Hemp terpenes + minor cannabinoids – the next cannabis stars?
Products containing CBD (short for cannabidiol), the chemical compound from the cannabis plant, is far and away the biggest-growing market in the global cannabis space with recent research projecting US sales of cannabis- and hemp-derived CBD products to surge from $1.9 billion in 2018 to $20 billion by 2024, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49 per cent.
But there’s a new kid on the block popping up in everything from personal care body to cocktails – hemp terpenes. Terpenes are the scented scented molecules naturally occurring in all plants. Researchers have found almost 200 terpenes in cannabis plants alone. Their affect the human body is just now being understood but may include benefits to mood, reduction of inflammation and pain, for example. While still a long way off the CBD market, an industry report predicts the worldwide market for terpenes could reach 730 million US$ in 2024, a CAGR of 6.3 per cent.
Some of the most valued terpenes include: myrcene thought to have a relaxing effect; limonene, which research indicates has antifungal and anti-bacterial properties and can help with anxiety and depression; caryophyllene believed to have anti-inflammatory effects; and linalool, which has a strong sedative effect.
Companies to watch
The Cannabis Co launched the first Myrcene Gin into Australia in November 2018, following up in 2019 with its Jilungin Dreaming gin, featuring the terpene limonene and the native Australian ingredient jilungin. The company also launched Australia’s first hemp terpenes products for pets under the CannaCo brand. The shampoos and conditioner contains a blend of hemp, cannabis terpenes, coconut oil elements and natural proteins. It also recently added terpene functional tinctures to the range under the LIFE + GREEENE brand focussing on gut health, physical activity, brain health and immunity.
Craft distiller Natural Distilling Co introduced its Limonene Hemp Gin and Myrcene Hemp Vodka with terpenes in late 2019 and has since added a Hemp Rum to the range.
Minor cannabinoids – major potential?
In December 2019 the UK Government announced $3 million in research grants to investigate the potential pain-relieving properties and mechanisms of actions of the diverse phytochemicals in cannabis, including minor cannabinoids and terpenes. While research into the benefits of minor cannabinoids is in its early stages, interest is expected to grow as the market for cannabidiol becomes oversaturated.
Here’s the main three being talked about:
CBG is considered the “mother cannabinoid” in the hemp plant because it’s the precursor to CBD. It may help with mood, anxiety, appetite, metabolism and pain.
CBN may enhance sleep, reduce stress, and help to relieve pain. To reduce pain sensitivity, it’s more effective when combined with CBD.
CBC is the second-most-concentrated cannabinoid in hemp next to CBD and is believed to reduce pain, protect the nervous system and brain, and fight bacteria and fungi, while holding promise for treating acne, digestive disorders, and migraines, but research has yet to confirm these applications.
*In Australia, CBD oil is only available with a prescription from an approved prescriber, or for approved medical research. It’s prohibited here for topical, cosmetic or nutritional purposes. This means product companies aren’t allowed to manufacture, sell or export CBD products from Australia under the current Government regime. And according to leading therapeutic goods lawyer Dr Teresa Nicoletti, that’s not going to change anytime soon.