The popularity of dry herb vaping has also lead to a deluge of botanical terms hitting the mainstream. This can be particularly intimidating to newcomers to the scene.
The benefits of various herbal remedies have been known for centuries and all this botanical terminology is essentially just a repackaging and clarification of what a lot of us are aware of already.
That said there is one particular term that is becoming increasingly common is terpenes. Even for those of us familiar with botanical terms, terpenes can be a bit of a baffling term. However, like much of the terminology surrounding aromatherapy and try herb vaping, terpenes are something all of us have encountered. When you take a walk in the woods and enjoy the soothing scent of nature, you are actually enjoying terpenes.
Knowing about terpenes can change your entire vape experience, allowing you to find new benefits that can help your mental and physical health.
We’re here to tell you everything you need to know, so you can get the most out of your vape experience.
What Are Terpenes
You are already very familiar with terpenes, you just don’t realise it yet. Every time you pass a pine tree and enjoy its fresh scent you are actually smelling terpenes, whenever you smell the citrus scent of an orange, you’re smelling its terpenes, even the relaxing effects of lavender is due to terpenes.
On a more technical level, terpenes are much more than a simple scent.
Terpenes are a diverse type of organic compounds found in certain varieties of plants. Their most striking feature is their scent. This scent may be a type of self-defence measure, deterring plant-eaters directly by smelling unpalatable, and indirectly by attracting predators and parasites. The term ‘terpene’ is frequently used interchangeably with terpenoids, a diverse class of chemicals that can be derived from terpenes. Terpenes are a major component in essential oils used in aromatherapy.
There are around 20,000 known terpenes in existence. Many of these can be found in many different varieties of plants, but some have higher concentrations than others.
Types of Terpenes
Though there are a staggering array of terpenes out there, many of the most prominent ones should be instantly familiar to nearly anyone. There is a huge spectrum of known terpenes, and more are being discovered every day. While the effects of some are well known and may have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine, others have subtler but no less beneficial effects. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular terpenes.
Ocimene is found in a wide range of plants including mint, pepper, orchids, basil, and parsley. It can be used to help with a variety of conditions thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects.
This terpene is most commonly found in mango fruit but is present in many other plants. It is known to have a distinct scent and to contribute towards certain herb’s anti-inflammatory properties.
This is the origin of the fresh, citrus scent associated with lemons, limes, and oranges. It has great antibacterial and antifungal properties. Outside of its aromatherapeutic uses it is frequently found in household cleaners and air fresheners. When vaped, it can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
Terpineol has a distinctive, flowery smell that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has used makeup or perfume. It is generally found in sweet-smelling flower blossoms. It is known as having a range of calming and relaxing effects and is used widely in air fresheners, cosmetics, and perfume.
Eucalyptol has a distinct, minty aroma. It is most famous for giving eucalyptus leaves their scent. When ingested, however, it is known as breaking down acetylcholine in the brain, allowing nerve cells to transmit to one another more effectively. Essentially it's like a cup of coffee without the crash.
This terpene’s name is a major clue to where it is most commonly found in pine trees. It infuses pine needles with their distinctive aroma. It can be found in two forms: Alpha, which is responsible for the wonderful and distinctive pine smell, and beta, which has a scent closer to rosemary.
It is a bronchodilator, which means that it can increase the airflow in your lungs, helping you breathe easier. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects.
Many of us have enjoyed the effects of this terpene without realising it. Linalool is most commonly found in lavender. It is well known for its anti-anxiety, stress-relieving, and anti-depressant effects. It can be used to promote deep and restful sleep, too.
This terpene is found in cinnamon and black pepper and has a distinctive spicy scent. Research indicates that this terpene may be perfect for helping to treat anxiety and depression.
Commonly found in hops, basil, and cloves, this terpene may actually help decrease appetite. This makes it great for those hoping to avoid snacking between meals. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Camphene has a distinct woodland scent, it may also remind you of vapour rub. This is no surprise because this terpene has been used in these products for decades and is known to offer relief from cold and flu symptoms.
Why Should You Vape Terpenes?
Terpenes have a huge range of beneficial effects. However, they are structurally extremely fragile. Combustion, that is using fire to burn or smoke terpenes, totally destroys them. This is why using a vaporizer is the best way to enjoy terpenes. Ideally, a vaporizer with an electronically controlled heating system. This is because different terpenes tend to have different optimal temperatures. If you are vaping lavender, you’ll need to understand the ideal temperature for linalool, if you are enjoying parsley, then set your vape to the ideal temperature for Ocimene.
Vaping dry herbs is a great way to enjoy the great taste inherent to them. It also allows users to enjoy the effects of medicinal herbs without subjecting their lungs to the carbon and carcinogens released by combustion.
The Health Benefits of Terpenes
The intrinsic aroma of terpenes has a beneficial effect on a user’s mood and stress levels. The relaxing, soporific effects of linalool is fantastic for promoting a good night’s sleep. The scent of terpenes is intensified when it is vaporized and aerosolised at high temperatures, increasing their effects. Our olfactory system is directly connected to the emotional centres of our brain. So pleasant smells can have a causal effect on pleasant moods.
There is growing evidence that terpenes may have physiological benefits too. A study from the Journal of Toxicological Research found that immersing a patient in a terpene-rich environment has potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects on human health. Terpenes can affect the activity of brain cells, too.
A study from the Chongqing Medical University in China found promising leads in using terpenes to help with Alzheimer’s disease. The progression of Alzheimer’s disease is dependent on mitigating inflammation, and the anti-inflammatory effects of terpenes can potentially help with this.