by the Farmer of Sunlight, James Hinkle
Do you smell that?
For over half a century the overwhelming aromas of cannabis plants have been the doom of their growers. Unlicensed growers take great measures to cover up the smell of their gardens through the use of expensive carbon filtration. By understanding the source of these smells, terpenes, we can identify specific medicinal properties within the plants themselves.
In this post we will be defining terpenes, exploring their medicinal values and providing a few examples of common terpenes.
Terpenes are the organic compounds and are responsible for the aroma that the plant lets off. In the case of cannabis, terpenes are produced within the trichome glands. The trichome glands are also the development site of cannabinoids, which determine the overall CBD potency of the product. In the event that a plant is approached by a predator it certainly does not have the option of flight and as such it will fight the predator through chemical warfare by means of aromas that are likely to repel. Various plants in nature also use the scents produced by their terpenes to attract pollinators for reproductive purposes. When eaten by caterpillars, corn will release a smell that attracts wasps to kill the threat.
As you can see, nature puts naturally occurring terpenes to use in a number of ways.
While terpenes naturally serve plants throughout nature, they also provide us with a long list of medicinal benefits.
One common example of this is through the use of aromatherapy.
By inhaling essential oils (composed of terpenes that have been extracted from plants) our mood can be shifted in the direction of either relaxation (lavender) or focus (rosemary). Aside from moods, these essential oils also regulate sleep patterns and healing processes. Though they are incredible on their own, terpenes do not shy away from working with other organic compounds from plants once consumed.
The current market focus on CBD potency as a shiny percentage on the side of a product is undermined by the fact that the various terpenes have unique impacts on the way that the CBD within the product actually makes you feel. Certain terpenes will increase the permeability of your cell membranes, which makes them more susceptible to CBD and as such results in the product feeling far more potent than one without that terpene. The medicinal benefits of the various terpenes is a lengthy list that cannot be covered in this one post, but by educating ourselves on them we can better treat our ailments. There are over 100 terpenes that have been identified within cannabis plants at this time. Some of these terpenes are far more common and plentiful than the others, we will cover those more readily available ones.
One of the most prevalent terpenes in cannabis is limonene, which produces a citrus type smell. Limonene contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties. Another common terpene is myrcene and it has an earthy aroma to it. Medicinal applications of myrcene include pain relief, anti-inflammation and it can even be used as an antibiotic. A unique terpene that is more useful when applied externally rather than consumed is caryophyllene and it has a very distinct peppery smell to it. When applied to the skin caryophyllene provides on-contact pain relief. Another topically applied terpene is pinene, which as the name implies smells like pine trees. Pinene serves to prevent the growth of microorganisms in an area and this property can be used to fight off infection. Borneol is a terpene that is best inhaled through essential oils and it has a menthol scent. When inhaled borneol functions as a calming sedative which will promote relaxation.
Understanding how to identify these various terpenes and property apply them is key to effective treatment. The CBD market is absolutely littered with companies that create products based on wrapping extremely low cost and low-quality products into flashy packaging and charging top dollar for them.
We owe it to ourselves to understand what terpenes are, how to apply them medicinally and most importantly how to actually identify the common terpenes ourselves through our sense of smell. The 100 known terpenes found in cannabis represent just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the vast array of terpenes available to us in nature. It is bitter sweet to know that the same aromas that had ruined lives in the past will serve to save lives in the future.
Using a CBD product with an unknown terpene profile to treat a headache can be as ineffective as choosing cough syrup over Aspirin as the solution. Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the above at James@HinkleHemp.com Respectfully, James Hinkle | Farmer of Sunlight
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