What Are Terpenes?
Ever wondered how Blueberry Kush or Girl Scout Cookies and other weed strains get their iconic aromas and flavors? It has to do with something called terpenes. Learn all about what they are, what they do, and where they come from in our article all about terps.
What Are Terpenes?
Ever wondered what gives weed its particular tastes and flavors? It’s thanks to aromatic compounds called terpenes. If you’ve ever cracked peppercorn, walked through a pine forest after a fresh rain, or just stopped to smell the roses, then you’ve interacted with terpenes. There are many different kinds of terpenes, or we can just say terps, and each has its own unique flavor, taste, and effect.
In plants, terpenes are used to attract beneficial pollinators or deter harmful predators. The terp’s different aromas send signals to pollinators that the plant’s fruit and nectar is ready. Against hungry herbivores, plants use terpenes and other compounds that can cause unpleasant tastes, stomachache, psychedelic effects, and more.
In a place like the Amazon Rainforest, terpene compounds also help form unique weather patterns. Terpenes are released on a massive scale every day, as the forest breathes. In the warmer climate, trees release higher amounts of terpenes, which act as a form of natural cloud seeding, the process by which raindrops and rain form.
Clouds condense on concentrations of terpene molecules that help to reflect sunlight, allowing for forests to self-regulate their temperatures. So, plants use terps as a kind of biochemical warfare and communications system, and forests use them as to geo-engineer climate. Pretty dope, right!
Now that we know a little more about terps, let’s get right to the good stuff. Terps and weed!
Terpenes & Cannabis
If you’ve ever spent 5 minutes with a descent budtender you’ve probably heard all kinds of descriptions for different strains of weed. This one’s earthy with a berry aftertaste and coffee notes, or that one’s more diesel-fuel, pungent, with a citrus body. Well, it’s all because of terpenes. Terps don’t just give each strain its particular smell and flavor profile either. Studies show that each terpene has unique health benefits.
Which is also why one strain might give you more munchies or sleepiness than another. Cannabis experts even think that terpenes are actually the main force driving your experience. For example, the most common terpene found in cannabis, Myrcene, an earthy-citrus terpene also found in ripe mangos, is synonymous with the classic effect known to stoner culture as “couch-lock”. Limonene is another popular terpene that derives it’s name from its delicious lemon scent. Limonene is found in lemons as well as cannabis!
Caryophyllene, a coffee-like peppery terpene, is thought to synergize the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis. Along with the tropical citrus terp, Limonene, it also has stimulating effects, thought to give many sativa strains its cerebral sensation.
Linalool, found in lavender, rose, coriander and sweet oranges have a sedative and relaxing effect, as well as pain relieving and anti-depressant like effects.
Strain Shopping & Terpenes
Next time you head to the weed shop and browse the different strains, think about this analogy. If weed were a car, THC would be the gas pedal, CBD would be the brakes, and terpenes would be the steering wheel.
Think about if you are looking for a more sedative effect, or if you’d prefer cerebral high. Instead of going purely on THC potency or popularity, perhaps you could consider staying stocked with a variety of different strains for each occasion. There’d be one for the morning and one for the night, one for working alone, and another for social dinner parties.
You get the idea. And next time you talk about your favorite strains with your friends you can impress them with your profound terp wisdom. Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out our other great articles for more cool content and connect with us on social media to join our super dope, fast-growing community.