Sleep disorders affect up to 70 million Americans each year. Causes may vary from person to person, but can include life stressors, unhealthy lifestyles, depression, chronic pain, and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
As more people turn to cannabis as an alternative healing modality, it’s important to understand the benefits terpenes may provide in the process.
What are Terpenes?
If you’re wondering what terpenes are, you’re not alone! Like the terms cannabinoids, cannabidiol, and cannabigerol, terpenes are also compounds found in cannabis. In fact, there are about 400 known terpenes in the cannabis plant, but researchers have only begun to dive into the specific effects of a small fraction of them. Terpenes can cause different aromas, tastes, and even colors in a cannabis plant. But they aren’t limited to the cannabis plant alone. Fruits, other plants, herbs – these are all things that also have terpene profiles. Picture the smell of a forest. It’s distinct, it can be piney. This is an example of terpenes in action! The same goes for different cannabis strains. Some have a citrusy smell, while others smell more like woodsy herbs.
Many consumers are looking to terpenes as a way to help predict a strain’s effects, similar to considering whether it is Sativa or Indica. Because terpene profiles work hand-in-hand with cannabinoids, they can produce different experiences even if the strain has the same THC content.
Some popular terpenes include, but are not limited to:
Can Terpenes Help Fight Insomnia?
Many advocate for the use of cannabis, CBD, and other cannabinoids as a sleep aid, and further research shows terpenes have their own set of helpful effects. Because each terpene has a unique chemical structure, some are considered better for sleep aid than others. If you’re looking for terpenes to help fight insomnia, try strains high in one of the following, known for their sedative effects.
Terpinolene is a less common terpene, estimated to be found in around 1 of 10 cannabis strains. It is known for its woody, piney smell mixed with floral citrus aromas. Typically, this terpene is found in sativa strains with higher THC content. Because it interacts with the central nervous system, Terpinolene exhibits sedative effects that may promote drowsiness.
Other places you can find Terpinolene include lilac, rosemary, apples, and nutmeg.
Linalool is a commonly-found terpene known for its characteristic intense lavender scent, and has a lot to offer in terms of healing properties. This terpene has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, often a cause of insomnia. Similarly, Linalool has been used in ancient medicinal practices as both a sedative and pain reliever. These benefits help to put you in the proper state for a good night’s sleep.
Other places you can find Linalool include over 200 types of plants, spearmint, oregano, and limes.
One of the most abundant terpenes, and often the dominant of all per strain, Myrcene produces very calming effects. While not just present in cannabis as a sleep aid, this terpene can also be found in lemongrass herbal teas as a sedative and muscle relaxant. Myrcene contains such sleep inducing properties that if a strain contains more than 0.5% of it, it is often considered an Indica. If you have experience with cannabis strains that keep you glued to the couch, and leave you feeling extra drowsy, these are probably high in Myrcene content.
Other places you can find Myrcene include beers, lemongrass, ylang-ylang, and mangoes.
Finding What Works For You
Understanding the varying effects each terpene may possess can help improve your smoking experience. While research around terpenes is still in its early stages, there aren’t as many definitive claims about their impacts on humans. However, there still remains evidence that they work in synergy with other cannabinoids, and there is a consensus among consumers regarding their different properties. Through trial and error you can find a strain and terpene profile that works for you and your goals!
As with any cannabis therapy effective dosing varies widely by individual and condition. Our specialists at Realm of Caring are here to help you find a product and dose that works for each of us! If you would like to reach out to our Care Team (719-347-5400 option 1), they would be so happy to help you individualize your therapy and find a product that is right for you.