Terpene Territory

Deep Dope Dives

by Amy L. Haines, 19 February 2024

As the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes continues to spread, avenues are being opened for research into the full array of compounds found in cannabis. Aside from the well-known THC and CBD, scientists have isolated over 80 additional cannabinoids and nearly 400 terpenes in the cannabis species. Cannabinoids are responsible for the various psychoactive effects of cannabis, while terpenes play an important role in the aroma and flavor of a cannabis strain, and they potentially work in synergy with cannabinoids and other cannabis plant compounds to produce psychoactive and physical effects. Research continues to determine the ways in which terpenes and cannabinoids work with each other and how they can be of benefit to consumers. 

While most people are familiar with terms like THC and CBD, the words “cannabinoid” and “terpene” might be new. The rise in research and reporting on the use of cannabis for a variety of well-being needs means consumers and the canna-curious are taking part in the discussion surrounding the benefits of these compounds. The information about terpenes and their interactions with cannabinoids is leading researchers and consumers to classify cannabis strains and products and to potentially predict certain effects.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They give each strain its unique aroma and taste, and they can also have therapeutic properties. Terpenes are responsible for the flavor and aroma we sense when smelling and smoking cannabis flower. Terpenes can act as a deterrent to pests that would try to eat the cannabis plant, or act as fragrant attractors for pollinators. Though some terpenes are more well-known and researched than others, the therapeutic impact on humans is awaiting study design and permission for human trials. These trials can help to design cannabis products that assist symptom management without the psychoactive effects, or that can be targeted, tailored, and dosed to help with specific conditions.

While cannabis contains nearly 400 terpenes, most are present in very small concentrations, and they have not been linked to any specific effects. The most well-studied terpenes have known effects which can be used as a starting point to choose a strain. The best known and studied terpenes include:

  • Beta-caryophyllene. A major ingredient in cloves, rosemary, and hops, beta-caryophyllene could be beneficial for managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Beta-pinene. The smell of beta-pinene is that of pine like its name. Pinene is anti-inflammatory and antifungal, and acts as a bronchodilator.
  • Humulene. This terpene is found in ginseng, which has long been used in folk medicine for energizing effects.
  • Limonene. One of the most commonly found terpenes, limonene has distinct citrus notes and may potentially have anti-cancer properties. In mice, it’s been shown to have anti-anxiety properties.
  • Linalool. Lovers of lavender as aromatherapy may want to seek out cannabis with linalool, which may help alleviate stress.
  • Myrcene. Found in mangoes and hops, myrcene has antifungal and antibacterial properties and could have sedating effects. (source: www.healthline.com)

Research suggests that terpenes enhance the effects of THC and CBD via the entourage effect, which is when the full spectrum of cannabis compounds is present, and they aid each other in enhancing their effects. When combined with THC, the terpene myrcene is anti-inflammatory and has a sedative effect on the body, contributing to the “couch-locked” feeling from smoking strains with a high myrcene content. However, the terpene limonene, with its citrusy aroma and bright flavor notes, is sure to make you feel uplifted and energized when it rides alongside the THC in your strain. It is important to note that all these effects can vary in individuals.

Are you curious to learn more about terpenes? Here are some tips to get you started with exploring the landscape of experiences terpenes have to offer, courtesy of Healthline.com:

  • Read the label. Lab-tested cannabis brands include the terpene profiles and the percentage of total terpenes in the product.
  • Check for freshness. Terpene concentration can diminish over time, so look for products that have a recent package date.
  • Keep a journal. As you try different terpene profiles, take note of your ingestion method and how you feel. Over time, this can help you pinpoint the best terpene profile for the effect you seek.

The Muses at Dank Poet Dispensary are committed to providing you with information regarding THC, terpenes, and choosing a strain that can bring you the desired effects to enhance your well-being. We are pleased to answer any of your questions about selecting the best products to elevate your day.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/cannabis-terpenes#maximizing-benefits
https://healthsciences.arizona.edu/news/blog/terpenes-cannabis-explained
https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/terpenes-the-flavors-of-cannabis-aromatherapy
https://elevate-holistics.com/blog/our-favorite-terpenes-for-focus-and-energy
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