Terpenes are found in every plant on earth including cannabis, but are they psychoactive? Here's everything you need to know.
Are terpenes psychoactive?
According to the National Cancer Institute, a drug or other substance that affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behaviors is considered psychoactive. There are many legal psychoactive substances, like caffeine, nicotine, marijuana (legality changes from state to state), alcohol, and some forms of pain medication.
The properties of cannabis that cause it to be classified as a psychoactive substance are rather complex. There are hundreds of different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes in the different strains that cause the effects on your body from consuming cannabis. Terpenes interact with the ECS, or the endocannabinoid system, in our bodies to help regulate a multitude of functions, just like cannabis. When terpenes interact with the ECS they help to regulate body temperature, immune function, sleep, pain, appetite, and many other bodily functions.
Before researchers learned of the ECS and the way terpenes interact with cannabinoids it was thought that THC and THC alone was the psychoactive property of cannabis. However, terpenes on their own are considered mildly psychoactive. While they don't cause intoxicating effects, they can alter our moods.
All in all, terpenes are considered mildly psychoactive. The effects of terpenes on our mind and body, alone or combined with cannabinoids, is what classifies them as having psychoactive properties. They make up a small percentage of cannabis, but they also help determine how a strain will affect you based on the mood-altering abilities of different terpenes.