Mmmmm, what smells so good?
Your Nose Knows
You could say that terpenes add some magic to our lives. When you get that very first whiff of pine on a mountain trail, that is a terpene gift. So is that feeling of relaxation that washes over you when you pass your hand over a lavender plant and the warm love feeling you may experience from smelling a rose. Terpenes trigger our emotional responses and they offer us other benefits as well.
Terpenes are naturally produced oils in plants that exhibit a variety of aromas which attract pollinators, fight off pests, and prevent fungus growth. There are a wide variety of terpene aromas and it is the terpenes in cannabis that give the plant its distinctive musky smell and cannabinoids themselves are actually a subset of terpenes. They also give plants their unique flavors.
Since all of earth’s life forms seem to be organically connected in some way, it may not surprise you to learn that scientific studies have revealed that humans have very specific reactions to terpenes too. Some terpenes give us the energy we feel when we walk through a pine forest and some make us feel calmer. These are actually things that humans have known for a very long time and terpenes are used extensively in cosmetics, teas, perfumes, etc. Essential oils, extracted from a variety of plants have also been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
We know that terpenes also play a dominant role in the experiences that people have with cannabis. They can provide therapeutic benefits just like the better known cannabinoids THC and CBD. Some cannabis terpenes also bind to endocannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and body and contribute to the effects of cannabis as one of the critical variables in influencing the Entourage Effect. For example, myrcene can increase the bioavailability of D9THC as it somehow gets the THC molecule to adjust its shape and become more receptive to the CB1 receptor.
One interesting thing about terpenes and the Resonate effect targets has to do with how our system associates smells with effects. We have found that to a large extent our association with the smell and taste correlate to a high degree with the impact on the body. So, for example, limonene (commonly found in citrus fruits) is stimulative, linalool (also found in lavender) is calming and Eucalyptol helps to clear the mind. This is likely due to the natural physical effects on the human body that have become unconsciously associated with those terpenes.
Recent technology has allowed us to isolate these terpenes and to take advantage of their individual characteristics to customize blends. This exciting terpene frontier is where the Resonate product team lives and works. We have extensive experience in understanding the role of terpenes in producing specific, repeatable, beneficial effects and we are learning more every day!
For us, the terpenes are but one variable out of several that determine the final efficacy of our carefully crafted blends. In addition to the terpene concentrations, the cannabinoids, the delivery mechanism, and the emulsification all come into play. It is the complexity of all these elements coming together that make what we do as much art as science.
The most important thing for us as product developers and for you as informed consumers to know about terpenes is that they are very significant. Terpenes play a major role in the experiences you can have with cannabis. We are using our experience and discoveries to create products that precisely deliver the experience you are looking for each and every time.
Here are some popular terpenes that you may have heard about.
Myrcene has an aroma that is earthy, musky, and with a hint of mango fruit. It is found in the oil of citrus fruits, mangos, eucalyptus, hops, bay leaves, lemon grass, wild thyme, and many other plants. We find that this terpene to be gently relaxing, promoting a sense of calm and primarily amplifying the effects of THC.
Pinene has a distinctive scent of pine and fir. Pinene is known for anti-inflammatory properties. Also, when you smell it, you may start decorating your house for the winter holidays. We also find that this terpene can add to the sense of connectivity. It can also be a heady experience, helping to elicit a sense of play and love.
Limonese has a strong citrusy smell like limes, lemons and oranges. Limonene can cause a general energy boost and mood lift. Besides its energetic boost, in our experience limonene supports a sense of adventure, exploration and a Fooz Ball like competitive spirit. Limonene has also showed promise as an anti-depressant.
Beta-Caryophyllene is found in many plants such as cloves, black pepper, lavender, and cinnamon leaves and has a woody, spicy and peppery aroma. These terpenes are can help to provide relief from inflammatory pain and arthritis. We have found this terpene also supplements the effects of CBD and can be grounding and help with a sense of flow.
Linalool promotes relaxing and calming effects. It is commonly found in lavender and several other spices and flowers. Although somewhat sedative in nature, this terpene can help with anxiety and can also have a sensual edge to it.
The classic categories of indica, sativa and hybrid are derived from the terpene content of various flower strains. Without terpenes, there would be no differentiation in effects, even in natural flower strains. At Resonate, we are studying the effects of a wide variety of terpenes and are using them to refine the experiences offered through our Cordial products.