When you sit down and smoke your favorite flower, you utilize the power of over 200 different terpenes. Terpenes give strains their unique smell and taste, but also provide the character behind your high, continue reading to learn more.

Cannabis’ beauty can be accredited to terpenes. Ever admire a particular bud for those tiny, crystal structures, that look like little hairs? Those structures, or trichomes, produce the fragrant oils that make up the scent and taste of any individual strain. You can find these trichomes on the most resinous parts of the cannabis plant, the place that contains all the good stuff, like THC, CBD, CBG and other cannabinoids.

Trichomes, like the white hairs on this plant, create a signature aroma for each strain

They’re not just beautiful. Terpenes play an important role in your overall smoking experience. Not only do they give each strain individual flavor and scent, they provide therapeutic benefits that piggyback off of active cannabinoids to enhance a strain’s overall effects. Read on to learn more about how terpenes work, and three of the most common terpenes you’ve probably tasted before, but didn’t know it.

Terpenes serve as a blueprint for identifying one strain from another

Medical Cannabis Terpenes

Terpenes are non psychoactive molecules found in cannabis flower. While they don’t get you high directly, they can help enhance your cannabis’ effects. They don’t get you high persay They are made up of essential oils and fragrances within cannabis flower and other plant material. Terpenes I.D., or terpene profile, have been used to discern one cannabis strain from the next. You can think of terpene profiles as each strain’s signature quality.

At first, cannabis cultivators troubleshooted terpene profiles with flavor and taste in mind, but once research identified terpenes as possible factors behind cannabis’ medical effects, they took a medical approach to classifying terpenes. A study by Carlini et al found that there may be “potentiation” of THC by other substances present in cannabis. Put another way, terpenes may help provide therapeutic effects that THC or other cannabinoids don’t provide alone.

Terpenes and cannabinoids like THC are teammates that work together to provide cannabis’ effects

 

Terpene Entourage Effect

So far, around 200 terpenes have been identified in cannabis, and about 60 identified cannabinoids. These work in tandem to provide cannabis’ many effects. How does this happen?

When you inhale cannabis, it’s main components like THC and CBD, attempt to bind to your brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. However, terpenes crash the receptor site, and bind/block receptors from being binded too. Because of this, terpenes affect the way THC and other cannabinoids act on your brain. This internal entourage effect creates the signature flavor and feel of each strain.

Starflight Guava is 0.6% myrcene

 

Terpene Examples

Myrcene 

This is perhaps the most common terpene found in cannabis. Myrcene has a very hoppy, musky aroma and taste. It is commonly associated with indica strains that produce strong effects on the body. Myrcene offers anti inflammatory properties, along with pain management, and sleep aid. Myrcene is the culprit behind some your favorite indica strains “couch lock” effect. Myrcene acts in synergy with THC and increase its effects.

Black Raspberry is 0.6% Limonene

 

Limonene

Known for a citrus like aroma, limonene is the second most common terpene found in cannabis. Smelling almost like lemons or limes, limonene produces the invigorating, uplifting effect that accompanies most Sativa strains, which can help with depression, anxiety, stress, and even fatigue. Thank limonene for Cannabis’ cancer killing reputation, as it has been found to reduce the destruction of the RAS gene, known to be a contributor to tumor growth.

Cookies and Cream is 0.2% Pinene

 

Pinene

You probably have smelled pinene before in a forest, or when hunting for a Christmas tree. Pinene gives off the scent of the resin from pine and fir trees, and is often associated with skunky, smokey strains. Pinene can be used as a bronchodilator, and because of this pinene heavy strains may induce more coughing, because the smoke appears heavier.

If the weed makes you choke, it may have high levels of Pinene. This bronchodilator property means strains with high levels of pinene can open airways for people with CoPD, and asthma. Known to increase mental clarity, pinine also has anti inflammatory properties as well.

There are plenty more terpenes that accompany cannabis, many with therapeutic qualities, so don’t take the way your bud tastes or smells for granted. What’s your favorite tasting strain? Feel free to comment below!


About the Author

Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter

All Information Displayed In This Post Is For Educational Purposes Only, And Is Not To Be Construed As Medical Advice Or Treatment For Any Specific Person Or Condition. Cannabis Has Not Been Analyzed Or Approved By The FDA. Individual Results May Vary.