You may be familiar with the terms cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids derived from hemp, but there are two additional phycompounds that are vital to achieving the sought-after “entourage effect” — terpenes and flavonoids.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are group of hydrocarbons (organic molecules made up of hydrogen and carbon) found principally in essential oils from many plants, responsible for the captivating aromas and tastes. In fact, terpenes are a plants way of warning predators through smell. Over 20,000 different terpenes have been identified to date, and at least 100 can be found within the hemp plant. Terpenes have served as the basis of aromatherapy.
What’s the big deal?
Research has shown that terpenes have a range of physiological benefits, by interacting with different enzyme systems in the body. Oral supplementation could have a positive effect on the nervous system and can help to boost energy levels. Some studies even show strong serotonin activity, which suggests terpenes may be effective in improving mood and sleep – especially when paired with phytocannabinoids.
Notable terpenes found in cannabis:
Beta-caryophyllene: stands out from other terpenes, in that it directly activates endocannabinoid receptors. It is known to have good anti-inflammatory activity and may help with an array of health benefits like improved sleep onset and mood regulation. You can find this in black pepper.
Pinene: has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a bronchodilator, opening airways. As the name suggests, pinene can also be found in evergreen plants like pine.
Limonene: gets its name from its lemon-like aroma. There is evidence suggesting it can support a calm mood, as it acts on the serotonin pathways. Limonene may even have dermatological benefits: if used topically, it can help to fight inflammation which can be the cause of an acne breakout. Limonene is abundant in citrus fruits.
Linalool: is critical to the production of Vitamin E. Research suggests that it modulates glutamine transmitters, therefore possessing stress-relieving properties. Linalool is common in lavender.
Myrcene: is known to help improve sleep onset when mixed with CBD. Other physiological effects include anti-inflammatory, helping to relieve occasional pain from overexertion and muscle relaxing. You can also get some from mango, hops and lemongrass.
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients found in nearly all plants and vegetables, responsible for their bright and vibrant colors. They also play a part in protecting a plant against UV rays, insects and disease. At least 6000 varieties have been identified, with about 20 coming from the cannabis plant. These are known as cannaflavins.
What’s the big deal?
Flavonoids play a crucial role in countless nutraceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications thanks to their widely recognized health benefits including blood pressure regulation, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Even more, they belong to polyphenols, plant compounds that have been traditionally used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Notable flavonoids found in cannabis:
Quercetin: is now believed to have strong anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It is also in fruits, onions, red wine, and black tea.
Catechins: also contain an array of health benefits associated with anti-inflamatory response. They are common in cocoa, green tea and legumes.
Cannaflavin A: found exclusively in cannabis, has exhibited anti-inflammatory properties which makes it useful for athletes looking for relief from muscle soreness.