3 MIN READ | GEORGIA SMITH 

what are terpenes?

Terpenes are the natural aromatic compounds found in plants that give them distinctive aromas and flavors. They are incredibly important for a plant’s survival. Terpenes have two main functions in plants; protecting against predators such as insects and animals while also helping the plant cope and adapt to environmental stressors such as high temperatures. 

In order to protect against insects and plant eating animals, plants produce terpenes which are bitter compounds that repel them. At the same time, plants can produce compounds that attract pollinating insects or those that feed on plant eating bugs.

Terpenes and their production increase when a plant is under heat stress. When the temperature rises to a point where a plant is stressed, terpenes are released to increase the hemp plant’s thermotolerance (the ability to withstand hot temperatures). Research suggests that terpene production allows the plant to cool itself and maintain an even temperature

When you’re snacking on an orange, you notice the wonderful smell and effervescence that hits your nose as you peel it. Those are terpenes. Or how about fresh mint as you chop it and the fresh smell that envelopes your senses? Yup, terpenes. Or in the morning on a nature walk as the smell of pine hits you as you navigate a path through trees and bushes. 

Terpenes are the natural aromatic compounds found in plants that give them distinctive aromas and flavors. They are incredibly important for a plant’s survival.

Science has found thousands of terpenes in the world. Not only do most terpenes smell great, they also share another near-universal trait: they’re antimicrobial, meaning they can help defend against potentially harmful bacteria and viruses.

ARE TERPENES GOOD FOR YOU?

What’s good for the plant might be good for your body too.

Research has shown that terpenes may have many positive effects in the body. For example, the Myrcene terpene found in mango, lemongrass, and hops, may support sleep and relaxation. Found in fruit rinds, Limonene is one of the terpenes responsible for the scent of oranges and lemons. It may also enhance mood and relieve stress. These, and dozens of other terpenes, also occur naturally in hemp, and it’s widely believed that, of all plants, hemp has the highest concentration of terpenes.

These, and dozens of other terpenes, also occur naturally in hemp, and it’s widely believed that, of all plants, hemp has the highest concentration of terpenes.

WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY TERPENES IN HEMP?

While there are over 100 different terpenes, a select few take the prize for being dominant in the hemp plant.

These include: myrcene, beta caryophyllene, limonene, linalool and alpha-pinene.

  • Myrcene is found to be the most abundant terpene in hemp. Its scent is earthy, sweet and somewhat clovelike. Many plant foods contain myrcene including mango, hops, lemongrass, thyme, and guava melon. It is known to have significant medical benefits including; analgesic/anti-­inflammatory, anti­-proliferative/anti­-mutagenic properties, suppress muscle spasms, be an excellent sleep aid, and have antibacterial properties as well.
  • Beta Caryophyllene is a terpene best found in black pepper, rosemary and cloves. The terpene is used in the treatment regimens of inflammation, pain, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. It is also commonly used in herbal medicine to treat pain and known to possess anesthetic properties.
  • Limonene is a terpene that is best described as “easy to understand” given it has a citrus scent. Plants that contain high amounts of limonene include orange trees, grapefruit trees, lime and lemon trees. The medical benefits of limonene may include antidepressant / mood elevator, antimicrobial/antifungal, may be helpful for acid reflux or indigestion, and even stimulate the immune system.
  • Linalool is a floral terpene and commonly used in aromatherapy (oils & cosmetics). The terpene resides in more than 200 flowering plants. Within the hemp plant, linalool is widely used for its relaxing, stress-relieving effects while being an excellent mood modulating agent. Many consumers understand that its effects are powerful and that just a quick smell of it can calm the body and mind. Boosts metabolism, energy, and focus
  • Alpha-Pinene, often referred to just as pinene or written α-pinene is a colorless, organic oil with a fresh, earthy pine forest scent. We commonly use alpha-pinene herbs to accent our food including parsley, dill, basil, rosemary, and some varieties of citrus.

OUR BODIES AND TERPENES, MORE TO COME

While we know that Terpenes work in conjunction with other parts of the plant, their true powers are uniquely supportive of nature and human health.

More than 100 different terpenes have been discovered in the hemp plant and we know there is much to learn about their impact when working in conjunction with cannabinoids and flavonoids. Science has much work to do in clarifying their exact mechanisms, but for sure, these compounds make our lives possible on so many levels.

Research has revealed that they may boost mood, decrease stress, support sleep, enhance alertness, and reduce inflammation. They may also adjust the strength of individual cannabinoids to enhance other positive effects of CBD.

There is much to learn about their impact when working in conjunction with cannabinoids and flavonoids.

PUT TERPENES TO WORK FOR YOU

All full-spectrum Zolt mixie sticks contain a functionally calibrated mix of terpenes, organic adaptogens, and antioxidants — yes, terpenes make your superdrink even more super (it’s called the Entourage Effect). Cheers!

MORE FROM THE JOURNAL