Terpenes are fragrant compounds found in many plants, including cannabis plants. They’re often associated with aromatherapy due to their pleasant odour. They are found in the oils located on the surface of flowers and leaves of cannabis plants, and help give each cannabis strain its unique scent. For example, cannabis strains such as Henik yield a strong lemon scent due its high levels of the terpene limonene. Each cannabis strain will contain multiple terpenes, each present at different levels, which is known as it’s “terpene profile”.
Therapeutic Effects of Terpenes in Cannabis
Over 200 terpenes are known to be produced by cannabis plants. They show potential to offer a broad range of therapeutic benefits including: analgesic (pain relief), anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant (anti-seizure), anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and sedative (Russo 2011, Nuutinen 2018). Ongoing research is needed to confirm all of these potential benefits and more of terpenes.
It’s believed that terpenes contribute towards cannabis’ overall therapeutic effect by working together with cannabinoids. This is also known as the entourage effect. For example, some terpenes when taken with cannabinoids can promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others can yield energizing and uplifting effects (Lewis et al. 2018, Russo 2011).
Meet the Terpenes
The following terpenes can be found in Aphria’s medical cannabis products, and may help contribute the associated properties. It’s recommended that before selecting a product based on its terpene content, the cannabinoid content and format of the product be considered first, as these factors are supported with stronger research and evidence. Learn more about the product selection process here (link to page).
The full terpene profiles of each product can be found on their product page on the website.
Also found in: Black pepper
Properties: analgesic (pain relief), anti-convulsant (anti-seizure), anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial
Products: Mohawk, Bienville, CBD oil products, Balanced oil products, THC oil products
Also found in: Hops, Chamomile
Properties: analgesic (pain relief), anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial
Also found in: Lemons and other citrus fruits
Properties: anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, muscle relaxant
Products: Henik, Walker
Also found in: bay leaves, parsley, cardamom, and basil
Properties: analgesic (pain relief), anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, sedative
Products: Sachigo, Walker
Also found in: lilacs
Properties: analgesic (pain relief), anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial
Lewis et al. (2018) Pharmacological foundations of cannabis chemovars. Planta Medica 84(4):225-233. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29161743
Nuutinen T (2018) Medicinal properties of terpenes found in Cannabis sativa and Humulus lupulus. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 157:198-238. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30096653
Russo EB (2011) Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabionoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology 163:1344-1364. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/