What are terpenes and why do they matter?

Have you ever wondered what influences the type of high you get when using medical cannabis? In short, the answer is Terpenes. 

Terpenes are present in every plant, not just cannabis. They determine everything from the scents to the side effects of a botanical.

Since there are over 120 terpenes found in cannabis, let’s look at what they are and why they matter when it comes to determining the most appropriate prescription for you.

What are terpenes? Mamedica.jpg

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are organic chemical compounds found in all plants. They’re responsible for the aroma of the plant and can provide an explanation as to why some strains of cannabis smell different to others.

There’s a lot to be said about trusting your sense of smell: if you like the smell of something, your brain is often saying you’ll like the effect of it too.

Do terpenes play a role in the “high” we get? 

Whilst terpenes aren’t responsible for making you feel “high” in the traditional sense. Some experts believe that a terpene is bioactive, meaning they have a biological effect on the body. Plus, it is also said, that the terpene can facilitate cannabinoid absorption as well as offer therapeutic properties. 

In fact, current evidence suggests that some terpenes have the potential to support the relief of select mental health conditions.

For example, those dealing with anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder may benefit from terpenes as they have a synergistic effect on the body.  The result of this reaction increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.  

Serotonin is found in many key parts of the human body and plays an important part in regulating your mood. Meanwhile, the dopamine plays a big role in how we feel pleasure and reward, whilst norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that increases your attention and alertness.

Why should we pay attention to terpenes?

There are a lot of things to consider when determining the perfect strain of cannabis for you. While it’s important to understand the difference between Indica, Sativa and hybrid strains, the terpenes in each strain influence the effects they produce.  

For instance, one may notice that sativa – known for its energising effect – doesn’t always help you focus and the reasoning behind this is, terpenes.

This is because a terpene can interact with our endocannabinoid system. Allowing this to work in synergy with cannabinoids to produce psychoactive effect. We can view a psychoactive effect, in this instance, as a simple change in mood, awareness, thoughts or behaviour.

How do I know which to look out for?

By understanding the effects of the common cannabis terpenes, you can identify which strain is most beneficial for your needs with a specialist consultant.

At Mamedica, we offer one-to-one consultations with our specialist doctors during which  your bespoke treatment plan will be determined.

During this initial assessment, our specialists will understand your pain and health concerns to ensure your medical cannabis treatment is stress-free, simple, safe and effective. Check your eligibility for treatment here 

Now you know what a terpene is and why they matter, remember to keep an eye on our blog as we share everything you need to know about the three main cannabis terpenes in the upcoming weeks.