The cannabis market has evolved into a burgeoning multi-billion-dollar global industry in recent years. This is not simply because of consumers chasing a high from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). One of the main drivers of cannabis product variety is terpenes. This is a type of organic compound found in many plants that give them their individual aromas and flavors.
Terpenes are present in both hemp and marijuana. They give each strain of cannabis its unique flavor profile and aroma, while being responsible for many of their neurophysiological effects. The legal cannabis industry is making the most of these applications. They are becoming even more diverse in terms of terpene-specific product offerings and effect combinations. According to a recent Forbes article going over BDSA 2023 predictions, "more brands will focus their education and marketing on newer minor cannabinoids and terpenes, emphasizing the consistent, predictable experiences that these compounds drive.”
In this post, we'll briefly discuss what exactly terpenes are, and how they contribute to the continuous growth of the cannabis space.
Terpenes are a naturally occurring compound found in most plant life, including cannabis. They're most notably found in essential oils. Plants create terpenes to protect themselves from disease and pests. They also help facilitate proliferation by attracting pollinators.
The unique aromas and flavors we associate with different plants come from the combination of terpenes they produce. Each terpene also possesses a range of therapeutic qualities. For example, Linalool terpene has an effect on serotonin receptors which help regulate anxiety. Enhancing these effects is possible when you combine them with cannabinoids (e.g. CBD). This synergistic interaction is known as the “Entourage Effect.“
The potential medicinal applications for terpenes can range from anti-bacterial to anti-anxiety effects. Especially, as they can interact with the body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS affects the human central nervous system, immune system, and even the function of numerous peripheral organs.
The utilization of terpenes has led to the remarkable diversification of cannabis products. Currently, this ranges from topical balms, and edibles, to tinctures and more that can contain little to no THC.
As the role of terpenes becomes better understood and recognized in the cannabis market, we can expect to see a wider range of products. These will cater to increasingly specific needs and preferences. Continuing research will also lead to an increasing number of consumers learning about the benefits these compounds offer.
Terpenes are naturally found in many cannabis-derived products. However, they can also be infused into various other products to enhance their potential benefits. Below, we'll discuss some of the primary ways terpenes can increase variety in cannabis products today.
Terpenes are an important part of the cannabis market primarily because they're responsible for creating the distinctive aromas and flavors associated with popular cannabis strains. They also play a crucial role in determining the effects that a particular strain will have. This is why cannabis connoisseurs seek out individual strains specifically for their terpene profiles.
It's well understood that potency and terpene content can vary greatly from strain to strain. Discerning cannabis consumers are familiar with how different cannabinoids and terpenes interact. Therefore, a thorough understanding of these compounds is essential when creating products. Especially, those that need to meet a wide range of consumer needs.
To better understand how different combinations of terpenes give each strain of cannabis its unique aroma, taste, and effects, consider that while certain terpenes can provide a sweet or spicy flavor, others may lend to a strain's analgesic effects. Many terpenes also complement the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, working to enhance the overall therapeutic or medicinal value of the product.
Many people overlook the role terpenes play in cannabis topicals. Not only do they contribute to the aromatherapy effect, but certain terpenes like limonene and menthol can even help facilitate transdermal delivery of both lipophilic and hydrophilic compounds. This is especially useful in products like hemp or CBD roll-ons and freeze sprays. These offer specific pain relief for sore muscles and joints.
Different combinations of terpenes can produce distinct physiological effects. From, increasing focus and relaxation, to even pain relief. Products like CBD or THC gummies — as well as cannabis-infused recreational beverages — take advantage of these effects. They can also use terpenes to lend depth to their products' flavor profiles. Terpenes also influence the duration of effects, as well as how quickly they become noticeable.
In addition to their crucial roles in cannabis products, terpenes have many other uses. The usage of terpenes is popular in the food and beverage industries. This is due to their flavor- and aroma-enhancing characteristics and health benefits. They are also in a variety of inedible products. For example, perfumes, herbal remedies, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics.
Due to their growing popularity, terpenes are now also available in isolated forms. Today, a variety of different consumer niches use terpene isolates regularly, ranging from aspiring chefs to skincare and vaping DIYers.
Overall, terpenes have become an important component of the legal cannabis industry. This is due to their wide range of potential applications. They provide a great way to customize a product’s effect, flavor, and aroma profiles.
Understanding the characteristics of individual terpenes can help both growers and product manufacturers create more flavorful and potent end products for consumers. As the cannabis industry evolves, so will our understanding of terpenes and their potential roles in creating innovative products within a quickly expanding cannabis market.