From myrcene to limonene and pinene, the terpenes found in cannabis are an often looked-over part of the big picture. The load of information that’s been discovered about Cannabis in just over 10 years… insane. Knowledge is an ever-revolving door inside this industry. As a Budtender, it’s crucial for me to take an active role in continuing education.
Once upon a time, I had no clue about these things called Terpenes. Any good Budtender you come across today has a general understanding of Terpenes and the role they play in the overall scope of the cannabis plant.
Terpenes interact with our sense of smell.
Although the human sense of smell is not as strong as our canine counterparts, it still plays an essential role in how our bodies communicate.
We receive memory through our sense of smell. Terpenes play a role in the production of these smells. Any time I smell chlorine, I think of my Nana. Every time I smell amber, I think of my mother. When I smell Aqua Di Gio, my memory moves toward my father. Sweaty workout room, fond and dear memories pop up of my one and only Brother.
Our sniffer can also alert us to danger. Whether a gas leak, rotten food, to a fire somewhere nearby, it’s our noses duty to send messages to our brain for processing. Unpleasant odors literally send pain signals to our thinker to alert of possible danger.
Think of some familiar smells we experience in nature…
I live near the Rocky Mountains, so a very familiar smell here is pine trees. I just visited Arizona, and it was the citrus pickin’ season; Everything smelled like citrus. My good friend just absolutely loves the smell of lavender flowers after they’ve bloomed. My brother once put pepper down my nose, and now I will never forget the smell of pepper. Before cannabis was legal in Colorado, I once tried smoking cloves because I had heard it produced a high too. I will never forget the smell of cloves either. These aromatic properties that come from all things living are called Terpenes. Believe it or not, these little suckers play a much more significant role than just putting off a familiar smell.
Look at this beautiful, zoomed-in picture of a cannabis flower…
Do you see those little bulbous, hair-like things congregated everywhere? They are called trichomes. Trichomes act like the small storage bins for the oil and terpenes necessary for the plant to thrive and survive. Terpenes allow plants quite decent protection from imminent threats like bacteria, fungus, and insects. For humans, however, we get to enjoy the smell they emanate and receive the therapeutic effects they provide.
This planet is filled with many different kinds of terpenes and the cannabis plant alone can contain over 150 different ones. Here are the most common terpenes found in cannabis and the therapeutic benefits they carry; Also, the effect they produce when combined with THC and CBD.
Myrcene – Terpene described as Musky and Herbal
Found in mangos and hops, Myrcene is one of the most abundant in the Indica variety of cannabis plant. Myrcene enhances the potency of THC by making it easier for the phytocannabinoid to make its way across the blood-brain barrier. To experience this first hand, eat a mango 10 to 15 minutes before you consume cannabis and enjoy the flow. This is because Mangos, especially Asian ones, have a generally high content of Myrcene. When Myrcene combines with THC, it has been given the coined effect of ‘couch-lock’ on the consumer. Myrcene has been shown to help those with sleep issues as well as pain and for muscle relaxation. A strain with high levels of myrcene would be great for post workout when your muscles are most affected.
Caryophyllene – Terpene described as Spicy, Woody and Peppery
Found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon leaves, this mighty terp doesn’t hold a bias to indica or sativa strains. Caryophyllene’s claim to fame is it’s been shown to bind to the CB2 receptors in our bodies. This is said to help regulate pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and brain aging. Caryophyllene enhances the strength of low-dose morphine, showing promising results in getting people to lower their dose of opiates safely. If you’re ever too high and starting to panic a bit, chew on some peppercorns and you will be right as rain.
Pinene – Terpene described as Piney, Woody or Fresh
Found in parsley, dill, basil and most in pine needles, this crisp little terpene is a mighty one. It will mix with the THC just perfectly enough to keep you buzzing and focused on the tasks at hand. Creativity and improved short-term memory are some other benefits you risk to gain in the transaction. Pinene helps with memory because of its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and alter neurotransmitters, allowing for improved memory. Pinene has also shown significant progress as a bronchodilator, further aiding those who suffer from asthma.
Linalool – Terpene described as Floral and Sweet
Found in mint, rosewood, birch, laurels, and lavender, Linalool is a great stress reliever. Take it from your girl … Absolutely stellar! Linalool is often used in products like mosquito and flea repellant and aromatic candles as well. Linalool has also been shown to have a pronounced effect on the sedation of the Central Nervous System. This could prove useful for people with convulsive issues.
Limonene – Terpene described as Citrusy
Limonene can be found in various other plants like rosemary, peppermint, juniper and most abundantly in citrus fruit rinds. Because of it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, Limonene can be found in a wide array of cleaning products and medicines. Because of its fresh scent, it is also used in many perfume formulations. This mighty terpene has also been used in clinical settings to dissolve gallstones and improve heartburn. Limonene provides for a great stress reliever when combined with THC. It’s not rare to be in a lifted mood after enjoying a high-limonene strain.
Now that you’ve taken in all this amazing information …
… you know why your favorite Budtender is shoving a jar or bag of weed in your face to smell. If your nose sends a not-so-favorable signal to your brain about a strain, then you might want to overlook it for a more desirable aroma. I always say, if we don’t enjoy the way a certain food smells, we are likely to not eat it. If you don’t like the smell of a particular strain, you might enjoy one with a more pleasant aroma instead. Our brain is continually giving us messages about the world through our senses. Make sure to pay attention the next time you go shopping for your indulgence.
If you’re curious to where you can get a hold of nothing but pure terpenes like the ones mentioned above, please visit my trusted friends over at Terpene Botanicals for all of your smell-good and tasty needs.