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April 03, 2024

Discover Cannabis Terpenes: How They Influence Your Experience


At first glance, terpenoids might seem like a forgotten chapter from your high school chemistry days. But fear not – you’re already familiar with them, as you encounter them daily in various forms. Terpenes are the aromatic oils responsible for the unique scents of herbs, fruits, and plants. Think of perfumes, where a blend of oils creates a distinct fragrance profile.

Cannabis boasts a plethora of over 200 identified terpenes, each one contributes its own distinct aroma and a range of physiological and physical effects. In cannabis, terpenes give different strains their signature scents – whether sweet, spicy, sour, or floral. That’s why weed enthusiasts relish taking a deep inhale to identify their preferred strains. A rich, distinctive aroma indicates freshness and potency, while a lack thereof suggests aged or dry weed. Here are three key points to remember about terpenes, no pop quizzes involved – just the joy of discovering the strains that suit you best:

  1. The seven major terpenes in cannabis include myrcene, limonene, pinene, beta-caryophyllene, linalool, ocimene, and terpinolene.
  2. Strains with singular scents (citrus, spicy, floral, etc.) contain high concentrations of a single terpene and lower quantities of others.
  3. Strains with less distinctive scents typically feature a more balanced concentration of terpene varieties.

Now, let’s delve into the basics of terpenes and their impact on the body and the cannabis experience.

Terpenes and Their Effects

Weed is more than just cannabinoids and potency; it’s a complex world of compounds with countless properties. Scientists are continually uncovering new applications and medications derived from the cannabis plants. Heat is a critical factor for maximizing terpene properties and absorption in the body. Many users report more consistent effects with vaping compared to smoking, as high heat can degrade terpene oils. It’s crucial to use a lower heat source for optimal terpene retention. Consult your budtender for advice on ingestion methods and strains to achieve your desired effects.

Understanding How Terpenes Affect the Body

So, what exactly do terpenes do? The answer may be complex, but for the average or novice user, understanding the basics can help find the right strains for you. Terpenes interact with specific brain receptors similarly to cannabinoids, resulting in various effects. The big idea here is that the terpene profile (the dominate terpenes) in a strain and the amount of cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) it has work together to create the affects you feel when using different strains. This is why two strains with the same THC level can give you totally different vibes.

The infographic below (produced by Leafly) highlights the effects and scent profiles of different terpenes, strain types, and their potential benefits for various health conditions. Some terpenes induce relaxation, while others alleviate inflammation or anxiety.

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