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Terpenes in Cannabis Oil: How Do They Affect Your Experience?

Cannabis, whether bred and grown for recreational or medicinal use, contains hundreds of compounds and substances. Of these, the cannabinoids THC and CBD are not only the best known but are also the most studied. In addition to cannabinoids, there is also a particular component in marijuana plants that doesn’t get enough praise or attention: terpene. Terpenes are seldom discussed, so for today, we’ll take a look at this group of compounds, what it does, and – most importantly – how it affects your experience with cannabis.

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What Exactly are Terpenes?

Terpenes refer to organic hydrocarbons that plants — not just cannabis — create to produce distinct aromas and flavors. In short, terpenes are the very reason that flowers, fruits, and herbs smell like they do. As such, they’re used as the basis of fragrances and flavorings in many organic products. In addition, they can also serve as a defense mechanism against living things that eat plants, like deer or insects. Terpenes allow the plant to emit specific odors or scents that make them less palatable to herbivores.

Studies have shown that terpenes can actually inhibit the breakdown of the feel-good chemical serotonin in the human brain, thus prolonging its effect. They can also heighten dopamine activity, which plays a big part in how we feel pleasure. Even more compelling is how the terpenes in cannabis have been found to provide the same benefits as antidepressants, but without the debilitating side effects that such medications can wreak upon the human body.

Terpenes also exhibit what is known as the entourage effect, a term used by board-certified neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher Dr. Ethan Russo. This effect basically refers to the ability of certain compounds found in cannabis to work together and either bolster each other’s effects or reinforce it. In the case of terpenes, the entourage effect mellows out the psychoactive and intoxicating effects of THC when it is present in cannabis.

How Does this Affect Your Cannabis Experience?

Is mellowing out the effects of THC a bad thing? Do terpenes hinder you from enjoying cannabis’s effects? Not particularly, no. While the heady and exhilarating effects of THC in marijuana can certainly relax as well as stimulate, it can also have a very strong effect on the body. This can do more harm than good, as taking too much THC can lead to paranoia and anxiety, among other negative sensations.    

 So in essence, terpenes make the effect of marijuana much easier to deal with, thus enhancing the herb’s medicinal and beneficial effects on the consumer. It can help boost the herb’s relaxing and pain-relieving qualities while lessening the anxiety and paranoia associated with high doses of THC.

If you want to find out for yourself how terpenes can change your marijuana experience, you can look for products that have the following well-known terpenes in their list of ingredients.

  • Myrcene: A natural antioxidant with an earthy aroma, myrcene is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.
  • Limonene: Limonene has a sweet, citrusy aroma, as well as antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
  • Pinene: Pinene smells a lot like a pine trees and is known for antiseptic and antitumor properties. At the same time, it is also used in treating asthma.
  • Terpinolene: Terpinolene has a sedative effect and produces a smoky or woody odor. It is also believed to have antifungal, antioxidant, and antibacterial roles.

In conclusion, finding terpenes in marijuana products is a good thing, and the presence of this substance in medical and recreational marijuana should be relished. This substance and its varied flavors and scents not only add a different depth to your cannabis experience, it can also help you enjoy better health. 

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