Cannabis terpenes: everything you need to know
Terpenes do not receive the attention they deserve. Without them, grass would be a dull, one-dimensional experience that would have to give up all the subtle smells and flavours that we have all come to know and love. Choosing grass without paying attention to the smell is a bit like choosing grass without THC and CBD. You just don’t do it. Terpenes give different strains their unique flavours and have an impact on the effects each strain can produce.
And here’s everything you need to know about terpenes:
Α-PINENE: A FRESH FIR SCENT.
If your grass has a fresh, pinchy aroma that resembles the smell of a Christmas tree, your flowers have a high content of α-pinene. This terpene reduces the psychoactivity of THC, thus protecting your memory and also increasing your alertness. Medically, α-pinene is naturally antiseptic and can be used to treat asthma.
LIME: A FRESH, LIVELY CITRUS AROMA
If your mouth starts crying as soon as you smell a lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit or strawberry, you’re in luck. These smells and the corresponding tastes are created by limonene, one of the most abundant terpenes in cannabis. Limonene raises the mood, reduces stress and gives the user a general feeling of well-being. Medicinal properties include the relief of heartburn, depression and upset stomach. Limonene also has antifungal, anticarcinogenic and antibacterial properties. In some cases, it is even capable of dissolving gallstones.
CARYOPHYLLENE: PUNGENT SMELL, LIKE BLACK PEPPER
Do you sometimes enjoy the exotic spicy and peppery notes of your herb when you light a joint? Then it’s because of the caryophyllenes. Although these terpenes have no effect on weed consumption’s perceived effects, they have many medicinal properties that can strengthen the immune system and help fight arthritis, stomach problems, ulcers, and inflammation.
LINALOOL: A SWEET SMELL OF FLOWERS OR SWEETS
If your cannabis has a sweet smell, like flowers or sweets, it probably contains a large amount of linalool. This terpene has a slight relaxing effect and gives a pleasant, anxiety-free high. Medically, linalol also has something to offer, as it can be used to combat acne, anxiety, depression and cramps.
HUMULEN: HERBAL AND HOP AROMA
Humulene is a sesquiterpene – which means that it has three isoprene units and fifteen carbon atoms. This molecule adds a pleasant smell and taste to some cannabis cultivars and is also found in cloves, ginger, sage, basil and hops. Humulene adds notes of wood, earth and spices to the aroma of cannabis.
In nature, humulene protects plants from parasites and can deter fruit flies from mating. In addition to its wonderful taste, humulene is also associated with various therapeutic properties. In animal studies, terpenes have been able to protect the cells of the nervous system associated with homeostasis (physiological balance). Humulene is present in many strains of cannabis.
GERANIOL: SWEET AND FLORAL
Geraniol is a monoterpene with a pleasant and delicious aroma. The sweet, floral scent is found in many plants and fruits, including coriander, carrots, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, lemongrass and roses. Geraniol’s pleasant and fairly mild aroma is used commercially in lotions, perfumes and essential oils. This substance adds a relaxing and soothing note to some cannabis varieties, but it also provides additional sensory pleasure.
Geraniol has been the subject of intense research. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects in fibrosis and atherogenesis. Geraniol has also shown neuroprotective properties and perhaps a soothing effect in diabetic neuropathy. Some strains are better suited than others if you want to make extracts or foods rich in geraniol. The amnesic mist and the bandage produce high concentrations of terpenes.
TERPINOLENE: THE SMELL OF THE FOREST
Cannabis flowers rich in terpinols transport the user to a forest-like environment. This terpene produces a woody, pine aroma. In addition to smelling good, this scent also evokes nostalgic memories of visiting the forest. Terpinolene is partly responsible for the characteristic smell of cumin, sage, rosemary, lilac, tea tree, conifers and apples.
Terpinolene is a cyclic monoterpene found in many strains of cannabis. It is considered an essential terpene in many sativas. Although terpinolene has a sedative effect on mice, anecdotal reports of terpinolene-rich strains’ effects indicate a stimulant effect in humans.
Terpinolene has also proved very interesting in the laboratory. This molecule may be able to prevent coronary heart disease by inhibiting the oxidation of LDL (“low density lipoprotein”) cholesterol. The compound also has an antiproliferative effect on neuroblastoma cells.
VALENCEN: PURE CITRUS AROMA
Valencene takes its name from Valencia Orange, one of its main sources. The terpene obviously has an aroma of orange, grapefruit, herbs and wood. The fragrant molecule adds a delicious note to the bang and blunt head. In addition to its wonderful taste, this terpene also has therapeutic effects. Valencene has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties.
THE COMBINATION OF DIFFERENT TERPENES MAKES EACH PLANT UNIQUE
Hundreds of different terpenes have now been identified, and there are probably many more. Each of these aromatic oils has its own unique characteristics, but they come together to create something completely new when combined. This is why cannabis varieties are so diverse and not just indica, sativa or a combination of the two.
Although a specific strain of cannabis has a genetic predisposition to produce greater or lesser amounts of certain terpenes, there are many other factors that play a role in this: variation in phenotype, nutrient supply, climate, growing medium, temperature and finally, harvest time.
FEEL YOUR WAY TO THE PERFECT FLOWER
When different terpenes are combined, they can create many different tastes and smells. There’s everything from berry aromas to fresh mint and sweet vanilla notes. These aromatic oils also influence the individual effects of the cannabinoids. Myrcene, for example, makes the cells more receptive to THC, which makes it possible to obtain more THC from a weed with a lower THC content than previously thought. On the other hand, Caryophyllene reduces the psychoactivity of THC, so you don’t have to worry about anxiety or paranoia.
If you know your terpenes and have a fine nose, the smell of a particular strain could give you an instant clue as to whether that weed is more for a fun high or whether its medicinal properties are what you’re looking for. Does your favourite scent produce the effects you expect from using weeds?
TERPENES AND TEMPERATURES
There are many different terpenes in cannabis, and their concentrations depend on the chemotype. Cannabis enthusiasts can catch some of these molecules in the form of edible foods or extracts. However, all terpenes have a different vaporization point. In addition, due to their volatile nature, it will not be possible to obtain all available terpenes.
For this reason, vaporization is the best way to consume certain terpenes. Modern appliances allow consumers to set specific temperatures. Terpenes with a low vaporization point include pinene (155°C), caryophyllene (160°C), myrcene (166-168°C) and limonene (177°C). In contrast, terpenes such as linalol (198°C) and α-terpineol (217°C) have a significantly higher evaporation point.
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