Introduction to Terpenes
Many associate cannabis solely with well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD; however, the plant’s complexity extends beyond these compounds. Enthusiasts are often less familiar with the critical role of terpenes, the aromatic engines behind cannabis’ sensorial experience.
Terpenes are abundant in the seedless female cannabis flowers. Through methods like steam distillation or vaporization, these terpenes can be extracted in various yields, given that some evaporate more easily than others.
While cannabinoids may not elicit distinct flavors—especially outside of high-concentration extracts—terpenes lend cannabis its distinctive aromatic and taste profiles. These compounds are not unique to cannabis; they are prevalent in many fruits and vegetables and contribute to their health benefits. For instance, limonene, prevalent in both lemons and cannabis, boasts anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, making it a common cleaning agent. Likewise, linalool imparts a soothing effect and is found in both lavender and cannabis, hinting at the overlapping qualities of these botanicals.
The interaction of terpenes with the human body is sophisticated, affecting neurotransmitters and receptors. They can act as serotonin uptake inhibitors, similar to antidepressants, and enhance norepinephrine activity akin to tricyclic antidepressants. Additionally, terpenes can modulate dopamine levels, suggesting that their influence extends to a wide array of physiological and psychological effects.
In summation, the exploration of terpenes opens up a deeper understanding of cannabis and its potential, highlighting how these compounds intertwine with our well-being beyond mere recreation.