What Are Terpenes and Why Do They Matter?
If you’ve been on social media within the weed world recently, you’ll notice a trending topic: not judging your THC by its percentages. While it may be a hot take, we know there’s a little more to consuming cannabis than just how much THC it has. We’ve talked about CBD and how it helps with better consumption- now we’re here to tackle Terpenes. These beautiful little compounds create cannabis as we know it and compose many other things. Every terpene plays an essential role in the smell, taste, and overall effects of your cannabis. Whether it’s flower, concentrates, or edibles, knowing what Terpenes do is just as important as how much THC your product has.
Common Cannabis Terpenes
Myrcene is found in 20% of your commercial cannabis. The most common Terpene is known as the “Mother of Terpenes” for its wide availability across various strains. Myrcene gives Cannabis its herbal aroma and adds a little spice to your strains. As one of the longest-standing standard cannabis Terpenes, Myrcene has been long studied as a natural sleep aid and relaxant.
- General relaxation
- Muscle relaxation
- Pain reduction
- Stress relief
Limonene is one of the most aromatic Terpenes you’ll find in cannabis. Although Limonene is known as the citrusy Terpene, it has a distinctly strong smell that can be confused with other Terpenes. Limonene is a sharp and sweet smell, with citrus fruit being the main attraction. Limonene is a critical aid in protecting the plant, and the aroma works as a pest deterrent. However, it also offers therapeutic benefits.
- Mood elevation
- Stress relief
Pinene is a unique Terpene in that it comes in two varieties. Alpha-pinene (α-pinene) and Beta-pinene (β-pinene). Alpha is commonly found in cannabis strains and offers that signature pine scent you know and love. Beta is a common Terpene in other plant life, as it’s the most commonly occurring in all plant life on earth. Pinene aids energy and breathing; check those Sativa leaning strains, and you may be surprised at the Terpene list.
- Improved focus
- Bronchodilator (aids in increasing airflow to your lungs)
- Pain Reduction
- Stress relief
Linalool is a subtly sweet Terpene that is another common occurrence in nature. This Terpene has a silky sweet, lavender scent that works well for letting go of stress. Linalool has a wide array of therapeutic benefits when combined with cannabis. Studies into the effects of Terpenes have found Linalool may even have a link to managing Alzheimer’s disease. Linalool also provides support to your whole body through other benefits.
- Anti-microbial properties
- Antiepileptic (used to treat epilepsy and reduce seizures)
- Immune support (especially to stress)
- Pain relief
- Stress relief
If you enjoy a good beer, you want Humulene. This fragrant Terpene is an earthy addition to both cannabis and hops found in brewed beverages. Humulene has been utilized in Eastern and Chinese medicines for centuries for its antibiotic properties. More recently, as it’s found traction within cannabis communities, Humulene gives strains the musky, earthy aroma you love. Humulene also helps your body run smoothly.
- Pharmacokinetic (Aids in absorbing, distributing, metabolizing, and excreting drugs)
- Seasonal allergy relief
The least common Terpene is Terpinolene. Although it makes its way into your cannabis, it is less common than others on this list. Terpinolene is unique in its aroma, with spices and sweet floral notes coming front and center. Most find that Terpinolene has a fresh cut grass smell, no pun intended. This Terpene, although less likely to pop up on your search, still holds its own with benefits for your whole body.
- Sleep aid
- Stress relief
Why Terpenes Matter
Cannabis contains over 150+ Terpenes, but your local dispensary may only be showing you the top 3. Terpenes don’t just make up the aroma of your cannabis products; they also hold varying properties from therapeutic to mood-enhancing, and each interacts differently. Terpenes in cannabis come from the trichomes of the female plant. The resin glands from the trichomes produce the potent Terpenes we’ve all come to know and love. Terpenes matter in every aspect of growing high-quality cannabis. They affect the aroma, coloring, pigmentation, and taste and have developed over time as a way to fight predators or attract humans like us to utilize them. Each unique Terpene can provide a different benefit when paired with THC and your own body's endocannabinoid system. When you pair them together or take the time to look at what Terpenes your favorite strain already has, you can start to fine-tune your use to alleviate whatever problems you’re facing. From sleeplessness to lack of appetite, depression, anxiety, or even low sex drive, the Terpenes within your cannabis products can play a more prominent role than you think.
What Terpenes Do
Besides making your cannabis what it is, Terpenes have served for thousands of years in almost every part of life on earth. From plants to plant medicine, antibacterials, flowers, spices, and even drinks, Terpenes are a mini-miracle.
Where You Can Find Your Favorite Terpenes
- You can find terpinolene in the terpene profiles of lilacs, flowers, apples, cumin, sage leaves, tea trees, and a large amount of other plants.
- Hop plants produce large amounts of the humulene terpene, but it is also commonly found in other plants. You’ll find Humulene in balsam fir wood, black pepper, and ginger root.
- The scent of the lavender flower is a result of the linalool terpene. Other plants that naturally produce it as an essential oil include birchwood, coriander, and even most tomato varieties.
- Pinene is the most common terpene in all natural plant life on Earth. This is found in almost every Evergreen tree, basil, orange peels, parsley, and many more.
- Citrus fruit rinds like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, contain very high amounts of limonene terpenes. It can be found in juniper, peppermint, and rosemary.
- Many plants produce various amounts of myrcene terpene. This includes bay leaves, lemongrass, and the thyme plant.
Terpenes don’t just make your cannabis what it is, they are the make up of almost all plant life as we know it. These small but mighty compounds work around the clock to help your body process your products better and maintain your high.
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