WHAT ARE TERPENES?
You know that smell when you walk into a dispensary or at a concert that instantly says “cannabis”?
Well, those are terpenes. You’re already more familiar with them than you’d expect, but there is a lot more to be said for those powerful aromatic compounds.
Terpenes (tur-peens) are the pungent and fragrant oils that provide cannabis strains their aromatic diversity. There are a lot of them, like over 200 different types found in cannabis. They’re produced alongside cannabinoids (THCa, CBDa, etc.) in the trichomes of the cannabis plant (trichomes are those frosty little crystals).
The “Entourage Effect”
Not only are they responsible for the pleasant aromatic stimulus of cannabis, but terpenes are also of important therapeutic value. When binding to receptors in the brain with cannabinoids, they produce something known as the “entourage effect”. The entourage effect is when a chemical or compound doesn’t reach its full potential when taken alone. However, when consumed in combination with other chemicals/compounds it reaches its full potential.
So, how do they impact the effects of cannabis?
Due to the “entourage effect”, pairing cannabinoids with different terpenes results in a broader range of therapeutic effects. In combination with cannabinoids, they can change the rate of production for things like dopamine (controls reward and pleasure center) or serotonin (well-being and happiness).
The Theory Wellness approach
We’re obviously telling you all of this for a reason. We take these very seriously as part of our approach to cultivation. We always test for different terpenes to better understand our flowers, their therapeutic effects, and profiles. From the effects they have on the body to the mouth-watering aromas, they’re always top of mind.
Let's dive in on some of the different types to look out for...
Reminiscent of a walk through a field of wildflowers. Strains that contain these light floral-tones are most useful for patients who need both heavy mental and physical stress relief. With a floral scent, linalool is a strong anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and anti-convulsant that can be useful in treating a variety of symptoms including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
The most common type found in cannabis, myrcene is responsible for the musky and hoppy taste you find in many cannabis strains. Myrcene gains its notoriety for its ability to be heavily sedative or create the “couch-lock effect” that indica strains are famously known for. In fact, the level of myrcene can be a good indicator if a strain is an indica or a sativa. This strong anti-inflammatory is best used for deep physical relaxation, stress relief, or for insomnia.
This variety has two subtypes, alpha-pinene (a-pinene) and beta-pinene (b-pinene). Alpha-pinene carries a scent of evergreen trees, while beta-pinene smells like herbs such as dill, parsley, rosemary, and basil. In higher concentrations, pinene produces a clear-headed, energetic effect. This fragrant terpene also acts as a powerful bronchodilator, opening airways for those with conditions like asthma or COPD.
This terpene contains a pungent lemon and citrus scent, providing a heavy uplifting effect that can be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and stress. Limonene, most commonly found in sativa strains, combats gastric reflux and other stomach pain disorders from its ability to increase the absorption of other terpenoids through the digestive tract.
This peppery, spicy, and earthy profile, commonly found in many ‘OG’ strains, has efficacy in treating GI-related disorders like Crohn’s, ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Those with autoimmune conditions could also benefit from the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of caryophyllene.
Reminiscent of basil, hops, and cloves, humulene has recently gained notoriety for its hunger-suppressing quality. It gives off a distinctive earthy, woody, and slightly spicy aroma. It’s a powerhouse, having anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties. Strains containing high amounts of humulene are best for those looking to reduce their pain while avoiding the infamous munchies.
So, what did we learn?
Give our menus a browse and make sure you take the time to check out the terpene profiles. See if you notice the types of smells and feel the effects. However, be careful not to bore your friends to death talking about them.