Views From The Leaf

The Summit Releaf Blog


March 9, 2020


What is a terpene and what role does it play with medical marijuana?  Terpenes themselves are a large class of organic compounds produced by plants, usually conifers, though some are created by insects.  The name “terpene” is derived from the word “terpentine,” which is an antiquated spelling of “turpentine.” Terpenes are the most common plant chemicals found in nature.  They are the aromatic components of virtually all essential plant oils and can be found in vegetables, fruit, and spices.  The FDA even recognizes them as safe food additives.  Additionally, they are pharmacologically active and synergize well with cannabinoids.  Some common terpenes found in cannabis include, limonene, myrcene, linalool, and humulene.

People that enjoy the smell of perfumes or fresh flowers are really enjoying the smell of terpenes.  Cannabis also produces very distinct terpenes itself and they can vary with over two hundred distinct aromas.  Long time users know that varying strains produce dramatically different effects.  Some are stronger and more cerebral while others can be less intense and felt more throughout the body.  After decades of study it is becoming more and more clear that terpenes play a far larger role in these variances than previously known.

One study conducted in the Netherlands concluded that terpenes that ended with “-ol” like linalool, bisabolol and guailol were found to be most common in sativa strains while the effects mostly associated with their relaxing and body centric effects would usually be found in strains of indica cannabis.  Sativas are usually known for their cerebral and stimulative properties.

Most of the terpenes found in the cannabis plant are found in the resin heads that top the glandular trichomes.  Unfortunately terpenes can be very volatile and do not usually keep their distinct fragrance once the plant has been cut and dried for packaging.  Many individuals want to begin classifying cannabis plants by their terpenes rather than the standard way of denoting them.  This would be a measure to help individuals group cannabis plants not necessarily by genus but by the effects the specific plant might have once ingested.  In this way patients might find it easier to navigate all of the various products and better equip themselves with a strain that alleviates their condition best.

Alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are monoterpenes found in many different coniferous trees.  Pinene is directly responsible for the smell we associate with Christmas trees.  One of the more fascinating aspects of pinene is that it inhibits enzyme activity in the brain that helps short term memory.   Some strains of cannabis that include alpha-pinene as well as beta-pinene are Blue Dream and Kona Gold.  These strains have been bred for their medicinal properties and are now commonly found throughout the country in both medical and recreational states.

Limonene is another common terpene that is usually associated with citrus fruit.  Some of the strains that have been known to contain limonene are Tangerine Dream and Gelato.  Euphoric effects often accompany cannabis that includes the terpene limonene.  OG and Bubba Kush are two more cannabis strains that contain Limonene.

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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