Cannabinoids are active compounds produced by all cannabis plants. They account for most of the health benefits of cannabis. Cannabinoids found in plants are technically called phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids mimic compounds which we call endocannabinoids that are produced naturally by all mammals.
Endocannabinoids, those produced naturally by our bodies, are signaling molecules. They are technically called neurotransmitters. Hormones are a more familiar type of neurotransmitter.
A vast array of neurotransmitters are produced by the nervous system in response to various states of health and also environmental factors. They interact with receptors found on the surface of cells throughout our bodies. Their job is to instruct a cell to adjust its activities. This can include changing how cells react to other neurotransmitters.
Terpenes are a class of volatile hydrocarbon compounds produced by the cannabis plant as well as most other plants. Terpenes readily evaporate at room temperature, and our noses are highly sensitive to them.
Terpenes are recognized as safe for human consumption by the Food and Drug Association and are used in a wide variety of food and cosmetic products.
In nature, terpenes act as both a repellent for pests and as attractants for pollinators and seed spreaders. In cannabis, terpenes are produced in highest concentrations in the plant's female flowers.
Although terpene molecules are all very similar, each has its own unique scent and flavor. Various combinations of terpenes are responsible for the distinct aromas of cannabis strains.
Terpenes can also have powerful effects on our bodies. In fact, terpenes have been utilized by humans for millennia in a healing modality known as aromatherapy.
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