that control our sense of smell. Our olfactory system then communicates with receptors in the limbic system of our brains, which includes the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, and hypothalamus. This system controls upper-level functions of our brain such as emotions, reactions, stress regulation, and memory recall. The activation of these receptors, which would have otherwise be dormant, opens the door to a wide variety of health benefits. A cannabis terpene known as Myrcene has a musty, earthy fragrance. This terpene enhances the feeling of relaxation and can provide increased stress-relief.
Terpenes in the Cannabis plant are made in the sticky resin glands where CBD and other cannabinoids are produced. The Tonic CBD products contain all the terpenes and cannabinoids available from the cannabis plant, which makes them full spectrum. The Tonic CBD oil allows the cannabinoids and terpenes to work together to achieve what’s called the ‘entourage effect’. Several studies have shown that terpenes work together to help cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) pass through the bloodstream easier and “lower” the blood-to-brain barrier.
This entourage effect results when hundreds of natural components within a plant interact together and with the corresponding receptors in the human body, to produce a stronger influence than any one of those components used alone. It’s a synergistic effect. The different natural compounds amplify each other’s effects, making the overall plant more effective in maintaining balance in the Endocannabinoid system.
So in a nutshell, terps are awesome.
Examples of how Terpenes affect our health…
Their individual super-powers include inhibiting serotonin uptake and enhancing norepinephrine activity (acting as antidepressants), increasing dopamine (regulating emotions and pleasure experiences), and augmenting GABA (the “downer” neurotransmitter associated with relaxing effects).
Currently, the accepted knowledge is that terpenes compound or lighten the effects of cannabinoids THC and CBD (among others) by binding to endocannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters and imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce (to regulate emotions, weight, health, etc).
Curcumin: From the Turmeric plant, curcumin is bright yellow and is what gives our 4% and 6% their vibrant colour. It’s a powerful Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxident
Pinene (pine): Pinene is the most common terpene in the world, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also found in orange peels, pine needles, basil, and parsley. It’s been known to counter short-term memory loss from THC, improve airflow to your lungs, and promote alertness.
Myrcene (earthy, musky, fruity): Myrcene can be found in mangoes, hops, thyme, lemongrass, and basil, and is the most commonly found terpene in cannabis. It can compose up to 50 percent of a cannabis plants terpenes. Myrcene has also been shown to be useful as an anti-inflammatory, a sedative, and a muscle relaxer.
Linalool (floral, spicy): Linalool is found in flowers and spices like lavender and coriander, and is widely known for its stress-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant effects. The linalool terpene balances out the anxious side effects of THC, which makes it a useful treatment of both anxiety and psychosis. Some studies also suggest that linalool can boost the immune system and significantly reduce lung inflammation.
Limonene (citrus): Like its name suggests, limonene smells like lemons. It’s been shown to elevate mood, relieve stress, and has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It also improves absorption of other terpenes and chemicals through the skin, which makes it great in strains that you use for tinctures, ointments, and other topicals.
Humulene (hoppy, earthy): Humulene is found in hops, coriander, cloves, and basil. It’s best known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to suppress appetite (while many other strains only increase appetite).
Caryophyllene (peppery, spicy): Caryophyllene is found in thai basils, cloves, cinnamon leaves and black pepper. Studies show that it can help treat anxiety, depression, and act as an anti-inflammatory, which sounds like a big job to handle for one small terpene.
Terpinolene (smoky + woodsy): Terpinolene can be found in sage and rosemary, and has slightly sedative, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. It’s also been found to depress your central nervous system, and therefore induce drowsiness and reduce excitement or anxiety.