Welcome to the Talking Terpenes: Behind the Blends education series. This collection explores the science and biochemistry of a common family of natural molecules called terpenes. Each month, Extract Consultants will share two new articles that explore the characteristics and medicinal benefits offered by terpenes and terpene blends— with a focus on peer-reviewed scientific research.
This installment of the Talking Terpenes series investigates our popular organic Grand Daddy Purple (GDP) Blend. Formulation of this product involved careful investigation of the dynamics, biomechanics, and overall efficacy profiles delivered by each terpene and includes consideration for the entourage effect and the interplay of the terpenes present.
*Looking for a quick summary of this article? View the Talking Terpenes: Cliff Notes edition.*
The unique mix of organic terpenes used to formulate Extract Consultants’ GDP blends (both our solvent-free and powdered varieties) delivers an aroma profile that is sweet and berry-like in body, with undertones of grape. This blend is characteristic of the indica-dominant GDP cultivar (strain) that inspired its formulation, which results from the breeding of Purple Urkle and Big Bud.
As readers learn throughout this series, the relative ratios in which any collection of terpenes are mixed, or blended, determines the overall effects achieved. The same set of terpenes, in different ratios, will result in a variety of aroma profiles and sometimes wholly different specific medicinal efficacies.
Curated Botanical Sources
The botanical sources of the Grand Daddy Purple Terpene Blend have been meticulously curated to guarantee a consistent experience for customers and end consumers. Part of this is ensuring the long-term availability of botanical terpene sources in an effort to prevent inconsistencies between product batches while simultaneously ensuring an extraction process that is accurate and repeatable.
Pinene is found in nature in two variants, an alpha and a beta. Alpha-pinene, also called α-pinene, is a major terpene and more common than its beta sibling. Alpha-pinene is unique in that it is the most common terpene in the plant kingdom.
Alpha-pinene delivers an aroma that is often described as pine-like, earthy, and fresh, with musky undertones. As its name implies, this terpene is produced by pines and coniferous trees. Other botanical sources of a-pinene include basil, cannabis and hemp, eucalyptus, frankincense, oranges, parsley, rosemary, and sage.
Commercial applications of alpha-pinene include use by the food and cosmetics industries as a flavor additive and a fragrance agent, respectively. Multiple research studies have identified a range of medicinal and lifestyle benefits that this terpene provides to a variety of patient and consumer audiences.
Medicinal Research on Alpha Pinene
A 2015 study entitled “Gastroprotective Effect of Alpha-pinene” that was published in the journal Pharmacognosy Magazine investigated the efficacy of alpha-pinene and “the gastroprotective effect of purified α-pinene in experimental gastric ulcer...in mice.”
The researchers found that “α-pinene pretreatment inhibited...gastric lesions, reduced volume and acidity of the gastric juice, and increased gastric wall mucus.” The study noted “an interesting correlation between concentration of α-pinene and gastroprotective effect.” The researchers concluded that α-pinene “exhibited significant antiulcerogenic activity and a great correlation between concentration...and gastroprotective effect.”
Notable Strains that Feature Alpha Pinene
Beta-pinene, also known as β-pinene, is the less common sibling of alpha-pinene. The medicinal efficacy of this terpene overlaps that of alpha-pinene, but the aroma profile delivered is typically spicier.
Beta-pinene acts as a bronchodilator and helps expand the air passages of the lungs. It sometimes aids in the treatment of allergies and asthma. Research has revealed that this terpene acts as an analgesic (pain killer), an anti-inflammatory, an anti-proliferative (anticancer), and an antioxidant. Beta-pinene has also been found to provide neurogenerative properties, making it of special interest to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease patient communities and their caretakers.
Medicinal Research on Beta Pinene
A 2011 study entitled “Comparative Anti-infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) Activity of Pinene” that was published in the journal Molecules explored the role of both a-pinene and b-pinene for treatment of the lung condition bronchitis.
The researchers reported that “the two compounds were found to inhibit IBV [bronchitis]” and concluded that their findings “suggest that α-pinene and β-pinene possess anti-IBV properties, and therefore are a potential source of anti-IBV ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry.”
Notable Strains that Feature Beta Pinene
Beta-caryophyllene, also known as BCP, β-caryophyllene, and caryophyllene, was discovered in 1964 by Israeli scientist and cannabinoid research pioneer Raphael Mechoulam, who categorized it as a terpene. In a 2008 research study, an international group of scientists noted that this compound demonstrated qualities that typically define a cannabinoid—specifically, the ability to bind with CB2 receptors in the human endocannabinoid system.
This is significant due to the role played by this receptor in a number of bodily mechanisms. “Although the CB1 receptor is responsible for psychomodulatory effects, activation of the CB2 receptor is a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of inflammation, pain, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis,” reported the study’s authors.
BCP delivers a pepper-like aroma profile that often carries a hint of spice. In addition to cannabis and hemp, this terpene is produced by basil, black caraway, cinnamon, clove, copaiba, hops, lavender, oregano, rosemary, and ylang-ylang. Its primary efficacies involve analgesia, anti-inflammation, and relief from depression. Research has also revealed this terpene’s antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
Medicinal Research on Beta Caryophyllene
A 2018 study entitled “β-Caryophyllene Protects Against Alcoholic Steatohepatitis by Attenuating Inflammation and Metabolic Dysregulation” that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology investigated the ability of BCP to help treat chronic liver injury induced by binge alcohol consumption (alcoholism).
