You may not realize it, but you are already familiar with Terpenes. Terpenes are fragrant oils that are responsible for the scent of cannabis, as well as a variety of other organisms and plants. You experience terpenes every time you stop to smell the roses, consume an orange, or hike through pine trees. Each cannabis strain has a unique terpene profile that not only gives it a signature sent, but also aids in the overall effects of the strain. Ultimately, the health benefits of terpenes is not something new, i.e aromatherapy. However, when terpenes are consumed in conjunction with cannabinoids, they work together as a part of the entourage effect and play a big role in the plant’s healing power. It’s the whole plant that does the best job, not just a single compound. As I mentioned in Indica vs Sativa, terpenes can also intensify or downplay the effects of the cannabinoids.
Currently, there are at least 20,000 different terpenes in existence and the cannabis plant has more than 100 of these. However, below are a few that you find often, that are worth getting to know.
Myrcene – The primary terpene found in cannabis. Also found in mangoes, hops, thyme and basil. It is an”earthy” smell that is responsible for giving cannabis its distinctive scent. The more myrcene present, the more sedating the strain can be. Enhances the psychoactive effects of THC. It has relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties. Found in 9 lb Hammer, Super A5, and Baldor.
Limonene – Some say this is the 2nd most abundant terpene in cannabis, but it is not found in all cannabis strains. Provides a fresh, lemon like scent. This is not a surprise as all citrus fruits contain large amounts of this terpene. Known to improve mood and reduce stress. It also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Found in OG Kush, Sour Diesel and Jack Herer.
Caryophyllene – Gives off an herbal, spicy aroma. Also found in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and spices like oregano and basil. Caryophyllene is the only terpene that binds directly to cannabinoid receptors (CB2). This makes it a great ingredient in anti-inflammatory topicals. Studies also indicate that caryophyllene is capable of treating anxiety and depression as a result. Found in 9 lb Hammer, Bubba Kush, and Perla.
Pinene (Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene) – The name gives this one away. Alpha-pinene has a clean, “piney” scent and is found most commonly in Pine trees. Beta-pinene has an earthier pine scent and is found in rosemary, orange peels, basil, and parsley. Pinene is a strong bronchodilator, and also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects. It is also said to help with alertness and reduce the short-term memory loss related to THC. Found in Blue Dream and Jack Herer.
Linalool – This is one of my favorite terpenes. It has a very pleasant floral aroma. It is found in rosewood, bergamot, coriander, rose, and lavender. Linalool has very strong sedative, relaxing and even anti-convulsant properties. It is said to help with anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress. It has also been found to inhibit the growth of fungal infections. Linalool can help balance out the anxious side effect sometimes produced by THC. Found in Sour Diesel and Super A5.
Humulene – Ever open up a Heineken and it smells like weed? Now you know why! Humulene is the predominant terpene found in hops and is derived from the Latin name for hops (Humulus). It has earthy, woody and spicy notes. Early research has shown humulene to be anti-proliferative, meaning it prevents cancer cells from growing. It also proved to be effective in suppressing appetite. It also reduces inflammation, relieves pain and fights bacterial infections. Found in Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, OG Kush.
When choosing the strain that is right for you, keep these terpenes in mind. If all else fails, don’t overthink it. Your nose knows. Meaning, pick strains that smell good and are appealing to you. These are often the ones you will enjoy the most, and might also need the most.