As the funding for research intoCBDcontinues around the world, this month we take a look at the different compounds in the Truth Naturals range of full-spectrum, organically grown CBD products. These are sometimes referred to as the “forgotten benefits" of CBD oil - Flavonoids, Terpenes and, Terpenoids.
All plants are chemically complex. A tomato, for example, has about 380 different types of compounds, but cannabis is one of the most chemically dense plants known, with around 512 different compounds. The most well-known of these are THC and CBD. However, there is far more to cannabis than that - it also contains flavonoids, terpenes and terpenoids.
But what are they, and what do they do?
Flavonoids are compounds found in a variety of foods, but most notably in plants – they’re present in the blue, red and purple pigments in fruit and vegetables. There are approximately 6,000 identified members of the flavonoid family, with more being discovered each year. Cannabis has flavonoids that are unique to the plant, such as cannflavin A and B, apigenin and vitexin.
Flavonoids not only affect the taste but also appearance and scent, so each strain of cannabis has its own unique flavour and smell. They are vital for the natural functions of organic life, including the attraction of insects for pollination, and cell growth.
Terpenes vs. Terpenoids
The terms ‘terpenes’ and ‘terpenoids’ are often used interchangeably, but there’s a crucial difference in the chemical structure of the two compounds. Terpenes are hydrocarbons (meaning the only elements present are carbon and hydrogen), whereas terpenoids have been altered by oxidation (drying and curing), or by being chemically modified.
Terpenes are found in high concentrations in unfertilised cannabis plants. They benefit the plant by protecting it from bacterial and fungal infection and aggressive insects. Like cannabinoids, terpenes interact with neurotransmitters in the body to produce serotonin. They can be extracted as essential oils using steam distillation or evaporation, and used in all kinds of products, from food supplements to cosmetics.
The sheer number and variety of terpenes and terpenoids present in cannabis demonstrate the versatility of these naturally-occurring chemicals.
Varieties of Cannabis Terpens
This is the most common terpene in cannabis - most varieties contain around 60% of this essential oil. It is described as having an earthy aroma with musky tones and is present in the oil of various naturally-occurring products, including hops, citrus fruits, bay leaves, and lemongrass.
Another common variety is Limonene, which has citrus aromas of lemon, orange and lime. Highly absorbent, limonene is a natural insecticide that has been adapted for use in lemon cleaning products, insect repellents, perfumes, and food.
Camphene is described as having an odour of the woods – fir in particular. It is a component of essential oils found in turpentine, camphor and ginger oil and can be added as a flavouring in various foods or as a scent enhancer in perfume.
As well as being present in some varieties of cannabis, Terpinolene is a common component of rosemary and sage. It is widely used in soaps and perfumes, as well as in insect repellents. The aroma of Terpinolene is described as having a pine fragrance, with herbal and floral hints. It is also said to have a sweet tinge of lemon, lime and orange – similar to Limonene.
Beta-Caryophyllene is described as having a peppery, spicy taste and is found in plants such as Thai basil, cloves, and black pepper. This chemical is one of the most unique terpenes found in cannabis because it is the only terpene known to interact with CB2 receptors in the human body. It acts as a CB2 agonist and does not produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects, so it’s often added to CBD food supplements.
This is most commonly found in pine resin and has two forms: Alpha-Pinene and Beta-Pinene. The former is the most prevalent of terpenes in nature, found in conifers, balsamic resin, and some citrus fruits. Pinene has an evocative taste and aroma of pine and fir.