Some of the most appealing qualities of cannabis plants are the flavors and aromas people experience when consuming them. Several strains are named for their tastes and scents. A terpene is an organic compound responsible for all of the aromas and flavors that cannabis users enjoy. Similarly, flavonoids share responsibility in how our senses respond and the combined effect produces flavor, aroma, and sensation.
The Entourage Effect
Flavor and aroma are not all you will receive from terpenes. They also support other molecules to produce cerebral and physiological effects. Secondary phytochemicals and metabolites mesh with the synergy of cannabinoids and terpenes. This produces an entourage effect and is the reason that terpenes are such an intricate part of the cannabis experience.
Hundreds of molecules are contained in Cannabis. These molecules can directly interact with our minds and bodies. Terpenes bind to the cells and their receptors and influence our experiences.
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Many plant species produce unique terpenes. They are fragrant compounds that are responsible for the distinctive aromas of various plants and flowers.
Nearly 200 terpenes are present in the cannabis plant in varying combinations and concentrations. They are the largest group of recognized phytochemicals in marijuana. The total potential number of terpenes a plant could produce is unknown. Scents specific to each cannabis variety result from the unique balance and blend of terpenes produced during a plant’s breeding.
Current speculation suggests that the terpene profile of a plant influences the effects a strain produces. Learning which combination of marijuana terpenes are from the cultivar that you most enjoy, can aid you in finding which cannabis flowers or concentrates benefit you most.
Will Terpenes Make You High?
These aromatic compounds are important in producing and enhancing the beneficial effects you receive. However, they do not make you high on their own. Consumption of terpenes alone does not offer noticeable psychoactive effects. As with several beneficial fruits, plants, and vegetables that we consume, we receive a large number of phytochemicals each time we eat. Their combinations compose the therapeutic and nutritional properties we enjoy. Although these compounds and molecules offer isolated benefits, the entourage effect felt during the consumption of multiple interactions justifies consumers’ desire for cannabis in whole-plant form.
The bodily processes that take place when cannabinoids and terpenes combine may increase the body’s blood-brain barrier, decreasing permeability. It may also affect how THC binds to their CB1 receptors. Terpenes and cannabinoids have different targets. Their combined activity at receptors and other cellular pathways provide a better outcome than each would alone. One benefit, for example, is the relief of inflammation. Research continues into the benefits of terpenes derived from cannabis. What we know at this point are results from studies of their isolated properties. While there is still massive research to be done, it is clear that phytochemical diversity plays a key role in outcomes.
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Other Terpenes & Uses
There are currently several uses for terpenes from many sources other than cannabis. Essential oils involve some of the most common terpenes. People often use essential oils for aromatherapy and other holistic healing methods. Flower and plant-derived terpenes have been similarly used in fragrances such as colognes, perfumes, and other scented body care.
The cannabis industry uses terpenes to create new flavor combinations and enhance natural flavor and scent profiles in a single strain. They also use them to replace the terpenes that might have been lost in the original process of extraction.