In our last blog series on the power and science of cannabinoids, we talked about how the unseen natural compounds make cannabis everything that it is—and allows it to provide its amazing benefits.
Now, we’re excited to talk about another one of the essential materials found in cannabis. They’re called terpenes, and they’re responsible for the various aromas and tastes that make different strains of cannabis distinct.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic oils that show up in the many varieties of cannabis, plus a lot of other naturally occurring plants as well. These oils help distinguish one strain from the next, and result in flavors that can range from citrusy or sweet to minty, earthy, or peppery.
We’re attracted to terpenes and their beautiful range of aromas, and scientists think that was the cannabis plant’s idea all along. The smells are thought to attract animals, which then help spread their pollen and seeds so that the cannabis plant can continue to grow and reproduce. Other strains may have developed their distinct terpenes to discourage predators from eating them or damaging them.
What do terpenes do?
If you have a favorite cannabis strain that has a specific taste or scent you just can’t get enough of, you have terpenes to thank.
But terpenes do more than just smell nice— more research is beginning to show that specific terpenes have different psychological effects. For example, some seem to encourage relaxation and de-stressing while some can make you more alert, focused, and productive.
Interestingly, pairing a terpene with another can completely change its impact— this is known as the ‘entourage effect.’
What is a dominant terpene?
You might have read or heard the phrase ‘dominant terpene.’ But what exactly does that mean?
In basic terms, it’s simply used to describe the terpene that’s present in a product in the greatest amount. While a certain strain or product might have multiple terpenes present, the dominant terpene is the one that appears the most— and has the most influence over the strain’s effects.
Most Common Terpenes & Their Effects
There are over 100 terpenes in cannabis plants alone, but some are more common than others. Here are some of the most common terpenes found in products on Farmacy shelves. (Want to learn more about individual terpenes? We’ll be covering these and others in-depth in future articles.)
Myrcene is the single most common terpene found in cannabis today. It has an herbal aroma and may promote calmness, and it’s also found in mango, thyme, and lemongrass.
Caryophyllene is also found in black pepper and cinnamon, caryophyllene has a peppery aroma and is believed to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Limonene is believed to promote relief from stress and anxiety, and is also found in lemon and orange rinds. It has a citrusy aroma and flavor.
Pinene is the single most common terpene in the world (though not the most common in cannabis). It shows up in pine needles, rosemary, and basil, and features an earthy, pine-like scent.
Terpinolene is said to cause alertness and positive feelings. Its somewhat fruity aroma can also be found in nutmeg, cumin, and lilacs.
Terpenes really are an amazing part of what makes cannabis great. Check in on the blog in the coming weeks for in-depth pieces about specific terpenes, their effects, and products where you’ll find them at the Farmacy.
Until next time!
The Farmacy SB Team