Tag Archives: Cannabis Education

Introduction to Terpene Science

1.1 What are Terpenes?

Terpenoids are biomolecules made up of multiple isoprenes (Hydrocarbons). These terpenoids can be linear, cyclical, or both. When a terpenoid is modified with a functional group it is referred to as a terpene. Terpenes are categorized by size. C5H8 Monoterpene (C5H8)2 Sesquiterpene (C5H8)3 Diterpene (C5H8)4 Sesterterpene (C5H8)5 Teterpenes, and so on.

Each terpene behaves differently based on the category and functional group. Many Have pharmacological and biological activities. These terpenes work on the endocannabinoid system In a process called the Entourage Effect.

1.2 Terpenes in Nature

Plants produce various types of metabolites. Terpenoids are a product of the chloroplast’s secondary metabolism. Terpenes and cannabinoids are produced within the trichome cells through biosynthesis. Terpenes act like the plant’s “hormones”. Plants also use these terpenes to protect them against fungus and bacteria. Terpenes also attract pollinating insects. 

1.3 Terpene Sources 

Plant Derived Terpenes go through a distillation process. There’s no perfect way to Extract Terpenes from organic sources. As with most things, it’s a cost-benefit analysis – how do you eliminate impurities like fats, chlorophyll, and other plant metabolites without damaging the precious compounds you’re trying to preserve? There’s also the issue of time – the longer the process takes, the less efficient it is for commercial use and the more chances there are for impurities to work their way into the finished product. There are a whole host of methods and technologies that are used in pursuit of that goal. In order to isolate one needs to find a suitable source and method.

1.4 The Scientific Method

Science is a process of knowing about the natural universe through observation and experiment. Scientists go through a rigorous process to determine new knowledge about our surroundings; this process is generally referred to as the scientific method. Science is broken down into various fields, of which Terpene Science is one. This science consists of multiple disciplines including Chemistry, Biology and Pharmacology and is both qualitative and quantitative.

1.5 Terpene Research

Terpenes can form long or branched chains or rings and have other attached atoms. There is essentially an unlimited number of possible organic molecules.

Functional Groups consist of other atoms, such as oxygen or nitrogen, and are included in an organic molecule. Functional groups are represented by R and R’  addition to hydrocarbon group for a complete molecular structure. The addition can change the physical and chemical properties dramatically.

To understand, control or modify chemical reactions of living organisms, we must understand life on the molecular level. While living things are extremely complicated the chemical reactions and Molecules are relatively simple.

1.6 Terpenes in Cannabis

THC and CBD are Cannabinoids, which bind to receptors in the human body, specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors control the Endocannabinoid System which is responsible for regulating mood, immune function and hormone secretion. Different terpenes change cannabonoids’s affinity to the cannabinoid receptors. It makes them bind at different levels and control their overall psychoactive effects. Some terpenes might promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others potentially promote focus and awareness. 

1.7 Terpene Profiling

New Quantitative Analytical Techniques are constantly developed directed towards cannabis research. Due to these techniques we are able to further biological understanding of cannabis. Mastering the main principles behind these techniques is crucial.

1.8 Biochemistry

There are four major classes of biochemical compounds – Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. We can not predict the role cannabis will serve in the future and how our intervention will impact future strains’ genetics, but there is still much research to be done.

1.9 Product Development

Cannabis contains over 500 distinct Compounds, which include cannabinoids, flavonoids, nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, hydrocarbons, enzymes, terpenes, and more. These compounds altogether contribute to the unique pharmacological and sensual function. It is important to keep products consistently providing desired effects to maximize Cannabis’s Potential.