You probably already know what a terpene is, not buy looks though, but my scent. Terpenes are an organic compound found in a number of different plants and is the key component which gives cannabis its trademark scent and flavors. On average a cannabis plants produce over 100 different terpenes, these terpenes are the organic hydrocarbons located in the essential oils of the cannabis plant. Terpenes can be broken down into 4 categories, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter with each category breaking down further when it comes to smells. So when you get that pungent bag of sour diesel or taste the spicy earthy flavor of pineapple express, it’s the terpenes that provide those heavenly smells and flavors. Here we’ll dive into the interesting world of cannabis terpenes and how they can influence your favourite cannabis strain in more ways then one.
Terpenes and Where They Come From
So, what is a terpene? You already know what a terpene is, you just don’t know that it’s a terpene. A terpene is what gives an orange its citrusy smell, a pine tree its pine scent and lavender its relaxing aroma. Terpenes are what give so many different plants their smells.
Terpenes can be found in various plants such as cannabis plants, herbs and fungi. Cannabis terpenes are made within the trichomes of the plant, a trichome is a crystal that is a shiny, sticky mushroom shaped crystal found on the leaves and buds of a cannabis plant. Terpenes likely evolved millions of years ago acting as both a natural defense for plants and an enhancement for them to reproduce. Terpenes provides various smells and some of those smells are known to keep away potentially harmful pests from invading the plants and being destroyed. Other terpenes have the opposite effect but for the greater good, various terpenes have been known to attract things such as bees who can differentiate between plants due to terpenes. It is believed that as cannabis plants evolved they began to produce terpenes that would entice certain species and repel others, ensuring survival and the ability to thrive.
Cannabis terpenes are well known for their flavor and scent qualities but research shows that cannabis terpenes also effect the particular high one can get off of certain cannabis strain. This is known as the entourage effect which correlates directly to the qualities of the cannabis plant. Cannabis terpenes support a variety of other molecules within the cannabis plant, this effects both the physiological and cerebral effect. The entourage effect comes from a synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes creating a unique effect, each strain of cannabis has a certain amount of terpenes, explaining why different strains produce different effects. Outside of THC and CBD, cannabis terpenes are the next factor when it comes to the entourage effect, though studies are limited certain terpenes have shown they can provide their own effect when it comes to consuming cannabis. For example the terpene Linalool which is a terpene that produces both a lavender and citrus scent is thought to have a sedating effect and can potentially help increase the relaxing effect of CBD. Or the terpene β-pinene which is the terpene that provides a pine like scent is also believed to contain therapeutic properties. One particular terpene has shown the most promising effects when it comes to the entourage effect. Limonene is a terpene that is often associated with a citrusy aroma, it has been studied that when consuming limonene humans can have a lower heart rate. When limonene interacts with the brain it interacts with several neurotransmitter systems such as the adenosine system, GABA system and serotonin system, these systems in the brain control things like alertness, mood and thinking. A large scale study is currently underway so stay turned for further results on the power of limonene and other cannabis terpenes! Terpenes are a strong part of the entourage effect and how certain strains with certain terpenes can provide vast differences in the experience.
Growing Cannabis and Terpenes
With marijuana terpenes becoming more popular and further sought after by consumers who are looking to find the perfect strain for their ailments, the process of growing, harvesting and curing cannabis plants can influence how marijuana terpenes turn out. For the growers out there here are a few tidbits to remember to increase your weed terpene quality.
When growing cannabis indoors there is more control over the factors of how the cannabis plant turns out, but it doesn’t necessarily mean growing indoors can influence the weed terpene quality. It comes down to growing in traditional soil that makes it more effective to generate a prominent weed terpene profile, growers also want to make sure they harvest at the right time, harvesting too early or too late can affect the terpenes. If you harvest too early there is a risk of the trichomes can become cut off from the production of cannabinoid and terpene products, if you harvest too late the trichomes may decrease in chemical potency. Other important measures to consider are things like temperature, you want to make sure you plant is around 25 degrees Celsius du Save & Exit ring the day and around 15 degrees at night.
CBD and Terpenes
For a CBD to be classified as full-specturm CBD it needs the terpenes and cannabinoids to remain intact during processing, which helps influence how the body consumes CBD. When looking to buy CBD you may see CBD isolate as an option, but this means that the likes of terpenes are in fact not included as isolate CBD is strictly CBD. As we’ve spoken about before, the entourage effect is key to getting the best out of your cannabinoids, this is no different with CBD. When the terpenes are included in the full-spectrum process it means the health benefits are enhanced, this allows the cannabinoids and the terpenes to work together and produce the best possible effects that CBD terpenes can provide.
Common Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects
There are over a hundred terpenes found in the cannabis plant with some being more commonly found then others. Each terpenes has its own unique flavor and medically beneficial attribute. According to the terpenes cannabinoids chart here are a few that are the strongest and most commonly found in the cannabis plant.
This is the most common terpene found in the cannabis plant and makes up most of the aromatic oils in a variety of cannabis strains, it is also commonly found in hops, mangoes, thyme, lemongrass and basil. Mycrene has shown to have effects such an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial. sedative and pain fighting properties. Mycrene has also shown signs of sedation, calming and a relaxing effect, it also has the ability to possibly increase the longevity of the euphoric feeling you get when you consume THC, allowing for THC and cannabinoids to connect with the blood brain barrier.
This is the second most common terpene found in marijuana, Limonene gives off a citrus scent and is known for its strong anti bacterial and fungal properties. When limonene is consumed it enters the blood-brain barrier with ease, this leads to it effecting things like mental focus and a general sedation. Many other products on the market use limonene to help with ailments such as depression, stress and anxiety, it is also used as a natural insect repellent which is why some terpenes exist in the first place.
Linalool is what gives certain strains its lavender smell, for years linalool has been used for things like helping with sleep aid and dealing with anxiety. It has also been shown to help with things such as arthritis and general inflammation, this is due to its anti-microbial properties. When looking for a cannabis strain with calming effects make sure it contains the terpene linalool.
This is the terpene that gives off the spice and black pepper aroma when you light up certain strains. Caryophyllene is used for things such as anti-inflammation and analgesic, it is also known to have an anti fungal function as well when consumed.
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