What are terpenes? Why do they appear?
Terpenes comprise a large, diverse class of organic compounds produced by a variety of plants. In some cases insects produce them as well. They often emit a strong odor to protect the organisms that produce them. Deterring herbivores and attracting predators and/or parasites of those herbivores, terpenes work hard at their job.
What makes them appear on plants though? Just like any other plant, Cannabis plants constantly evolve to better protect themselves. Natural selection, and a helping hand from humans, stimulate these changes. Only the most valuable make the evolutionary cut. These ones deter pesky insects and protect plants from mold and fungus. In the case of cannabis, they also give different strains their own unique aromas and flavors. It takes a long time to develop a strong strain that smells nice too.
How different companies use terpenes:
Although sometimes grouped in with terpenes, “terpenoids” (or isoprenoids) are actually modified terpenes. Terpenoids contain additional functional groups, whereas terpenes are simple hydrocarbons.
Many companies add terpenes to their products rather than using terpene-rich hemp. These terpenes come not only from Cannabis, but also a whole host of other plants. For instance, Cannabis contains the terpene Limonene, but orange peels do as well. Cannabis and mangos share the terpene Myrcene in common. Another terpene, Beta Caryophyllene, occurs naturally in Cannabis and black pepper.
Read between the lines:
Although many companies supplement terpenes into their products, they don’t necessarily offer the same benefits as naturally occurring cannabis terpenes. Many companies claim that naturally-occurring and supplemented terpenes benefit users equally, but this has yet to be scientifically substantiated. At 4CC, we don’t advertise added benefits from supplemented terpenes. We add them to our products for the sole purpose of flavoring. That being said, our terpene-rich hemp has been helping customers for years. Our aim is to grow a better, carefully bred crop every year for years to come. Terpenes will always be a cornerstone of our high-quality hemp.