Phytocannabinoids are just part of the chemical equation. Terpenes are the main building blocks of any plant resin or essential oil. They contribute to the scent, flavor and color of plants. Terpenes represent a large class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons structurally related to isoprene and are produced by numerous species of plants. The isoprene unit forms monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, diterpenoids and triterpenoids. These compounds are referred to as terpenoids when denatured by oxidation, as when drying and curing flowers.
The 120 terpenes in Cannabis impart an extensive range of biological activities, which are involved in potentiating and mitigating the effects of phytocannabinoids, other terpenes and flavonoids, as well as producing their own unique primary effects by means of the endocannabinoid system. Additionally, they impart physiologic modulation via interaction with other receptor systems. However, our primary focus is their interaction with the ECS, either independently or in conjunction with the other previously discussed endogenous and exogenous compounds.