All About Terpenes in Cannabis

Cannabis relies on public support. Without it, we can’t continue to redefine the new normal. For this reason, GoFire hosts an educational and networking event called 21st Century Cannabis In order to speak legitimacy into cannabis, GoFire invites experts to guest speak on a specific topic. This month’s guest speaker is Dr. Susan C. Trapp. She earned her PH.D on terpenes from the University of Maryland gaining her the reputation as the Queen of Terpenes. Dr. Trapp enjoys touring the country speaking on terpenes and providing consultation for the cannabis industry. Her expertise bridges the missing link between cannabis and wellness.

“Terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains. Some terpenes promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others promote focus and acuity.”

– Bailey Rahn, Leafly 

What is a Terpene?

Definition : A terpene is an organic compound found commonly in algae, fungi, plants and animals. Terpenes are the most diverse plant derivative. As of current, science identified 55K known terpenes (from 30K known in February 2019). Once regarded as simple plant waste, research finds terpenes play a critical role in the medical properties of nature. Terpene research exploded in wake of cannabis legalization. As a result, terpenes are classified as the largest class of natural products.

What is a natural product? A natural product is anything derived from life. A subclass of a natural product are metabolites. Metabolites are compounds essential to life. Consequently, terpenes are part of the secondary metabolite class. Did you know that often times our pharmaceuticals are made from natural products? Yes! Science discovered how to isolate terpenes and synthesize them in a lab. Resulting in most of the pharma available at your local drug store like aspirin and vitamin A.

Examples of Terpenes

Below are common household products that belong to the terpene family.

Vitamin A

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      Found in either plants or animals. Ideal for vision, bone growth, cell function and reproduction.

Aspirin

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      Derived from White Willow Bark. White Willow Bark is well known for its pain relieving properties – often chewed for immediate relief.

  • Menthol

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       Found in peppermint and other oils. Used to clear congestion and relieve pain.

  • Taxol

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      Taxol is a popular chemotherapy drug

  • Rubber

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      Rubber comes from the Hevea brasiliensis tree found in tropical climates.

Common Terpenes and Their Uses in Marijuana

  1. Limonene
    1. Found in citrus fruits and other plants, limonene promises to promote weight loss, block cancer-forming chemicals, treat cancer and bronchitis. Limonene’s distinct citrus aroma is known to elevate the high and alleviate stress
  1. Myrcene
    1. Myrcene is responsible for producing that well known mango effect in cannabis. Described as sweet, minty and leafy, mycrene is known to act as a natural painkiller and antioxidant. Known as well for it’s anti-inflammatory and sedative properties.
  2. Pinene
    1. As the name suggests, pinene comes from pine cones/needles, rosemary, dill, basil, and parsley. More research is needed to fully realize pinene’s potential. However, studies do find that pinene promises to alleviate short-term memory loss associated with THC. Also known to combat inflammation as well as acts as an agent to open your airways.
  3. Linalool
    1. Linalool is common in lavender and peanut leaves/stems. Characterized having a lavender smell with a hint of spice. On average people consume 200 grams of linalool naturally every year from the foods we eat. Research suggests linalool properties are ideal for decreasing depression, anxiety and supporting the immune system.
    2. Image result for linalool
  4. Caryophyllene
    1. Common in black pepper, cinnamon, clove, hops, oregano and basil. Caryophyllene gives cannabis that musky/funky smell and is known for it’s antioxidant and noninflammatory properties. Ideal for treating irritable bowel disease, anxiety and depression.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Have you ever wondered why cannabis affects you differently from your friends? Terpenes aren’t unanimous in their source. In fact, the environment greatly impacts the plant’s terpene composition. Similarly, our bodies determine chemically our ideal terpenes using two main receptors. The chart below identifies each receptor dominate location.

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In order to identify the right cannabis for you, we high encourage all users to smell their cannabis before purchase. Smelling the strain allows our nasal passage to pick up the terpene profile. As a result, we’ll experience either a “positive” or “negative” reaction. One example of a “positive” reaction is hair raising on your arms. Whereas, an example of a “negative” reaction is experiencing your stomach turn.

Learn More

Watch the video below to learn more about terpenes!