The Future of Cannabis?
There are few industries so progressive and always moving than that of the Cannabis industry. It seems like every day there is some sort of new advancement, or new mechanism for the Cannabis user to enjoy. From new edibles, to entirely new types of ways to consume Cannabis, it just seems like there is always something new. One of the most exciting recent developments in the world of Marijuana is all of the research, and development going into Terpenes. Since this is such a new field of study within the world of Cannabis, many people are not exactly familiar with terpenes, what they do, or really anything about them! But fear not! We are here to help you! Today we will be discussing exactly what terpenes are, what they do, and the very important role that they are playing in the future of Cannabis. Join us, and let us walk down the wonderful road of terpenes.
What are Terpenes?
A terpene is, “any of a class of monocyclic hydrocarbons of the formula C 10 H 16, obtained from plants,” according to dicionary.com. In English, terpenes are what creates the aroma that accompanies plants. Within the Marijuana plant, the terpenes are created and secreted from the same glands that produce all of the Cannabinoids that we know and love such as THC and CBD. It is these special chemical combinations that create the many, and vastly differing smells that are found in the individual Cannabis strains. We all know that Marijuana strains are in fact quite different from one another; and we are only truly starting to understand what these differences are. As it turns out, along with of course the composition of important chemicals like THC, the terpenes actually play a major role. There is a great deal more to Cannabis and its medicinal properties than the Cannabinoid content. Many of the effects, along with the taste and smell of a strain will be dependent on the terpenes that are present. Each and every strain will have a different combination of terpenes, and concentrations leading to the massive variety of Cannabis strains that we see today. Terpenes however are not unique to Cannabis, although there are over one-hundred distinct kinds found so far to be present in Marijuana. Biologically speaking, Cannabis, along with most if not all plants, came along terpenes evolutionarily as a mechanism of survival. The wide range of scents allows for plants to defend themselves by giving out an off-putting scent to predators, or by attracting insects for pollination. Terpenes play a major role within the plant world, and we are just starting to discover their potential in medicine and pharmacology. The way in which a plant is grown, the climate, its genetics, and so many other factors play a role in the types of terpenes that are developed, and when. While terpenes in general play an important role in the life of plants, what they can do for the world of Cannabis might just as extraordinary. In short, terpenes are the chemicals secreted by plants that create their distinct aromas; and is in part responsible for the vast variety of Cannabis strains available today.
What do Terpenes do?
Now that we know more about specifically what terpenes are, as well as where they came from, let’s delve farther into the role that they play specifically for Marijuana. As we have discussed, it is the terpenes that are specifically responsible for the smell, and taste of a strain; but they do much more than that. We have begun to learn that different scents, different trepanoids, can actually stimulate different effects within humans. For example, the specific chemicals that form the terpene Limonene, which you probably guessed has a citrus flavor, is responsible for effects such as an elevated mood or stress relief, and can help in such ways as being a “Antifungal, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, [which] dissolves gallstones, [is a] mood-enhancer; may treat gastro-intestinal complications, heartburn, [and]depression” according to leafly.com. Knowing this, we can recognize that any Cannabis strain that produces a citrus like flavor, has Limonene in it, and will possess these qualities to some extent. Of course, there are many other chemicals involved that can change the effects of specific terpenes. In fact, it is the unique ability of terpenes to interact with other chemicals, like cannabinoids, so well that it can be labeled, “The Entourage Effect”. It is this ability that allows different terpenes to not only interact with each other, but also Cannabinoids like THC and CBD to create entirely new effects, that makes Cannabis such an extraordinarily diverse plant. The unbelievable amount of diversity that you can get when terpenes are isolated to create specific concentrates, or strains, is where the magic starts. In addition to all of that even, the different temperatures at which terpenes are exposed to, can also lead to different effects and smells being released! We have actually been able to find the optimum temperature for many popular terpenes, and thus have been able to fully unlock their potentials. Of course, this only applies when one is vaping versus smoking, but you get the idea. Are you beginning to see how this all works and comes together now? This opens the door to many possibilities when it comes to Cannabis consumption, be it recreational, or especially, medical.
The Role of Terpenes in the Future of Cannabis:
As we learn more about terpenes, it continues to become ever more apparent, the great role that they have to play in Cannabis consumption. When it comes to those of us who may be enjoying Marijuana on a more recreational level, the discovery and exploitation of the knowledge we have gained this far can lead to strains that exhibit only absolutely specific tastes and flavors. Along with this, we now have the option to have terpene specific products, and nothing else! Imagine edibles that not only taste really good (and not like dirt) but exhibit the specific tastes and aromas of your favorites strains! There are just so many possibilities! When it comes to things on the medical front, things here are a little more exciting. Now that we know that certain terpenes are responsible for not only certain effects, but of causing other active chemicals to behave differently, we can manipulate these effects to our advantage to more accurately treat specific ailments. Imagine a Cannabis product with all of the terpenes, and other required cannabinoid chemicals to help treat pain? Can you imagine that potential? It would be amazing for Medical Cannabis Patients to be able to have products geared directly towards them. Of course, “whole plant” medicine as it is called has had proven effects for millennia, and only the future will be able to tell what specific terpene isolation will have in store for us, and the world of Marijuana.
The world of terpenes is not new to us. Those who have worked in the perfume, and other fragrance business have known about their existence, and some of their effects for generations, but we are only just now beginning to realize the role that terpenes play in Marijuana. From creating custom products for specific ailments, to breeding the perfect strain, terpene isolation is something that everyone in the Cannabis world will hear of soon, and good thing because it is not going away any time soon. The prospects of Cannabis just seem to improve and widen with each passing day. Who knows what we will discover next about this astonishing herb.