Welcome to Talking Terpenes: Behind the Blends, the educational series that explores the complex biochemistry of the fragrant molecules produced by cannabis, hemp, and 20,000 other plant species on the planet called terpenes.
The evolutionary function of terpenes—and their multilayered aromas—is the propagation of the plant species that produce them. This is accomplished by repelling pests while simultaneously attracting pollinators (a dual purpose siren song). These chemical compounds also deliver sometimes striking health benefits to humans via their interaction with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.
This series teaches readers the wide range of health advantages offered by these special chemicals, as well as other attributes. Followers learn how terpene blends and terpene flavors deliver enhanced medicinal efficacy and delicately layered, bold fragrances. In fact, humans have been adding terpenes and terpene flavors to their beverages, foods, topical lotions, and perfumes for literally thousands of years.
This edition of Talking Terpenes investigates the organic Extract Consultants solvent-free Grape Stomper Terpene Flavor and introduces a new category of aroma molecule, esters.
Examining Grape Stomper Terpenes
The natural terpenes featured in the Grape Stomper Terpene Flavor include beta-caryophyllene (BCP), camphor, linalool, and myrcene, among others. These phytomolecules have been derived from individually isolated botanical sources and provide potent grape flavor and fragrance profiles involving notes of fresh, sweet candy.
Originally called Sour Grapes, the Grape Stomper cultivar (strain) is a “heavy hybrid” resulting from the combination of Chemdog and Sour Diesel terpenes. As with other Extract Consultants terpene flavors, Grape Stomper offers wellness efficacy spanning from anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and bronchial treatment to antispasmodic traits, pain management, and anti-cancer abilities.
Because BCP, linalool, and myrcene have been covered previously in this series, links will be provided below to articles within the series that provide more information regarding these particular terpenes.
Beta-caryophyllene, also commonly known as BCP or caryophyllene, is a unique terpene due to the fact that it has been categorized as a cannabinoid by some researchers.
The aroma profile of BCP is decidedly spicy and often pungent. It is a major constituent of black pepper and is produced by a long list of plant species other than cannabis, including basil, black caraway, cinnamon, clove, copaiba, hops, lavender, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and ylang-ylang.
Some wellness benefits provided by this terpene include analgesic (pain killing) and anti-inflammatory properties. BCP has also demonstrated anticancer and wound healing benefits in peer-reviewed research studies. BCP’s ability to manage pain may result from its unusual behavior of binding with CB2 receptors (similar to cannabidiol, or CBD) in the endocannabinoid system—something exhibited by few other terpenes.
Visit these articles in this series to learn more about BCP:
Camphor, also known as camphora, is a terpene that has been employed for hundreds of years in both healing topicals and cosmetics, including perfumes. It has also been used as a culinary spice. Camphor emits an aroma characterized by a fresh, sometimes pungent aroma of vapor or gas accompanied by undertones of mothballs (no coincidence that this terpene is an ingredient in Vicks VapoRub).
Camphor is produced by cannabis, the camphor laurel tree (a large evergreen from East Asia), the kapur tree (from South East Asia), rosemary leaves, camphor basil, and camphorweed.
This terpene has shown a range of wellness benefits, including ready absorption by the skin for the treatment of burns and excessive itching. It has also demonstrated value in the support of arthritis, cancer, pain, and is sometimes used to improve respiratory function. Camphor has also been shown to function as an antispasmodic.
This 2013 study cited camphor’s rich history as “a fragrance in cosmetics, as a food flavorant, [and] as a common ingredient in household cleaners, as well as in topically applied analgesics and rubefacients for the treatment of minor muscle aches and pains.”
The medicinal efficacy of camphor is dominated by skin treatment and pain relief. It is adept at treating skin burns and itching when formulated into topical lotions or creams.
A 2018 pre-clinical study entitled “Camphor White Oil Induces Tumor Regression through Cytotoxic T cell-dependent Mechanisms” that was published in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis investigated the ability of this terpene to treat cancer, employing rodent test subjects.
The study’s authors investigated camphor against “Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma skin cancer [and] the most common form of skin cancer with metastatic potential.” They reported that daily application of a topical formulated with camphor “induces premalignant tumor regression and reduces malignant conversion.”
The study concluded that camphor exhibits “robust anti-tumor activity on keratinocyte-derived lesions.” Because this particular research explored the efficacy of camphor following tumor induction, it stated that “future studies are needed to determine whether these compounds can also act as a preventive to reduce the development of pre-cancerous lesions.”
A 2013 study entitled “Camphor, a Traditional Remedy with the History of Treating Several Diseases” that was published in the International Journal of Case Reports & Images explored the efficacy range of this terpene.
Reported the scientists, “camphor...has been used traditionally for many years...for the relief of pain, inflammation, and irritation in body and skin.” The researchers noted that camphor “can be very effective in treating and preventing some serious, life threatening diseases.” The study specifically mentioned the need for more research into the benefits of camphor for brain diseases and memory disorders, including Alzheimer’s and autism.
