The Wonderful World of Terpenes

Digging Deeper

By Macey Wolfer

Terpenes, the organic compounds that give cannabis its unique flavors and aromas, have garnered a lot of attention lately as cannabis connoisseurs tune into their powers. If you’re not familiar with terpenes, check out our terpene basics guide here.

Terpenes synergize with other compounds in the plant, boosting one another’s effects and causing a phenomenon coined the “entourage effect.” Put simply, it’s the occurrence of the whole plant working together to create a stronger effect than its isolated parts.

Many cannabis connoisseurs are putting a larger focus on terpene profiles because they have such a big impact on the high. Let’s take a look at popular terpenes and their effects.

Hops

Myrcene

This terpene was determined to be the most abundant in all cannabis according to a 1997 Swiss study. You’ll find myrcene in hops, thyme, parsley, cardamom, and several other fragrant, tasty items. Myrcene has potent anti-inflammatory effects, making it a powerful pain reliever.

Citrus

Limonene

This is a potent terpene with a strong, citrusy scent that’s found in common citrusy fruits as well as cosmetics and cleaning supplies. In nature, the strong, citrusy scent of limonene works as a great insect repellant, keeping unwanted creatures away.

Limonene is known for its anti-inflammatory effects as well as its mood-boosting and energizing effects.

Lavender

Linalool

You’ll find this terpene in sweet basil, mint, lavender, and more. Since it smells fresh and clean, it’s found in a large majority of soaps, shampoos, lotions, and other body products.

It’s known for its sedative effects, as well as pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, linalool has been touted as a tool for combatting anxiety.

Black Pepper

Caryophyllene

Another potent terpene, caryophyllene is found in hops, rosemary, and even black pepper. It’s especially present in clove-based essential oils. This molecule is larger in structure than other common terpenes, and this means it can directly activate certain cannabinoid receptors, something other terpenes are not capable of.

It’s widely used for its anti-inflammatory effects, and as of 2008, it’s even been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a food additive.

Terpene Profiles of Popular Strains

For a better understanding of how terpenes work, we’ve broken down a few common strains and their terpene profiles:

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is a delightful cross between Blueberry and Haze. It’s slightly sativa-dominant and is popular for its euphoric effects.

Myrcene is the most abundant terpene found in Blue Dream strains (myrcene is also the most commonly found terpene in cannabis.) Myrcene has an earthy flavor which is responsible for the recognizable marijuana smell.

This strain is a popular choice for managing chronic pain and inflammation. Myrcene is also highly synergistic with THC, opening pathways for cannabinoids to travel through the blood-brain barrier and offer a potent high.

Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies is the flavorful child of OG Kush and Durban Poison. It’s an energizing yet relaxing strain.

The terpene profile for GSC is a mixture of the terpenes caryophyllene, limonene, and linalool, among others. Caryophyllene is a spicy, peppery terpene responsible for this strain’s unique flavor. Limonene is more of an energizing terpene and linalool has relaxing effects.

Users find GSC to provide a happy, relaxing high that can also provide relief for pain and inflammation.

Pineapple Express

This flavorful strain consists of myrcene, linalool, pinene, and caryophyllene. The tropical taste comes from the myrcene, linalool, and limonene paired with earthy, woody scents from caryophyllene and pinene.

The delicious combination produces a calm effect, perhaps due to the terpene caryophyllene, popular for its antidepressant effects paired with myrcene, which provides sedative effects. This terpene combination makes Pineapple Express a delicious, tropical strain with great therapeutic effects.

Cannabis Leaf

Final Thoughts

If you’re used to categorizing your weed between Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids, paying attention to terpenes can be a total game changer. These potent compounds are
responsible for providing unique taste, smell, and effects from strain to strain. There are hundreds of terpenes present in cannabis and other plants, and the few listed here are just the beginning. For those seeking specific results from their cannabis, focusing more on terpene profile can help you customize your high and get a better overall experience.

Macey Wolfer

Macey Wolfer

Cannabis Culture

Macey is a freelance writer from Seattle. She is passionate about music, dogs, and the world of cannabis.

*All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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