What Are Cannabinoids & Terpenes?

Written by Hannah Dahlgren

Two words that belong in every patient’s vocabulary- cannabinoids & terpenes are chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief for an array of symptoms. Cannabinoids are responsible for binding to receptor sites, while terpenes are responsible for the different tastes and aromas of different strains.

When cannabinoids bind to receptor sites, it signals the body to perform different functions to relieve many different ailments. Cannabinoids mediate communication between cells when there is a problem.

Think of receptors and cannabinoids as a lock and key system. Cannabinoids bind to receptors like a key fits inside of a lock. When that receptor is “unlocked”, it changes how our cells are functioning. The change in the function of cells leads to relief from nausea, pain, headaches, discomfort, appetite loss, seizures, vomiting, anxiousness, etc.

Research results on cannabinoids are so promising that cannabinoids have been synthesized for legal prescription use. Although it is a step in the right direction, further research proves that herbal cannabis contains a wider variety of therapeutic compounds than synthesized prescription cannabinoids. Herbal cannabis contains over 85 cannabinoids (THC & CBD being the most well-known), each one with a different effect, so it is important for patients to know what they are and which ones feel best for them

Terpenes can be found in a wide variety of plants and are responsible for the distinct smell and taste of each strain. When terpenes interact with cannabinoid receptors, they can assist with the effects a patient experiences when cannabis is consumed. Synergetic effects can be achieved with the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes.

To put it simply, the flavor of cannabis can be enhanced by maximizing or preserving terpene levels. When going into a dispensary, it is important for patients to smell different cannabis flower products to see what they prefer. We advise our patients to follow their nose when it comes to exploring cannabis. Your senses are intuitively in-tune with your body, listen to them.