Today, you’re not a human. You’re an ape. A sub-human ape that lived millions of years ago on the plains of Africa. You and your tribe are master hunters, able to pick off zebra, wildebeest, and the occasional mastodon. You’re accustomed to killing, slaughtering, and consuming the meat of your kill. But one day, it all changes.
You’ve been so focused on the meat that you would stop at the bone: the calcified and indigestible lattice of your food. One day, however, you’re bored and you decide to break open a bone. Inside you find something you haven’t eaten before: marrow. Nutritious, wholesome, and packed with caloric energy, you set off a wave of delight through your tribe at the newly found source of sustenance and future positive health outcomes.
This same thing happened recently in the cannabis industry, except, without the killing and slaughtering. Industry experts discovered that while they were spending all their time focusing on CBD and THC, they overlooked a powerful (and less conspicuous) order of compounds within cannabis: terpenes.
Terpenes: Perfume and Health
When you break up a northern indica, that scent of pine is the terpene pinene bursting open in the air. However, it’s more than just a pleasant smell; pinene’s presence prolongs plants’ lives by discouraging predators from eating it.
While it doesn’t prevent humans from being eaten by predators, pinene and other terpenes do offer a plethora of medicinal benefits to consumers.
Medicinal Benefits of Terpenes
From controlling tumors to protecting neurons to regulating inflammation and more, terpenes give humans a better quality of life (1). Though terpene delivery through extractions and cannabis consumption is ideal to deliver a complex and beneficial range of terpenes to the human system, it’s possible to feel their positive health benefits simply by standing out in nature.
People have been extracting CBD and THC without considering the lost health benefits of the terpenes and their impact on the entourage effect (2).
Embracing the Flower
As people begin to recognize the value of the entourage effect and the benefit of using whole flower extracts, we should expect to see more people extracting terpenes and future technology aimed at finding ways to effectively extract as much of the terpenes as possible.
I’m looking forward to the tool that takes us from cracking open that bone, to fully extracting every last compound inside of it.
- “Terpenes from Forest and Human Health.” Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5402865/
- “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects.” Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/