If you ever smoked cannabis you understand that no two are alike. This is because cannabis is grown, and influenced by genetics. These genetics determine the chemical composition within the bud.
In an attempt to scale and homogenize the industry new discoveries have been made.
Users reported different effects regardless of similar concentrations of cannabinoids. This is due to different strain genetics producing different terpene compositions. These terpenes work within the endocannabinoid system.
To understand why we should first understand how cannabis works.
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.
Think of the receptor like a Leggo, one piece connecting to the other. There is a limited amount of space on the receptors for binding. If CBD takes up the receptor THC cannot bind. In other words, CBD modulates the effects of THC. It does this by competing with THC for the available CB1 receptors. By binding first, it is able to block THC from binding.
Terpenes and the Endocannabinoid System
It is now understood that these organic compounds naturally found in various plants work together to regulate and enhance cannabinoids. These compounds include terpenes. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as the entourage effect
According to the entourage effect 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.
Terpenes in Plants
Apart from terpenes crucial role in the entourage effect they are also responsible for the distinct smell of plants. They often have a strong odor and protect the plants that produce them by deterring herbivores and by attracting predators. Some terpenes appear in higher abundance than others. Terpenes such as Linalool, Myrcene, Pinene and Limonene are particularly common in cannabis and their effects are well documented. There is an unimaginable number of terpene combinations that cause different effects.
Studying the entourage effect, specifically terpene interactions can ultimately produce effect-base terpene formulations. To regulate mood and immune functions. There are many benefits that have already come from researching terpenes.
The entourage effect helps maximize the therapeutic effects of CBD opening a new path in medicine terpene based treatments, backed by data. Terpenes will be a defining criteria for progress in the medical field.