Welcome to the Talking Terpenes: Behind the Blends education series. This collection of articles explores the science and biochemistry of one of the most common types of molecules in nature, terpenes. Each month, two new articles will be released that further explore the nuanced characteristics, including medicinal benefits, offered by terpenes and terpene blends—with a focus on science-based and peer-reviewed research.
This installment of the Talking Terpenes series investigates our popular organic and solvent-free Trainwreck Blend. Formulation of this product involved careful investigation of the dynamics, biomechanics, and overall efficacy profiles delivered by each terpene in the blend—with special consideration for the entourage effect and the synergistic interplay of the terpenes to produce enhanced efficacy and improved bioavailability.
Understanding Trainwreck Terpenes
The unique mix of organic terpenes used to formulate Extract Consultants’ solvent-free Trainwreck Blend delivers an aroma profile that is sweet and spicy, characteristic of the sativa-dominant Trainwreck cultivar (strain) upon which it is formulated. The original Trainwreck cultivar results from the breeding of uplifting Mexican and Thai sativas with calming Afghani indicas.
Unique Aroma Profile
The Trainwreck aroma profile is characterized by a distinct scent that is composed of sweet lemon and spicy cedar pine accentuated with earthy undertones. This special floral aroma is produced by a proprietary mix dominated by the terpenes alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, limonene, and terpinolene—all in precise ratios that mimic the original strain. This blend is extracted using a solvent-free process. When no solvents are employed, the issue of purging a solvent agent becomes moot, guaranteeing an extract that remains healthy and untainted during all stages of production.
Extract Consultants’ Trainwreck Blend is carefully formulated from isolated terpenes. This ensures that this blend lacks even trace amounts of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This approach to precise formulation allows our customers to accurately predict efficacy and outcomes, with none of the uncertainty of some competing products.
Carefully Curated Botanical Sources
The botanical sources of the Trainwreck Blend have been carefully curated to ensure a consistent experience for customers and end consumers. Part of this strategy is ensuring the long-term availability of our botanical terpene sources. This allows the prevention of inconsistencies in our product batches and results in an accurate and repeatable extraction process.
Like many terpenes, pinene is expressed in two variants, an alpha and a beta. Alpha-pinene, also denoted as a-pinene or α-pinene, is a major terpene and the more common of the two types. Alpha-pinene also holds the distinction of being the most common terpene in nature.
In isolation, alpha-pinene produces a scent that is sometimes described as fresh, earthy, and musky. This terpene has been called “light and fresh, like pine,” while the fragrance of beta-pinene is commonly described as similar to its alpha sibling, but with more spice.
As its name implies, pinene is produced by a variety of botanical sources, but is most common in pines and coniferous trees. It is also produced in usable volumes by basil, cannabis and hemp, eucalyptus, frankincense, oranges, parsley, rosemary, and sage.
Commercial applications of this common terpene include use as fragrances and flavors by the cosmetics and food industries. A range of research studies has revealed a variety of medicinal and wellness benefits provided to a number of patient groups (explained below).
Alpha-pinene offers a range of medicinal benefits. A 2019 peer-reviewed research study entitled “Therapeutic Potential of α- and β-Pinene: A Miracle Gift of Nature” that was published in the journal Biomolecules investigated the various medicinal benefits of both alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. The researchers identified distinct wellness advantages. “These two phytochemicals exhibit diverse biological activities, leading them to various applications and uses, such as fungicidal agents, flavors, fragrances, and antiviral and antimicrobial agents.”
The researchers identified other efficacies, including antitumor/anticancer, antibiotic, anticoagulative, gastroprotective, and neuroprotective properties. This included potential benefit in the treatment of particular disease states, among them malaria and endocarditis (a type of heart infection).
Beta-pinene, also denoted as b-pinene and β-pinene, is the less common sibling to alpha-pinene in terms of its production by hemp. It offers similar medicinal efficacy to alpha-pinene, but a spicier aroma profile.
Both versions of pinene act as bronchodilators, meaning they help expand the air passages of the lungs and, therefore, may be helpful in the treatment of conditions like asthma and allergies. Beta-pinene, in particular, has been found to act as an analgesic (pain killer), an anti-inflammatory, an anti-proliferative (anticancer), an antioxidant, and to possess neurogenerative properties—making it of potential benefit in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2011 study entitled “Comparative Anti-infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) Activity of Pinene” that was published in the Swiss journal Molecules explored the medicinal efficacy of both variants of this terpene.
“Results...suggest that α-pinene and β-pinene possess anti-IBV [infectious bronchitis virus] properties and therefore are a potential source of anti-IBV ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry,” reported the study’s authors.
Limonene, also known as D-Limonene, is a major (primary) terpene that is commonly found in a wide range of cultivars of hemp and cannabis. It results in an aroma that is decidedly citrus in nature. This makes sense, because citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange are among the range of plants other than cannabis/hemp that produce this terpene in significant volumes.
Like beta-pinene, limonene acts as a bronchodilator and may be of benefit to those who suffer asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. As a standalone molecule, limonene is flammable and categorized as a biofuel.
A 2017 study entitled “D-limonene Exhibits Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties in an Ulcerative Colitis Rat Model” that was published in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports explored the “important immunomodulatory properties” of limonene, including “antitumor effects” and its ability to alleviate asthma and allergies.
The researchers concluded, “The present study demonstrated that D-limonene” via its “potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties” may be “a novel potential target for the therapeutic effects of [ulcerative colitis].”
Terpinolene, sometimes denoted as TPO, is a major terpene characterized by a floral aroma that is reminiscent of sweet pine that exhibits a citrus-like flavor. It is produced by a range of plant species other than cannabis and hemp, including allspice, cumin, juniper, parsnip, rosemary, sage, and tea tree.
The food industry employs terpinolene as a flavor agent. It is sometimes used to manufacture plastics and also as a repellent against insects such as mosquitos. The medicinal properties of terpinolene have been found to include anticancer and antioxidant benefits.
A study conducted in 2013 entitled “Anticancer and Antioxidant Properties of Terpinolene” that was published in the journal Arh Hig Rada Toksikol found terpinolene to be a “potent antiproliferative agent for brain tumour cells” and that this terpene “may have potential as an anticancer agent.” The study’s authors concluded that terpinolene “is a potent antiproliferative agent for brain tumour cells and may have potential as an anticancer agent.”
More than 40,000 varieties of the aromatic molecules called terpenes have been identified in the plant kingdom. The cannabis/hemp genome (DNA) contains roughly 200 of these terpenes, a couple dozen of which may manifest in an individual plant. It is important to recognize that no terpene is exclusive to the cannabis/hemp genome (while all cannabinoids are exclusive to cannabis). To learn more about the basics of terpenes, see the first article in this series, Understanding Terpenes.
The Trainwreck Blend of terpenes from Extract Consultants provides a collection of carefully formulated terpenes, each of which offer distinct and powerful research- proven health benefits. Together, and in the correct ratios, these terpenes act synergistically in something called the entourage effect. For example, limonene has been found to “aid in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes,” according to SC Labs, a leading cannabis testing laboratory in California.
The most notable benefits of the terpenes composing the Trainwreck Blend include anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neurogenerative capabilities. In addition to its signature Trainwreck aroma and flavor, this blend provides potential benefit to patient populations suffering a variety of diseases, including cancers, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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.