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Are Cannabis Terpenes Legal?


Are Cannabis Terpenes Legal?

Cannabis, as well as related cannabinoids like THC and CBD, are still federally illegal in the United States. However, some states have legalized the possession and use of cannabis, and refuse to enforce federal laws regarding cannabis.

But what about terpenes?

What Are Terpenes?

One of the least discussed and yet most important parts of the cannabis plant, terpenes are naturally occurring oils that give cannabis flowers their unique fragrances and flavors. They’re the reason that Lavender buds smell like lavender flowers, and OG Kush has its distinct pine flavor. In cannabis flowers, terpenes are found in the layer of translucent trichomes that cover the surface of buds.

But terpenes don’t only occur in cannabis plants. These aromatic oils are found in a huge variety of plants. For instance, the refreshing scent that comes from Pine trees comes from the terpene pinene, which is also found in cannabis strains like OG Kush and Jack Herer.

What Terpenes Do

For cannabis plants, terpene-filled trichomes protect flowers from bacteria, fungus, and herbivores that could harm them.

But for cannabis patients, terpenes might have more interesting effects. It is believed that terpenes may have synergistic effects with THC that can change the experience patients have when using cannabis.

Additionally, individual terpenes have been found to have specific effects of their own. For instance, linalool (found in the cannabis strain Lavender as well as the plant of the same name) is considered a sleep aid and anti-inflammatory. And humulene, found in hops, is said to have appetite-suppressing and anti-bacterial effects.

So, Are They Legal?

The FDA has deemed terpenes safe to consume, making them federally legal in the United States.

It might be a little confusing that some components of cannabis (like THC) are illegal, while other parts (like terpenes) are completely legal. In this case, it’s because terpenes are naturally produced by a huge variety of plants that we see every day.  If terpenes were illegal, we would not be able to eat citrus fruits, wear perfume, or buy flowers. In short, terpenes are legal because they are safe and very common.

 

Closing Thoughts

Terpenes naturally occur in many plants, including (but not limited to) cannabis. They are therefore completely legal, and you likely already encounter them in your daily life.

Now that you know about terpenes, every time you look at a beautiful cannabis flower you’ll have a new appreciation of the terpene-filled trichomes that cover your buds.

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