What Are Cannabis Terpenes, and What Do They Do?

There is nothing like the smell of cannabis to relax the body and mind. It could be the old school funk of some Skunk #1, or the sweet and spicy tasting Banana Punch. Under those flavorful and complex bouquets, there is a lot more going on. The real smell that attracts most of us are the Terpenes. By knowing what Terpenes actually are, you will have a greater appreciation for cannabis. It doesn’t matter if you are a recreational or a medical user.

Cannabis Terpenes

The glands that create CBD, THC, and cannabinoids, are the same ones that produce cannabis terpenes. They are aromatic oils that provide distinctive flavors to different types of cannabis. Pine, mint, berry, and citrus are some famous cannabis terpene flavors. You might be surprised to find that giving off an attractive aroma isn’t the primary reason for the terpene’s existence. They are there for adaptive reasons like luring pollinators and repelling predators. Several factors contribute towards terpene development in a plant. Soil type, fertilizers, age and maturation, weather, and climate are some of those factors.

There are more than one hundred identified terpene types in cannabis plants. Every strain has a unique type of terpene. Its composition is also very different from other types. For example, the Cheese strain(one of my personal favs) will have a unique smell. Similarly, a Blueberry strain will inherit a berry-like smell. If the diverse cannabis palate wasn’t impressive enough to begin with, the terpenes’ ability to interact with other plant compounds take it to a whole new level. For the past ten to fifteen years, most people breed cannabis plants to make sure that high THC levels are present in it. Because of this, CBD and other cannabinoids also tend to have trace amounts. This is why a lot of people believe that terpenes play a vital role in telling the difference between various strains of cannabis.

Every terpene has its own unique effects. Some terpenes promote stress relief and relaxation, while acuity and focus are promoted by others. Let us use Linahol as an example. It promotes a relaxing effect, while limonene is an effective mood enhancer. Effect profiles of Terpenes are capable of changing in other compounds’ presence. The entourage effect is the name that most people use for this phenomenon. Terpenes have subtle differences. However, those differences add more depth than you could imagine. Plus, they also offer great medical value. The reason behind this is that terpenes are capable of mediating body reaction to therapeutic cannabinoids.

Labs did not use to test terpene content initially. Now, virtually every cannabis analysis lab does it. Testing gives these labs a better idea of what to expect from the strains. Because of their synergistic effects and properties, terpenes open up medical and scientific terrains that were unheard of before. These terrains come in really handy in researches relating to cannabis.

Digging Deeper (Terpene and Cannabinoids)

We all know that CBD and THC are common buzzwords among cannabis enthusiasts. Ever noticed the beautiful aroma that pine trees give off? Yes, that is from terpenes as well. Essentially, terpenes are crucial chemicals for determining smell. Most of us believe that cannabinoids are the only compounds inside the cannabis plant which people use for healing purposes. Sure it is true; however, terpenes play an equal role, if not bigger. As we discuss earlier, terpenes and cannabinoids work in conjunction to create the entourage effect. This effect causes compounds to combine together to make the plant stronger. Although CBD and THC oils are great for healing. Whole plant healing takes this to a different level.

Terpenes are important determinants of downplaying or intensifying a plants’ effects. If you look closely, you will discover that most of the times, the effect of the two strains can be profoundly different from each other. One could energize you, while the other could relax you as you’ve never relaxed before. The combination of terpenes and cannabinoids is responsible for this.

The Importance of Cannabis Terpenes

Flavor and fragrance of marijuana strains are what a large number of people associate terpenes with. Although that is true, there is a lot more. Terpenes are very versatile. In some cases, they offer more versatility than any other compound out there.

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana strains are not the only places where you can find terpene compounds. They are present in vegetables, fruits, and virtually all plant life. Some animal kingdom species also have terpenes. However, cases like these are few and far.

When it comes to pot, terpenes serve a variety of purposes in one go. They keep harmful invaders like pest and bacteria away, and also offer protection to the buds from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Just like their cousins like cannabinoids, terpenes are also present in a female plant in huge quantities. The flowers are an essential part of cannabis. We’re not talking only about the enjoyment of humans; we’re also talking about for the plant itself. The hundreds of varieties we discussed earlier about terpenes are present only in weed.

Myrcene is found in many fragrant plant varieties, such as, lemongrass, thyme, basil, and, of course, cannabis.  You should always take the profile of turpene into consideration before you choose your strain. Knowing what effects those strains will have on you will be extremely helpful for you to determine the one that will benefit you the most.

The Affect of Cannabis Terpenes on the Body

Many people find terpenes to be an unfamiliar and strange term. However, this compound has gained a lot of traction in the past couple of years. Their therapeutic properties and varieties are valuable for people in the cannabis community, which is why the time is near when it will no longer be an unfamiliar word. Technology and science have been really helpful in giving us information that has led us to better knowledge of cannabis and its compounds. Fortunately, we now know that cannabis content is not the only thing that makes up the quality of marijuana; there are numerous other factors too. You only have to take a sniff of your strain to know that there are lots of other therapeutic compounds in it.

The aromatic diversity that most plants get is because of the fragrant oils present inside them. These oils are present in the sticky glands of a flower. These are the same glands that create THC and other well-recognized cannabinoids. Terpenes work by binding themselves to the receptors of our brain and giving rise to the variety of effects that we enjoy after smoking pot. It would be wise to get hold of a potent terpene to enjoy its full benefits. You can only know their potency accurately by opting for lab-tested terpenes. Otherwise, the only thing that might give you a slight clue about the terpene’s potency is your sense of smell.

You should also be careful how you plan to ingest, use, or inhale the terpene. Going for one that is beyond its boiling point will cause not be as effective. Choosing a low heat device would be the best option to play it safe and enjoy the compound’s properties.

Health Benefits Associated With Terpenes

According to several studies, there are certain terpene types that improve emotional well being when you inhale their aroma. Terpene linalool is a prime example of this. It is present in lavender, and its sedative and calm effects are well recognized. Limonene is another example. Commonly present in peppermint and citrus fruits, this terpene has mood-elevating effects. Although mental health benefits are the ones that people commonly associate terpenes with, newer studies now indicate that they have physical benefits too. A toxicological research journal stated that Japanese forest bathing in environments that are rich in terpene has proven to bring anti-tumorigenic and inflammatory effects on human beings.

Cannabis enthusiasts think of terpenes as a ship’s rudder in contrast to cannabinoids that they consider to be the engine. Following are common benefits that you will get from terpenes.

  • Caryophyllene: mostly present in cotton, cloves, and black pepper. Caryophyllene has anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective properties

  • Pinene: mostly found in dill, parsley, rosemary, pine needles, and basil, pinene is an essential terpene for counteracting THC effects, antiseptic, memory retention, and alertness.

  • Limonene: Peppermint and fruits are where you will find limonene the most. People use it for treating gastrointestinal problems, depression, and heartburn. It is also an anti-carcinogen, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal terpene. Limonene even enhances mood and dissolves gallstones.

  • Myrcene: Hops, thyme, lemongrass, and mango are some things in which you will commonly find myrcene. It has a great soothing effect and is perfect as an anti-inflammatory that also relieves muscle tension.

  • Linalool: Mostly present in lavender, Linalool is a great pain reliever, sedative, and anxiety-relieving terpene.

Bottom Line

You have different preferences than I do when it comes to smells, tastes, and effects of cannabis terpenes. People have only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to cannabis terpenes. Already, Budtenders are recommending strains based on their terpene profile.  With the ongoing studies and developments, there are bound to be more discoveries regarding its positive benefits and different types.