A cannabis plant contain many types of chemical compounds. The combination of these compounds will determine the effects and medicinal properties that cannabis is known for. One specific type of compounds are Terpenes. Maybe you have heard about them as they appear in every plant and offer great benefits for plant an human. However the big question for cannabis users is: Could terpenes get you high?
What exactly are terpenes?
Terpenes are pretty important compounds in cannabis but can also be found in other plants and herbs. Essentially they are “aromatic oils” and can be found in the trichomes of cannabis nugs and other plants/herbs. Terpenes determine the odor of a plant (the distinctive smell of certain cannabis strains is a result of their terpene profiles). These qualities are very important for plants:
- Some plants use terpenes to attract pollinators
- Other plants use terpenes to repel unwanted guests
In cannabis, terpenes are found in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC/CBD. These are the cannabinoids that cause (psychoactive) effects most users are looking for. The development of different terpenes in a plant is the result of it’s genetics. There are hundreds types of terpenes and the combination of certain ones determine the odor of a plant. That is why cannabis strains smell so different from each other.
What terpenes can be found in cannabis?
Not every plant contains every of terpene that is around. A specific terpene profile (combination of multiple terpenes) determines the smell of that plant. Some cannabis strains contain more limonene and myrcene terpenes while others contain higher levels of pinene terpenes. The combination of different types and amount of terpenes will determine the smell/taste of a strain.
Scientists found over 100 different terpenes in cannabis. These are the most common:
So, could terpenes get you high?
To answer this question we first have to determine what “high” exactly means. Being high is the result of consuming certain cannabinoids that attaches to certain receptors in our body. This attachment will cause an cellular response which results in psychoactive/physical effects. That is why you “feel” something after consuming cannabis.
Do terpenes play a role in this process? If yes they would be “getting you high”. However it’s a bit more complicated then answering this question…
Compounds like THC and CBD will have influence on your psychoactive and physical state and cause the effects that we call “being high”. Terpenes don’t belong in this group as they individually won’t cause any strong psychological effects. However they work more subtle and could influence your mood through your serotonin and dopamine systems. Being doing this they could actually influence your “high.”
This research found that epilepsy patients that consumed CBD rich extracts (terpenes included), improved their symptoms and showed less side-effects then patients that took purified CBD. This might shows that other compounds, like terpenes, could affect how the body uses CBD.
So no, terpenes won’t get you high but they do influence your mood and the psychological effects from THC/CBD!
Medicinal effects of terpenes
Even if terpenes don’t offer any psychoactive effects themselves, they are able to help you in a medicinal way. Almost any terpene has it’s own medicinal properties which vary from inflammatory effects to helping with Bronchitis, chronic pain and asthma. Terpenes are also found in fruits, vegetables and other plants. So smoking weed in order to consume them is not necessary. See which terpenes (in cannabis) are actually good for your health and why:
Myrcene: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. They help against chronic pain and health problems due cancer.
Limonene: Anti-depressant, anxiolytic and antibacterial effects. These help with skin problems and Bronchitis.
Pinene: Anti-inflammatory and sedative effects. Helps against short-time memory loss and Asthma.
Linalool: Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic effects. Helps against insomnia and chronic pain.
Beta-Caryophyllene: Anti-anxiety and psychoactive when it comes to serotonin and dopamine levels. Helps against anxiety, depression and arthritis.
These are the most common terpenes and it’s medicinal properties that are found in cannabis. However there are way more terpenes that can be found in other plants.