A 2004 study entitled “Antispasmodic Activity of Extracts & Compounds of Acalypha Phleoides Cav.” that was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research investigated the ability of camphor and other terpenes, including thymol and γ‐terpinene, to act as antispasmodics.
The study’s authors reported that camphor, thymol, and γ-terpinene “showed antispasmodic activity...thymol was the most active compound, followed by camphor and γ‐terpinene.” The report noted that thymol and camphor, in high concentrations, “also showed tracheal relaxant properties.”
Linalool is a common terpene within the cannabis genome (DNA) and is also common in nature. In fact, more than 200 plant species produce this popular aromatic phytomolecule, including basil, birch bark, lavender, and tomatoes. This terpene features an aroma that is dominated by floral tones accompanied by heavy notes of spice and citrus.
The primary efficacy delivered by linalool is a reduction in anxiety and relaxation. For this reason, it is used to treat depression and sleep disorders, including insomnia.
Visit these articles in this series to learn more about linalool:
Myrcene, the most common terpene in cannabis, is associated with indica-type cultivars and is recommended by many wellness professionals to reduce anxiety. It is produced by many plant species beyond cannabis, including chamomile, hops, lemongrass, parsley, wild thyme, and several others. Like many terpenes, myrcene is employed as a food flavor agent and in cosmetics for fragrance.
Myrcene is reported to reduce anxiety and, in sufficient doses, to act as a sedative. In cannabis and hemp plants, the earthy, musky scent it produces is most often commingled with humulene and beta-caryophyllene.
Visit these articles in this series to learn more about myrcene:
Beyond Terpenes: Methyl Anthranilate
Extract Consultants terpene flavors involve more than just the aromatic terpenes that are the primary subject of this article series. In addition, terpene-based aroma and flavor formulations integrate aromatic ancillaries to terpenes such as aldehydes, esters, and ketones.
In the case of the Grape Stomper Terpene Flavor, the ingredient that is primarily responsible for its delicious and engaging grape flavor and aroma is the ester methyl anthranilate. Coined by German chemist Leopold Gmelin in the first half of the 19th century, esters are a class of organic compounds that reacts with water to produce alcohols and acids. In some cases, this category of compounds conveys significant flavor or fragrance attributes that are of value to humans.
Methyl anthranilate (MA) is an ester that produces an extremely popular fruity, fresh grape aroma and flavor. It has been used as a non-lethal bird and goose repellent for decades and is employed as a flavor ingredient in a number of consumer food and beverage products (including candy, soft drinks, chewing gum, and nicotine products). The soothing grape aroma of MA has motivated many cosmetics companies to integrate this compound into products such as perfumes and topical lotions.
Although it can be made synthetically, this ester is produced naturally by Concord and other varieties of grapes (a 1985 study revealed MA production to be greatest in the grapes grown in the coolest regions). This popular ester is also found in bergamot, black locust, champak, galangal, gardenia, jasmine, lemon, mandarin orange, neroli, oranges, strawberry, tuberose, wisteria, and ylang ylang.
When paired with the terpenes featured in the Grape Stomper Terpene Flavor, MA results in exceptionally enticing aroma and flavor profiles. The flavor is so popular, in fact, that this ester has become a staple of hundreds of consumer products—most of which are seeking its alluring grape persona.
The solvent-free Grape Stomper Terpene Flavor from Extract Consultants conveys a distinctly sweet grape aroma, thanks to inclusion of the ester methyl anthranilate and a carefully balanced mix of terpenes. The terpenes that compose this flavor—including BCP, camphor, linalool, and myrcene—have been revealed, via dozens of peer-reviewed research studies, to provide a range of wellness benefits. These include anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anxiety-lowering properties, among others.
One of these terpenes, BCP, is unique among all cannabis-derived terpenes in that it exhibits characteristics of both cannabinoids and terpenes and shows special binding affinity for the microscopic cellular CB2 receptors that populate the human endocannabinoid system.
A more thorough insight into the underlying mechanisms involved in the effects of BCP may contribute to a better understanding of the entourage effect, a theory that states that cannabinoids and terpenes interact to deliver enhanced efficacy that exceeds the mere additive value of their individual effects.
Together, the terpenes of the Grape Stomper Terpene Flavor combine with the ester methyl anthranilate to synergistically craft an intensely popular grape flavor formulation that conveys a wide spectrum of potential health and wellness benefits.
About the Author
Curt Robbins is a technical writer, instructional designer, and lecturer who has been developing science-based educational and training content for Fortune 200 enterprise companies for more than 30 years. He is Director of Course Development at Higher Learning LV™ in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Robbins began writing about the biochemistry and science of the various wellness molecules produced by plants such as hemp in 2003. He has since developed more than 600 educational articles about hemp and its health components—including terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and the human endocannabinoid system.