Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds produced by a variety of plants. Terpenes are what give each flower, herb, and fruit its unique scent and flavor. Every day, everywhere you go, you encounter terpenes. When you zest a lemon, you smell terpenes. Open a jar full of herbs; what you sense is the terpenes. Stop and smell the roses? More like stop and smell the terpenes. While there is so much to learn, what you need to know is that terpenes are aromatic compounds that, when inhaled, applied to the skin or consumed, they enhance our experience and greatly influence flavors and aromas.
The cannabis plant is known to contain more than 100 terpenes,1 and most plants contain only a handful of terpenes, the different terpenes in cannabis are dependent upon a variety of factors such as the strain of cannabis, growing methods i.e., indoor/outdoor or environmental factors.2
Besides terpenes, the other major component of cannabis is the cannabinoids (most famous cannabinoids being THC & CBD). Dr. Ethan Russo, a board-certified neurologist, has been at the forefront of cannabis research and an early proponent of combining terpenes with cannabinoids to produce synergistic effects also known as the 'Entourage Effect'.3&4
Now that we have some understanding of the 'Entourage Effect, ' research 5&6 indicates that combining specific terpenes (Limonene, Pinene, Myrcene, Linalool, etc.) with cannabinoids have shown efficacy in treating mood disorders, depression & anxiety. One of the more straightforward explanations we have come across is thinking about one's cannabis experience as an aircraft. The cannabinoids such as THC, CBD control the altitude and velocity, but the terpenes provide the direction like the rudder. This direction, controlled by the terpenes, is the feeling of being couch-locked, in a chill or calm state, or a focused and alert state.
Inspired by the health benefits of cannabis, we have crafted the next generation of health drinks right here in New Zealand. Carefully blended with a selection of natural botanical terpenes, our drinks provide a calming or focused effect to enhance the experience of your everyday activities.
1 Ethan Russo – Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects
2 Variations in Terpene Profiles of Different Strains of Cannabis sativa L
3 John M McPartland and Ethan B Russo - Cannabis and cannabis extracts: Greater than the sum of their parts? Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics
4 Ethan B Russo - The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis No strain no gain Frontiers in Plant Science
5 The "Entourage Effect": Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety
6 Ethan B Russo & Jahan Marcu – Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads – Advances in Pharamcology