Terpenes are hydrocarbons that are generally responsible for the distinct tastes and smells we experience in nature. Originally, plants evolved to express terpenes to avoid getting eaten. Plants also use these compounds to attract pollinators. Terpenes show up in high amounts in a variety of essential oils. For instance, limonene is present in the essential oil of lemons and limes. Additionally, alpha and beta-pinene are found in the essential oil of pine needles. The terpenoids in these oils produce the smell of lemons and pine forests. In addition, the terpene linalool is the predominant compound found in lavender. These compounds, and thousands more, also show up in the flowers of cannabis.
Why are Terpenes Important?
- They communicate with the body’s endocannabinoid system to bring therapeutic benefits.
- They work synergistically with cannabinoids to bring about homeostasis.
- Terpenoids give foods their natural flavor.