Some plants smell good. Some plants smell bad. They all smell, though, and cannabis is no exception. The molecules responsible for this aroma are terpenes, and they are abundant in fruits, flowers, vegetables, and even your weed. Even some animals produce terpenes, including some termite and butterfly species. However, few know about terpenes. Until now. Science is learning much about them.
What make terpenes special are their medicinal properties. Being aromatic is not their only job. As cannabis delivery becomes mainstream and folks are more aware of its benefits, studies are increasingly making new discoveries. Cannabis is not what it seems. There is much more to this plant than only its cannabinoids, like cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. There are also its terpenes.
Marijuana produces terpenes in its resin glands. You can feel them. They are sticky. They are pungent. This resin, called trichomes, in very rich in a variety of compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. As the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains, the “entourage effect” is when all of these compounds work together, synergistically, to combine healing properties and maximize benefits.
Terpene or Terpenoid?
Terpenes and terpenoids, although used synonymously by many folks, are not the same. They differ vastly, most notably in definition: Terpenes are hydrocarbons. These are molecules made of carbon and hydrogen. However, terpenoids are what happen to terpenes after oxidation. They are no longer terpenes. They instead become alcohol, aldehyde, ketone, and more. They share no similarities at all.
Terpenes in Marijuana Plants
There are two reasons for plants to synthesize terpenes. Either terpenes work defensively against insects, or they act to attract them. Some terpenes will attract certain bugs to prey on its natural predators. For example, it might attract mantises to eat aphids that happen by. Others will try attracting bees, for another example, to aid in pollination. In such ways, terpenes are crucial for plant survival.
If terpenes can achieve such feats, they can certainly affect the body. In fact, they do in numerous ways, and to therapeutic effect. Studies already identified more than 200 different terpenes in different cannabis strains. Each strain has a unique, complex, and distinct terpene profile. Medicinally, they work with cannabinoids to boost certain effects. We know well some of the more common terpenes already:
Linalool is a terpene that possesses two important stereoisomers, namely S- and R-linalool. S-linalool typically has a sweet aroma profile. Spicy with a hint of floral. R-linalool tends to smell woodier. Both are calming, almost sedating. This makes them excellent for treating stress, anxiety, depression, pain, convulsions, seizures, insomnia, and more. You find it in cinnamon, mint, citrus, and yes, in cannabis.
Limonene, as its name says, has a citrus smell. Lemony. You find it in citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons. It is also a popular ingredient in many household cleaners and cosmetic products. Limonene smells fantastic. What is more, it improves mood. Instantly. Studies show it having a massively positive effect on depression. It is also antifungal. It relieves stress. It even treats gastric troubles.
In cannabis plants, myrcene is extremely common. It is possibly the most common terpene, and you can find it in hops, thyme, and lemongrass too. This musky, earthy terpene actually smells like hops. Its effects are relaxing, sedating, even tranquilizing. It also boosts the psychoactive properties of THC, enhancing potency. Further, myrcene is a proven anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial.
BCP, or beta-caryophyllene, is especially pungent. Its aroma hits you as pepper does. Think basil, oregano, even cloves. This spicy, complicated terpene does not appear to affect the body physically in the way that cannabinoids do, but it promises an array of other crucial benefits, including antispasmodic, analgesic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also treats sleep problems.
Humulene is another very common terpene in cannabis plants. You find this woody, earthy terpene in many strains, particularly those with coriander-like hues and hops-like flavors. Humulene acts as an appetite suppressant, making it a good choice for maintaining a healthy diet. It has a pleasant, distinctive flavor, along with powerful antibacterial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects.
One finds pinene in many, many plants. Its A-pinene isomer is especially plentiful. Plants include sage, rosemary, pine, and eucalyptus. As such, you can expect an earthy smell. Woody, with pine and cedar flavors. Pinene relieves fatigue. It aids in memory retention and sharpening mental faculties. It also works well as a bronchodilator. As such, it is popular among asthmatics and other respiratory sufferers.
You can find all of these terpenes and more at your local weed store. They are available for marijuana delivery anywhere in California. If you need specific terpenes, then research which strains have them in most abundance. Very strain-specific, terpenes are identifiable by smell and laboratory testing. You should be able to find a strain’s terpene profile on its Certificate of Analysis, listed clearly for you to see.