Do you know what the subtle scent of eucalyptus, the sweet scent of lavender, the sweet scent of cinnamon, the spicy scent of ginger and the scent of hemp have in common? Well, it's the presence of terpenes. But what are these and what are they for? Zoom on the subject.
Definition of terpene
Physically speaking, terpene is a molecule composed of hydrogen and carbon. It is therefore a hydrocarbon. This molecule is found in all resin plants, essential oil plants and many other categories of plants. It is the terpene that provides the smell of flowers and leaves or even tree bark. Thus, in aromatherapy, we extract these molecules to create essential oils. Furthermore, they are also used to create perfumes. Note, among other things, that terpenes also play a role in the flavor and color of plants.
Regarding the hemp plant, it is the trichomes — the same glands that secrete CBD and THC — that produce the terpene. Trichomes are kind of little crystallized details that you find on the cannabis leaf. This way you can better understand where the smell of petrichor, mint, diesel or even pine comes from your hemp plant.
Note that the smell in question will vary depending on the variety of cannabis as well as the quantity of terpenes it contains.
What are the different types of terpenes?
There are over 20 thousand terpenes in nature, 200 of which are identified in the cannabis plant. The latter is therefore among the plants richest in terpenes.
Here are some terpenes found in hemp worth mentioning.
It is a predominant terpene in all varieties of hemp plants. It is also found in hops and thyme. It is this molecule that produces the earthy smell of cannabis.
Beta-caryophyllene is the second largest terpene in cannabis. Also present in black pepper and rosemary, this molecule gives off a very spicy aroma. It is therefore repellent for insects.
Limonene represents the third predominant terpene in hemp. It is particularly located in citrus fruits and gives off a strong odor. It is found for example in Lemon Skunk.
It is the terpene present in conifers. It is therefore this molecule which gives certain cannabis their pine smell. Critical Mass contains pinene.
Eucalyptol is generally found in eucalyptus trees. This terpene is rather rare in the hemp plant. Of all the varieties of cannabis, Haze is the one that contains a more or less significant quantity. This molecule is at the origin of the camphorous odor of cannabis.
As in lavender, linalool is also identified in hemp. This terpene gives off a beautiful floral smell. This terpene is identified in the Do si Dos variety.
Humulene is the predominant terpene in hops. It is also present in cannabis, sage and basil. It is found in the Gelato variety.
Terpinolene is found in rosemary, apples, conifers and hemp. This terpene produces a smell of fresh herbs and flowers. Amnesia Haze contains terpinolene.
How are terpenes extracted from the hemp plant?
First of all, it is important to differentiate between terpenes and cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, etc.). These are indeed two molecules produced by the same gland, but they are completely different. Cannabinoids come only from hemp plants and are responsible for the effect of cannabis. As for terpenes, they are the source of the smell and aroma of each variety of hemp, but they are also located in other plants. Note that the quality and quantity of terpenes in hemp plants depend on several factors such as: Temperature and light