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Terpenes in cannibas and medicinal values----what we must know.

#Tejasvani knowledge desk

Russo (2011) documented the unique therapeutic effect of cannabis terpenes that possibly played a role on the entourage effects of the medicinal properties of the cannabinoids. This Phyto cannabinoid-terpenoid synergy could enhance the treatments of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal, and bacterial infections, and this is still unchallenged proposition.

This is important to understand as we move towards medicinal uses of cannibas. Like any other aromatic and medicinal plant ---terpenes is first security check of effectiveness of the product and any one who has dealt with essential oils for long knows this thing.

The best way to capture terpene profile is steam distillation of the product ---that means the product needs to be steam distillated.

Like any product of aromatic nature ---crop life cycle and at what stage and at what time crop was cut and put in distillation , growing protocols ,post harvesting procedure ---are critical factors in EO quality and that’s true even in cannibas ---so way its done currently where the confiscticated cannibas is supplied to be processed ---makes no sense ---as you know nothing about products origin , area of growing and since terpenes are volatile parameter ---its degraded substantially in terpene quality and by normal process of “respiration, and transpiration with O2, CO2”the quality is degraded depending on crop cutting and buying time usually more than several months to years.

Terpenes are the primary constituents of essential oils and are responsible for the aroma characteristics of cannabis. Together with the cannabinoids, terpenes illustrate synergic and/or entourage effect.

To understand cannibas in its entity knowing agronomy becomes important even before chemistry.

The energy required for plant growth and development derives from photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration with O2, CO2, nutrients, and water. The energy is restored in the form of primary chemical ingredients that plants later exploit. These primary metabolites include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. However, during cycles of growth and reproduction, plants might be challenged by stresses including hard environmental conditions or pests and herbivores. Plants then produce different groups of compounds called secondary metabolites that are used as defenses to those challenges. For example, it can produce compounds that draw in pollinators including birds to help them in the fertilization process or seed dispersion. These compounds are produced in different forms and are exploited for their biological functionalities; for example, alkaloids such as morphine and codeine in opium give psychoactive and pain relief activity to mammals. Phenolics and flavonoids found in the skins of fruits and berries possess antioxidant activity. Sulfur containing compounds such as allicin in garlic can be used to reduce lipoglycerides in the blood and also have the ability to stimulate appetite and finally, the terpenoids, which are main ingredients found in plants containing essential oils, are used as food additives and some depict psychoactive ability and aroma characteristics such as those found in the cannabis.

The biosynthetic pathway of cannabinoids involves the chemical joining process of the phenol with the terpenes to form the non-activate acidic forms that largely determine their potency and pharmaceutical properties including cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerol (CBG) cannabinol (CBN), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabicyclol (CBL), delta 8-THC, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) . These compounds, along with the terpenes, are produced in the trichome structures available on the female cannabis flower. The highest concentration of the natural cannabinoids in cannabis are cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and Δ9-tetra-hydrocannabinoic acid (Δ9-THCA). The psychoactive metabolites such as delta 9-THC and the non-psychoactive CBD are then activated through decarboxylation by heat treatments. It is also favored by several factors such as storage time and the use of alkaline conditions . Below are the important cannabis terpene groups and their synergistic and functional properties.

Cannabis Monoterpene

The α-pinene and β-pinene inhibits the activity of acetylcholinesterase in the brain. Therefore, it is claimed to aid memory and minimize cognitive dysfunction induced by THC intoxication. The characteristic of pine scent possesses antiseptic activity. β-myrcene is known to have the analgesic effect of THC and CBD by stimulating the release of endogenous opioids through the α2-adrenergic receptor dependent mechanism. Thus, if the level of myrcene is >0.5%, it may result in a “couch lock” effect while low levels of myrcene (>0.5% myrcene) can produce a higher energy. This compound offers the musky or hop-like fragrance with the functions of antioxidant and anticarcinogens. Even though it has been postulated that limonene of the citrus aroma has a low affinity for cannabinoid receptors, this monoterpene boosts up the level of serotonin and dopamine, thereby inducing the anxiolytic, anti-stress, and sedative effects of the CBD. The floral fragrance of linalool could assist with the anxiety through aromatherapy.

Cannabis Sesquiterpenes

β-Caryophyllene, a spice (pepper) aroma, is the most available sesquiterpenoid in cannabis plants and extracts, especially after decarboxylation by heat. It is an agonist with the CB2 receptor without psychoactivity. It is also responsible for the cannabis anti-inflammatory effects. This sesquiterpene is also proven to give gastroprotective, analgesic, anticancerogenic, antifungal, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antioxidant, anxiolytic, analgesic, and neuroprotective effects. The caryophyllene oxide that gives the lemon balm-like scent is proven to have anti-fungal and insecticidal properties.

The most important part:

Aside from the variations and compositions of terpenes among different phenotypes, the modulated molecular or biological functions of the terpenes are effective only when the concentration of the terpene in the full-spectrum cannabis extract is above 0.05% v/w” (Shapira et el. 2019, Maayah et.el 2020,Lewis et.el 2017).

The terpene compositions of cannabis are a seasonal variable. The alteration in the proportion of terpenoids in cannabis are in accordance with the variety of cannabis, plant part, environmental conditions, maturity, and method of analyses. Different growth stages of the cannabis could give considerable variations in the terpene compositions. The terpene profile of the cannabis at the vegetative stage was considered to have a much lower proportion of monoterpenes than the flowering stage.

How many terpenes are possibly in cannibas ----no one knows Among the cannabis strains analyzed by Shapira, Berman, Futoran, Guberman, and Meiri (2019), five chemotype groups were elucidated according the predominant terpenes: (i) β-myrcene, (ii) α- and β-pinene, (iii) β-caryophyllene and limonene, (iv) β-caryophyllene, and (v) terpinolene. In the sensory perception of the terpene profile differences among cannabis strains, two distinct descriptive clustering groups were nominated (Gilbert et.el 2018). The first group included uniformly earthy, woody, and herbal, and the other group comprised the most frequent descriptors including citrus, lemon, sweet, and pungent.

The implications for medicinal use of cannibas:

The terpene in product must be used and a lot needs to be learnt from essential oils ----as it has always a long researched history in terpenes of other essential oils ---and its recognized as “essence of plant”

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