Many individuals who are new to the cannabis world may not know the word “terpene”, but that's okay! We were all there at some point too.
If you continue reading, by the end of this blog you will know everything you need to know about terpenes. Even if you already know about terpenes, maybe you’ll learn something new!
So, let’s jump in.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are found in a variety of plants but are often associated with cannabis due to their high concentrations of terpenes.
These compounds or combinations of compounds determine the smell of many plants, herbs and even some animals. These terpenes produce many distinctive smells including citrus, diesel, floral, pine and mint.
Terpenes provide the distinct aroma and flavor of cannabis that many are aware of.
Different terpene compounds will have different effects on the human body. Some terpenes may promote focus, aid in stress-relief or relaxation.
Additionally, the combination of different terpenes are commonly used to get optimal smells and tastes. Therefore, it’s very common for manufacturers of perfumes, body products and food products to use isolated terpenes or a combination of isolated terpenes to create scents and flavours.
The amount or concentrations of terpenes present are directly related to both the intensity and spectrum of light exposure.
Fun fact: In any given cannabis strain there are over 200 different terpenes that can be present in varying concentrations.
Why Do Plants Produce Terpenes?
Plants produce terpenes for a few different reasons. One reason that plants produce terpenes is to attract pollinators. On the other hand, plants also produce terpenes to protect themselves from animals grazing or to protect themselves when trying to recover from damage.
Additionally, some plants produce terpenes as a part of their immune system to help fight and keep away infectious germs.
How Do Terpenes Affect Us
Terpenes do more than provide aroma and taste, they actually work with other cannabis molecules such as cannabinoids to produce effects. This is known as the entourage effect and the main reason why terpenes have been more common in cannabis research.
Many terpenes are bioactive, meaning they can affect our body. This effect will vary based on concentration of the terpene as well as how an individual uses it. Some common uses include aromatherapy, smoking, vaping and much more.
Similar to cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors located in our brain and this is what gives rise to their various effects.
Depending on the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids individuals may experience exaggerated or suppressed effects of either the cannabinoids or terpenes.
There are many therapeutic effects that we can get from terpenes when consumed. Some of these include anti-inflammatory, pain relief, antidepressant and much more.
Fun fact: Low heat ingestion methods work best when wanting the beneficial qualities of terpenes. This is because when heated past their boiling point the terpenes become seriously damaged.
What’s a low heat way to consume cannabis? Vaping! Check out our review of the mighty vape.
Terpenes vs. Terpenoids
Many people often use these two words interchangeably without knowing that they are actually different.
Terpenes compounds are the natural form in the live plant. However, when cannabis goes through its drying and curing processes, the terpenes are oxidized and become terpenoids.
What’s The Difference Between Terpenes and Cannabinoids?
Similar to cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors located in our brain and this is what gives rise to their various effects that we will soon discuss. Also, terpenes cannabinoids and flavonoids are all found inside the cannabis trichomes. So what’s the difference between them?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found within cannabis that create the “high” sensation after being consumed. This is done by the cannabinoids attaching to receptors in the endocannabinoid system. You have probably heard of THC and CBD, these are the most known cannabinoids. All cannabinoids provide different effects just like terpenes.
Terpenes are primarily responsible for the scent of most plants. Although some may act on the endocannabinoid systems similarly to cannabinoids as mentioned above. The main difference is that the body absorbs and uses these compounds differently.
Fun fact: Flavonoids contribute to a plant's aroma and flavour, similar to terpenes but they offer their own unique therapeutic effects.
Examples of Common Terpenes and Their Effects
This terpene is found in most cannabis strains and also commonly found in hops, mangoes, lemongrass, basil and thyme.
Fun fact: Eating a mango 45 minutes before consuming cannabis will extend the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
Myrcene contains a signature earthy aroma and has a boiling point of 332.6°F (167°C). Myrcene is a powerful antioxidant that is found in the flowers of the cannabis plant and is also effective as an anti-inflammatory.
Some benefits and effects from myrcene include
- Pain relief
Cannabis strains that currently produce high concentrations of myrcene include Jack Herer and Pink Kush.
Fun fact: Myrcene is one of the two most prominent terpenes found in cannabis.
This terpene is commonly recognized and is found in fruit rinds, cleaning products and fragrances. Limonene is often associated with a fruity lemon or orange citrus aroma. Limonene has a boiling point of 348.8°F (176°C).
Some benefits and effects from limonene include
- Elevates mood
- Stress relief
Some cannabis strains that have high concentrations of limonene include Banana OG, Berry White and Wedding Cake.
Fun fact: Limonene improves the absorption of other terpenes and chemicals by the digestive tract, skin and mucous membranes.
Beta-caryophyllene is found in hops, black pepper and cloves and contains a herbal aroma. This terpene has a boiling point of 266°F (130°C).
Some benefits and effects from caryophyllene include
- Pain relief
Cannabis strains that have high concentrations of beta-caryophyllene include Pineapple Express, Sour Diesel and Pink Lemonade.
Fun fact: Caryophyllene is one of the two most prominent terpenes found in cannabis.
This terpene has a fresh herbal-citrus aroma and is found in plants such as rosemary, lilacs, apples and conifers. Terpinolene has a boiling point of 365°F (185°C).
Some benefits and effects from terpinolene include
Some cannabis strains that are high in terpinolene concentrations include Jack Herer, Ghost Train Haze and Orange Cookies.
Pinene is most commonly found in nature, often in pine trees and other conifers. Pinene is often found in basil and rosemary. This terpene has a boiling point of 311°F (155°C).
Some benefits and effects from pinene include
- Pain relief
- Bronchodilator (helps to open/widen airways)
Cannabis strains that have high concentrations of pinene include Blue Dream, Grape Ape and Mango Haze.
Fun fact: Pinene is the most abundant terpene on the planet!
Humulene carries a hoppy aroma and is a key component in hops. This terpene is also found in basil, black pepper, sage and cloves. Humulene has a boiling point of 222.8°F (106°C).
Some benefits and effects from humulene include
- Pain relief
Some cannabis strains that contain high concentrations of humulene include Headband, OG Kush, White Widow and Girl Scout Cookies.
This terpene has a strong, sweet herbal aroma and is found in a variety of plants including basil, mint, mangoes and orchids. Ocimene has a boiling point of 150°F (66°C).
Some benefits and effects from ocimene include
Cannabis strains that have high concentrations of ocimene are Strawberry Cough, OG Kush and Lemon Sour Diesel.
This terpene is most abundant in lavender plants and linalool is what gives it its rich scent. It’s also found in rosewood, jasmine and coriander. Linalool has a boiling point of 388.4°F (198°C). Linalool is responsible for a calming effect and thus is very important in aromatherapy.
Some benefits and effects from linalool include
Cannabis strains that currently produce high concentrations of linalool include OG Shark, Master Kush and Pink Kush.
If you want the best aroma and flavor profile from your cannabis, you have to grow the best quality cannabis. This is where Grobo comes in.
If you’re wanting to get your hands on the best bud to give you the best terpenes, consider using a Grobo. Grobo is an automated grow box that uses deep water culture to grow plants efficiently. All you have to do is pick your plant, pick a grow recipe, and let the system take care of the rest!
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What’s your favorite terpene? Let us know in the comments below.