Ooo.. that smell. Can’t you smell that smell?.
If this thought comes to your mind when you open your favorite container of marijuana or derivative product, chances are you’ve experienced the power of terpenes!
“What are terpenes?” you may be thinking. What do they matter? Isn’t it just THC that is the important part of cannabis? We’ll take a closer look at all of this, and more, ahead.
Terpenes are aroma rich hydrocarbons, and there are more types of terpenes that this article will not go in depth enough to explore. These compounds are present in everything from paints, plants, peppercorns, poppies, and more. Really, a terpene is what is primarily responsible for the smell – and taste – of cannabis. They are ever present in our world, coming from things like pine trees, mangos, and even insects. These compounds are referred to as “volatile”, but don’t be afraid of them losing their temper, only their strength! As they relate to cannabis, there are a myriad of terpenes present responsible for a multitude of affects. Much like the compounds responsible for the affects we seem to experience in aromatherapy, there are corresponding affects each terpene present in cannabis is reported to have – and we’re finding out more about them every day. Let’s dive a little deeper and explore a few of these more basic compounds that, current research shows, are an important driving force into the cannabis experience.
Take myrcene (pronounced MUHR-seen), for example. It, along with other terpenes, is present in a lot of plants already. Thyme, mango, lemongrass are probably the most referenced sources aside from cannabis. It, much like other terpenes, has a complex odor all on its own that contributes to the smell of different cannabis. It is described as earthy and musky with hints of clove, while simultaneously smelling like rich red grapes. This terpene is very rarely found in CBD rich/low THC cannabis, also referred to as flowering hemp, and is usually one of the most abundant terpenes in THC rich/low CBD cannabis. This terpene being heavily present in cannabis gives the indication that it will be a more relaxed, or sedative, experience. It is thought that myrcene aids in breaking the blood-brain barrier to prime your endocannabinoid system into receiving THC. This terpene is so present in mango that there is research that shows eating a mango 45 minutes before using cannabis will aid the onset of the psychoactive affects of cannabis. Lord have myrcene!
Another terpene commonly found in cannabis is Limonene (pronounced LIH-muh-neen). While the name implies the odor that we would most commonly associate with limes, it’s abundant in the peels of common citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, and limes. Typically, effects from cannabis that has a large amount of limonene in it would include mood elevation and euphoria and may be helpful for anxiety as a result. It can also provide stress relief and result in more energetic affects that would typically be associated with a “sativa” type product (and we will touch on the important differences in another article), but is not always the case. It may also aid in digestive issues, as limonene has potent antifungal and antibacterial properties.
The last terpene we’ll examine for this article is called linalool (pronounced LIN-uh-lool). Linalool, like most other terpenes, are very abundant in nature and can in fact be found in over 200 other non-cannabis plants. Its aroma is characteristic of lavender, and is often described as clean, fresh, mildly floral and a very small hint of citrus. Linalool is reported to have anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. Finding cannabis with heavy amounts of linalool may also aid in the relief of insomnia, as it also has sedative properties.
As you can see, and smell, terpenes are part of the entire experience in cannabis. Experienced users will a lot of times be able to associate the overall smell with the effects, and science and data collection is proving valuable in finding the correlation as to why that is. Moving forward into the future, it’s important for users of all experience to weigh this information in selecting what works best for you. While Michigan does not mandate that terpene tests are required for entry into regulated sale markets, and thusly are sometimes hard to find, there is a large compendium of collected data as to what each terpene commonly found in cannabis does and smells like to aid you in making your decision. Additionally, we invite all people eligible to visit our location in Ionia, Michigan to use our exciting automated self-consultation software to help guide you in making what could be the most important decision of your waking day… or sleeping night!