You know how plants and fruit have totally different smells and tastes? You can thank terpenes for that. Terpenes are found in all living plants it’s what you can consider the plant’s “essential oils.” These essential oils are what you’re smelling and tasting in the plant material itself.
And since terpenes can be extracted from plants, you can consume, inhale, or apply them directly to your skin for medicinal benefits and natural relief.
Benefits of Using Terpenes
Like essential oils used for aromatherapy, terpenes can be used on their own for therapeutic benefits.
Certain terpenes have been shown to bind to specific cannabinoid receptors, just like THC and CBD, to enhance the effect of cannabis on your body. Known as The Entourage Effect, the benefits of terpenes add to the effects you find using marijuana/hemp to create an even better experience.
While cannabinoids are odorless and tasteless, it’s terpenes that give each marijuana strain its unique smell and flavor profile.
Here are some common terpenes and their effects:
Limonene, citrus scent.
Benefits: mood enhancer, stress reliever, anti-depressant properties.
Pinene, pine scent.
Benefits: anti-inflammatory properties, promotes alertness and memory retention, helps improve airflow to lungs.
Linalool, floral scent with a hint of spice and lavender.
Benefits: mood enhancement, anti-microbial, anti-depressant and sedating properties, immune system strengthener, stress and anxiety reducer.
Myrcene, musky, herbal, earthy scent with a hint of cloves.
Benefits: sedating, relaxing, helps to induce sleep, known antioxidant.
Differences Between Cannabis Derived and Non-Cannabis Derived Terpenes
In the same way essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus are extracted from their respective plants, so too can terpenes be extracted from the plants which make and house them.
There are two main categories of terpenes: Cannabis derived and Non-Cannabis derived.
Pros of Cannabis Derived Terpenes
Terpene enthusiasts say cannabis-based terpenes give off a “more synergistic” Entourage Effect since you can match specific terpenes from the same plant strains and use them together as one.
It’s been said that these terpenes allow you to actually taste the plant during inhalation.
Cons of Cannabis Derived Terpenes
Harder to source because they have to go through a complicated, time-consuming extraction process.
Higher cost for consumers. All these additional labor hours for a small supply of product raises the price for everyone.
Greater inconsistencies too since they’re taken from different plants and strains each time.
Non-Cannabis Derived Terpenes
There are two types of non-cannabis derived terpenes:
Synthetic terpenes, which are created in a lab using chemical ingredients.
Natural terpenes, which are extracted from the actual plant or fruit.
You can find natural non-cannabis derived terpenes that are identical to terpenes you’ll find in cannabis, such as Limonene in lemons and Pinene in pine or rosemary.
Pros of Non-cannabis derived terpenes
No known psychoactive effects. This makes health benefits more attainable for a wider population who may not enjoy this aspect of marijuana.
Cost less because the terpenes can be sourced easier and in bulk.
Just as effective as those derived from cannabis plants, again because they’re the same.
It can also bind to cannabinoid receptors, create more receptors, and even make the cell membranes of those receptors easier for cannabinoids to get inside (aka work better).
Cons of Non-cannabis derived terpenes
It doesn't taste or smell like cannabis, because they’re not extracted from cannabis.
They may have a stronger flavor.
Are Terpenes Legal?
Since terpenes extracted from cannabis plants fall under the category of marijuana, cannabis derived terpenes are considered illegal on the federal level, but legal in recreationally legal states.
Non-cannabis derived terpenes are legal in all 50 states. That’s because while these terpenes may be the same found in cannabis plants, they’re not made from cannabis plants but from plants which are legal, like herbs and fruit.
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