what are terpenes

What Are Terpenes? Your Guide To The Unsung Heroes In Cannabis

For the distinguished cannabis user, the scent of the product is almost as important as the effect it gives you. Turns out, scent and potency are more related than you’d think. You can thank terpenes for that.

Terpenes are the unsung heroes of the cannabis world – and they’re just starting to get the recognition they deserve. Whether or not you want a high along with your terpenes, you’re going to start to see these essential oils everywhere you go. They are being endorsed by celebrities, shaken into cocktails, and mixed into bottles to be diffused!

We’ve done the research for you, so you can be a terpene pro in no time.

What are Terpenes?

terpenes explained

Let’s start from the beginning. Simply stated, terpenes are essential oils found in a variety of plants, including cannabis. They give different strains of cannabis unique scents, flavours and effects. In fact, these aromatic compounds play a vital role in the medicinal properties of cannabis.

This means understanding them is vital to growing your cannabis business, buying the right product for your needs, or interacting competently with people in the industry. In plants, terpenes play a multitude of roles, from defending against harmful bugs to releasing the perfect fragrance.

They have even been gaining market traction apart from cannabis sales. Companies are recreating the naturally occuring combinations found in cannabis to produce essential oil mixes that mimic the effects of cannabis. Terpenes are one of many substances produced by trichomes on the cannabis plant. Basically, a secretory hair that’s responsible for making cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

The amount of terpenes produced by a cannabis plant all depends on the amount of light the plant receives. More sun exposure means more trichomes produced. This leads to a higher amount of terpenes produced and a much more potent fragrance.

Categories of Terpenes

Much like our taste buds are divided into flavor categories, terpenes are divided into categories of scent. There are hundreds of variations of terpenes, so knowing which major category they fit into is the key to deciding on the best strain for you.

There are only four major categories, so, in general, terpene will be sweet, sour, spicy, or bitter. Scientists have further divided these categories into subcategories with descriptions like ‘flowery’ and ‘warm’, but each major family is known for specific effects.

Sweet terpenes are your stereotypical sedative types, and can relieve anxiety and depression for users. Sour terpenes, like limonene, might have citrus scents, and give an energizing, refreshing effect, whereas spicy terpenes are often associated with pain relief and anti-inflammation. Lastly, bitter terpenes, like humulene, are known for their appetite suppression and pain relief effects.

Understanding the dominant terpenes in your cannabis strain will inform you as to how the product will influence you, and help you choose the perfect type for your needs.


Common Types and Their Effects

Some of the most popular types are myrcene, limonene, pinene, and linalool. Myrcene is the terpene for you if you’re looking to majorly chill (it’s not called the ‘couch-lock’ terpene for nothing.)

Limonene and pinene will give the opposite effect, energizing users and eliciting a euphoric feeling. These terpenes, which are naturally found in other plants, interact with your body differently. Limonene can boost your mood, while pinene may help reduce short-term memory loss associated with THC use, thanks to its neuroprotective effects.

These energizing terpenes shouldn’t be used for anxiety relief, though. A better choice is linalool, often found in lavender, which is a floral terpene that can calm you down and even be used to treat seizures.

Using Terpenes Practically

The Rök, an emerging high-tech water pipe, is the latest in cannabis technology that brags the ability to let users taste the subtle variations in their flavour choices. These market changes are all a response to consumers wanting to make the most of the diverse effects cannabis can have.

Choosing the right strain for you is both an art and a science, so there’s no hard-and-fast rules for picking the perfect one. Do your research on the types that are known to get the effects you’re seeking, and let these dominant terpenes guide your purchases.

It’s also super important to let your sense of smell guide you. Chances are, if you’re really attracted to the unique scent of a product, you’ll enjoy the effects it has, too.

Final Thoughts

When you dive into the world of terpenes, it’s beneficial to do your homework, but go in with an open mind. Gone are the days of a basic marijuana high. These compounds are the key to customizable strains that allow users to choose their own adventure and tailor their cannabis experience.

 Soon, you’ll be able to detect nuances in different strains to choose the perfect product every time.

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