Terpenes are powerful aromatic molecules responsible for the flavor and aroma of plants. But terpenes do more than provide flavor and aroma. They also support other cannabis molecules in producing wanted effects. We call this the entourage effect, and it’s the reason terpenes have become such a critical piece of the cannabis puzzle.
Cannabis contains hundreds of molecules that have the ability to directly interact with our bodies and minds. Cannabinoid molecules are relatively unique to the cannabis plant, but other plant-derived molecules such as flavonoids and terpenes also bind to our cells and influence our experiences.
In addition to their aromas, terpenes have direct interactions with our bodies. For instance, alpha-pinene and beta-caryophyllene interfere with molecules that dilate our blood vessels. Less dilation equals less inflammation. Evidence suggests that whole-plant cannabis (that includes terpenes) is superior to isolated compounds from the plant. This isn’t entirely surprising: if pinene is anti-inflammatory, and CBD is also anti-inflammatory, then the body has a chance to fight inflammation from two different angles. This combined benefit is known as the Entourage Effect; cannabinoids like THC and CBD produce better outcomes when they are consumed alongside a supporting cast of terpenes.