Terpenes are part of a group of about 200 organic hydrocarbons found inside the cannabis plant. The various combinations (also called terpene profiles) provide the distinctive aroma of each of the various strains. They add smell as well as flavor to cannabis. In addition to stimulating the senses, terpenes have been found to interact closely with CBD and other cannabinoids in the plant for synergistic medicinal effects.
No. Terpenes are found in every plant that naturally contains a fragrance.
Some of the most common terpenes are being extracted and isolated similar to how CBD is isolated. There are a few ways to isolate terpenes, two of which are steam distillation and cold trapping. As the interest in terpene profiling grows, more of these compounds will be available for manufacturers and customers to use individually for their particular goal or ailment.
Isolation of terpenes is beneficial in the hemp industry. Since terpene profiles can naturally change on every crop harvest due to environmental effects, product manufacturers are at the mercy of how hemp is grown and where it is sourced. Being able to recreate terpene profiles with specific ratios of terpenes, allows the manufacturers to have consistently performing products with less variance batch to batch.
Many of the molecular compounds in the hemp plant work synergistically to produce therapeutic effect on the body. CBD alone has a powerful effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), but adding terpenes allows the entire formulation to accentuate certain effects and modulate others. Terpenes can fine tune the focus of CBD products to increase effectiveness.
Though more research needs to be done, terpenes have a wide variety of characteristics. They have been found to have antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, and also positively influenced bone healing. Terpenes are used to benefit gastrointestinal, cardiac, muscular, and emotional systems of the body as well. We are still in the infancy of terpene research and profiling, but as the industry matures, the uses of terpenes will only be more impactful in medicine.