What does your nose know anyway?
Ever wonder why flowers smell so sweet or what it is that makes pepper so pungent? It has to do with compounds called terpenes! This subject is quickly becoming a hot topic for the cannabis industry, as these compounds play an important role in a consumer’s overall experience. Discover more and explore the purpose of cannabis terpenes with Spiritleaf.
Most people are familiar with essential oils and may have used these types of products already in their day-to-day lives. These oils are used for aromatherapy, cooking, household cleaning products, personal hygiene and so on. According to this dōTERRA article, essential oils have been used as part of many cultural practices and traditions. It’s becoming common practice in mainstream society to use essential oils as a tool to improve one’s wellbeing. These organic compounds can produce a variety of therapeutic effects based on their interaction within the body, to read about the subject click here.
What are cannabis terpenes?
Similar to essential oils, terpenes or terpenoids (terps for short) are organic compounds found in plants, such as cannabis and even some insects. The aromatic oils in cannabis are produced in the trichomes of the plant, along with cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Terpenes play an important role in the overall function of cannabis molecules; this synergy or process is referred to as the entourage effect. This is what provides each cannabis strain or cultivar with its own flavour, aroma and effects. Find out more about this from Weedmaps, here. With over 100 different terpenes identified in cannabis to date, the number of possible combinations is endless! Read this from PotGuide, for more on this subject.
What does all this mean for the average consumer?
Technically speaking, selecting a certain terpene profile is based on both personal preference and desired experience. Some consumers prefer their herb to taste bright and citrusy, while others prefer it to taste more earthy. The bigger consideration, for most, is the experience. Like essential oils, some terpenes may produce relaxing or calming effects, while others can help you feel energized or focused, depending on the profile present. Terpenes are an important part of a consumer’s consumption ritual, influencing many of our basic senses. It all depends on what you like, making it a customizable experience.
Learn about these cannabis terpenes and explore the regulated products available now!
Some of the most common terpenes in cannabis include Myrcene, Limonene, Caryophyllene, Pinene and Linalool:
Let’s start with one of the terpene’s which is found in the more common brands of cannabis, Myrcene. This essential oil is found in things like bay leaves, hops and mango. It can be used to unwind and relax. Most importantly, this terp aids cannabinoids with their biological functions, helping molecules such as THC and CBD to pass through the blood-brain barrier. Regulated products which feature this terpene include Daize Mango Mercy Cartridge, House of Terpenes Myrcene & Sparkling Tonic and EHT SYNC 30 THC Mango + Myrcene Oil.
Then there’s Limonene, as its name suggests, this terp is found in citrus fruits (its peels) and even many household cleaners. Consumers are said to use this for an energizing or uplifting experience. But don’t be confused, there are two versions of this hydrocarbon. R-limonene (also called D-limonene) smells like citrus, whereas S-limonene smells more like pine. Some of the products available with this particular terpene are Daize Lemon Limo Cartridge, House of Terpenes Limonene Sparkling Tonic and Kolab Project 232 Series Indica ICC Live Terpene Vape Cartridge.
Next up, is Caryophyllene. This essential oil is found in several herbs and spices, including every day black pepper. Most consumers agree this terp can provide an overall calming experience. Similar to Myrcene, this helpful hydrocarbon also aids in the biological function of cannabis, activating parts of the endocannabinoid system that other terpenes cannot reach. The regulated products that have this terpene are the Thumb’s Up Garlic Z, dried flower, Qwest Blendcraft Shatter in both Indica and Sativa and Hexo Blue Dream Cartridge.
Another well-known terpene is Pinene. It’s found in pine needles, conifers and herbs like rosemary. Consumers report feelings of increased alertness and focus from this particular essential oil. This terpene is said to have the ability to counteract some of the potentially unwanted effects of THC. This dried flower from Natural History ACDC Cookies is one cultivar that includes this terpene. There’s also Kolab Jack Herer and Blue Dream Cartridge and Hexo Durban 510 Vape Cartridge.
The terpene Linalool is another common compound. It can be found in over 200 different plants such as lavender, cinnamon and is added to many botanical repellents. It’s known to produce a more calming or chill experience, similar to how a standard essential oil would. One regulated product featuring this terpene is this SYNC 15 CBD Oil. More cultivars include San Rafael ’71 OG Chemdawg Live Resin and Simply Bare SFV OG Kush dried flower & pre-roll.
How Much Do You Know About Terpenes?
Whether you’re a cannabis enthusiast and want to test your knowledge about the genetics behind some of the most popular strains or a newbie looking to learn more about terpenes – This educational quiz is an interactive way to expand your knowledge!
Some less common terpenes include compounds such as Nerolidol, Humulene and Bisabolol:
Known by a few different names, Nerolidol or Trans-nerolidol is a terpene found in ginger, lavender and jasmine. It is used as a flavoring agent in mainstream products, including candy and chewing gum. This essential oil has a reputation for producing a sense of ease and is featured in this dried flower from Natural History, LA Kush Cake. It can also be found in 7ACRES Jack Haze dried flower and Pre-Roll and Ace Valley Sativa Pre-Roll.
There’s also Humulene, a terpene found in black pepper, hops, and ginseng. Interestingly, the hops plant is part of the Cannabinaceae family, which includes cannabis and hemp. This essential oil can potentially produce an overall energizing experience! The cultivar from Natural History, called Crescendo contains this particular terpene. Some other cultivars include TGOD Organic Rockstar Tuna dried flower and Pure Sunfarms Headband Full Spectrum Cartridge.
Finally, there is Bisabolol. This unique terpene is found mainly in the chamomile flower and can produce a similar experience of deep relaxation. It is used in the cosmetic industry, as this particular hydrocarbon aids in the absorption of active ingredients, making it a good candidate for use in cannabis topicals. The dried flower from Natural History, Zour Apples and Ace Valley CBD Pre-Roll’s also including this terpene in its profile.
For the love of Terps!
There are many licensed producers here in Canada, some including Pure Sunfarms and Natural History, who are now adding terpene profile information on their product packaging and websites. This is an exciting trend that is beneficial for both consumers and the evolution of the industry.
Terpene levels in dried flowers usually make up only 2 percent, on average, of a cannabis plant’s entire dried weight. However, every cultivar is different. Some cultivars can have over 3 percent or more. Alternatively, not all terpenes are used for their flavour or aroma. Germacrene, an essential oil found in flowers such as Lamium purpureum and even certain insects is used entirely for its potential therapeutic properties. Another interesting fact is that licensed producers are also making products, like ingestible oils, without the presence of terpenes as an alternative for those who may have allergies to cannabis.
Influencing the entire experience, terpenes are a fundamental element of cannabis. Although everyone experiences cannabis differently due to factors such as individual biology and state of mind, terpenes are a great way to identify the cultivars that suit you best. Understanding the role terpenes play in the overall experience is key to getting the most from your cannabis. If you are new to terpenes, we suggest keeping a consumption journal to track your progress.
Master your inner terp by taking our quiz or read this collection of articles here, on The LEAF. Talk with a Spiritleaf concierge for more information by visiting a location nearest you, click here. *Must be of legal age. This information is for educational purposes.
Artistic credit to HAMBURGER HANDS, to see more click here.
Photography credit to 2C Media, visit their website here.
References: Floraplex, The LEAF, The LEAF, The LEAF, The LEAF, Terpenes and Testing Magazine, Lift&Co, Weedmaps, Leafly, S. Karger AG, Basel, Zamnesia.com, Monq.com, National Library of Medicine, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Medicalnewstoday.com, Royalqueenseeds.com, Lift&Co.