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Embracing Terpenes

Terpenes are becoming the new darlings in the Cannabis world as we learn more about them and understand how important they are when determining how to best use this herb.

Terpenes are the aromatic organic hydrocarbons found in essential oils of plants. Simply put, they are not psychoactive but provide the smell and taste of plant as well as their own individual medicinal benefits.

Green Relief talks about Terpenes on its blog, saying that Terpenes are to Cannabis like notes are to wine. It is the aromatic metabolites found in the oils of all plants

Terpenes are nature’s scents, the natural essential oils found in all kinds of plant parts. They developed to help the plant survive: they defend plants against predators, pathogens and competitors. Plants produce these oils to protect from bacterial, fungal or viral infections.

Not only are terpenes found in Cannabis, but also in all kinds of plants and their parts: flowers, leaves, fruits, seeds, barks, woods, roots, and rhizomes and sap.

According to Green Relief’s website, there are more than 20,000 terpenes in existence and at least 100 produced by the Cannabis plant. Terpenes, when dried and cured, often are harvested as essential oils for use in various health and wellness products.

Now that sativa and indica strains are so interbred, Terpenes may be the most important factors to determine what we need to explore and to differentiate among the strains and to decide what strain works best for what medical condition. Herbalist Tammi Sweet explains that two plants can have the same amount of CBD and THC cannabinoids, but one plant – with the terpene Mycrene – can make you sleepy, while the other one – with the terpene Terpinolene – will keep you up all night.

“Terpenes are the major differentiator – THC is not the major determinant,” echoes J. Raber in Understanding Cannabis Diversity for Today’s Medical Applications at the 2015 Medical Cannabis Conference in Aracata, CA

The various terpenes work with one another as well as with CBD, THC and other cannabinoids. This creates a union of compounds that achieves better results as a group than each would in isolation – providing what is termed the entourage effect.

For information on some individual terpenes and their super powers, keep visiting Embracing Cannabis blog in the following weeks.

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