We all like to change our moods, especially when we perceive them as negative. Sometimes, our moods change on their own, like when we are famished with hunger and get grumpy. And everyone seems to have their favorite “comfort food” for lifting their spirits or soothing a troubled mind.
A lot of that mood-altering does happen because your tummy got filled or your taste buds were treated to a familiar flavor, but it usually goes much deeper and is involved in the very makeup of the plant foods we digest. Known as terpenes, these are volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons that can be found in the essential oils naturally produced by many plants, most especially in citrus trees and conifers. There are over 30,000 of these compounds, but for hemp flower strains, less than a dozen terpenes appear across the profiles of our varied strains, which will be our focus for the Terpene Talks.
Terpenes and Cannabinoids
Terpenes have generated much interest thanks to the popularity, expanding use, and understanding of the cannabis plant: both the natural cannabis plant (containing those higher percentages of THC content which make repressive governments fidgety) and the hemp plant (the cultivated version of cannabis which limits THC content to less than 0.3% of plant material) are rich in terpenes, which contribute to the marvelous flavors and fragrances cannabis consumers enjoy.
What many consumers were not aware of, though, was the modified mood effect experienced when consuming terpenes (or even smelling them, to which the entire aromatherapy industry can attest). This also explains why certain strains of cannabis or hemp appeal to some individuals more than others: attribute such differences in individual preferences to the different ways our bodies respond to our environment and the products we put into or onto our bodies (yes, lotions too can benefit from terpenes, even though our skin doesn’t have taste buds). Just like some prefer chocolate over vanilla, or revile tomatoes and love avocados, while their mate feels the opposite, we all develop our own favorites which seem to serve our basic needs.
We love to say that variety is the spice of life, but, knowing what we have learned about terpenes, we can turn that popular saying on its head and honestly say that spice is the variety of life experiences and moods (in the form of various food tastes and sensations). No wonder we want to add spices to our meats; not only do they enhance the flavor of the meat you are enjoying, but could also be delivering other health benefits from the terpenes included in the various spices consumed with their dishes while enhancing the proteins naturally offered by those meats.
When you consider the range of potential effects delivered by different strains, it cannot all boil down to minute variations in the makeup of the cannabinoid profile; clearly, taste and fragrance contribute significantly to the overall experience of enjoying various quality hemp flower strains.
The Two Major Terpene Categories
As we examine the different terpenes found in our various Fern Valley Farms strains, you will notice that these terpenes fall under one of two major terpene categories: monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. A short explanation of the difference between these two terpene types may prove helpful in your overall understanding, so let’s take that closer look now:
Consider monoterpenes as simpler terpene structures, as every monoterpene contains only two isoprene molecules. Monoterpenes usually display stronger color tones but release lighter fragrances; they are also highly soluble, more volatile, and have a lower boiling point than their counterpart, the sesquiterpenes. Unlike sesquiterpenes which exhibit non-polar compounds, monoterpenes tend to oxidize (or deteriorate) faster, pointing to a possibly shorter shelf life (do keep in mind though that plant materials and their ingredients always have much-extended shelf lives as compared to meat and dairy products, which naturally go bad in days as compared to weeks or months for plant products).
Essential oils that display monoterpenes in their profile include:
Monoterpenes also have a reputation for bringing valuable health benefits to the table, such as:
- Cancer Prevention
- Respiratory Support
As part of an overall wellness plan, including products containing monoterpenes can offer much-valued support.
On the other side, you will find the sesquiterpenes, considered the more complex of the two terpenes, since each of these terpene types will sport three or more isoprene molecules. Generally colorless, fragrances emitted from this terpene category are typically stronger; as compared to monoterpenes, they are insoluble in water, are less volatile, and demand a higher boiling point than their monoterpene counterparts. Since sesquiterpenes are non-polar (or symmetric) compounds, they oxidize (dissolve or crumble) more slowly than monoterpenes.
Essential oils which contain sesquiterpenes include:
- Ylang Ylang
When it comes to wellness benefits, sesquiterpenes are known for delivering the following properties:
- Cellular Repair
- Immunity Support
Enjoying products containing sesquiterpenes is likely an important aspect of any plan for long-term well-being, which makes the enjoyment of hemp strains from Fern Valley Farms that much more valuable.
The Many Uses for Terpenes
Terpenes are bristling with applications and uses, including (to name just a few):
- Cleaning Products – limonene, α-pinene, and β-pinene are all common ingredients in different cleaners (α-pinene and β-pinene form the base of Pine-Sol)
- Cosmetics – various terpenes end up in different cosmetics, including:
- Hops – that deep full aroma from your beer emanates from sesquiterpenes like α-humulene and β-caryophyllene
- Perfumes – terpenes such as α-pinene, limonene, β-caryophyllene, myrcene, and linalool contribute to the exotic world of perfume fragrances
- Rosin – a by-product of conifer tree resin, used in inks, varnishes, and adhesives
- Rubber – uses polyisoprene and is found in tires, golf balls, and even condoms
- Turpentine – mixes various terpenes, with pinene as its main ingredient
As you can see, terpenes are found in unimaginable places and perform a lot of valuable services for humankind beyond improving our moods.
Your Terpene Compendium
Be certain to bookmark this page and return regularly as we work to build one of the most comprehensive terpene compendiums to be found online. As our regular and enthusiastic clientele are aware, we believe terpenes to be as important as the multitude of cannabinoids (over 120 cannabinoids discovered to date, many of which already demonstrate therapeutic properties) contained in the cannabis plant. After reading the above, you may better understand why our cultivation and harvesting approaches spend equal attention on terpenes and cannabinoids.
Terpene Talk Outline
The outline for each Terpene Talk follows the same format, to allow for easier reading and comparison; the main sections are:
- Introduction – a brief and mildly technical summary of the terpene under discussion
- Where You Can Find It – identifies plants and fruits it is found in
- What It Smells and Tastes Like – the flavor and fragrance is described
- Beneficial Properties – potential therapeutic benefits the terpene may deliver
- Our Strains with It – a quick summary of the strains we offer which include the terpene
Terpene Talk Links
Listed below you will find the terpenes already profiled in our growing compendium: