Terpenes 101 Part I: Benefits & Background of Myrcene & Linalool
As hemp’s wellness benefits have become more popular, research focus has shifted to hemp-derived terpenes and the therapeutic association they have with phytocannabinoids like CBD and CBG. In this three-part series, we introduce you to a variety of primary terpenes, covering their backgrounds, sources, health benefits, and the role they play in PrimeMyBody’s hemp extracts. But first…
What Are Terpenes?
The scents and tastes of terpenes fill our world on a daily basis. That citrusy flavor in lemons and oranges. Yup, those are terpenes. The sweet floral fragrance of lavender and lilies. That’s terpenes just doing what they do best. The pine-fresh scent of a wooded forest. You guessed it, terpenes.
Since the dawn of vegetation, terpenes have been the source of aromatic and flavor pleasures that delight the senses and uplift our mood. Scientifically, terpenes are a diverse class of organic compounds linked together by isoprene molecules. Terpenes are produced by and are present in every flower, plant, and tree on the planet. They’re even exhibited in certain insects.
Great botanical communicators, terpenes serve many purposes. They act as a defense mechanism for plants and trees against herbivores and environmental threats. At the same time, certain terpene scents are designed to attract insects for pollination. They’re also a vital compound component responsible for the physiological development of most plants. In wellness, terpenes found in plant oils are the crux of aromatherapies. They’re known to incite states of calm and balance, and aid a healthy mind and body.
Terpenes Role in Hemp Extract
As central compounds in cannabis and hemp, terpenes showcase many of the same attributes they do in other plants, but they also exhibit extraordinary health benefits for mammals. Terpenes play a key role in broad and full spectrum hemp extracts’ entourage effect. Simply put, an entourage effect occurs when various compounds produced by the hemp plant work synergistically rather than isolated. When this orchestration of compounds interact harmoniously they promote broader, more impactful health results.
For us to create an effective entourage effect in our hemp extracts, it’s essential to include a variety of complementary terpenes—or what we describe as a polyterpene blend. Now let’s breakdown the individual terpenes we use in our hemp extracts. We should point out all terpenes in PrimeMyBody hemp extracts are hemp-derived.
Background & Plant Sources
One of ten primary terpenes, myrcene is commonly found in hops, bay leaves, basil, lemongrass, hemp, chamomile, and many other botanical sources. Like CBG is a precursor phytocannabinoid to CBD and THC, myrcene is a terpene precursor to secondary terpenes such as terpinene. Longstanding anecdotal evidence suggests eating mangoes—which have high myrcene counts—before ingesting marijuana accentuates THC’s psychoactive effects (but we can’t attest to that theory).
Aroma & Flavor Profile
On its own myrcene is known to emit a subtle but spicy aroma with hints of pepper and balsam. The earthy, full-bodied aroma tones have been compared to the likes of fermented fruit or balsamic vinegar. Myrcene doesn’t pack a strong, pungent aroma like limonene (a terpene we’ll cover later), but it is used as an intermediary or carrier compound for more aromatic terpenes like menthol, geraniol, and linalool.
Myrcene’s Wellness Benefits & Its Role In Hemp
Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene in the Cannabis sativa species and thrives abundantly in industrial hemp—a plant variety of Cannabis sativa. In certain cannabis species, myrcene constitutes up to 50 percent of the entire terpene content. A primary role of myrcene in hemp extracts and oils is to assist phytocannabinoid absorption across the blood-brain barrier. They’re also known to bind well to the endocannabinoid system’s receptors.
A cornerstone terpene in hemp, myrcene holds a variety of wellness benefits when ingested appropriately. It’s most notably known as an analgesic—used to promote relief from pain and physical discomfort. Myrcene also boasts a calming effect–thus its relationship to chamomile—and can act as a mild sedative or sleep inducer.
Background & Plant Sources
Another common terpene, linalool isn’t just fun to pronounce, it’s also produced in large quantities in more than 200 species of plants, including many citrus fruits, herbs, and spice plants and shrubs. Like myrcene, linalool is also one of ten primary terpenes. It’s a versatile terpene used for a variety of applications including personal care products (shampoos, lotions, soaps), fragrances, food and beverages, natural insecticides, bug repellants, and other household cleaning products.
Aroma & Flavor Profile
Linalool is known for its distinctively sweet aroma. It’s often identified by the unmistakable calming scents emitted from lavender, basil, and lily of the valleys. Even though linalool is one of the most consumed terpenes, it does not hang around in the body for long, as very little is stored in fatty tissue after ingestion.
Linalool Benefits & Its Role In Hemp
Not as prevalent in hemp as other primary terpenes like myrcene or limonene, linalool does make a sizeable contribution to the entourage effect of broad and full spectrum hemp extracts. Linalool’s therapeutic benefits for health and wellness are quite extensive. When stressed, the properties of linalool have calming, soothing effects on the brain. In conjunction with its mild sedative effect, those calming properties are known to aid sleep and rest. Linalool also works with the immune system, making it more resilient to the agitations of stress. A lab study showed that linalool activates rats’ parasympathetic responses, which typically trigger during times of rest and digestion.
When combined with phytocannabinoids, linalool promotes an analgesic effect that eases tension and physical discomfort. Interestingly enough, linalool is also a precursor compound to vitamin E, which is why it’s found in many skin topicals and hair products.
In part II of our Terpene 101 series, we cover a couple more terpenes included in our hemp extracts, including limonene and humulene. To read Terpenes 101 Part II click here.