Did you know Cannabinoids are a sub-class of terpene?

Well… they are. These plants contain a wide variety of chemicals and compounds, of which over 140, including the cannabinoids, belong to a large class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons known as terpenes (pronounced tur-peens).

Both Hemp and Cannabis have been cultivated for food, clothing, and medicine for well over 12,000 years. When ingested, various chemical compounds they contain, known as phytocannabinoids, interact with our own endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is involved with a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and has been shown to have primary involvement with our neurological and immunological systems.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most common cannabinoid found in cannabis, and the most common found in Hemp. Unlike THC, CBD (as well as other cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBC) are non-intoxicating, and studies have shown CBD (as well as other cannabinoids) to have a wide range of medicinal applications. The past decade has seen a vast expansion into the study of CBD and its effects. Cell studies have shown CBD to be effective in vitro against lines of human brain, breast, and other tumor cells, while simultaneously protecting normal cells (Backes, 2014). An effective anticonvulsant, CBD has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of strokes and seizures, and is also being studied for its properties that seem to modulate the immune system, help diminish pain, curb anxiety, and more.

While cannabinoids are responsible for much of the plants medical applications, their sister compounds, terpenes, also play a highly significant role. Terpenes (including some of their sub-class of cannabinoids) do not exist solely in hemp and cannabis, and have been used by herbalists as medicinal components for thousands of years. When you smell a fragrant flower, a Pine Tree, or freshly cut grass, you are smelling terpenes. They are aromatic constituents of all essential plant oils and are found in all spices, fruits, and vegetables (Backes, 2014). Pharmacologically active and synergistic with cannabinoids, terpenes are a critical component of cannabinoid medicine and holistic synergy. While cannabinoids are quickly proving to be a significant medicine for many, terpenes are being shown to have a significant impact on the medicinal effects of the cannabinoids, and indeed a huge part of the homeostatic process. Some Terpenes have even been shown to themselves “act like” cannabinoids within the body, and possibly interact with cannabinoid receptors.

Like cannabinoids, terpenes are lipophilic (fat-loving) and hydrophobic (water-hating), as well as being very susceptible to environmental conditions such as heat and light. When compounding terpene medicines, one must take great care with methodology and precision, and follow absolute best standards for preservation of these valuable compounds.