WHAT ARE TERPENES AND WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
A less commonly used word than terms such as cannabinoid or sativa, terpenes are another compound found in cannabis. Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants, and even some animals. Whilst most plants contain terpenes, they are largely associated with cannabis due to its high concentration of terpenes.
Currently, scientists have discovered around 20,000 different terpenes in the plant world. In some plants, the role of terpenes is to attract pollinators, whereas in other plants, they serve to repel predators, like insects or other animals. Terpenes can also help a plant to recover from damage, and support a plant’s immune system by keeping infectious bacteria away.
Terpenes and their derivatives, terpenoids, are the primary constituents of the essential oils of many types of plants and flowers. Essential oils are used commonly as both fragrances in perfumery and complementary medicine, such as aromatherapy.
When it comes to cannabis, terpenes are what make certain strains smell or taste different from others, and they have varying potential health benefits. It is thought that there are over 150 different types of terpenes in the cannabis sativa plant alone.
Terpenes and cannabinoids are both active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant which perform important functions. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are largely responsible for the psychoactive, therapeutic, and medicinal benefits of cannabis. Terpenes are lesser-known compounds found in cannabis and are responsible for flavor and smell, however increasing research demonstrates the potential therapeutic benefits of terpenes.