Crack open a frothy can of … humulene? The heady scent of hops is also an active ingredient found in cannabis. What’s in that scent? A terpene called humulene. Terpenes, like humulene, are the scent molecules and active ingredients found in cannabis, as well as other plant botanicals like beer hops. And we adore it.
What are terpenes? They are the “essential oils” of the cannabis plant, created in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like the active ingredients THC and CBD. Terpenes are what make cannabis smell like it smells like – they are the aromatic oils that scent cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine (and skunk too!).
Terpenes seem to work together to alter, or temper the effects of other terpenes as well as cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. This is known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to understand each terpene’s effect when used in harmony with the other components, but it is clear that it’s not just about making cannabis smell good. Terpenes like linalool and humulene are active participants in the entourage!
From Leafly.com: “Not unlike other strong-smelling plants and flowers, the development of terpenes in cannabis began for adaptive purposes: to repel predators and lure pollinators. There are many factors that influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and even the time of day.
Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition. In other words, a strain like Cheese and its descendants will likely have a discernible cheese-like smell, and Blueberry offspring often inherit the smell of berries.
Terpenes may also play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains, but more studies are needed to understand how and to what extent.”
And in our terpene round up, today, we’re celebrating the magic of humulene.
Humulene is a woodsy, earthy terpene responsible for giving cannabis its distinct herbal scent (with that hint of spice we love ). It can effectively suppress the appetite, soothe inflammation, and combat harmful bacteria.
Humulene is found in a number of other plants, including ginseng, sage, wood, ginger, hops, and juniper — the latter of which we use in our Deep Calm Massage and Body Oil. It’s considered a sesquiterpene (a more stable terpene with greater diversity of traits), and is a trusted component of many ancient Chinese herbal medicines.
Science alert: Terpenes work together with cannabinoids, and our skin has receptors for both cannabinoids and terpenoids, where they react together in what is called the entourage effect.
Nerdy fact: Humulene interacts closely with caryophyllene, one of the spiciest of all cannabis terpenes and the only terpene known to also act as a cannabinoid. (!) Humulene is actually one of caryophyllene’s isomers, meaning they’re so similar to each other they have the same molecular formula, but have a different arrangement of atoms.
Essential oils and cannabis plants contain a wide range of terpenes that work together with cannabinoids to nourish the skin. When the full spectrum of cannabinoids comes together, that interplay among components is known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to determine exactly how pinene functions alongside its counterparts, but it’s thought that one thing it may do is amplify the cannabinoids’ anti-inflammatory properties.
Terpenes are volatile organic compounds that are produced by the cannabis plant. Produced by the same glands that make cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are aromatic oils that color cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine (and skunk too!)
Terpenes seem to work together to alter, or temper the effects of other terpenes as well as cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. This is known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to understand each terpene’s effect when used in harmony with the other components, but it is clear that it’s not just about making cannabis smell good. Terpenes like linalool are active participants in the entourage!
All the rest of the power team of major terpenes: