21 augustus 2016

Benefits of Cannabis Terpenes

Terpenes are a group of fragrant essential oils – secreted alongside cannabinoids like THC and CBD– that contribute to the complex aromas and flavors of cannabis flowers. They are also generally responsible for many of the distinguishing characteristics and effects of different strains, and this discovery has led to a sharp increase in interest among researchers, producers, and consumers alike in recent years. While much research has yet to be done on terpenes, their potential to offer unique benefits to medical patients has only heightened this interest.


Though cannabis contains up to 200 different terpenes, there are about 10 primary terpenes and 20 secondary terpenes that occur naturally in significant concentrations. So far in our series of articles on terpenes, you’ve learned about the aromas, flavors, and potential medical benefits of limonene, pinene, myrcene, linalool, bisabolol, humulene, caryophyllene, trans-nerolidol,ocimene, terpinolene, and guaiol. Today, we’d like to introduce you to three more primary terpenes: terpineol, valencene, and geraniol.

What is Geraniol?

As its name suggests, geraniol (also known as lemonol) is most famous for its presence in geraniums, where it helps shape the blossoms’ distinctive, delicate scent. It is also found in a wide range of plants including tobacco and lemons, and interestingly, is produced by honey bees as a means of marking their hives and flowers. Geraniol is a monoterpene alcohol that boils at about 447˚F and frequently occurs in strains that also produce linalool.

Its floral, occasionally fruity aromas and flavors remind many of citronella candles or rose gardens, and occasionally of passionfruit or stonefruits such as peaches and plums. It is used frequently as a fruity flavoring agent, and shows up in an array of bath and body products. Geraniol, like valencene, is known to repel mosquitos.

Potential medical benefits attributed to geraniol include:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-tumor
  • Neuroprotectant
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-spasmodic

A few strains said to test high in geraniol include Lavender, Amnesia Haze, and Great White Shark. Among Tilray’s crop, Afghani, Headband, Island Sweet Skunk, OG Shark and Master Kushare currently testing highest in geraniol.

What is Terpineol?

Terpineol can refer to any combination of four monoterpene alcohol isomers (the most common of which is α-terpineol) occurring naturally in over 150 plants, including cannabis. Interestingly, terpineol is most frequently found in strains also containing high levels of pinene; however, due to pinene’s potent aroma, terpineol can be difficult to detect when the two occur simultaneously.

Terpineol is frequently used to create pleasant aromatic profiles in products like soap, lotion, and perfume, and it contributes to the distinctive, pine smoke-based aroma of lapsang souchong tea. It has a boiling point of around 424˚F. In addition to cannabis, it occurs naturally in lilacs, pine trees, lime blossoms, and eucalyptus sap. It is characterized by its ability to relax the consumer, and has been shown in lab studies to decrease motility in mice, leading some to suggest that it contributes to the couchlock effects of certain strains.

Terpineol’s potential medical benefits include:

  • Antibiotic
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-tumor
  • Sedative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antimalarial
  • Anxiolytic

Strains that often test high in terpineol include Jack Herer, White Widow, Girl Scout Cookies, and OG Kush.

What is Valencene?

Valencene is a sesquiterpene that gets its name from the place it’s most commonly found: Valencia oranges. Its citrusy, sweet aromas and flavors can be reminiscent of oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and occasionally of fresh herbs or freshly cut wood. The fragrant terpene is responsible for familiar citrus aromas frequently found in a wide variety of cannabis strains. It is also a known repellent of ticks and mosquitos.

The potential medical benefits of valencene are still being researched, but there is evidence that it may produce the following effects:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Insectifugal

Cannabis strains that can test relatively high in valencene include such citrus-forward strains asTangie and Agent Orange.

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