Medical Cannabis Education | The Functions of Terpenes in Cannabis

There are over 100 different terpenes that can be expressed in marijuana plants, each of which has its own unique smell and biological effect. Due to this characteristic, terpenes are also called aromatic oils. When inhaled or ingested orally, these oils affect receptors in the brain and can elicit different types of responses such as “relaxation” or increases in “alertness.” This can be beneficial when determining what medical marijuana products you may want to recommend to target specific conditions.

Why are terpenes important?

While the research is limited to medical marijuana, anecdotal evidence strongly supports the notion that terpenes are important to induce what is known as the “entourage effect”. A September 2011 report by Dr. Ethan Russo in the British Journal of Pharmacology discussed the wide-ranging therapeutic attributes of terpenoids, which are typically lacking in “CBD-only” products. It is suggested that the medicinal effects of THC and CBD, the main cannabinoids of marijuana, are enhanced by the biological interaction of these cannabinoids and terpenes on the endocannabinoid system of receptors in your body. The most common terpenes in marijuana are limonene, myrcene, a-pinene, Linalool, b-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol, and phytol. Research has shown these terpenes to be quite potent in both animals and humans, affecting the behavior of both when these terpenes are inhaled. For example, beta-caryophyllene has been shown to be a gastro-protectant, which is good for treating certain ulcers. Because of this, beta-caryophyllene great promise as a potential therapeutic compound for inflammatory conditions and auto-immune disorders.

What medical marijuana products are available with these types of terpenes?

As stated earlier, products with a full spectrum of marijuana terpenes, when paired with THC and CBD, can have a dramatically different effect on the body ranging from sedative or “calming” effect to a more “energized” up-lifted feeling. The scientists at AltMed have been pioneering new terpene-rich MÜV products that take into account the “entourage effects” of terpenes to make their medications more effective. The products come in three (3) varieties: Wake, Rest, and Balance blends. As their names suggest, each will provide the patient with a different effect in addition to the medicinal benefits of marijuana. For example, the Rest formula is rich in terpenes such a beta-myrcene, which has a sedative effect. As discussed in our previous blog related to sleep, these types of “sedative” medications like MÜV’s Rest Blend can be beneficial to patients suffering from medical conditions that negatively impact their ability to fall asleep.

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