In our first post about “What are Terpenes” we talked about the basics of terpenes in some detail. As a brief reminder, Terpenes are those essential oils found in many plants, including the cannabis plant, that give plants their aroma and have unique effects on their environment, and on your health.
The Basics of Terpenes
Terpenes are found alongside cannabinoids like CBD and THC and are found naturally in plants. They serve many natural functions, such as repelling insects and animal grazers, preventing fungus and dealing with their environment. Terpenes are the foundation of aroma therapy since the different terpenes have been found to have special health benefits for humans individually and in combination with each other.
Cannabinoids and terpenes acting in combination with each other is often called the “entourage effect”. This effect has been proven to show greater health results than when using individual cannabinoids like CBD or individual terpenes, alone. People who are looking for the full entourage effect should select “full-spectrum” or “broad-spectrum” CBD products. There are also many terpenes products available that have put together a selection of terpenes to act in harmony towards specific health goals, such as sleep aids, anxiety reduction, or energy boosts.
cannabis Terpenes – primary and secondary
Of the more than 200 different terpenes in cannabis, there are 11 primary terpenes and about 20 secondary terpenes, based on their concentration levels. Many of the primary terpenes will be familiar scents to you, like Pinene which is responsible for that part of that pine smell or Limonene which, like it sounds, is found in rinds of citrus fruits.
In our first review of Terpenes, we reviewed the detailed aromas, origins and health uses for five of the eleven primary terpenes. These were Mycrene (musky and herbal), Pinene (pine and turpentine), Caryophyllene (peppery and spicy), Limonene (citrus) and Terpinolene (floral and herbal). We will discuss three more of the primary terpenes here and they all have something in common: pleasant, floral scents. These are Linalool, Ocimene and Geraniol.
Linalool, a floral scented terpene has properties that reduce pain, stress, and anxiety. It has more of a spicy, lavender scent found in hundreds of plants and is one of the building blocks of Vitamin E. Linalool has sedative and pain-reducing properties. Some plants you might know that are high in Linalool are mint, herbs, cinnamon, rosewood, and citrus fruits.
Linalool exists in so many plants because of its anti-microbial properties which protect the plant and provide benefits to people. Studies show that linalool influences the brain and helps to block certain receptors and enhance other sedatives. It helps reduce pain by reducing the transmission of pain signals. Research has shown it to help with Epilepsy and it appears to be an important key in the future of Alzheimer’s treatments.
It is not the highest concentration terpene in most cannabis strains but is in the “top 11” primary terpenes. Did you know that you probably consume 2 whole grams of Linalool each year through your normal diet? If you are taking a terpene blend specifically for a health challenge, this one is important for anxiety, depression, sleep, and pain reduction.
Ocimene has a pleasant odor naturally used as a plant defense. It is citrusy, sweet, and earthy. It provides that sweet and citrusy smell to cannabis with some wood undertones. Due to the wonderful smell, it is used in heavy concentrations for aroma therapy as well as perfumes. Some plants you might find familiar that are high in Ocimene are orchids and mint.
Ocimene’s benefits are not all fully understood, but studies point to anti-inflammatory properties and has an uplifting property. Studies also show it can be helpful in the treatment of diabetes symptoms.
Like Linalool, Ocimene is rarely in the top 3 of terpene concentrations of a cannabis strain. However, Ocimene is critically important in combination with other terpenes, particularly pinene and myrcene. Combined with these other terpenes, it has been shown in research to have antifungal, antiviral and anti-oxidant properties.
Geraniol is another common perfume component that has a rose and floral scent. It may come as no surprise that it is found in geraniums, which are known for insect-repelling properties. Geraniol can also be found in other plants such a blueberries, blackberries, carrots, lemongrass and peaches, just to name a few. It is one of the terpenes that provides that sweet aroma to cannabis.
Research shows that it can provide some protection against neuropathy. Like many other terpenes, Geraniol has antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties. As with the others, the magic is when it is combined with other terpenes that create the overall health advantages of the cannabis plant.
It is a primary ingredient in citronella oil which is a common mosquito repellant. Did you know geraniol is more than 400% more effective on animals than citronella at repelling fleas, ticks and mosquitos? A great terpene, not in high concentrations, but with greatly beneficial effects.
As we explore and educate about the magical benefits of terpenes, there are some common themes that emerge. Terpenes have emerged over time naturally in plants for specific purposes that are crucial to their survival. These characteristics can have dramatic effects on the human body as well. Not all of these benefits are fully understood, and the science emerging is very exciting. Cannabis plants and therefore CBD full-spectrum or terpene-specific products bring together combinations of terpene effects for your benefit. Keep leaning more in our continuing education library about Terpenes!