Terpenes are responsible for the way plants taste and smell. However, they play an important role in people. Wondering how terpenes work within the body? Here's a digestible breakdown of the process.
How terpenes work
Terpenes interact directly with our endocannabinoid system to promote a range of effects. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a body system full of neuroreceptors and transmitters that can process the cannabinoids and terpenes you introduce to your body through consuming marijuana and foods. You can find endocannabinoid receptors everywhere in your body, including your brain, skin, and organs.
The ECS creates its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, to help your body with things like appetite, pain management, stress, memory, reproduction, and even motor skills. Cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis are similar to endocannabinoids and interact with the ECS directly.
Terpenes are found in every plant on earth and are responsible for a number of effects on their own since they are also processed with the ECS. When they're taken on their own via eating food, they can help reduce pain and inflammation, increase serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and GABA activity, reduce anxiety, and alter moods. Both psychological and pharmacological mechanisms contribute to the effects of terpenes thanks to how they're processed within the ECS.
How terpenes work with cannabinoids
When terpenes work together with cannabinoids in a process known as the entourage effect, the therapeutic potentials increase dramatically. Both cannabinoids and terpenes are processed with the ECS, and studies have shown that both compounds become more viable when they're taken together.
Together, they promote mood-altering effects as well as reducing the side effects of medications, anti-inflammatory properties, improvements with digestion, lowering anxiety and stress levels, pain relief, acting as a sleep aid, increasing immune system function, and improving heart health by lowering triglyceride levels, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Terpenes can also modify how much of each cannabinoid is absorbed.
How? It all boils down to how terpenes and cannabinoids interact with each other and with the endocannabinoid system.
Summary: How do terpenes work?
Terpenes work by interacting with the endocannabinoid systems found in all animals, including people and other vertebrates, and even invertebrates. They can both stimulate and antagonize the receptors in the ECS to encourage natural physical reactions and promote a range of effects.