Part of what’s exciting about cannabis is that there’s always something new and interesting to explore about this incredible plant. One thing we’re hearing a lot about lately is terpenes, so we put together this Terpenes 101 guide to give you the basics and some handy links to dig in deeper.
What Are Terpenes?
Have you ever gone to the dispensary, picked a strain, and been invited by the budtender to take a whiff? I never understood the reason for this but always went for it simply because I love the way weed smells. But imagine if you were able to go beyond the dankness and pick up aromas of citrus, spice or pine?
Terpenes are the organic compounds in cannabis responsible for producing strong odors as protection against herbivores, parasites and other predators. They are essentially behind the scent and flavor profiles of your favorite cannabis strains. And terpenes aren’t just in weed – they’re also common in conifers like juniper trees, aromatic herbs like rosemary, and even some insects.
What’s also really cool is that terpenes work hand-in-hand with cannabinoids in what’s referred to as the “entourage effect”. Basically, cannabinoids like THC or CBD work great on their own, but the entourage effect is another way of saying they work even better together. When terpenes are part of the crew, they possess the ability to enhance or inhibit cannabinoids in order to produce certain effects. This is one of the reasons why you and I can smoke the exact same strain and have very different experiences.
Why Do Terpenes Matter?
Terpenes make it possible to identify a strain by its smell, which to me is pretty much a superpower. Not only that, but terpenes also open up tons of culinary possibilities. With the varying aromas and flavors possible – 200 terpenes have been identified so far – pairing cannabis with other ingredients and creating interesting infused recipes might take your edibles to another level.
Understanding terpene profiles can also help in the identification of strains that address certain medical conditions better than others. The terpene limonene for example is known for its citrusy scent, but it also provides antifungal and antibacterial benefits. This information not only helps patients choose the right strain for their needs, but it can also guide breeders in the development of new strains with specific traits to better help patients.
Common Terpenes & Benefits
– Aroma: Herbal, Citrus
– Effects: Relaxing, Sedating
– Health Benefits: Antibacterial, Antifungal
– Also Found In: Mango, Citrus
– Strains: Blue Dream, Granddaddy Purple
– Aroma: Pine
– Effects: Alertness, Memory-Retention
– Health Benefits: Anti-inflammatory
– Also Found In: Pine trees, Conifers
– Strains: Blue Dream, Jack Herer
– Aroma: Floral, Spice
– Effects: Calming, Sedation
– Health Benefits: Anti-anxiety, Anti-depressant
– Also Found In: Lavender, Rosewood
– Strains: Skywalker OG, Headband
– Aroma: Lemon, Orange
– Effects: Elevating, Stress Relieving
– Health Benefits: Antidepressant, Antifungal
– Also Found In: Citrus Rinds, Peppermint
– Strains: Sour Diesel, Trainwreck
– Aroma: Floral, Herba
– Effects: Calming, Sedation
– Health Benefits: Antioxidant, Sleep-inducing
– Also Found In: Nutmeg, Apples
– Strains: Jack Herer, Super Jack
– Aroma: Pepper, Wood
– Effects: N/A – interacts with CB2 receptors
– Health Benefits: Antioxidant, Analgesic
– Also Found In: Pepper, Basil
– Strains: Girl Scout Cookies, White Widow
– Aroma: Earthy
– Effects: Appetite Suppressant
– Health Benefits: Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory
– Also Found In: Hops, Coriander
– Strains: Girls Scout Cookies, OG Kush
Terpenes add another layer of exploration to your cannabis experience. What are your favorite terpenes and why? Leave comments on our Instagram!