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Cannabis Terpenes: The Complete Guide 2022

The truth is not all cannabis strains smell the same. This has everything to do with terpenes. 

The distinctive smell of cannabis varies depending on one’s subjective reaction to the plant. Some people don’t find it very pleasant, while others find it soothing and enjoyable. The smell that some associate with cannabis is created by its components just like other plants produces their own distinctive aromas and flavors.

These components are terpenes, a type of aromatic molecule generated by cannabis, which can be found within the tiny resin glands of cannabis flowers. Terpenes produce different notes and aromas depending on the cannabis strains, with some smelling citrus-like while others have a fruity or sweet taste.

Certain strains even smell like candy or taste peppery for whatever reason. It’s not all about the smell though, terpenes introduce a range of medical effects and that’s what made them so captivating in the first place

The cannabis plant contains (at least) 100 different terpenes and is known for its chemical composition. Research in this area is still continuing but it does appear that the combination of these chemicals and cannabinoids plays a key role in the pest success of this plant.

What Are Terpenes? Why Are They So Important in Cannabis?

Terpenes are organic compounds manufactured by many plants and some insects. Terpenes are also often used to refer to terpenoids, which refer to oxygenated derivatives of terpenes.

Terpenes are a major component of plants that give the plant it’s unique fragrance. They’re chemically identified as volatile aromatic molecules, which is what makes them different from other chemicals.

These substances have two important roles in every plant’s life: they protect flowers from predators, and they produce resin. They are so prevalent in the production of essential oils that they can be used to make other substances like waxes or medicines. As such, it is a good idea to use them.

Terpenes have been around for a long time and are used everywhere. Whether in flavors, aromas, medicine or aromatherapy, their smell is most often appreciated in these fields.

Interesting facts about terpenes: natural rubber, as well as many types of steroids are made of terpenes. 100% organic and natural maple syrup contains about 300 different terpenes that make it so good.

Cannabis terpenes give each strain its signature smell and taste as well as effecting how cannabinoids are processed in the body.

How Do Terpenes and Cannabinoids Work Together?

Cannabis flowers are put into different forms like hash, edibles, and tinctures. However, if it’s just the raw flower you’re using then also just like any other flower, it has its own distinctive smell.

As previously mentioned, more than 100 terpenes have been found in cannabis, and they coexist with psychoactive cannabinoids like THC. Together, they can produce a stronger experience.

There are many kinds of terpenes that can be found in certain plants, but cannabis has its own set. These terpenes have therapeutic properties and play a role in the medicinal effects of cannabis, such as helping to regulate mood.

The entourage effect takes place when compounds in cannabis work together to produce a greater combined effect than what may have been achieved if any one of the compounds were used alone. The myrcene molecule, for instance, assists cannabinoids in penetrating cell membranes faster.

Limonene is known to increase serotonin levels. They can also influence the neurotransmitters in our brain, meaning that different strains of weed may affect us differently when it comes to our mood. This is why many people who struggle with mental health issues prefer strains that are dominant in limonene.

What Do Terpenes Have To Do With Entourage Effect?

The “Entourage Effect” is a term created by S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam in 1998. It ultimately represents how cannabinoids and other compounds act synergistically to produce various effects in the body.

Chris explains that terpenes and cannabinoids work together to create a stronger, more powerful effect. “When terpenes work with cannabinoids like CBD and THC they form a synergy that creates stronger and better effects,” he said.

This is because terpenes and cannabinoids interact with one another. Terpenes improve the uptake of cannabinoids, overcome the bacteria’s defense mechanisms, and minimize any side effects.

The Most Common Terpenes in Cannabis Explained

Many beneficial terpenes are present in cannabis and the most well-known ones can be found below.

1. Myrcene

Myrcene is a very common terpene in cannabis, and it’s most often found there. For example, one study showed that myrcene makes up 65% of the terpene profile in strains with high levels of myrcene. Myrcene often smells musky, like cloves. It also has a fruity, red grape-like smell to it.

Strains that contain 0.5% of this terpene are usually indicas with sedative effects, though it has also been reported that myrcene may be helpful in reducing inflammation and pain. This is one of the reasons why it is often recommended as an addition to cancer treatment. Strains that are rich in myrcene are White Widow and Granddaddy Purple.

Wanna know something really cool? Eating a mango before smoking marijuana can increase how intoxicated you get. Mango provides myrcene, which is in significant amounts, and cannabis both contain myrcene as well. Eating a mango before using cannabis will make the high more intense.

