What is a terpene? Scientifically it is a naturally occurring organic compound with an isoprene building block in its chemical structure. The specific structure isn’t important, but its structure is responsible for the flavors, smells, and effects we love from our products.
Think of any plant, not just weed but a fruit like guava or mango. Both of these fruits contain large amount of myrcene which can give them an earthy taste.
Taste and smell are just the beginning. Currently, numerous studies are looking at isolating specific terpenes and utilizing them for diseases. For example, caryophyllene has been shown to inhibit osteoclast activity in human models. These cells play a big role in the breakdown of bone which can lead to arthritis. This terpene has been shown to slow this process down which can be HUGE for the disease state down the line.
Overall lesson – terpenes are neat and a lot more research needs to be done to discover the various pros and cons of the many compounds still being discovered. (I know I’m a nerd)
Use this chart for a helpful reminder on what some of these terpenes typically taste like and the physiologic effects they tend to have.