Terpenes for Budding Cannabis Enthusiasts

3 years ago   •   3 min read

By Juana Know Staff

Historically, the mention of cannabis immediately brings to mind THC, the source of the plant's psychoactive effects. CBD, the wildly popular treatment for everything from topical pain to insomnia, is the next thought. The aspect of cannabis that most fail to recognize are terpenes, an aromatic compound that comes in a variety of flavors and can add a whole new dimension to your experience.

What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes give each strain of marijuana their own smell and taste. Cannabis developed terpenes as an evolutionary defense mechanism. The smell kept herbivores from devouring the plant but extended an open invitation to all pollinators. Plant maturation, the fertilizer and soil in which the plant grew, and the growing climate impact terpene development.

While most closely associated with the smell of the plant, terpenes also have the ability to enhance a smoker's experience. Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to stimulate the smoker's endocannabinoid system. Depending on the terpenes found in the strain, the effect produced can be soothing, sedating, or energizing.

It is important to note that, as a standalone product, terpenes will not deliver the same effects as marijuana; the CB 1 receptor that is activated by THC is not activated by terpenes alone. However, when cannabis is smoked or vaped, terpenes play an important role in the entourage effect, or the synergistic way THC, CBD, and other compounds come together to create a full body, unique experience.

Benefits of Terpenes
Terpenes are not only found in cannabis; they are found in mass quantities in essential oils. Essential oils are used as oral, topical, or aromatherapeutic devices. Terpenes have been used to successfully treat bouts of inflammation, bacterial or fungal infections, depression, and anxiety. When using essential oils, ensure their value by choosing brands that contain 4-15% terpenes that have been harvested from a full bud.

Types of Terpenes
There are multiple types of terpenes, and each delivers its own unique experience. The most common are humulene, beta-caryophyllene, limonene, terpinolene, myrcene, and alpha and beta-pinene.

Humulene has an earthy smell. Its main use is to decrease inflammation. It has also been used as a hunger suppressant. For best results, vaporize at 222 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beta-caryophyllene is peppery. Its spicy flavor has also been described as woody. It is used to protect the stomach from ulcers and as an anti-inflammatory. Beta-caryophyllene is also used for stress relief and has shown promise in decreasing depression and anxiety. It vaporizes at 266 degrees Fahrenheit.

Limonene has a distinctly citrus taste and smell. It is used for mood elevation and treats stress, depression, and anxiety. It has also been used as an anti-inflammatory and to brighten the spirits of patients with cancer. To achieve limonene's full potential, the vaporizer should be set to 348 degrees Fahrenheit.

Terpinoline is mainly used  for relaxation. It has a floral smell and sedative properties. Additionally, it also provides the body with antioxidants and has both antifungal and antibacterial uses. It is vaporized at 366 degrees Fahrenheit.

Myrcene has a musky smell and is vaporized at 332 degrees Fahrenheit. It is known as the most sedating of the terpenes. Its strong sedative effect is often called "couchlock," because once you start smoking, you are not leaving the couch. Myrcene is used to treat insomnia, pain, and chronic inflammation.

Alpha and Beta-Pinene
As the name would suggest, alpha and beta-pinene has the scent of pine trees. It successfully treats a host of disorders, including asthma, ulcers, pain, anxiety, and even cancer. Alpha and beta-pinene increase memory retention and actually counteract the effects of THC. It should be vaporized at 311 degrees Fahrenheit.

Terpenes are an often overlooked piece of the cannabis puzzle. However, they play a very important role in one's cannabis experience. Terpenes work alongside CBD and THC to provide sensory depth, as they are the cause of the smell and taste of each bud. Just as importantly, terpenes can be used on their own in essential oils in order to help relieve pain, anxiety, insomnia, and inflammation while providing needed antioxidants.

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