One of the most fragrant plants in the natural world, cannabis produces a diverse range of intense odors. Each individual strain offers its own unique fragrance notes, too. This is why the aromatic and flavor experience of smoking something like Hawaiian Haze can be so different from smoking Sour Space Candy. How does this occur? Terpenes. But how do terpenes vs CBD or terpenes vs THC compare? Find out the differences between these two cannabis-derived compounds below.
What Are Terpenes Anyway?
Cannabis plants are abundant in chemical compounds, and terpenes are one of those compounds. In fact, there are at least 150 known terpenes associated with cannabis. Terpenes are responsible for giving cannabis its strain-specific aromas and flavors. Terpenes are a necessary compound in plants to serve different purposes in the natural world. Some common terpenes may attract much-needed pollinators to support reproduction. Other terpenes may make a plant taste unpalatable to predators.
These aromatic chemical compounds are not restricted to only plants from the cannabis family, however. Terpenes are actually found in many other plant species like pine trees, citrus fruits, and even some insects and animals. Any time you smell a flower, enjoy an aromatic herb in your meal or catch an odd aroma coming from a certain plant, terpenes likely lead to this experience.
Terpenes versus CBD, THC, and Other Cannabinoids – How Are They Different?
With cannabis plants containing so many compounds and descriptive labels, it can be easy to get a little confused. However, terpenes and cannabinoids are very different from one another, even though they both offer value.
Cannabinoids are active compounds in cannabis like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis is known for at least 100 different cannabinoids to date, and the list continues to grow with more research. Unlike terpenes, which are found in many plants, only a handful of plants (including cannabis) are known to contain cannabinoids.
What do terpenes do? What do cannabinoids do?
Terpenes may provide different actions and do so in unique ways. For many, the known effects are related to how the compounds affect different receptors in the brain. For example, some common terpenes may influence serotonin levels in the human body to make you feel more at ease or ready for restful sleep. Some terpenes produce fascinating effects even when they are simply experienced through olfactory receptors in the nose, while others may produce more profound effects when consumed. Take a look at some prevalent terpenes found in cannabis plants and their effects:
- Myrcene – May be sedating
- Linalool – May be relaxing and mentally uplifting
- Limonene – May be emotionally uplifting
- Pinene – May have mood-lifting effects
- Caryophyllene – May help with stress or sadness
- Humulene – May be slightly energizing
For humans, researchers are still learning what purpose terpenes serve. However, cannabinoids are growing to be one of the most widely studied plant compound types on the planet. These compounds are known to affect the human mind and body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system has receptors found throughout the brain and body, which can mean each cannabinoid has unique benefits and effects. For example, CBD is thought to support sleep, have therapeutic properties, and possibly help with pain.
Terpenes and cannabinoids may work together to enhance certain effects through the entourage effect. There have been a handful of studies that show whole cannabis extracts work better to target some ailments than isolated cannabinoids alone. Further, terpenes may somewhat alter how cannabinoids are processed or their effects. This explains why strains with almost identical cannabinoid content can still produce different effects.
Do terpenes cause euphoria like certain cannabinoids?
Only a few cannabinoids are known to be intoxicating. For example, delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC) and delta-9 THC are known to produce intoxicating effects to different degrees. Many cannabinoids like CBD oils and CBG are not intoxicating at all, which is why they are most commonly sought-after for therapeutic effects. By contrast, terpenes are not known to cause euphoria or intoxication.
Terpenes are not intoxicating, but some may have beneficial psychoactive properties just the same. For example, certain terpenes like limonene may be slightly uplifting if you are feeling down, or, others like linalool may help you feel more emotionally relaxed if you’re feeling stressed. Further, some terpenes may enhance or heighten the effects of psychoactive cannabinoids to some degree. For instance, a terpene known for sedation like myrcene may heighten the sedating effects of THC.
Find Your Way to Terpene-Rich Hemp Flower at TIMBR Organics
When it comes to enjoying terpenes combined with cannabinoids, smoking hemp is definitely the way to go. At TIMBR Organics, we offer a full collection of terpene and cannabinoid-rich hemp flower in strains like Special Sauce, Suver Haze, Lifter, and more. Be sure to check out our full collection of hemp flower and pre-rolls to discover your new favorite strains.