What are terpenes & what do they do?
Posted on January 20th, 2021 to Education
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are chemical compounds found naturally in plants which contribute to aromas and flavors. Technically speaking, terpenes belong to a large class of volatile aromatic secondary metabolites naturally produced by a diverse group of plant species. To put it more simply, terpenes are the naturally present chemicals in plants that make them smell the way they smell and taste the way they taste.
What are the names of the terpenes?
There are over 20,000 terpenes in existence (that we know of, at least). The most popular terpenes, however, are typically the ones found in cleaning products as well as cannabis. Some of the most popular terpene isolates are the following:
What are cannabis terpenes?
The cannabis plant contains terpenes just like lemons, pine needles, and most other plants in nature. Scientists are hopeful that terpenes may actually play a role in how cannabis affects us.
Where are terpenes produced within plants?
Plants produce terpenes in specialized cells or resin glands. Terpenes can also be created synthetically or semi-synthetically in a laboratory using a natural molecule as the modifiable building block.
When do plants produce these terpenes?
Plants can produce terpenes at different stages of their life cycle. Scientists can also organically synthesize terpenes on demand in a laboratory.
Why do plants produce terpenes? What’s their purpose?
Terpenes are classified as secondary metabolites, meaning their production is not directly involved in the growth, development or reproduction of the plant. Depending on the plant species, terpenes may assist in survival through pesticidal effects or increasing reproductive rate. Terpenes can also be naturally extracted or organically synthesized for human and animal use.
How do plants produce terpenes?
In nature, terpenes are derived biosynthetically from activated forms of the isoprene molecule. Terpenes are also commonly extracted from plants by various extraction methods. They can be further refined into the state of a single isolated terpene. Isolated terpenes can be organically synthesized in a laboratory setting.
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect describes the synergistic interaction between the phytochemicals as they exist in nature.