Did you know that nearly forty million Americans now regularly use cannabis? As the substance becomes widely available through legalization, more users are becoming interested in the specific strains they smoke. After all, it’s not just the high that matters — it’s also the flavor profile and health benefits that accompany it.
If you’re interested in either of these areas, then you need to learn about cannabis terpenes. These compounds are responsible for adding flavor to weed, as well as enhancing the effects of other cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about terpenes. Let’s get started!
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are hydrocarbon compounds that produce strong aromatics and flavor components in cannabis plants. There are almost 140 different types found in weed in varying percentages depending on the strain. However, terpenes aren’t limited to cannabis plants. The reality is that they’re produced by a variety of plants and even some types of insects.
Their strong odor is a defense mechanism to prevent potential predators from eating the plant or insect. Often people think that cannabinoids like THC and CBD produce the distinct flavors found in cannabis. However, all of the aromatic qualities come from terpenes found in the plant. As such, they’re often extracted through steam distillation or vaporization.
From there, the cannabis derived terpenes are put into everything from full-spectrum CBD oil to vape products. It’s important to note that, unlike THC, terpenes won’t get you high. However, as we will see in the next section they do interact with our receptors and neurotransmitters in a way that produces unique health benefits.
Why Are Cannabis Terpenes Important?
Terpenes are responsible for all the flavor components that come with cannabis. Some of these flavor components are things lots of people enjoy, like floral and fruity scents. Other types, like the distinct skunk odor that comes with some types of weeds, appeal to a smaller audience.
As such, it’s important to know which type of terpene flavor components you fully enjoy your cannabis. However, terpenes aren’t just for taste. They also come with unique psychological components. For example, terpenes with a clove-like smell are often associated with a sedative feeling.
Piney terpenes, on the other hand, can make you more mentally alert. Even by themselves, terpenes can contribute a lot to many of the feelings of wellbeing commonly associated with CBD. Like antidepressants, terpenes can inhibit the uptake of serotonin. They also can increase norepinephrine and dopamine activity.
This gives them promising medical potential in treating conditions like depression. The final reason that terpenes are important is due to something called the entourage effect. This is a theory laid out in a study by the British Journal of Pharmacology. It states that the phytocannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis all work together.
As such, when they’re all taken together they’re more effective at treating conditions like pain, depression, anxiety, inflammation, and fungal infections. This is important if you take certain CBD or THC products since some of them filter the terpenes out.
What Are Some of the Popular Types of Terpenes?
As we mentioned, there are over 140 different terpenes found in a cannabis plant. Because of this, we don’t have time to go into all of them.
However, in this section, we’ll be discussing some of the most common and distinct terpenes produced by cannabis plants. Ideally, you’ll recognize some of the flavor profiles you enjoy. From there you can go on to find products that appeal to your sense of taste and smell.
The smell of myrcene has been described as musky and clove-like. As we mentioned earlier it comes with a sedative, relaxing effect. As such, it’s typically found in high levels in Indica cannabis. This type of terpene is great if you want to chill out, but it’s not great for becoming more alert.
The limonene terpene comes with a strong citrus-y smell. As such, it’s great for cannabis users that like lemon, lime, and orange tastes. Limonene is absorbed into the blood much quicker than other types of terpenes. As such, it’s good for people who want to feel the effects of cannabis immediately. It’s also great at fighting fungal infections and can even help promote weight loss.
As its name suggests, the pinene terpene smells strongly of pine trees. It’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic nature make it great for treating cancer and pain. However, it may not be the best terpene for you if you want to heighten the effects of THC. It’s believed that the effects of THC are lessened when mixed with pinene.
Caryophyllene is often found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. As such, it comes with a distinct woody and spicy flavor profile. If you struggle with pain, then we highly recommend that you try cannabis with this terpene.
Why? Because caryophyllene is the only terpene that interacts with the endocannabinoid system. As such, when combined with other phytocannabinoids, it’s been proven to be extremely effective at treating pain.
If you like lavender and floral flavors, then you’ll love linalool. For years the terpene has been used as a sleep aid for its calming effect. If high levels of THC make you anxious, then you should consider trying cannabis with high levels of linalool. The substance has been known to provide a calming effect that cancels out these negative attributes of THC.
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We hope this article helped you learn more about the importance of cannabis terpenes. As you can see, terpenes play not only a huge role in the flavor profile of weed but also the health benefits.
As such, you should experiment to find out which terpene flavor profiles you enjoy, and which ones to avoid. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. We’ve got plenty of related topics that you’re sure to love. Just keep on reading to find more content to enjoy.