While many associate them with Cannabis Sativa L., these aromatic molecules are found in various plants, giving them distinctive aromas and tastes. But here’s the mystery: terpenes aren’t just about smell; they’re vital for plant growth and protection. Now, picture this: what if these compounds held the key to powerful medicinal benefits, working in ways we’re only beginning to understand? Stay tuned to unravel the secrets of terpenes, exploring their diverse roles and potential therapeutic wonders.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are natural substances found in plants like Cannabis Sativa L., and they serve various essential functions for the plant, such as helping it grow, protecting it from pests, and more.
In simpler terms, terpenes are what give plants, like Cannabis Sativa L., their distinctive smells. Different varieties of this plant have their unique mix of terpenes, which is sometimes called their “terpene profile.” You can also find terpenes in other things like tea, thyme, Spanish sage, and citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, and mandarin.
Terpenes are also noted to have various medicinal properties. So far only a small percentage of all 15000–20000 known terpenes have been researched.
Some of the known terpenes with therapeutic benefits are among the more than 200 terpenes that are found in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, these include:
- Myrcene (also known as 𝛽-myrcene)
Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes. It is also found in basil, mangos, and its namesake, Myrcia sphaerocarpa, is a medicinal shrub from Brazil traditionally used to treat diabetes, diarrhoea, dysentery, and hypertension. Myrcene’s aroma is earthy, fruity, and clove-like.
It is proposed that myrcene might increase the effects of other compounds in a variety of ways. One idea is that myrcene might affect how cell membranes work, especially the barrier that protects the brain. This could help substances like cannabinoids get into the brain more easily. But we don’t have enough good information yet to be sure. More research is needed to understand this. Myrcene has also been found to help substances pass through the skin more effectively.
Studies on animals have shown that myrcene has strong pain relief, calming, and anti-inflammatory effects. Scientists are currently studying myrcene in various ways to understand its potential benefits better
Limonene is regarded as the second most commonly found terpene and is found in citrus, as well as a wide variety of other plant species. It’s an important part of oils found in citrus peels, dill, cumin, neroli, bergamot, and caraway seeds.
Limonene comes in two types: l-limonene and d-limonene. Even though they have the same chemical makeup, they look like mirror images of each other. L-limonene smells like pine and turpentine, while d-limonene has a nice orange scent.
Research has shown that limonene might have different health benefits. It can help fight harmful substances in the body, reduce inflammation, and protect against certain diseases. Scientists are studying how Limonene can be used to treat long-term health problems because it helps the body deal with stress and inflammation, and it also helps control cell death.
Also,scientists have done many studies on limonene to see if it can protect our brains from diseases like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, seizures, anxiety, and stroke.
Pinene, commonly found in pine trees, comes in two forms—α-pinene and 𝛽-pinene. It is associated with the earthy, woody, fresh aromas of pine, and resin found in many non-edible parts of plants.
Many plants rich in pinene have been used in traditional remedies to address a range of ailments, such as gastrointestinal issues, seizures, inflammation, pain, snake bites, colds, fevers, hypertension, rheumatism, cancer, fungal infections, anxiety, and depression, among other conditions.
Many studies have shown that pinene might have a role in helping fight off infections, stopping blood clots, and even reducing pain and inflammation.
The terpene BCP, found in black pepper, cloves, hops, rosemary, copaiba, and cannabis, is quite special. It’s different from the well-known substances in cannabis like THC(tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD(cannabidiol). BCP is unique because it interacts with a system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system in a special way.
Imagine your body has tiny locks, and the endocannabinoid system has keys to these locks. BCP fits into a specific lock called the CB2 receptor. This is different from most other compounds in cannabis.
Scientists have been studying BCP to see how it can help us with various health issues. They’ve looked into its potential for treating problems like colitis (inflammation in the colon), osteoarthritis (a type of joint pain), diabetes, cerebral ischemia (a condition where the brain doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen), anxiety, depression, liver fibrosis (scarring of the liver tissue), and diseases similar to Alzheimer’s.
There’s also hope that BCP could aid in cancer treatment. It might make certain chemotherapy drugs work better and even slow down the growth of tumours.
Linalool is a substance found in many fragrant plants. There are two types of linalool, each giving off a different smell. (R)-linalool, found in plants like lavender, sweet basil, and eucalyptus, has a fresh and woody scent. On the other hand, (S)-linalool has a softer fragrance with sweet and floral tones.
Scientists believe linalool could be really good for our brain. It might protect our brain cells, reduce inflammation (when parts of our body get red and swollen), and fight harmful substances called oxidants. Some studies with people have shown that oils with lots of linalool might help with problems like feeling very worried, sad, or having trouble sleeping.
The name ‘Ocimene’ comes from the Greek word for ‘basil,’ which makes sense because basil plants contain this substance. It has a sweet and woody smell and can be found in things like mint, parsley, tarragon, kumquats, and mangos. It might have a role in stopping seizures, fighting fungal infections, and hindering the growth of tumours.
Nerolidol is one of the common components found in the essential oil of various medicinal plants. The aroma is woody and reminiscent of fresh bark.
A majority of the studies reveal that nerolidol is the major constituent in many plants that have shown to exhibit antimicrobial, anti-parasitic, anti-biofilm, anti-oxidant, anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, skin penetration enhancer, insect repellent and anti-cancer properties. The presence of nerolidol in these plants may be a contributing factor to these properties.
Why are Boiling points important?
Boiling points are important because they help us understand how different natural compounds, like terpenes, behave when they are heated.
Now, imagine if you had a pot of soup on the stove. You know that the soup needs to be heated to a certain temperature for it to taste just right. Similarly, each terpene has its own specific temperature at which it starts to turn into vapour and disappear. We call this temperature the boiling point of the terpene.
So, knowing the boiling points of terpenes is like knowing the perfect temperature for your soup. It helps scientists and researchers understand how these compounds work and how they can be used in things like perfumes, medicines, or even tasty food recipes.
Different terpenes have different boiling points. Some might start evaporating at a lower temperature, while others need more heat to disappear. By understanding these boiling points, scientists can use terpenes effectively in various products, making sure they are not lost before they elicit their effects.
Terpenes are volatile, natural and complex bioactive compounds. Each terpene will have a different point at which they start to evaporate and the boiling point of a terpene is the temperature at which it completely dissipates.
Boiling Points of Different Terpenes:
Different terpenes have different boiling points, below are some of the common terpenes and temperatures:
|Terpene||Boiling Point (°C)|
The ‘Entourage Effect’
The ‘entourage effect’ is the notion that the pharmacological effects of cannabis, as a whole extract, is greater than the sum of its individual chemical components.
The terpenoids in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant may directly or indirectly interact with the plant cannabinoids, potentially contributing to the therapeutic value of plant-based therapies. This synergistic effect is sometimes referred to as the ‘entourage effect’ and is the subject of ongoing research.
In summary, Terpenes are responsible for the smell of many plants. They play an important role in nature to protect the plant from pests and disease. However many terpenes also may have therapeutic benefits when taken as a component of plant-based medicine.
To learn more about plant-based medicines and terpenes or ask any questions, please contact our team on (03) 9077 2446 or email@example.com, or visit one of our dispensaries.