What are terpenes?

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What are Terpenes and Why Are They Important?

As cannabis continues to hit the mainstream our understanding of how it effects our bodies will continue to evolve. One major development that has gained traction is what we know about terpenes. Perhaps you have heard about terpenes and you aren’t quite sure what they are, however, a greater understanding of terpenes will help you choose the products that are going to satisfy your needs. Today we are going to give you the full picture of what terpenes are, how they work, and how you can incorporate this knowledge into your own cannabis journey.

Basics

Terpenes are chemicals that are found in many plants. This includes grass, fruits, and of course cannabis. Terepens are what give plants their smell. Often times these terpenes are captured in essential oils and are used in aromatherapy. It is estimated that there are about 100 terpenes present in the cannabis plant. The function of terpenes in most plants is one that helps a plant survive. For example, flowers give off their aromas to either attract small bugs, like bees, that will help them spread their pollen. Or they will give off aromas that are unpleasant to their predators so they will stay away. They do of course also play a role when they are consumed. What we have found in regards to weed is that terpenes can serve to accentuate the cannabinoids that are already present in the plant.

The Entourage Effect

What exactly is meant when we say “accentuate?” In the dictionary, “accentuate” is defined as “make more noticeable or prominent,” which is what terpenes do to cannabinoids. As a quick review, cannabinoids are the main chemical components in cannabis, think THC and CBD, that are responsible for the major effects we get from our favorite herb.

As terpenes work alongside cannabinoids, they can accentuate them, bringing out specific qualities to give an overall variety of effects and benefits.

Think of all these chemical compounds, cannabinoids and terpenes, as members of a creative team. Each member brings something different to the table. In every strain different cannabinoids and terpenes are present, and in different quantities. As such, every team is a little different and their collaboration and end results are each unique. The way that different chemicals work with each other results in a synergy that’s called “The Entourage Effect.” This combined effect varies from strain to strain and the presence of different terpenes can play a large role in how your cannabis is going to make you feel.

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Terpenes as a Guide

That being said, learning about terpenes can help you make better choices when it comes to your cannabis product. There is currently some great information out on the terpenes that exist in cannabis, but much research is still to come. We can expect that in the next few years, terpene profiles will rise to prominence and cannabis selection will be made primarily on the individual chemical components of each strain and not so much the strain name, which can vary in meaning. In some markets, like the Canadian cannabis scene, there are already many companies working on developing their chemical profiling to give consumers direct access to their effects. While terpenes and cannabinoids dictate one part of your experience, your DNA is ultimately what encodes your endocannabinoid system, or your bodies receptors for weed. Everyone’s experience is nuanced and personal experimentation can go a long way. If you can begin taking an inventory of how certain terpenes alter your perception, the easier it will be to find products that you vibe with.

Different Terpenes and their Effects

As a general guide, we want to include a list of the most common terpenes that are found in cannabis and the effects they are known to incite. While there are many terpenes in cannabis, only about 15 of them exist in quantities large enough to offer some kind of effect. As breeding gets more advanced though, this will likely change! You can read up on all 15 terpenes here, but for a reference we are going to break down the ones that exist in the most quantities: myrcene, limonene, linalool, pinene, and carphollyene.

Myrcene is a terpene that has a musky scent that is reminiscent of cloves. It is present not only in cannabis but many other flora, including mangoes, hops, basil, and lemongrass. This terpene is the one most present in cannabis, giving it that recognizable smell. You know, the one smell that has your weed rader go off at concerts, college dorms, and the streets of California. Myrcene’s most common effect is body relaxation and sedation. Some strains with a lot of this terpene are White Widow and Sweet Skunk.

Limonene is characterized by lemon and citrus scent that remind us of hot summer days and lemonade. This terpene is one of the most popular because it is so recognizable. It’s effects are primarily mood related. High limonene strains will leave your mind feeling more relaxed, your stress will dissipate, and your body will rejoice! Fine this terpene in strains like Sour Diesel, Tangie, and of course, Super Lemon Haze.

Linalool is often remembered as being a floral scent, much like lavender. It is a sweet aromatic flower profile that is light and fruity. This terpene can also serve to relieve stresses of the mind like anxiety and depressive thoughts. Overall it is mind uplifting by body relaxing. Release with some linalool strains today like Pink Kush and LA Confidential.

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Pinene comes in two forms: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. As their name suggests these two terpenes smell like pine trees. Try to remember pinene and being associated with mental alertness and focus, as that’s what this terpene can promote. It can also help your memory retention, making that last bit easier to remember. Many strains have a rich pinene presence including the ever popular Blue Dream and Jack Herer.


The final terpene you want to consider is carphollyene, a terpene that is often referred to as “spicy” and is reminiscent of pepper’s scent. This terpene is regarded as more medicinal than most because it actually binds to our cannabinoid receptors, influencing them directly. It touts anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects so pick some up today! It can be found in Skywalker OG.


Final Thoughts

Choosing the right cannabis for your needs can be tricky! Terpenes are one part of the equation and anyone looking to maximize their cannabis experience should know about the different terpenes present in cannabis. Each is sure to interact with the other chemical components of marijuana to bring you unique effects. Maybe you feel like you have to take a list of notes with you to the dispensary to ensure you get the right stuff, but let’s be real, no one wants that. Luckily, Cannacopia has you covered. We pride ourselves on our being able to provide you with the perfect product quickly and reliably. Our platform searches terpene and cannabinoid profiles for you, all you have to do is tell us how you want to feel. In a quick one, two, three you’ll have a personalized product in your hands, ready for whatever your adventure. Whether it’s finding the best cannabis to decompress or to rage, Cannacopia has got your back. Find us in the App and GooglePlay Stores. Until next time, stay high friends!