Guide to terpenes and cannabinoids

Curaleaf’s Guide to Terpenes and Cannabinoids

As your trusted cannabis guides, we want to help you better understand this ancient plant, and the products you’re consuming. You might be familiar with the different cannabis strains, but beyond that there are tons of different effects and flavor profiles that can be created thanks to the strain’s individual terpenes and cannabinoids. These chemical compounds interact with your endocannabinoid system, producing a wide range of benefits.


Here’s your simplified guide to terpenes and cannabinoids.


Terpenes

What makes Cherry Diesel taste different from Cookies N’ Chem? A key ingredient: terpenes. Each individual strain possesses its own unique organic compounds called terpenes, which determine the aroma and flavor of the cannabis plant. Terpenes bind to receptors throughout the brain and body and helping to produce an array of physical and psychological effects.


When terpenes trigger the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, patients report feelings of relaxation and calm—like what you might experience with strains classified as indica—or of focus and alertness—like what you might find with strains classified as sativa. Different terpene profiles may also affect and interact with the cannabinoids to activate what is known as “the entourage effect,” which enhances the psychological effects of cannabis.


Cannabinoids

The other chemical compound present in cannabis is cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, which are formed in the same trichomes as terpenes, and may affect the body and mind through their own unique interaction with the same endocannabinoid receptors. They’re largely responsible for a lot of the reported physical and psychological benefits of cannabis.


Patients have reported using cannabis to treat everything from aching muscles to anxiety—but the plant’s benefits all come down to the unique DNA of each strain. Here we’ve broken down some of the most prevalent terpenes and cannabinoids and their reported therapeutic effects.


Terpenes:

Humulene

Humulene is found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. Patients report using humulene to relieve inflammation, as an appetite suppressant, and to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and even tumor cells.


Linalool

Linalool is found in lavender, birch trees, cinnamon, and parsley. Patients report using linalool to treat anxiety and stress, boost their mood, regulate their nervous system, as a muscle relaxant, and it’s been used as an ani-convulsant for people with epilepsy.


Pinene (alpha & beta)

Alpha-pinene and beta-pinene terpenes are generally found in equal measure, balancing each other out and working together. Alpha- and beta-pinene are found in pine trees, rosemary, pine nuts, and basil.


Patients report using a-pinene and b-pinene as a bronchodilator—widening the bronchi and alleviating symptoms of asthma—a topical antiseptic, a way to relieve pain and inflammation, promote alertness, increase focus, improve memory, and prevent convulsions.


Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene is found in black pepper, hops, cloves, and cinnamon. Patients report using caryophyllene to relieve physical pain, stress, inflammation, to help aid in sleep and control muscle spasms, to improve blood flow, and as an antifungal and antibacterial agent.


Myrcene

Myrcene is found in mangoes, thyme, hops, and ylang-ylang. Patients report using myrcene to relieve stress, physical pain, inflammation, as a muscle relaxant, sleep aid, appetite stimulant, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibiotic, and anticarcinogenic.


Terpinolene

Terpinolene is found in sage and apple trees. Patients report using terpinolene to elevate their mood, increase focus, combat insomnia, and as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.


Ocimene

Ocimene is found in mint, parsley, mango, and orchids. Patients report using ocimene as a decongestant and to combat viruses, bacteria, fungi, and the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.


Nerolidol

Nerolidol is found in jasmine, tea tree, lemongrass, and neroli. Patients report using nerolidol as an anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, and antifungal agent.


Bisabolol

Bisabolol is found in chamomile, and the bark of the Candeia tree. Patients report using bisabolol to relieve pain, inflammation and stress, and as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, and gastroprotective agent.


Cannabinoids:

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)

Probably the most recognizable of all the cannabinoids, patients report using THC to relieve pain, including nerve pain, eye pressure and glaucoma, stress and anxiety, nausea, to suppress muscle spasms, stimulate appetite, and as an antimicrobial agent, inhibiting the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.


CBD (cannabidiol)

Meet THC’s more chill sister CBD. Patients report using CBD to treat things like anxiety, depression, physical pain, nausea, inflammation, and to stimulate bone growth, reduce blood-sugar levels, prevent convulsions, inhibit bacterial growth, and act as a neuroprotectant, which can prevent or help to repair the effects of a stroke.


CBN (cannabinol)

Insomnia’s worst enemy, CBN is most famous for its reported effects on sleep. Patients not only report using CBN as a sleep aid, but to treat anxiety, relieve physical pain and inflammation, stimulate bone growth, prevent convulsions, inhibit growth of bacteria and viruses, and serve as a mild anesthetic.


THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin)

Similar in molecular structure to THC and utilized to treat a variety of ailments, patients report using THCV as an appetite suppressant, memory aid, immune-system booster, antibacterial agent, and to stabilize blood glucose levels for people with diabetes.


CBG (cannabigerol)

Because it’s usually present in very low levels (less than 1%), CBG is considered a “minor cannabinoid,” but that doesn’t mean it can’t have an array of therapeutic effects. Patients report using CBG to relieve pain, inflammation, poor digestion, as a sleep aid, muscle relaxant, antibacterial agent, to stimulate bone growth, and encourage healthy cell growth while suppressing malignant cells, helping to counteract and prevent tumor formation.


CBC (cannabichromene)

CBC has similar origins as THC and CBD and is considered one of the “big six” cannabinoids prominent in medical research. Patients report using CBC to relieve pain, inflammation, acid reflux, anxiety, depression, to stimulate bone and cell growth, combat bacteria and fungi, and to suppress malignant cells.