Terpenes 101

Terpenes 101

Terpenes are the aromatic oils in cannabis which make it smell the way it does.

Terpenes 101

Terpenes are the aromatic oils in cannabis which make it smell the way it does.

Terpenes 101

Terpenes are the aromatic oils in cannabis which make it smell the way it does.

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With all the excitement about cannabinoids these days, terpenes barely get the recognition they deserve. Terpenes are the aromatic oils in cannabis which make it smell the way it does: piney, lemony, earthy, fruity and more. There are over a hundred known terpenes, occurring naturally, which make oranges smell citrusy, pine trees smell like sap and weed, smell like weed.

Terpenes are what make each strain unique. A Mango Haze is going to contain a particular combination of terpenes which smell like mango. A Strawberry Banana bud is, unsurprisingly, going to have subtle strawberry and banana aroma.

There are over a hundred known cannabinoids, and now more than a hundred known terpenes. While every strain has tendencies towards a specific combination of these naturally occurring chemicals, climate, environment and more all play a role in their final expression. If you grow the same strain in Colorado and British Columbia, both will have similar profiles, but slightly different final makeups.


Terpenes May Prove Medicinally Beneficial

Terpenes evolved as natural protection against pests and diseases. It shouldn’t, therefore, be a surprise that these aromatic oils work together with cannabinoids to provide humans therapeutic benefit as well. If they’ve helped marijuana survive this long, they might also help us.

Keep in mind that terpenes have nothing to do with the psychoactivity of cannabis, the high you are feeling is thanks to the THC cannabinoid. But like cannabinoids, researchers believe that terpenes could prove equally as beneficial for human health.

Terpenes also work in concert with the other chemical compounds in cannabis. In practice, that means whole plant preparations work a lot better than isolates. Scientists are still mystified by why these compounds have a synergistic effect, but it’s widely reported both inside and outside of the lab.

Terpenes evolved as natural protection against pests and diseases

Terpenes evolved as natural protection against pests and diseases

Terpenes evolved as natural protection against pests and diseases


Common Terpenes and Their Known Effects

Pinene

A terpene which smells like pine needles, and in large enough quantities will overpower subtler fragrances. Its present in high quantities in strains like Jack Herer and Blue Dream. Pinene may have anti-inflammatory effects, may trigger alertness and could reduce the short-term memory loss associated with THC.

Myrcene

A terpene responsible for some of the sedative effects in certain strains. If you are feeling the couch lock sensation, it might be because the strain you smoked is full of the terpene myrcene. It smells earthy, musky, and some say slightly herbal. According to the early research, it might help reduce pain and inflammation, and it shows some antioxidant effects.

Linalool

Strictly a floral scent, it’s also found in lavender flowers. Some people believe it is a mood enhancer and a mild sedative, which is why it’s under investigation for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Its found in high quantities in Romulan strain.

Limonene

All those citrusy strains of cannabis on the market today have their limonene terpenes to thank. Limonene is strongly citrus flavoured, and responsible for the smell in orange and lemon rinds. The research suggests it might help with anxiety, stress, and depression. You’ll usually experience mild euphoria and stress relief.

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