Terpenes are compounds found in many plants including hemp. They are responsible for the individual smells, flavours and colours of plants, and we are unknowingly consuming terpenes every day through our foods. Mangoes, apples, citrus fruits, spices, vegetables, and beer all contain terpenes.
Concentrated terpenes extracted from plants are very useful for medicinal purposes. Terpenes can have beneficial effects for anxiety, depression, pain relief and other ailments.
Terpenes and CBD – What’s the Difference?
The hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) contains CBD, THC and terpenes which are all derived from the leaf and bud of the plant. CBD is the non-addictive medicinal drug whilst THC is its addictive “recreational” cousin. Without going into detail, both CBD and THC are basically illegal in Australia whereas there are no legal restrictions on terpenes. CBD is a cannabinoid, while terpenes are aromatic compounds and are in a completely different category. Incidentally, THC and CBD don’t have any smell which proves they are different compounds to terpenes.
A Safe and Natural Supplement.
There are about 400 known terpenes but only a handful are linked to specific effects. Certain terpenes have beneficial effects on humans. For example myrcene, the most abundant terpene in hemp is good for sore muscles and general sedation, helping you get a good night’s sleep. Limonene counts as the best terpene for energy and vitality, and Beta-caryophyllene is one of the most sought-after terpenes for pain relief and anxiety reduction. Linalool is naturally found in mint, citrus, and lavender and has anti-inflammatory properties while limonene, pinene, and ocimene are known to have uplifting effects. Terpene blends of limonene, myrcene, and beta-caryophyllene can cause mental euphoria and help relax the body without causing drowsiness. The list goes on.
Terpenes can be consumed in different ways. Diffusing essential oils will expel terpenes into the air in a similar way to incense, helping you to relax and get a better nights sleep. Another way is to ingest a small dose of hemp seed oil with infused terpenes daily, or as required. People choose their own terpenes blends to stay calm, focused or soothed, depending on how they feel.
Are there Side Effects?
Terpenes taken in high concentrations can have mild side effects, but generally terpenes are quite harmless. Some terpenes can cause irritation, allergic reactions, nausea and headaches at very high doses. Obviously being in an enclosed space with strong aromas from too many incense sticks may cause headaches, and consuming concentrated forms of terpenes can cause problems. However, terpene oils mixed with a carrier oil (mostly hemp seed oil) are safely diluted for everyday use.
Terpenes are the basis of aroma therapy. Mostly ignored, the smells we become accustomed to every day affect us more than we realize. In every breath we take, our bodies consume millions of invisible molecules – a process that continues for our lifetime. Aromas in the air penetrate our system to every living cell, effecting our moods, behaviours, decisions and relationships.
Inhaling fresh rainforest air has medicinal benefits beyond any prescription drugs. Including vegetation in our living spaces has therapeutic effects proven by science. Terpenes constantly surround us and affect the way we are. It’s time to go outside, take a deep breath and smell the roses.