The word may sound foreign right now, but terpenes are all around us. As we learn more about cannabis, we also learn that it’s much more than just a plant with cannabinoid properties. It turns out, many of the effects that come from the cannabis plant are not only in the cannabinoid, THC and CBD, but also in the scent. And, this is where terpenes come into the picture.
What are cannabis terpenes?
Cannabis terpenes are what you smell when you catch a good whiff of a cannabis plant. Depending on the strain of the plant, you could be smelling several different forms of terpenes. That familiar scent of the cannabis plant is what adds to, and even enhances, its cannabinoid effects. You could even say that half the taste is, truly, in the smell.
Not only do cannabis terpenes enhance the cannabis experience, but they also protect the cannabis plant, and other plants, from certain dangers. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Warding off pests and plant eaters
- Securing plants from infection
- Securing plants from harmful UV rays
- Drawing in pollinators
While typically all plants have some form of terpene, the cannabis plant carries terpenes in its trichome resin glands. These glands rest on the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. Some even suggest it to be secreted from the root of the plant. As for how it affects us, terpenes are known for contributing anti-inflammatory, sedative and antibacterial effects. This results in terpenes typically being blended with cannabinoids to enhance medicinal effects.
What do terpenes in cannabis do?
Any fellow cannabis advocate and lover could utilize terpenes to their fullest potential. Depending on your use, you could potentially enhance your medicinal use and high when incorporating terpenes. Think about it this way, the lavender plant carries terpene forms that produce effects of relief and calm, so depending on the form of terpene you work with, you could enhance your desired effects.
CBD, as you may already know, is known for its medicinal, anti-euphoric properties while treating both physical and mental health. When you combine CBD compounds with forms of terpenes, its effects become enhanced and much more effective. Cannabinoid and terpenoid compounds are equally effective as separate parts, but when combined they can produce unheard of benefits — making them the perfect combination.
Cannabinoid and terpenoid properties work hand in hand when increasing overall human health. This is why it’s important to understand both separately as well as together. Understanding the terpenes in cannabis plants can enhance both your knowledge of the plant as well as the effects it can have on you.
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What are Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis?
Pinene, also known as alpha-Pinene, is a terpene most commonly recognized in the cannabis plant. It has a sharp, familiar scent of pine. Its medicinal properties suggest it acts as a bronchodilator. This means it opens up the airways to your lungs, allowing you to breathe much easier. It is also said to improve memory. Pinene properties are in most strains of cannabis, but they are profound in strains such as Jack’s Cleaner and Headband varieties.
Caryophyllene, also known as beta-Caryophyllene, is commonly used for its anti-inflammatory medical benefit. It has a very sharp, black pepper scent found in some cannabis strains. This unique terpene acts as a cannabinoid and interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This produces powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It also could calm anxiety and depression. It is encouraged for those who experience an intense THC high to catch a whiff of Caryophyllene to calm their high.
Myrcene is known for its musky, mango scent. This terpene could easily differentiate an indica from a sativa. Depending on the amount of this terpene compound, a strain containing Myrcene could either be an indica(+0.5) or sativa(-0.5). Myrcene helps THC reach your brain faster, and can be commonly found in the strain Northern Lights.
Its scent is exactly how it sounds. Limonene provides a zesty, citrusy, lemon scent to some cannabis strains. Known for its anti-anxiety properties while fighting fungal bacteria and even cancer. It can commonly be found in the following strains: Lemon Skunk and Lemon Diesel.
Linalool is the terpene found in lavender plants as well as some cannabis strains. Its properties produce calming, anti-stress effects that are known to relax. Its famous scent produces effects much more powerful when combined with CBD compounds. Linalool can commonly be found in strains such as Lavender, OG Kush and Bubba Kush.
Our last common form of terpene includes Humulene, which promotes the feeling of happiness and is quite uplifting. It is also known for being an appetite suppressant and has anti-inflammatory properties. Some common strains containing prominent Humulene properties include Pink Kush, Sour Diesel and Gorilla Glue.
While these aren’t all of the terpene forms found in cannabis, they are some of the most common. You could typically find at lease one of these terpene properties in common cannabis strains and plants.