Terpenes are the primary aromatic constituents that give cannabis its characteristic odour.
Around 140 different terpenoids were identified so far, out of which monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes dominate. The particular ratio the terpenes present in a cannabis strain are mostly responsible for its unique smell and taste.
Other terpenes were reported to stimulate the membranes of the pulmonary system, thus soothing the pulmonary passages, and facilitating the absorption of inhaled compounds. Those molecules might find their use in inhalers and cough suppressants.
The use of cannabis as a polypharmaceutical herb over single-ingredient synthetic drugs was suggested due to its constituents acting synergistically and side effects being mitigated by other compounds. A recent study has shown the slightly but significantly improved treatment results with full spectrum THC extract compared to pure synthesized THC.
Some terpenoid constituents modulate THC activity, mediating analgesia and mood alteration. Additionally, β -myrcene, a terpenoid constituent, has analgesic, antiflammatory, antibiotic, and antimutagenic properties. Thus, not only do Cannabinoids benefit us, but so do the terpenoids present in this precious plant.
Dominating monoterpenes were myrcene, (67%; especially beta-myrcene), alpha-pinene, trans-ocimene, alpha-terpinolene and limonene. The monoterpene concentration ranges between 47 and 92%, of the total terpenoids; sesquiterpenes range from 5 to 49%. Male plants contain much lower concentrations because they develop few glandular trichomes and consequently produce few cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes seem to exhibit promising effects that are similar to the effects of different cannabinoids, however, this field is not fully studied yet.
Flavonoids are a further compound group found in Cannabis. 23 different and common flavonoids have been reported including apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, orientin, vitexin, luteolin-O-glucoside, and apigenin-7-O-glucoside. Interestingly, the major flavonoid glycosides were present in much higher concentrations in low-THC cannabis cultivars. Like all cannabinoids, the cannflavins A, B and C are unique to cannabis.
Apigenin has a selective high affinity towards benzodiazepine receptors inducing anxiolytic activity, which again shows how various compounds found in the Cannabis plant can affect our bodies.