Terpenes Considered Safe by the FDA, Potential Still Untapped in the Cannabis and Hemp Industries
Today, especially in the United States and Western cultures, we live in a world where prescription and over-the-counter drugs are synthetically manufactured. Should they be the only approach to cure disease or improve human well-being? We have forgotten where it all started…. Medicines were made from plants, just like Cannabis sativa L. at one time, were the only remedies available to heal, cure, and relieve suffering. The story demonstrated that even today, most chemically synthesized and clinically approved drugs were derived from natural bioactive compounds.
We know that plants can improve our physical and psychological well-being. For example, the calming and anti-anxiety characteristics of chamomile have been frequently studied and are well known. Lavender has an impact on mood and cognitive function. Turmeric is used for arthritis, gingko for memory loss and dementia, flax seeds for weight loss and heart disease, echinacea for colds and the immune system, and olive oil. tea tree for skin problems like acne. Once you have looked around, the list of herbs used as medicine is endless.
However, there is one factor that almost all of these plants have in common and which has medicinal benefits.
TERPENES: FROM SMALL MOLECULES TO MASSIVE POTENTIAL
These wonderful molecules are the terpenes or "terps", which are the precursors of terpenoids. Each of these aromatics has its own medicinal and bioactive properties. Fruits, flowers, vegetables, and spices smell so nice because of these terpenes. Above all, these hydrocarbon molecules are more than just fragrant and tasteful delicacies. Pinene, Limonene, Myrcene, Linalool and Caryophyllene are just a few of the "terps" found at different concentrations in cannabis that have been scientifically attributed to cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety , inducing sleep and mood -increasing therapeutic properties. Pinene improves mental focus, linalool works for relaxation, bergamontene helps with stress and insomnia, and myrcene for sleep.
The word terpene comes from the word turpentine, which is the sap of trees tapped or distilled from wood. Turpentine was used in ancient Chinese medicine for toothaches and respiratory problems. Terpenes are very volatile and evaporate quickly at moderate temperatures. That's why the air smells cooler in the morning because that's when plants release terpenes when they reach their peak concentration before the sun evaporates them throughout the day. Preserving terpenes in cannabis at harvest is an important task as growers want to retain the distinctive flavor profiles and bioactive attributes of these fragile and easily degraded plant compounds. Cannabis growers often choose to harvest early in the morning and sometimes immediately freeze their crops to retain these terpenes. To further protect these special compounds which are very sensitive to heat and humidity, growers and processors must carefully control environmental conditions during handling to avoid degrading or vaporizing the natural terpenes in cannabis and other plants. . During the growth and maturation of a plant, terpenes are affected by even moderate changes in conditions, such as wind, sun exposure, temperature cycle, precipitation. Obviously, mechanical or manual harvesting, excessive handling, and careless storage practices will decrease the terpene profile of a medicinal plant. Process controls, During the growth and maturation of a plant, terpenes are affected by even moderate changes in conditions, such as wind, sun exposure, temperature cycle, precipitation. Obviously, mechanical or manual harvesting, excessive handling, and careless storage practices will decrease the terpene profile of a medicinal plant. Process controls, During the growth and maturation of a plant, terpenes are affected by even moderate changes in conditions, such as wind, sun exposure, temperature cycle, precipitation. Obviously, mechanical or manual harvesting, excessive handling, and careless storage practices will decrease the terpene profile of a medicinal plant.
Process controls, quality assurance testing, experienced master producers and extractors, standard operating procedures and other protocols typical of the pharmaceutical and food industries can ensure that not only terpenes, but also flavonoids, polyphenols and all other plant compounds are kept consistently, batch by batch.
Terpenes, cannabinoids and other phyto-compounds give cannabis, including the so-called low-THC industrial hemp and its oil, their unique medicinal benefit, taste and smell. With cannabis, trichomes are the glands found on the surface of plants and are responsible for the production of terpenes in the cannabis plant. Terpenes can be derived from cannabis or synthetic and can be added to hemp extracts to enhance its medicinal qualities. There are over 50000 naturally occurring terpenes, but researchers are also making terpenes as well as terpenes combinations in the lab because this class of compounds has been credited with so many pharmaceutical and health and wellness benefits. .
THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT AND THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Terpenes work in conjunction with cannabinoids and other plant compounds through "entourage effect". This symbiotic interaction of many different natural molecules in different ratios in different cultivars of cannabis has been attributed to improved therapeutic qualities. Simply put, the "whole plant" is greater than the sum of the parts. As a result of research on the entourage effect, many people now believe that "whole plant" and "whole plant medicine" are superior to highly refined cannabis extracts or formulations of isolate products. . Due to the increased synergistic effect when the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phyto-compounds, like flavonoids, chlorophylls, vitamins and minerals, are consumed together. Called aptly " full spectrum“Hemp or vegetable oil, these products have often been shown to be more effective in improving health compared to administering the same plant compounds individually.
When groundbreaking cannabis research revealed the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the early 1990s, the medical landscape changed dramatically. But few medical schools have yet included the endocannabinoid system in their curriculum. And as our understanding of this critical "backbone" regulatory system has grown, the information has also provided guidance on how plant-based cannabinoids can positively signal this system located in the central nervous system and peripheral. Among many qualities, certain terpenes can positively influence human health via the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the absorption of serotonin and therefore act as antidepressants. When cannabinoids attach to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, a complete cascade of events occurs in cell-to-cell communication, in turn, influencing neurobehavioural effects, regulating pain, inflammation, anxiety, fear , body temperature, stress, appetite and more. They also increase a neurotransmitter called GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid, which blocks nerve impulses and thus reduces anxiety.
The good news about terpenes is that the FDA has recognized that terpenes are safe . The National Institutes of Health is also paying attention and released the first funding announcement for research proposals on how cannabinoids and minor terpenes affect nociception, which is the nervous system's response to harmful stimuli, such as a wound. In addition, this request for research proposals encourages an unprecedented interdisciplinary approach between scientists such as chemists, biologists, neuroscientists and health professionals such as physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Terpenes can be used in various ways , including oral consumption and inhalation by spray. Additionally, terpenes are often added to diffusers, humidifiers and fragrances. But they are also absorbed through the skin. This is why aromatherapy treatments, such as facials, massages, baths, all include terpenes. Terpenes are used in many foods and drinks, and chefs are using specific combinations to enhance flavor and aroma and increasingly in functional foods for their medicinal qualities and not just their pleasing aromas. Fruit smoothies, citrus pickled fish, Hefeweizen wheat beer, and infused treats like brownies would all have a drastically different appeal without terpenes, and the future will involve a lot more terpenes added to enhance the health benefits of people. food and drink.
Based on internet research data, the interest in terpenes has increased five times since 2016 . Products presenting and incorporating specific terps very deliberately will increase dramatically in width and number as consumer awareness and demand rapidly increases. Food is no longer just a matter of taste and aroma. Foods that are healthy, natural and attractive to health conscious, high demanding demographics will push many traditional foods and products off the shelves
In particular, the THC-dominant cannabis plant and associated products, as well as its high-CBD and low-THC cousin hemp, which are both legalized at an accelerated rate worldwide, are increasing the market world of terpenes which are expected to grow exponentially over the next few years.
Terpenes are like Pandora's box, a treasure that is yet to be discovered. Without terpenes, cannabis would be bland and have less well-being. The same would be true of many other herbal medicines, health and wellness remedies, consumer products, and food and drink. Research, science, innovation and discovery will pave the way for the justification and integration of the healthy properties of terpenes to improve human and animal health.