Some like it skunky, woody, or spicy. Other’s may like their weed more sweet, fruity, and citrusy. It all comes down to one’s preference, really. However as research continues on the benefits of terpenes and how they interact with one another, in conjunction with cannabinoids, we learn how cannabis’s taste and smell contribute a lot to your experience.
As more and more strains are introduced, more and more unique terpenes profiles will enter the market. Where people would once recognize cannabis simply by its skunk smell, there is now such a diverse range of smells and tastes that a new user would have a hard time believing they came from the same plant. Have you ever looked at a chihuahua and wondered how it came from a wolf? I know I do. I stare at my tiny dog every night and try to imagine him living in the wild with a pack of wolves but I just can’t picture it. The same diversion from the original genetic carrier has taken place within cannabis.
There is no longer a typical cannabis smell or taste. Where some people might associate the gassy piney taste of kush, others would imagine the sour and citrus of a haze. This diversification will only continue as people manipulate the genetics of their plants to create more unique and intriguing terpene profiles.
So, what are terpenes? Terpenes are compounds or essential oils that all types of plants produce, be it simple grass, tall trees, flowering plants, fruits, and even cannabis. In the cannabis plant alone, experts believe that it produces over two hundred different types of terpenes.
How do Terpenes Affect the Taste and Smell of Cannabis?
The differences in cannabis’ aroma and flavor lie in its terpene contents. They give cannabis not only its aroma and flavour but it’s color as well. What makes each strain different and unique from each other are the varying levels of these terpenes. For example, one strain can have a high level of this type of terpene, while another strain can have little to none. The varying levels of terpenes produce the unique aromas and flavors (and even colors) of the different cannabis strains.
Terpenes do not just give the different cannabis strains their characteristic aromas and flavors, but they also serve as the plant’s protective mechanism. The strong taste and scent they give off protect the plants from being eaten and destroyed by their natural predators, the insects. They also protect cannabis from common diseases, bacteria, and fungi.
Below are some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis and their characteristic aromas and flavors:
What are the Medical Uses of Terpenes?
Of the hundreds of different types of terpenes, only a few have been studied so far for their benefits to the human body. Below are some of the medical conditions that the terpenes found in cannabis can help control:
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Some of these terpenes (myrcene, terpinolene, bisabolol, and camphene) also function as an antioxidant. They help neutralize or reduce the harmful effects of free radicals.
Our cells produce free radicals all the time. In fact, everything we do that requires chemical changes within the body produces these normal and natural byproducts. These processes include eating, drinking, and even breathing and thinking.
Free radicals have their own function, of course. Their presence triggers a series of chemical reactions inside the body, which helps complete the chemical processes. However, their high levels can be detrimental to our health, too, since they damage normal cells and worsen many diseases and illnesses.
By ingesting fruits and vegetables rich in these terpenes, the harmful effects of free radicals are reduced. It should be noted, too, that the cannabinoids found in cannabis also function as potent antioxidants and counteract the effects of the free radicals.
The Entourage Effect
No this has nothing to do with Johnny Drama, Turtle and the boys. I’m sorry. Or… you’re welcome…
The Entourage Effect simply states that all the compounds found in cannabis, cannabinoids, and terpenes, work together in different combinations making cannabis a powerful agent against diseases and illnesses. Here are a few examples of how cannabinoids and terpenes work beautifully well together in the Entourage Effect.
Say for example you suffer from insomnia that can’t be relieved by conventional drugs. You know that taking THC and CBD works for you and you find that Pink Death Star is the most effective flower for you. Taking what we know about the Entourage Effect we can look at the terpene profile for that specific strain: pungent (carene), spicy (eucalyptol), fresh (limonene) and woody (terpinolene). You can now go forward knowing that these terpenes in conjunction with high THC and low CBD work best for combating your insomnia. Armed with this knowledge you are able to make future choices that match what you’re looking for rather than hoping for the best.
Alternatively for uncontrolled inflammation, you’d benefit more from a product that contains moderate THC and high CBD, CBN, and peppery (caryophyllene), musky (myrcene), piney (pinene) terpenes such as Harlequin.
THC and CBD can already help control seizures. They reduce the frequency of seizures, and they also reduce their severity. That said, for better seizure control, you might benefit more from a medical cannabis product that has linalool.
For anxiety problems and insomnia, a CBD product that has CBN, (known as the sleepy cannabinoid), limonene, myrcene, and linalool may help control your anxiety. It will also help relax your mind and body that you’ll fall asleep faster. You can also try a CBD oil that contains eucalyptus, spearmint, and chamomile for better sleep.
Some of Our Favourite Terpene Rich Products!
Sativa – Green Crack
Abundant in myrcene with a healthy dash of linalool and limonene this delicious strain offers an amazing rush of energy while calming any anxiety or stress.
Terp Sauce – Wedding Cake
For those who love their terpenes, terp sauce is a must-have! Wedding Cake hails from California, with the genetics recently making their way north of the border. Wedding Cake is infamous for its Myrcene, Terpinolene, Limonene, Ocimene, b-Caryophyllene profile, offering a sweet and earthy taste that you have to try to believe!
FeelCBD – Calm Disposable Pen
Enriched with Lavender, Vanilla, Lavender and CBD, this pen is designed specifically to offer a strong sense of calm.
We are only just beginning to uncover the potential of cannabinoids and terpenes for medical uses. What was long regarded as an illicit drug now holds the answer to so many medical questions.
Terpenes may give cannabis its different aromas and flavors, but health-wise, they are so much more than just that. Used together with the cannabinoids, they boost each other’s therapeutic and medicinal effects.