The production, processing, and oversight of medical cannabis in California currently straddles a line between pharmaceutical and food product. Although cannabis is used to treat several conditions of patients who are gravely ill, it is produced in a manner closer to growing strawberries than to producing medication.

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What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes (isoprenoids) are small molecules that consist of repeating units of a compound called isoprene. Terpenes play many important roles in the plant kingdom from deterring insect predation, protection from environmental stresses and as chemical raw materials for more complex molecules, like cannabinoids. 

Often, terpenes in the plant kingdom serve as evolutionary defense mechanisms to ward off predators and pathogenic microbes such as fungi and bacteria.

When terpenes are modified chemically, such as by oxidation or rearrangement of the carbon skeleton, the resulting compounds are generally referred to as terpenoids.


Terpene Guide

Many plant terpenes act synergistically with other terpenes and some serve to either catalyze or inhibit formation of other compounds within a plant.

Understanding the role of certain terpenes will allow scientists to manipulate cannabinoids to desired ratios.

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SC Labs Terpene Guide