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Super Class Terpenes Defined

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

This article is brought to you by the new Higher Learning LV Core Cannabis course. Learn the 25 most important cannabinoids and eight most common terpenes for an affordable enrollment fee of only $240.


Super Class Terpenes Defined

An October 2022 study entitled "Effects of Super-class Cannabis Terpenes Beta-caryophyllene and Alpha-pinene on Zebrafish Behavioral Biomarkers" that was published in the journal Scientific Reports suggested the existence of a special subclass of terpenes, the aromatic molecules produced by more than 20,000 botanical species on earth, including hemp and cannabis.

A Super 8 motel.
What are super class terpenes?

The study's authors reported that cannabis terpenes "have emerged as candidate therapeutic compounds following the potential health benefits of the phytocannabinoids ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)." They explained that terpenes are a major class of phytochemicals and that they form "the essential oils of plants and flowers and are responsible for their varying aromas, flavors, and colors."

"Terpenes are a major class of phytochemicals that form the essential oils of plants and flowers and are responsible for their varying aromas, flavors, and colors."

The scientists explained how terpenes are manufactured within the glandular trichomes of the flowers of mature female plants, the same source as the most popular chemical compounds produced by hemp and cannabis, the cannabinoids CBD and THC.

A sign in Los Angeles for terpenes.
Terpenes are a bit part of pot.

Types of Terpenes

Super Class Terpenes Defined. Reported the study: "Terpenes are hydrocarbon compounds that consist of varying numbers of isoprene molecules and are classified according to the number of pairs of isoprenes they are made up of. The most prevalent types of terpenes in cannabis consist of either two isoprene molecules (monoterpenes) or three isoprene molecules (sesquiterpenes), and less commonly, four isoprene molecules (diterpenes)."

A chart of the molecular structures of major terpenes.
Some common terpenes.

Super Class Terpenes

Super Class Terpenes Defined. "There are more than fifty cannabis terpenes most commonly found in North American cannabis strains, eight of which predominate to form a 'Terpene Super Class,'" explained the study. It listed these terpenes as the following:


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