All About Terpenes!
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One of the most likeable things about the cannabis plant is its many fragrances. Those who don’t even smoke tend to find themselves enjoying the scent of a cannabis plant, nug or grow. But did you ever wonder how exactly cannabis creates such a wonderful fragrance? Whether it be sweet-smelling, earthy or gas-like, marijuana plants develop their scents from the terpenes. The terms terpene and terpenoid are used interchangeably however, they could posses different meanings. Nevertheless, the ‘terps’ are where the fragrance is derived.
Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants. Terpenoids, however, are terpenes that have been modified through a drying and curing process, which alters the oxygen content of the compound. Terpenes are found within the trichomes of the cannabis plant, which serve as a protective shield from bacteria and fungus, insects and other environmental stresses. To us, terpenes can help us determine strains and physiological effects of the flower but to animals and insects, the fragrance is a deterrent. A big role of terpenes is to differentiate the various effects of cannabis. The smell profile derived from the terpenes can help us determine how a strain can make us feel. One of their most impressive characteristics is their ability to interact with other compounds in the plant, like cannabinoids, with synergy.
There are over 100 different identified terpenes in the cannabis plant that can broadly be broken down into five categories: herbal, floral, citrus, pine and spice. While the differences can be subtle, terpenes help distinguish strains as well as their effects. They also may offer additional medical value as they mediate our body’s interaction with therapeutic cannabinoids.
We’ve listed the most common terpenes found in cannabis below. With these descriptions, you can now become a connoisseur of sorts and profile your cannabis flowers with just a sniff.
Myrcene is found in mangoes, lemongrass, and thyme. It has an earthy, herbal aroma and tends to be very relaxing. Vaporizes at 332ºF (167ºC). Myrcene has that “couch lock” effect, so be careful. Medically, it is good for anti-inflammation, insomnia and pain. It is antioxidant and anticarcinogenic.
When you think Linalool, think lavender. With a floral, sometimes citrus/candy aroma, Linalool is a sedating, mood enhancing terpene. It is an anti-depressant with potential to relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia. Vaporizes at 388ºF (198ºC).
Limonene is the citrus terp. A mood lifter, limonene is great for treating anxiety, depression, pain and inflammation. Vaporizes at 348ºF (176ºC). It’s also found in rosemary, juniper, peppermint.
Pinene actually comes in two types: alpha, which smells like pine needles and is the most commonly found terpene and beta, which smells more like rosemary or parsley. It’s found in conifer trees and citrus peels. Pinene is a great terpene to increase alertness and memory retention. Medically, pinene is a good treatment for asthma, ulcers, pain and inflammation. Vaporizes at 311ºF (155ºC).
Cayophyllene is the spicy, woody terpene found in black pepper, cotton and cinnamon. It is an anti-inflammatory and an antiseptic. This terpene is good for treating anxiety and depression, as well as ulcers. Vaporizes at 266ºF (130ºC).