Cannabis plants are one of the first crops our ancestors learned to grow. The presence of cannabis among humankind stretches for thousands of years. Nowadays, the hemp plant maintains its usefulness by giving us fibers to thread, seeds to eat, and flowers to heal.
The many chemicals that the plant develops during its flowering stage are the source of the healing powers of cannabis. These compounds include THC, CBD, and other molecules that interact with our endocannabinoid system. They help our bodies fight pain, anxiety, inflammation, and other health issues. In addition to cannabinoids, the hemp plant is a rich source of terpenes.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that most plants (and some animals) secrete. These substances act as deterrents for predators, attractors for pollinator birds and insects, and various medical uses. The cannabinoids in the hemp plant do not have any smell or taste, while terpenes sport a kaleidoscopic array of aromas and flavors. The terpenes present in the different cannabis strains give them their distinctive bouquets.
Besides its aroma and taste, cannabis owes the terpenes much of its medical properties. Terpenes lend their health properties to cannabis flowers, but they also enhance the effects of cannabinoids. We call this interaction the Entourage Effect and it is the primary cause for the widespread benefits of medicinal cannabis.
One of the less common terpenes we find in cannabis is Bergamotene. It has the molecular formula C15H24, which takes various arrangements. Depending on the location of the molecular bonds, researchers differentiate between alpha and beta isomers of Bergamotene.
Alpha Bergamotene is the most common isomer of the two forms of the molecule. In the same manner, the orientation of the alpha Bergamotene molecule components gives us two distinct configurations, the cis alpha Bergamotene and the trans alpha Bergamotene.
The bergamot plant is the primary source of cis alpha Bergamotene, giving it its name. We can also find this isomer in carrots, cumin, and, in lesser amounts, lime, cottonseed, and kumquat. Some sources for trans alpha Bergamotene are anise, black pepper, lemon oil, and basil.
The extraction of Bergamotene for industrial purposes focuses on the Canadian fleabane in North America and Europe and the copaiba tree in Brazil.
What does Bergamotene do?
A curious application of the natural production of Bergamotene comes from the recent discovery of the use that wild tobacco plants have for this terpene. Bergamotene is a pheromone for some insects, attracting them to fulfill their role as pollinators.
During the night, the coyote tobacco plant produces trans alpha Bergamotene, which attracts the tobacco hawkmoth to help pollinate the tobacco flowers. However, the hawkmoth deposits its eggs under the leaves for the larvae to eat.
The plant’s solution to this problem is to produce trans alpha Bergamotene during the day, too. The terpene will attract predatory insects that will eat the hawkmoth’s eggs and keep the tobacco plant safe.
The vast majority of cannabis terpenes do not interact with our endocannabinoid system and do not have any psychotropic effects on our neurological system.
This lack of psychotropic or endocannabinoid effects is also the case of Bergamotene. However, it does have uses among the food, personal care, and medical industries.
The resin extracted from the fleabane and copaiba plants is rich in Bergamotene, making it an asset for the food industry. Its distinctive fresh and citrusy taste is a favorite additive flavor enhancer. The next time you enjoy a citrus-flavored beverage or snack, spare a thought for this terpene.
The personal care industry also has a preference for Bergamotene. Its spicy, woody aroma is a common ingredient in fragrance formulas, while its anti-inflammatory properties are a healthy addition to skincare products.
As it often happens with terpenes, the friendliness of Bergamotene goes way beyond the senses. The personal care industry uses Bergamotene for anti-inflammation creams and ointments, while medical researchers report about the vast possibilities of this terpene and its use as an antibacterial agent.
Bergamotene also has a promising future in cancer treatment because of its capabilities of fighting the growth of tumors and cancer tissue.
The aroma of Bergamotene is a spicy, woody one. Many people compare it with the smell of ground black pepper, while others state that it reminds them of warm tea. Personal care products manufacturers exploit its piquant aroma and add it to their fragrances.
For many terpenes, the aroma is a pleasant announcement of the taste, both similar sharing traits. However, this is not the case for Bergamotene. In contrast to its spicy scent, the taste of Bergamotene strays into the fresh citrusy territory. The food industry appreciates this quality, choosing to use it as an additive to beverages and food products.
Thanks to hemp breeders and crossers, you can enjoy the peppery smell, the fresh taste, and the health benefits of Bergamotene in various cannabis strains. Choose among the uplifted mood of Lovelace, the creative boost from Lemon Haze, or the mellow relaxation from White Recluse, and let Bergamotene come into your life.