Other than indica, sativa, THC, and CBD, you might have heard of another common cannabis term, terpenes. Terpenes are a set of aromatic compounds found in plants and classifies how a specific strain smells, looks, and tastes.
But what exactly are cannabis terpenes, specifically? How do they work, and what are their effects? We’re more than happy to tell you.
What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
Getting up close with any cannabis bud, you’ll notice its often strong, distinctive smell. Moreover, one strain may smell entirely different from the other. Consuming it brings out more unique qualities, too. As with any cannabis explorer, trying different strains will introduce you to different flavour profiles and aromas. Some are fruity, some are spicy, earthy, and more. These unique characteristics are primarily because of terpenes.
Cannabis terpenes make up the aromatic oils that give plants their distinctive aroma and flavours. When cannabinoids and terpenes come together, this is called the “entourage effect” and is what makes each strain unique.
When it comes to getting to know your bud on a deeper level, TGOD is happy to knowledge share. Each strain’s jar is powered with a Batch lookup feature so you can learn about the terpenes, cannabinoids, and harvest dates of your selected flower. Consuming cannabis isn’t just about “getting high” – it’s about understanding the importance of what makes a strain unique and helps consumers pick and choose the strains that suit them best!
Terpenes and The Entourage Effect
When cannabinoids like THC and CBD are consumed in the body, we take in literally hundreds of botanical compounds. Each one comes with a set of effects and benefits, and these effects may change upon the presence or arrival of other compounds, such as cannabis terpenes.
This is what scientists have coined the “entourage effect.” It is used to describe the effect created through both cannabinoids and terpenes, with each strain offering a unique terpene profile, and therefore a unique experience and “effect” from one to the other.
Note that individuals react differently to different combinations. As there are thousands of types of cannabis strains, two different people could get a different effect from a similar strain. Aside from this, the method of consumption also greatly affects the overall effect and experience.
Additionally, cannabis terpenes add value to the art of cultivating the plant. Those who take pride in growing enjoy noting and differentiating subtle characteristics that terpene profiles can showcase to the other.
The Growing Commercial Interest in Terpenes
Terpenes are not solely limited to cannabis as they are also present in other aromatic plants, such as teas, herbs, and spices. While cannabis terpenes are responsible for the scent and flavour of strains, they can also work as “protective chemicals.” Terpenes attract insects for healthy pollination and deter foraging animals. They also shield plants from moulds, fungi, or other types of infections.
Terpenes are a natural response to changes in the environment – a critical differentiator in growing organically. There is a strong belief that growing organically can deliver higher terpenes as a result of environmental conditions and plant health, a belief that TGOD leverages as part of its CleanCraft methods to organic growing.
At the moment, there is a growing commercial interest in cannabis terpenes, leading to specialized research on the therapeutic benefits of these fragrant molecules. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been greatly funding valuable research on the medicinal properties of cannabis terpenes for the last three years.
Additionally, the research on cannabinoids and terpenes during the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded. Researchers are investigating “novel antiviral terpene formulations that can potentially suppress the immune response” to the virus.
So far, research states that terpenes are highly valued for their therapeutic and healing properties, as they are normally found in spices, teas, and essential oils that are commonly used every day. Some terpenes have been known to improve mental clarity, while some can easily support stress relief or an overall sense of calmness.
Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis
There are over tens of thousands of terpenes in the world that are derived from plants and animals, with more than 200 belonging to cannabis plants. The top four cannabis terpenes in any given strain are the ones that make the most impact in the plant’s taste, aroma, and entourage effect. All the others are far more subtle.
Currently, there are around 16 terpenes that are most prevalent in cannabis. A 2011 study on the interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids profiled the following cannabis terpenes:
- Beta-myrcene (Myrcene) – This makes up for as much as 65% of the total terpene profile found in some cannabis plants, and has been studied as a sedative, as well as for its pain relieving and muscle relaxing properties.
- Farnesene – Commonly found in turmeric, chamomile and sandalwood, farnesene has been studied for its ability to to soothe the mood with calming and sedative effects.
- Limonene – Also found in citrus plants, limonene has been studied for its ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety and its efficacy against acne bacteria. Read more about this terpene here.
- Linalool – Typically found in lavender plants, this aromatic terpene has been studied for its pain-relieving and anxiety-reducing properties.
- Alpha-pinene – As the name suggests, this terpene can also be found in pine trees. It has been studied as an anti-inflammatory agent for opening up lung passages.
- Terpinolene – This terpene has been shown to improve energy, an association often attributed to sativa-dominant strains.
- Beta-caryophyllene – Also found in cinnamon and black pepper, this cannabis terpene has been studied for its efficacy in protecting stomach cells.
The Green Organic Dutchman Strains and Their Terpenes
Cannabis terpenes play a huge role in creating the aroma and flavour profile of a strain, and work with cannabinoids and other compounds to produce the overall unique effect of each strain.
With that being said, each consumer’s relationship to cannabis, their respective physiology, and the setting in which cannabis is consumed can still affect the whole experience. Terpenes are merely one part of the mind-boggling cannabis equation.
However, it can be satisfying and interesting to experiment with different terpene profiles, rather than focusing on just THC and CBD content until you find the perfect combination that suits your liking.