You can Smell It, You can Taste It… But Why? Terpene Analysis:
Each strain of cannabis offers its own unique effect on both the body and mind. There are specific aromas and taste-profiles associated with each, too – they’re called Terpenes.
Terpenes are oils that are secreted from the same glands that produce cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. These affect how each particular strain tastes and smells. Terpenes aren’t strictly synonymous to cannabis, though – they’re found in a variety of spices, herbs, and fruits. Terpenes help plants to either attract pollinators or to ward off predators. In some cases, they also provide the plant with protection or help to boost its immune responses.
Terpenes can affect us humans, too! Even though they’re apparent throughout various strains of cannabis, their pungent aromas make them an effective form of aromatherapy! Research also indicates that terpenes can affect a user’s high while using cannabis; this is known as The Entourage Effect!
The Entourage Effect is when additional compounds (like terpenes) act in sync with cannabis to modulate its effects. Research conducted among various cancer patients given equal amounts THC and CBD- while others were given purely THC- showcase that patients using both the THC and CBD blend experience lesser pain and quicker relief from it, too. There are hundreds of cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant and any one of them could be combined to create wondrous synergy; the potential is limitless! The Entourage Effect studies how each compound interacts uniquely with the other.
CannaDen’s Top 10: Commonly Housed Terps
Even though science has identified thousands of different terpenes, there’s about 100 that we understand the full effect of. Below is a list of the top 10 most commonly found terpenes in cannabis- let’s see if you recognize a few:
- Myrcene: Ever experience, “couch lock”? Then chances are, your particular strain had myrcene in it! This is the most common terpene utilized for commercial cannabis. You can also find this oil in various fruits and plants like: mangoes, hops, thyme, and lemongrass! Myrcene is known for its sedative-like properties – it’s great to help treat insomnia, pain, inflammation, and some gastrointestinal issues.
- Pinene: Oh, the smell of pine trees… a classic holiday scent! Pinene, or “a-Pinene” is one of the most renowned terpenes found in nature! It’s known to produce a mild uptick in energy, while the user maintains a calm headspace. This terp* can be used to treat pain, anxiety, inflammation, memory retention, and bronchodilation.
- Limonene: The limonene terpene is found in most citrusy, fruit rinds! Like a lemon or an orange. It can also be found in herbs like rosemary and peppermint. Limonene benefits those who suffer from heartburn, ulcers, or gallstones! It has also shown to have anti-fungal and anti-depressant properties. Limonene’s mood-boost effects have left users feeling happy, and better focused.
- Linalool: This terpene packs a power-booster to your body! Linalool benefits our immune system, is antimicrobial, and an anticonvulsant. This floral-scented terpene which is found in lavender, birch-bark, rosewood, and sage – is renowned for its calming effects.
- Caryophyllene: The caryophyllene terpene is the only known terp to act kinda like a cannabinoid! It’s anti-anxiety and calming effects are similar to those that you get from chewing black peppercorns. It’s found in many herbs and spices and – surprisingly enough – also the cotton plant!
- Terpinolene: This terpene’s a hard one to find – like a needle in a haystack. It’s only found in 1 out of every 10 cannabis strains! It’s found naturally in tea-tree oil, apples, cumin, and nutmeg. Commonly found in Sativa strains, this terp is known for its uplifting but mellow effects. It’s great as an anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, or antioxidant!
- Humulene: This terp is found fairly commonly throughout the cannabis plant! You can also find it in hops as well as a variety of spices. Humulene has been used in Eastern medicine as an anit-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
- Eucalyptol: or Cineol/Cineole, is a pungent terp that is known for its energizing properties as well as its effectiveness as a decongestant. It’s known to provide pain relief, improve circulation, while also providing anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits, too!
- Nerolidol: Nerolidol is a common additive to most topicals because it aids in skin absorption. It’s also a great anti-parasitic and anti-microbial. Typically found in orange blossoms, citronella, jasmine, and ginger; this terp also appears in trace amounts in Sativa strains.
- Ocimene: This incredible terp is a medical powerhouse! It acts as an antioxidant, cough suppressant, and decongestant; it also has insane antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, too. Ocimene can also be found in orchid flowers, and aromatic herbs like basil and parsley! This terp is commonly associated with the Sativa strain and effects.
How are the Terps Cerght? (terps caught*)
The process of extracting terpenes from cannabis is similar to any plant extraction. You input raw flower material into a pressurized tube and allow solvents – dissolving agents – to extract any oils from the plant. After the oils are extracted, they’re run through a carbon filter, similar to that of your typical water filter, removing any remaining plant particles. From there, the remaining substance is purged of all solvents and ta-da! Now you have terps; that’s how they’re cerght.
More on Terpenes and the Human Beans:
Terpenes have a long history with us human beans. The ancient Egyptians, Romans, Hebrews, Greeks, and Chinese all found applicable ways to utilize terps for medicinal purposes! The Egyptians also used terpenes in their spiritual ceremonies. During the time of the Black Plague, the deceased would be anointed with camphor and fragrance shortly before burial. Native Americans also utilized cannabis blended with calamus root – which contains the terpene, Calamus – as a form of smoke. The cool thing about marijuana is that it contains multiple terpenes! Most plants only contain 1.
The Way of the Terpene
We’re still learning about terpenes and how they influence our cannabis experience. While they’re still a lot we’re figuring out, we do know terps have a BIG effect that goes beyond just the norms associated with either the Indica or Sativa strains. As our understanding of terpenes and how to utilize them properly continues to grow, we’ll be able to tailor them better to our specific needs!
*terps: abbrev for “terpene”