Updated: Jan 5, 2019
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are unfamiliar, but they won’t be for much longer. Science and technology are helping us to better understand cannabis. With this, we can start to see that there’s a lot more to cannabis than its cannabinoid content. There's something occurring under their complex and flavorful bouquets. In order to embrace these other therapeutic compounds in your strain, give it a smell.
Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give cannabis its aroma. These oils secrete from the flower’s resin glands, the ones that produce CBD and other cannabinoids. Terpenes are not only found in cannabis, but can be found in many other fruits, herbs, and plants as well. Terpenes are what you can smell. Medical and recreational consumers alike can deepen their appreciation for cannabis by simply knowing what terpenes they're dealing with. These aromatic oils give cannabis varieties their unique flavors like berry, citrus, pine, and mint.
Other strong-smelling plants and flowers develop terpenes for adaptive purposes in order to lure pollinators and repel predators. Factors that influence a plant’s development of terpenes include: climate and weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and even time of day. Individual terpenes are associated with distinct effects. Some terpenes can induce relaxation and stress-relief; others promote focus and acuity. The effect profile of a terpene can change when other compounds are present. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
Terpenes bind to the receptors in the brain and provide various effects. The characteristics of terpenes are vast. They play a huge roll in the diversity of cannabis flavors and they have the ability to interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, such as cannabinoids.
When you select a strain based on its terpenes, it's important to keep in mind that each harvest may have different terpenoid profiles due to variances in growing and curing methods. The only way of knowing a strain's true terpene potency is by purchasing lab-tested products. If not, you're relying solely on your nose as guidance.
Choosing your type of ingestion can be tricky. The beneficial properties of terpenes can be damaged when heated past their boiling point. Using a low-heat device will extract the full benefits and flavors of your terpenes.
The subtle differences in terpenes bring insight to the connoisseurship and horticultural art of cannabis. The most significant thing that terpenes offer is medicinal value by mediating how our body interacts with beneficial cannabinoids.