There are over 100 different types of terpenes found in the cannabis plant, though most are extremely understudied. Terpenes are secreted in the same glands of the cannabis plant (trichomes) as cannabinoids.
So what are terpenes?
Terpenes are pungent oils that give cannabis strains distinctive smells such as pine, berry, and citrus. They also give the plant its color and its flavor. These terpenes are developed by the plant to entice pollinators and to repel predators. With regards to the terpene influence on marijuana consumption, terpenes interact with cannabinoids, helping increase the various effects that the user is often seeking.
The three main terpenes are examined below. Please note, none of these have a psychoactive effect like that of THC, though terpenes must also be heated for their benefits to be excreted.
Limonene is a terpene that has a very citrus aroma. This terpene is recognized for having many health benefits such as weight loss, treatment of cancers, depression, and anti-bacterial qualities. Limonene is also found in citrus fruits, as well as juniper and peppermint plants.
Pinene is the most well-known of the three terpenes. This terpene acts as a natural bronchodilator and expectorant, as well as increasing mental energy and mood.
Pinene has a distinct pine smell and can also be found in sage, rosemary, basil, and of course pine needles.
Myrcene has a much different aroma than that of limonene and pinene. Often described as earthy, musky, or that of cloves. he effects are compared to that of an Indica in that it provides a sedating effect, which helps the user relax.
Health benefits include reducing inflammation, pain, and muscle tension. Myrcene can also be found in thyme, mangos, and lemongrass.
More terpenes are out there
While this article only touches on three main terpenes, there are quite a few more that have been found to have a variety of human health benefits.