Terpenes are a diverse class of organic aromatic compounds commonly found in all types of plants and insects. If you have ever used an essential oil, you have experienced the effects of terpenes. Cannabis plants are unique because they contain many types of terpenes in one plant, whereas most other plants may only contain one terpene. For example, d-limonene is commonly found in lemons, limes, and oranges, but combinations of d-limonene, β-caryophyllene and α-pinene can be found in one cannabis plant.
A strain like Lifter® from Oregon CBD has a combination of the terpenes β-myrcene, β-caryophyllene, cis/trans-nerolidol, and others, this is known as the cultivar’s terpene profile. These terpene profiles are specific to each strain of cannabis or hemp and are responsible for the different effects between the strains. Until recently, it was believed that the lineage of cannabis, sativa or indica, was the cause of the experienced effects, but now we know this is almost entirely due to the expressed terpene profile. More research needs to be done to fully understand how different types of strains affect the human body, but preliminary studies on individual terpenes have been promising.
As shown in the images above, each terpene has a different effect on our bodies. The most common terpenes in cannabis are β-myrcene and β-caryophyllene. β-myrcene, also in mango and lemongrass, may have the potential to relieve pain and inflammation, protect DNA from damage, act as an antioxidant and an antimicrobial agent. β-caryophyllene, also in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon, is the only terpene known to directly interact with the ECS. With the ability to engage with cannabinoid and opioid receptors, β-caryophyllene can contribute to enhanced pain-relief. Elektra’s terpene profile is high in α-pinene, a terpene that studies have described as being anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, and anti-anxiety. Lifter® has a high concentration of cis/trans-nerolidol, which has been associated with relaxation and aid in sleep. Knowing the terpene profile of strains is essential to understand how a strain may affect your mind & body. More information on terpenes and their effects can be found at Leafly.com/terpenes.