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What are cannabis terpenes?

In addition to the well-known calming and psychoactive effects of cannabis sativa, there is another important aspect of this plant that is characteristic of each strain: the smell. For example, the tops of two different cannabis plants can smell completely different, and it is not unknown to the seasoned cannabis smoker that there is a wide variety of aromas in the world of cannabis plants. The cause of this variation must be sought in the so-called terpenes, which have only recently received more attention in research into the effects of cannabis.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes can be defined as a broad category of aromatic chemicals. They occur naturally in many plants, and their purpose is to protect the plants. Bacteria, fungi and pests are repelled by certain aromas, while beneficial insects and other organisms are attracted to certain aromas. Terpenes can be found in, for example, lavender, black pepper, lemongrass and mint. However, the hemp plant is a very special plant, as it is said to contain over 200 different terpenes, all of which have a unique chemical structure. These unique compositions provide an exclusive aroma and characteristic effects on the human body.


Terpenes are said to enhance the action of THC and CBD can influence, but each terpene also has its own characteristics that in turn have its own influence on the synergistic capacity of a cannabis strain. This synergistic ability, also known as the 'entourage effect', provides the exclusive aromas and unique effects where the terpenes work together with the cannabinoids in the plant, such as THC and CBD. Despite the lack of exhaustive research on the effects of the different terpenes, these aromas appear to be very versatile. They may have an effect on mood, the immune system, sleep and appetite. Currently, at least 100 different terpenes have been identified in cannabis. Some well-known and prominent terpenes are limonene, linalool, eucalyptol, terpineol, myrcene and beta-caryophyllene. Each of these terpenes has unique properties, and therefore interacts in a unique way with
the cannabinoids to bring about the characteristic and potent effects of the cannabis plant.


Isolated terpenes can be used to enhance the aromas of e-liquids and extracts, also enhancing the effects. In addition, they can be used to make edibles.

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