The smell of cannabis is absolutely unmistakable; if someone were to sit down beside you and light up a joint you’d know what’s going on in a split second, as that characteristic aroma penetrates and fills every room that it’s in. Even then, this particular smell can switch from strain to strain, as some are sweeter, some are spicy and some can even smell like fruit or cheese. The differences between odors and flavors occur because of the different concentrations of terpenes in marijuana – cannabis terpenes can be found in every single plant, but in cannabis it has a more varied and complex function.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are volatile aromatic molecules that almost every kind of plant contains, and they are responsible for the plants flavor and aroma and one of their main functions is to keep predators away and increase resin yield. Cannabis can have up to 120 different terpenes, of which 100 of them are exclusively found in marijuana plants. Every different strain has a different concentration of terpenes, allowing for an infinity of flavors and effects.
Terpenes don’t just affect the flavor and aroma, they also influence the effect you get from the weed as well as how the cannabinoids affect you. Until recently, it was thought that cannabinoids were the only part of the plant responsible for its effect, but now we can confirm that terpenes come into play with the cannabinoids and increase their effect. Two strains with the same cannabinoids but with different terpenes can give much different effects as your body doesn’t ingest them the same.
One way terpenes complement cannabinoids is by helping them get into our bloodstream, making for a faster or slower absorption. Other terpenes have a more specific effect, such as Myrcene, which increases cellular permeability and cannabinoid absorption. Limonene acts on your serotonin production, something that can affect your mood, so strains with high amounts of this terpene will offer a very mentally happy effect, more so than strains with the same amount of cannabinoids but less of this specific cannabinoid.
In this article we’re going to go over some of the most common terpenes in cannabis plants and explain their most important properties, and how they affect our metabolism.
This terpene isn’t one of the most well-known terpenes, but it is the one that’s found the most in cannabis plants, appearing in percentages of 65% in some strains such as Skunks, Whites or Kush strains. It has mainly earthly and musky flavors, with a hint of fruit. This terpene increases cannabinoid absorption, producing a much faster and more intense effect. It’s highly efficient when it comes to fighting inflammation and chronic pain, highly recommended to treat the secondary effects of chemotherapy.
This is the second-most common terpene found in cannabis plants, being found in mostly citric strains, which is why it has its name. Most strains with “lemon” or “acid” in their name tend to have quite a lot of this terpene. Some of its medicinal properties include antibacterial and antifungal effects, indicated for fighting tumors. It also acts on serotonin, making it great to fight depression or stress.
This terpene isn’t that common but it’s much more well-known than the others, as it’s the only one capable of actually reaching our cannabinoid receptors, particularly CBD2. It has pain relief properties as well as the capability of affecting anxiety – it can also be used to treat addictions such as alcohol and tobacco. It has a spicy, strong aroma similar to cinnamon.
Linalool is one of the best smelling terpenes in cannabis – this is the terpene that causes that famous pure Old School cannabis smell that pretty much anyone can distinguish. It can also be found in cinnamon, lavender and mint, but with less percentage. It can be used to fight depression, arthritis, insomnia, depression and even cancerous tumors.
These two cannabis terpenes are known for their presence in important strains, such as Gorilla Glue, Jack Herer or Skunk. It’s also found in pine trees, and it can also be found in rosemary and parsley. It acts as a bronchi-dilator and it makes breathing much easier – it can even be used to fight asthma.
This is just a small list of some of the 100 terpenes that exist in cannabis plants – knowing what they are and what properties they have can allow you to choose the perfect strain for you whether it’s for medicinal purposes or recreational ones.