2. Limonene

Limonene is the second most common terpene among all cannabis strains. A citrus smell is usual, which makes sense as lemons are one of the citrus fruits that have limonene. Limonene is a chemical found in lemon juice and orange peel, making it great for use in cosmetics. It also has many cleaning uses.

Medicinally, limonene is known to help with mood management and reduce intense stress. Any cannabis strains that have “lemon” or “sour” in their name are rich in Limonene, for example, Super Lemon Haze or Sour Diesel.

3. Linalool

During the process of aging, linalool can be released from cedar wood and is a major component of the smell. It is also found in various other plants, including lavender & mint. What’s interesting about this terpene is that it has a strong aromatic profile similar to those herbs.

Patients with arthritis, depression, seizures, insomnia, and even cancer have found relief by using this terpene. Some well-known strains that contain high levels of linalool are Amnesia Haze, Lavender, and LA Confidential.

4. Caryophyllene

Everyone knows the peppery scent of caryophyllene, but did you know that it’s also found in cinnamon, black pepper, and other tasty things like oregano? Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene that binds to cannabinoid receptors. They have been used for developing anti-inflammatory creams and topical applications. As of now, it is the only terpene known to bind with these receptors.

You can reap the benefit from caryophyllene by using strains like Super Silver Haze, Skywalker OG, Girl Scout Cookies, Original Glue, and Death Star.

5. Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene

This terpene smells like pine trees and can be found in large quantities in pine trees themselves as well as other plants, such as rosemary and orange peels. In addition to its use in the scent of these aforementioned plants, it has anti-inflammatory effects when ingested or applied topically.

One of the major benefits of using cannabis is that it can help improve lung function and can be a good way to reduce memory problems related to THC consumption. The more alpha and beta pinenes in a strain, the better. These compounds can help provide you with a wide range of health benefits

Pinene can be found in medical marijuana Sativa strains such as Jack Herer, Strawberry Cough, and Blue Dream. It’s used to treat conditions like arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and various types of cancer.

6. Alpha-bisabolol

Alpha-bisabolol can be found in chamomile flowers, candeia trees and other related plants. Its aroma is usually described as floral and pleasant. A terpene found its use in something like cosmetics, but recently it has gained interest for its medical benefits, especially with cannabis products.

Alpha bisabolol is a natural remedy that can help with bacterial infections and wounds. It also has antioxidant properties and anti-irritation capabilities. You can find this essential oil in strains like Harle-Tsu, Pink Kush, Headband, and the infamous ACDC

7. Eucalyptol

Eucalyptol is a terpene, the primary one from the eucalyptus tree. It has recognizable, refreshing odors and cool tones in its smell but most strains do not contain large amounts of it. Eucalyptol usually makes up around 0.06% of complete strains

Eucalyptol has been used for both cosmetics and medicine. It relieves pain, slows the growth of bacteria and fungus, and even in high doses has shown some anti-cancer effects. This terpene is just beginning to be researched on Alzheimer’s, but it has shown some promising effects. It can be found in strains like Super Silver Haze and Headband.

8. Trans-nerolidol

Trans-nerolidol is a secondary terpene found in flowers like Jasmine, Lemongrass, and Tea Tree oil. The fragrance is reminiscent of rose, citrus and apple and can be described as a woody and floral smell.

Trans-nerolidol is best known for its antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, anticancer and antimicrobial properties. Looking for strains with high levels of trans-nerolidol? Check out Jack Herer and Skywalker OG, these are very popular strains rich in nerolidol.

9. Humulene

Humulene is a terpene that contains earthy, woody, and spicy notes. Besides cannabis, it can be also found in clove, sage, and black pepper. It has a variety of medical properties. Studies have shown humulene to be anti-proliferative, meaning it prevents cancer cells from growing. This means for cancer patients, humulene can be extremely helpful in treating their conditions.

This terpene is also helpful in preventing appetite, which makes it perfect for those who are looking to still consume cannabis while losing weight. You can expect humulene to also reduce inflammation, relieve chronic pain, and fights tricky bacterial infections.

Humulene can be found in Candyland, Deathstar, Original Glue, and Wedding Cake.

10. Delta 3 Carene

Last but not least, we have Delta 3 Carene. This terpene is lesser-known and has a very sweet aroma. Delta 3 Carene is best for those with bone or joint issues.

Any patients suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis, and fibromyalgia will love strains with this terpene. The most fascinating aspect of this terpene is that it stimulates our memory and helps memory retention. This is super helpful for those currently dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

Delta 3 Carene can be found in AK-47, Super Silver Haze, Super Lemon Haze, Jack Herer, and OG Kush.

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