Terpens give aromatic plants and trees their unique scent. From potent dank cannabis buds to the zesty scent of lemons, these smells are all created by terpens. Most of the terpenes produced by the cannabis plant are also produced by other well know plants. Many of them are widely used and studied in aromatherapy. Terpens are technically called monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and phenols.
It's essential to remember terpens are different from cannabinoids. CBD, CBG, and THC (cannabinoids) are the superstar compounds of the cannabis world. Although recently people have been talking more and more about terpenes.
Terpenes Help Us Relax
Humans are primed to respond to terpenes. Millenniums ago, our ancestors breathed in the scents of a wide range of flowers and herbs, they might not have known it at the time, but they were also enjoying terpenes and possibly even terpenes from cannabis or hemp plants. Terpenes are light enough to float through the air and are also small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Notable herbalist Guido Masé, writes, "aromatics bring us into focused, flowing balance and help us function more efficiently." We have an immediate, visceral set of responses to the presence of terpenes when we breathe in their scents, our muscles relax, we become more sensitive to hormonal signals inside and around us. Our nervous systems move into a state of coherence that recalibrates the function of our internal organs and calm our stress response.
Terpenes Kill Germs
Terpenes molecules are also known to kill bacteria and viruses in the air and on surfaces. Renowned aromatherapist David Crow calls this property "community immunity." That is why so many modern sanitation products smell of lemon or pine.
Its believed that users (smokers or vapers) may encounter some of the anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits in your respiratory system of consuming terpenes if it comes into contact with the tissues of their lungs and your airway. However, this claim is still to be scientifically proven as any smoking also irritates your lungs, causing users to cough.
Moving Other Molecules
Many traditional pain remedies have spicy terpene or menthol terpens that act as carriers that help other molecules get through the skin. Cannabis and hemp terpenes in oils, lotions, and salves are believed to work similarly and can help penetrate into sore or inflamed tissues.
Different Strains, Different Terpenes Different Effects
You may have noticed that, whether you are talking about cannabis or hemp, no two strains of cannabis have the same scent. This is due to each plant having a unique terpene combination. Some smell musky, sour, and others fruity. Each strain of cannabis contains different terpenes, and each of these terpenes has different effects.
A strain of cannabis with a scent reminiscent of lavender will calm the mind and may help you fall asleep. A strain that smells like lemons might brighten your spirit and make you feel more alert. Cannabis strains that contain some of the critical terpenes from black pepper are supposed to be exceptionally efficient at relieving pain. This is still to be scientifically proven.
If you want to know which cannabis strain is best for you, besides checking the cannabinoid levels, follow your nose and your instincts. Your body will tell you which terpenes are right for you.