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Thanks to the advances in research on the hemp plant and its therapeutic use, more and more active principles have been found present in said plant whose functions are still little studied. Several studies have shown that at the same dose of cannabinoids, the effects produced by the administration of pure cannabinoids are different from those produced by the administration of complete plant extracts . This leads us to the conclusion that the cannabis plant contains other active ingredients that have pharmacological action and that act synergistically and/or asynergically with cannabinoids. The two groups found so far are terpenes and flavonoids.
Terpenes are volatile compounds that become part of atmospheric gases, but can also accumulate inside plants .
The great variety of medicinal properties in these compounds opens unsuspected development opportunities for scientific research. As research progresses, the complexity of the functions of terpenes and their benefits is discovered.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic organic compounds derived from isoprene (a hydrocarbon with 5 carbon atoms) that are found in all kinds of vegetation and are important in numerous biotic interactions (Goodwin 1971), performing primary functions such as protection against various factors such as high temperatures, insects or herbivorous predators, finding them and forming part of the chlorophyll and some carotenoid pigments.
The functions of terpenes at the plant level are varied. Terpenes are, for example, responsible for highly specialized processes that allow plants to have protection against the elements that surround them. Its functions include coloring, acting as a repellent and aromatization that facilitates the pollination of plants.
Effects of terpenes
Like cannabinoids, terpenes have various effects on humans. Known as essential oils , they are currently used in aromatherapy . Aromatherapy includes several therapeutic benefits that have been attributed to various plants. Through aromatherapy, relaxing, stimulating or aphrodisiac effects are caused in people.
The terpenes present in the cannabis plant are responsible for the range of aromas that exist between the different varieties, but it is estimated that they are not only the only effects that can be attributed to it, but that they are linked in terms of the entourage effect .