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Cannabis 101: Intro to Terpenes

Cannabis 101: Intro to Terpenes

What is a terpene? 

A terpene (aka “terp”) is a volatile chemical compound found in all types of plant life. Over 20,000 different terps have been identified to date. They are the “essential oils” of life, and are responsible for aromas/fragrances and flavors that we experience. When we smell a smell in the air, that is the result of the terpene reaching the temperature in which it becomes volatile, evaporating from a liquid to a vapor/gas, and becoming detectable by our senses. Terpenes are very abundant in cannabis!

Why are terpenes important?

Terpenes have been found to have health and therapeutic benefits such as stress and pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, enhancement of brain function, sedative effects, and more. With that being said, in combination with cannabinoids, terpenes can directly or indirectly contribute to the effects (feelings, health, therapeutic benefits) one experiences after consuming them. This applying to the consumption of cannabis as well!

Top three terpenes found in cannabis:

The top three terpenes that are found most often in cannabis include:

  • Myrcene – Also found in foods such as mangos, myrcene offers a mildly sweet flavor. According to a 2015 study, myrcene may aid in reducing inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.
  • Caryophyllene – A spicy terpene that is also found in other plants such as black pepper, rosemary and cloves. This terp has been identified to aid with promoting relaxing and reducing anxiety.
  • Limonene – This is a citrusy terp that has been found to help reduce stress.

Learn more about cannabis terpenes over on Leafly’s Cannabis 101 content stream.

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