“We have demonstrated that treatment with the dietary phytochemical BCP exerted marked hepatoprotective effects in the setting of chronic liver injury induced by...binge alcohol,” reported the study’s authors.
Notable Strains that Feature Beta Caryophyllene
Limonene, also known as D-limonene, is a major terpene produced by a variety of hemp and cannabis cultivars and delivers an aroma dominated by citrus. Appropriately, citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, and orange produce this terpene in significant quantities.
Research indicates that the limonene terpene, like alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, acts as a bronchodilator and may be therapeutic for allergies, asthma, and bronchitis. Like some other terpenes, when isolated in volume, limonene is flammable and categorized as a biofuel.
Medicinal Research on D-Limonene
A 2007 study entitled “D-Limonene: Safety and Clinical Applications” that was published in the journal Alternative Medicine Review explored the overall scope of medicinal efficacy offered by this terpene. The researchers noted the acceptable safety profile of limonene. “In humans, d-limonene has demonstrated low toxicity after single and repeated dosing for up to one year,” reported the study.
The researchers concluded that limonene is of therapeutic value in the treatment of several disease states, including gastrointestinal conditions, gallstones, acid reflux, and cancer. “Being a solvent of cholesterol, d-limonene has been used clinically to dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones,” reported the study’s authors. “Because of its gastric acid neutralizing effect and its support of normal peristalsis, it has...been used for relief of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux.”
In terms of its anti-cancer efficacy, the researchers concluded that limonene possesses “well-established chemopreventive activity against many types of cancer.”
Notable Strains that Feature D-Limonene
Linalool, also denoted as beta-linalool, linalyl alcohol, linaloyl oxide, and p-linalool, is one of the minor terpenes produced by cannabis and hemp due to its relatively low volumes. It conveys a sweet aroma that is dominated by floral and herbal tones. In addition to cannabis, linalool is produced by basil, bay leaf, some fungi, ho leaf (Chinese rosewood), and lavender. The two major medicinal benefits of this terpene are its ability to reduce convulsions (helpful for those who suffer various forms of epilepsy) and to alleviate anxiety and deliver calm and relaxation.
Linalool is also an analgesic (pain killer) and, in significant doses, can act as a sedative. Like many other terpenes, it also provides anti-inflammatory relief.
Medicinal Research on Linalool
A 2015 study entitled “Linalool Inhibits Cigarette Smoke-induced Lung Inflammation” that was published in the journal International Immunopharmacology investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of linalool with specific concern for its efficacy in the treatment of inflammation caused by tobacco smoke.
The study’s authors reported, “In conclusion, our results demonstrated that linalool protected against CS-induced lung inflammation.”
Notable Strains that Feature Linalool
Myrcene, also known as β-myrcene, is the most common terpene in cannabis1 and delivers an earthy aroma profile dominated by fruity, musky, and clove-like scents. Like all terpenes, the exact scent achieved by myrcene is dependent upon the other terpenes present and their relative ratios. This terpene is produced most commonly and in greatest volumes by cultivars (strains) of cannabis and hemp that are popularly categorized as indica or hybrid.
This terpene sometimes composes 50 percent of the overall terpene volume of an individual cannabis or hemp plant. It is produced by a wide variety of plant species, including chamomile, hops, lemongrass, parsley, and wild thyme. Myrcene is employed as a fragrance and flavor agent in cosmetics, food, and personal care products.
Medicinal Research on Myrcene
A 2002 study entitled “Central Effects of Citral, Myrcene, and Limonene” that was published in the journal Phytomedicine explored the ability of these terpenes to produce medicinal efficacy. The researchers found that both myrcene and limonene result in relaxation and sedation in mouse specimens, but that a stronger dose of myrcene was required than for limonene.
The study’s authors found that myrcene and limonene produced, “Similar effects” at high dose (200 mg/kg body wt.), “which increased the sleeping time around 2.6 times.” The research concluded that “citral, limonene, and myrcene presented sedative, as well as motor relaxant, effects.”
Notable Strains that Feature Myrcene
40,000 varieties of terpenes exist in nature. Cannabis/hemp genetics contain roughly 200 of these, with a dozen or so manifesting in an individual plant. No terpene can claim exclusivity to the cannabis genome, while all cannabinoids are found only in cannabis. To learn more, see Understanding Terpenes.
The Grand Daddy Purple blends from Extract Consultants provide a delicately balanced formulation of terpenes that acts synergistically to provide targeted therapy in a way that nature intended. The most notable benefits of the terpenes composing the GDP Blend include anti-inflammatory effects, gastrointestinal benefits, reductions in anxiety and depression, and help for a variety of bronchial conditions, including allergies, asthma, and bronchitis.
1Mediavilla, Vito and Simon Steinemann, 1997. Essential Oil of Cannabis Sativa L. Strains. Journal of the International Hemp Association 4(2): 80-82.
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.