There’s a lot to love about cannabis — the way it looks, the way it makes you feel. But, much like other types of plants and flowers, perhaps our favorite attribute is its iconic smell. Skunky. Sweet. Makes your eyes roll back and your body tingle.
While cannabis has distinct characteristics, different varieties and strains have their unique smell, be it pine, musky, or citrus, that triggers the senses. Terpenes are the reason for these aromas and flavors. Terpenes themselves can also promote specific effects on the mind and body. Think about lavender’s soothing effect, or how palo santo gives you a cozy feeling.
So, What Exactly Are Terpenes?
To date, more than 200 different types of terpenes identified in cannabis alone. However, many are present in such minuscule amounts that they are often undetected even when tested at a lab.
Terpenes are oils secreted from plant trichomes and are what give plants their unique fragrance, including cannabis. Terpenes act as protectors for the plant. The strong scents repel predators, such as insects, animals, and other hazards found in the natural world. Various factors play a role in the development of terpenes in the plant, such as temperature, sunlight, fertilizer, and soil type.
Broadly, terpenes can be broken down into four flavor categories: sour, sweet, spicy, and bitter. Besides delivering delectable bliss to your nose and palate, terpenes also contain energizing, anxiety-reducing, and sedative effects.
Which Terpenes Should You Look Out For?
The right blend of terpenes can enhance aspects of your cannabis experience — a heady high or reducing pain sensations. Terpenes have a lot to do with the unique experience of each strain. Here are a few terpenes we felt deserved some spotlight:
The terpene linalool — found in lavender — helps promote a peaceful state. Due to its rich tranquilizing effects, linalool works well together with cannabinoids and can increase sleep and relax your body.
- Reduce anxiety and manage stress
- Promote relaxation and is deeply sedating
- Manage pain
Myrcene is found in several aromatic plants, including eucalyptus, some citrus fruits, lemongrass, wild thyme, mangos and more. Aside from being highly aromatic.
- Reducing inflammation
- Relieve muscle tension
- Has a soothing effect
- Increases the effects of THC
Caryophyllene is the only known terpene that mimics cannabinoids like CBD. Mostly found in cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper.
- Manage the symptoms of arthritis
- Reduce inflammation
- Combating stress
- Promoting sleep
- Gastrointestinal issues
Limonene is what gives citrus fruit its burst of flavor. It’s commonly found in fruit rinds and peppermint
- Enhance mood
- Reduce heartburn
- Acts as an antifungal and antibacterial agent
- Treats gastrointestinal complications and heartburn
- Helps with depression
Commonly found in pine needles, rosemary, and basil — pinene gives you a bright, fresh whiff of the outdoors.
- Increase alertness
- Improves memory retention
- Counteracts some THC effects
Terpenes & Cannabis: Working Together
Terpenes, much like cannabinoids, have therapeutic properties. From assisting with healthy brain function to helping balance your ECS — terpenes can work with cannabis to help you feel more in check.
Regardless of how you choose to consume cannabis, understanding the different chemical compounds can enhance your experience can help you find your perfect terpene profile. Experiment. Have fun. Enjoy.
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