Sniff, Sniff: Terpenes Explained
Terpenes. Another word that’s floating around in the weed world as if it’s been around as long as the good ol’ fashioned term, DOOBIE. Not exactly the case.
What are these terpenes, and how do they affect your buzz?
Well, it’s pretty fascinating actually. Terpenes are the fragrant essential oils of a plant, so whether it’s cannabis or other strong-smelling plants and flowers, the aroma that you sniff is effectively, terpenes in action. If you’re picking up on the sweet fragrance of Pineapple Express or the more citrus influenced Bubba Kush, guess what: you’re smelling the plant’s unique terpenes! And by paying closer attention to the scents of cannabis, and the types of cannabis experiences that different scents are linked to, you can determine which strains work best for you. Some terpenes encourage relaxation, while others are more stimulating and promote alertness and focus. For example, while the terpene limonene is known to elevate mood, others, like linalool are known to produce more calming and sedative effects.
When pondering the wonders of nature (a common reflection for all of us, hopefully), an obvious question emerges: where do these magical aromatic compounds come from? What’s their purpose? Terpenes exist as a defense mechanism for plants. By excreting a strong scent profile, plants can repel predators, while inviting beneficial insects for pollination.
And how do they form? Through a multitude of influences, ranging from climate and soil-type, to weather and the level of plant maturity.
Terpenes are found in the same glands that produce cannabinoids, like THC or CBD; while there are over 113 cannabinoids in cannabis, similarly, scientists have discovered over 100 individual terpenes in cannabis, and every strain is composed of a different mix of both cannabinoids and terpenes, thus contributing to the broad range of experiences and effects linked to weed. Similar to the entourage effect, the impacts of a specific terpene may change in the presence of other plant compounds, such as other terpenes or cannabinoids. Thankfully, research is currently underway to take a closer look at how these nuanced relationships affect or change an individual’s experience of various cannabis strains.
Follow your nose and discover your faves!