What are Terpenes?
When talking about cannabis, people usually focus on cannabinoids and their benefits. However, there are many other compounds present in the plant. Like other plants, Marijuana also has terpenes, organic substances that give the plant its specific flavor and scent.
Cannabis terpenes are why every strain has a unique smell. You might feel the flavor of sweet berry, citrus, or pine, that give that scent.
Two plants growing in the same condition might have a slightly different scent. Why? Each strain has a different terpene profile.
Factors that affect Cannabis terpene levels include:
- Harvest time
- Maturation level
Plants use terpenes to attract pollinators and reject predators. Research suggests that these compounds have medicinal properties, making them essential for human use.
A typical cannabis strain might contain different types of terpenes, affecting both its smell and effectiveness.
Here is an overview of the major kinds of these compounds to help make a choice the next time you visit a dispensary.
One of the most popular terpenes found in cannabis is myrcene. Besides cannabis, myrcene is found in hops and is responsible for the peppery, spicy, balsam aroma in beer. You can also find it in mangos, lemongrass, and thyme.
Myrcene can be found in 20% of today’s commercial cannabis strains. These strains include OG Kush, Blue Dream, Grape Ape, and Tangie.
Like other terpenes, myrcene has health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, pain relief, and a sedative effect on the system.
Alpha-Pinene and Beta-Pinene
Alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are simply two variations of pinene. Pinene is an aromatic compound commonly found in cannabis that smells a lot like a forest of pine trees. You can find traces of Pinene in pine needles, rosemary, and basil.
The surplus of any given terpene is highly dependent on a variety of environmental factors; some strains tend to produce elevated levels of pinene on average. These strains include God’s Gift, Cotton Candy Kush, Big Smooth, and Cannatoic.
Pinene is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, pain relief, and bronchodilator properties.
Caryophyllene is present in many herbs and spices, including black pepper, basil, and oregano.
Strains high in Caryophyllene are prominen notes of diesel and fuel that are known to cause the same nose-tingling bite associated with taking a whiff of pepper. These strains include GSC, Gelato, Death Star, and Chemdog.
This stress-relieving Terpinene has also been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and to be a possible therapy for treating inflammatory bowel disease.
Linalool is a highly favored terpene found in over 200+ plants including lavender and basil.
Few cannabis strains contain high levels of linalool. Strains rich in linalool impart effects associated with Indica-dominant genetics, which include both mental and physical relaxation. These stains include Zkittles, Do-si-do, and Wedding Mints.
Linalool is known for its antimicrobial and sedative properties. Linalool is also known to help aid with anxiety and depression.
Limonene is an aromatic cannabis terpene produced in the flower’s resin glands. When isolated, it’s commonly associated with fruity, citrus aromas, and it’s found in many common items like fruit rinds, cosmetics, and cleaning products.
Some strains exhibit higher levels of limonene than others, this depends on genetics, growing techniques, and curing processes. Popular limonene-dominant strains include Banana OG, Purple Hindu Kush, and Tahoe OG.
So far, limonene has shown potential in elevating mood, stress relief, antifungal properties, and antibacterial properties.
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