Answers From Industry Experts: What Are Terpenes?

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This month’s edition of “Answers From Industry Experts” features Alyssa, a Terpology Education Manager at True Terpenes. This cannabis industry leading company is at the forefront of the terpene movement; providing information and terpenes to purchase online LEGALLY. At buyterpenes.com a consumer is able to browse a wide selection of terpenes that mimic the effects of certain strains and phenotypes of cannabis. For example, if a person found that their anxiety is relieved by the strain Gorilla Glue, then that person benefits from the terpenes within that certain strain. That person can then log on to True Terpenes and purchase a combination of terpenes that is made to mimic the medical benefits of the actual strain, in this case, GG #4.

Alyssa Answers Important Questions About Terpenes

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally occurring aromatic compounds, most commonly found in plants. Anytime we're in nature, we're surrounded by them! The unique blend of isolated terpenes is why roses smell light and floral while conifer trees have an invigorating spice. Over 30,000 terpenes have been identified and understanding what makes each special is empowering product developers in many industries. Plants use terpenes in a variety of ways, including defense and communication. We use terpenes to create dynamic flavors, aromas, and effects for our customers.

How do terpenes work with cannabinoids?

True Terpenes and cannabinoids interactionMost cannabis users are familiar with terms like indica and sativa but what they don't understand is that these are really just rudimentary ways of describing the plant's diverse and unique blend of terpenes. An indica profile often times is high in a terpene isolate called myrcene. Knowing that indica strains often yield a calming "couch lock" effect, it's no surprise to find that myrcene is one of the drivers behind this phenomenon. Conversely, sativa strains are ripe with terpenes that yield uplifting and energizing effects. If THC is the vehicle, terpenes are the steering wheel. Without them, there would be little way to vary the effects between cannabis strains and we would all experience the same linear high no matter what variety we choose.

So we see now that terpenes work with THC to create the beloved "entourage effect." Terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids and other phytochemicals to unlock the vast therapeutic potential of cannabis. This happens within our endocannabinoid system – that's right, our bodies naturally create cannabinoids and very much thrives by doing so! The endocannabinoid system is an endogenous neuronal system in the human brain. This system serves a variety of functions, including but not limited to stress responses and rewards. Insert THC and now you have a complete and complex high.

("True Terpenes: Entourage Effect", n.d.; https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/synergy)

Do terpenes play a role in the medical benefits of cannabis?

Absolutely, terpenes synergize with cannabinoids to create the effects known to each strain. As medical and recreational cannabis access continues to increase, there are more and more formal studies being conducted to explore the connectivity between cannabis and terpenes and any potential associated medical benefits. We have been happy to support these causes by making our products available when approached because we always look forward to reading the findings. Anything that we do should have a clear alignment to improving quality of life.

What would you tell someone who believes that THC is the only factor to consider with cannabis?

THC is an important factor in your overall cannabis experience and is responsible for getting you "high". However, if you only focus on THC and discount the role that terpenes play, you are missing out on what makes cannabis special. We rather easily apply the terms indica and sativa when making purchase decisions, but have you ever noticed that some strains are more scented than others? Ever noticed how some flower seems to give you a deeper and more layered high while somehow being lower in THC? Cannabis that is loaded with terpenes is going to have a bigger effect and for many, the perception is that it is more potent. When purchasing a product, ask your budtender, not about the THC percentage, but rather which cannabis strains are exploding with terpenes. It's the greatest indicator of quality in flower that we can recommend.

Where else are terpenes found in nature?

  • Plants, such as lavender which is rich in linalool
  • Hops can be rich in myrcene, humulene, and beta-caryophyllene
  • Resin/sap from conifer trees is a robust source of alpha-pinene
  • Citrus fruits provide citral and limonene
  • Insects (termites, swallowtail butterflies) emit certain terpenes as a defense mechanism…but we stick to plant derived.

What are some ways I can use terpenes in my life? (e.g. diffuser, dabbing them, etc.)

    • Mixing or in isolated form in diffusers to create beautiful aromas and impactful effects
    • Diluted properly in foods and beverages for flavor, aroma, and effect
    • Adding flavor, aroma and entourage effects to vape pen cartridges
    • Mixing with concentrates
    • Reviving or enriching old or maybe lackluster flower
    • Diluted in lotions, balms, soaking salts, etc…for aroma and effect
    • Flavoring and adding effects to tinctures
    • Crafting full-spectrum edibles.

Terpenes should always be properly diluted and are extremely potent. So, a little goes a long way!

What is the most effective method to consume terpenes?

True Terpenes Tinctures Brand

One of the great things about terpenes is that they can be consumed in a multitude of ways; in food, in a vape-able solution, in lotions and even diffusers. A common misconception is that they need to be combined or consumed with cannabis or activated using heat. Try a drop of your favorite strain profile or an isolate like limonene in your favorite cocktail and the impact is impossible to miss.

How many terpenes are typically found in a cannabis strain?

Over 200 different terpenes have been identified in cannabis strains. The more you can find, the better.

How do you extract terpenes from a plant?

Via a process called vacuum distillation. Distillation is the process of separating components in a liquid mixture. In vacuum distillation, this is done by using a vacuum system to reduce the boiling point of the liquid, allowing the compounds to be separated out at lower temperatures, reducing the risk of burning any of them off. Favorite monoterpenes such as myrcene and limonene burn off very easily so managing a gentle and controlled temperature curve is absolutely essential. Nature is the best chef when it comes to terpene blending.

What is your favorite terpene? Why?

Valencene – From what we know, it is both a stimulant and anxiolytic. Meaning it raises awareness while at the same time also relaxing. Very unique compared to most stimulants such as coffee.

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