When you get right down to it, cannabinoids – the 113-plus compounds inside the cannabis plant – are what’s powering the booming marijuana market and the profits everyone’s taking in.
Cannabinoids are the chemicals that give the plant its unique and highly sought-after effects. Cannabinoids can reduce inflammation and suppress seizures. They can relieve pain, too.
And of course, at least one cannabinoid – tetrahydrocannabinol-9 – is prized for its psychoactive qualities; it gets you high.
Of the many, many properties cannabinoids have, two things they don’t possess are… taste and smell. Pick any one pure cannabinoid, and it’s tasteless and odorless.
But as anyone who’s ever been within five feet of marijuana knows, the aroma can be extremely pungent – unmistakable, even though it can differ from strain to strain. The taste is quite distinctive, too.
So what gives?
The huge variety in marijuana’s taste and smell comes from yet another compound present in cannabis.
I’m talking about terpenes. In addition to providing that familiar “weed” aroma, terpenes themselves are proving to have therapeutic qualities of their own.
And isolating and extracting those useful, tasty compounds is getting to be a multibillion-dollar business…
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Turns out, terpenes are almost everywhere, in lots of different plants. Even some insects produce them to deter predators.
If you ever climbed a pine tree as a kid, the smell the sap left on your hands and clothes comes from terpenes, particularly α-pinene. It’s found in rosemary and dill, too.
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If you’ve ever opened a cedar chest or luxuriated in the smell of a fine cigar humidor, you’ve smelled terpenes.
They’re responsible for a lot of different plant bouquets. One common terpene is limonene. It gives the citrus smell to oranges, lemons, and limes.
Linalool provides a floral aroma to lavender, and humulene lends its woody, earthy fragrance to that close relative of cannabis – the hops used in brewing beer.
In fact, the scientific name for hops, Humulus lupulus, points to the terpene responsible for its effect on beer.
Even expensive perfumes owe their complex, powerful bouquets to terpenes.
Terpenes form a huge class of organic compounds. Ever hear of turpentine? Terpenes are the major component in the resin used to make it. The name terpene is even derived from turpentine, which was once spelled “terpentine” (with an “e” instead of a “u”).
Now, in addition to the over 100 cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, it also produces anywhere between 200 and 300 different terpenes. And the varying concentrations between different strains lend to each a unique scent.
In fact, many would contend that the full cannabis experience wouldn’t be possible without them.
That’s because terpenes have other effects on the human body, besides their distinctive smell.
Terpenes Affect Your State of Mind and Your Health
The linalool found in lavender has a soothing effect on the body and is considered a sleep aid. It’s a common essential oil and has a well-known calming effect.
The terpene β-myrcene has a similar effect. So much so that cannabis strains with β-myrcene levels of at least 0.5%, like you’d find in most cannabis indica plants, “lock” you on your couch… and make you perfectly happy to sit there.
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And limonene helps elevate your mood and can relieve stress.
It is the combination of terpenes found in cannabis that, when combined with cannabinoids, produces the full experience.
The various terpenes affect your state of mind, to be sure, but they also have medicinal benefits.
And it’s believed that the biophysical interplay between cannabinoids and terpenes can serve as a much more effective treatment than a single cannabinoid.
And now we’re getting to the business case for these compounds…
These effects and benefits have some cannabis startups scrambling to capitalize on them. The booming cannabidiol (CBD) market, for instance, owes a lot to that exceptionally beneficial cannabinoid. CBD, working in concert with terpenes, can relieve stress, help athletes recover from strenuous workouts, and help soldiers returning from war deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBD and terpenes are cracking open the $4.2 trillion health and wellness industry; it’s an entirely new source of medicine and healing that will dramatically improve the “health span” of an aging population that wants to stay active.
And that’s where Portland, Ore.–based True Terpenes comes in.
Extractors Are Going to Be a Huge Investing Segment
True Terpenes extracts terpenes from cannabis plants, of course, but also many other plants where these compounds can be found.
It produces around 50 terpene isolates, plus an array of blended products designed to create specific effects.
Interestingly, this is where the cannabis industry starts to look a whole lot like the wine industry…
To replicate the flavor and effect profile of a particular cannabis strain, brands are starting to add different terpenes to their cannabis extracts for vaping, the better to create a consistent experience for consumers.
There are well over 150 different publicly traded cannabis companies competing to scale their brands to reach a $600 billion global cannabis market. And to obtain that vital consistency that truly great brands are world-famous for, they’ll come to extractors like True Terpenes to get the ingredients they need.
And they’ll pay good money to do it, fattening up these extractors’ revenues along the way. Right now, True Terpenes is private – though I am watching it like a hawk to be able to recommend a move to some of my readers.
Until then, watch this space for any updates on True Terpenes or other extractors that might be worth your capital.
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