Terpenes and Terpenoids 

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Terpenes (C5H8)

Terpenes, pronounced (TUR-peen), are medicinal molecules and important building blocks in nature. They are part of a diverse group of organic HydroCarbons (C5H8) which are produced by a wide variety of plant life. Terpenoids are Terpenes which have undergone a chemical modification. They are the important building blocks for:

  • Odors
  • Hormones
  • Vitamins
  • Pigments
  • Steroids
  • Resins
  • Essential Oils
  • Cannabinoids

They are naturally released from their plants when temperatures are higher, assisting in seeding clouds which in turn, cool the plants. Terpenes have the ability to interact with each other synergistically for broad range of smells, qualities, and effects.

Effects when ingested

When Terpenes are ingested by animals, including humans, the following effects can be effectively measured:

  • Analgesic (painkiller)
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-carcinogen
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Muscle-relaer
  • Psychoactive (active molecules in Woodworm/absinthe, Salvia and Cannabis)
  • Sedative
  • Sensory enhancer
  • Vasoconstrictant
  • Vasorelaxant

Some Terpenes are poisonous to varying degrees and can also act as natural pesticides (poison hemlock)

 Terpenes in Cannabis

There are over 120 distinct Terpenes that can be manufactured by Cannabis, some in trace amounts and others in double-digit percentages. They are produced in the Trichomes, the same gland where THC is produced, comprising of between 10-20% of the total oils produced by the glands. Additionally, 10-29% of Cannabis smoke resin is composed of Terpenes/Terpenoids. Drug sniffing dogs are able to identify the fragrant Terpenes, not THC. Age, maturation and time of day can affect the amount and ratio of Terpenes. They are produced constantly, but are vaporized by heat and the light of day. Climate and weather can also affect terpene and flavonoid production. The same variety, even genotype, can produce a distinctly different Terpene profile when grown in different soils, under different conditions, with different fertilizers. In addition to the many circulatory and muscular effects, some Terpenes have the ability to interact with neurological receptors, while a few bind weakly to Cannabinoid receptors. Still other Terpenes appear to alter the permeability of membranes, on the cellular level, to allow either more or less THC, while other Terpenes affect serotonin and dopamine chemistry (neurotransmitters).

Examples of common Terpenes in Cannabis