Terpenes are Aroma Therapy
Excerpted from Weed: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Cannabis Fog rolls over the hillsides on an early morning hike. As sunbeams break through the mist, they activate the aromas of the chaparral: the nuanced and layered sweetness of a bay laurel, with its touches of eucalyptus, pine and bergamot; the small bright yellow florets of fennel that form a bouquet bearing a burst of licorice and sweet anise. The aromatic elements of the natural world, the same ones that are steam-distilled to create essential oils found in food and fragrances, play a vital role in mental and physical well-being. The essences pulled from plants are called both terpenes and terpenoids. The terms are used interchangeably, but they are different in chemical structure. Terpenes are simple hydrocarbons, an organic chemical compound composed exclusively of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Terpenoids are also essentially terpenes, but with additional chemical constituents, most often oxygen, as a result of enzyme-driven reactions within the plant. “Think of it like terpenoids equal terpenes plus chemically modified terpenes,” cannabis researcher Ryan Lee explains. “Like if someone did a renovation to a house and added a different back porch.” Terpenoids and terpenes are the aromatic elements that give cannabis its deep depth of incredible fragrances and tastes. As the science behind how cannabis works continues to advance, studies show that not only do they make cannabis smell amazing, but they also play an essential role in understanding exactly how this plant shapes our moods. Courtesy of The Quarto Group “Terpenoids modify the cannabis experience in a variety of ways, and can make it more or less sedating, extend therapeutic benefits, and potentially make cannabis safer and better overall,” explains Ethan Russo, one of the world’s most prominent and well-respected cannabis researchers. Terpenes are found along with cannabinoids in the resin…
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