5 Things to Know About Terpenes
When it comes to understanding cannabis, it’s easy to get caught up with the THC and CBD content of a particular strain—and everyone loves to debate whether sativa or indica plants are better (the real answer: it mostly depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for!).
However, cannabis is a lot more nuanced than that—how the bud feels, tastes, and smells plays a huge role in your consumption and overall experience. That’s why it’s important to read reviews, as well as read what’s on the package. And, whether you like your weed sour and musky like OG Kush, or sweet and earthy like Pineapple Express, these attributes help make up the plant’s unique “terpene profile”.
Below, we round up the 5 things you should know about terpenes on your way to a becoming a cannabis connoisseur:
1. Terpenes are often referred to as the “essential oils” of cannabis
Not only do terpenes (“terps”) help round out a plant’s distinctive tastes and smells, they each possess various therapeutic or healing properties as well. For instance, linalool—with floral notes similar to that of lavender—can actually help ease one’s depression and anxiety.
2. While over 200 terpenes can be found in a cannabis plant, there are 8 that are most common
From anti-inflammatory properties to mood elevation, each individual terpene brings something special to the mix. Here’s what to keep an eye out for: beta-caryophyllene, a peppery-flavoured terpene with antifungal properties; linalool, a floral terpene that helps ease anxiety and depression, and can help fight acne; alpha-pinene, a pine-scented terpene aiding in alertness, memory retention, and antiseptics; myrcene, a terpene mix between cloves and tropical fruits that has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties; limonene, a lemony-citrus terpene which elevates mood, relieves stress, and has antibacterial properties; nerolidol, an orangey-citrus terpene with sedative and antifungal properties; caryophyllene oxide, a eucalyptus-smelling terpene which acts as natural insecticide for your plant; and phytol, an earthy-flavoured terpene with relaxing effects.
3. Keep it fresh! The older the cannabis, the more subtle its terpene profile.
After becoming too dry or brittle—which can lend itself to a harsher smoking experience when consumed—the number one reason to properly store your cannabis is to lock in their rich, unique flavours and smells. Keeping your flower stored in a cool, dry place will help to retain its terpene profile for longer!
4. The “entourage effect” is why your terpenes act like cannabinoids
Israeli researchers S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam first introduced the entourage effect theory in 1998. Put simply, they deduced that terpenes work alongside cannabinoids when consumed to create different types of sensations. These terpenes enhance your experience by helping the cannabinoids bind with your body’s receptors in different ways.
5. Terpenes are not, in fact, unique to cannabis plants
Terps are actually found throughout the entire plant kingdom! In fact, they’re so common that there are usually more terpenes in your cannabis plant than cannabinoids. Terpenes act as a plant’s natural form of defense, protecting it against pests, climate changes, and more.