What are Terpenes?

Ever wonder why some strains smell piney while others smell fruity or sweet? Terpenoids or terpenes the most common plant chemical in nature.  Found in cannabis plants and flowers terpenes is what gives flower it’s distinct smell and flavor. Secreted in the same glads that produce THC and CBD, terpenoids are aromatic oils and knowing the profiles can drastically improve your experience. This chart from Leafly is a good starting point.      

Photo Credit: via Leafly

Myrcene:

The most common terpene in cannabis. It is also known as the “couch-lock” terpene for its highly-sedative effects because it enhances THC uptake in the body. Described as musky and earthy. 

Limonene:

Common in citrus, it is highly-energetic and a known anti-depressant. This terpene is found mostly in Sativa varieties which explains the uplifting mood associated with it.

Terpinolene:

A smokey or woody aroma that is slightly sedative, antioxidant, anti-cancer and antibacterial. It has a piney aroma and can also be found in rosemary and sage.

Caryophyllene:

Gastroprotective and a strong anti-inflammatory with a woody, peppery aroma. Interestingly so this is the only terpene that is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies.

Pinene:

Energetic and therapeutic, this terpene is common in pine needles it’s also the most naturally occurring terpene. It has a very strong piney aroma.

Humulene:

Another terpenoid with a very earthy aroma. The main properties are a  strong anti-inflammatory agent and a hunger-suppressing. Making any strain with this terpene profile wonderful for pain management. 

Some things to consider 

One thing to keep in mind when choosing a strain based on its terpene content is that different harvests may have dramatically different terpenoid profiles due to variances in growing methods and curing techniques. The only way to really know the terpene profile is if the product has been lab tested. Even the most sophisticated nose couldn’t be as precise as a lab test.    

Another key factor is that once Terpenoids are heated over a certain point they lose their beneficial properties. It’s best to use a low heating vaporizer to enjoy the full benefits of the flavors. 



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