Terpenes play a key role in differentiating cannabis strains. The distinct aroma you smell (whether sweet, skunky or otherwise) in each different strain is due to which terpene combination is in that particular strain. Aside from the smell, each different terpene also promotes different outcomes, such as stress-relief, relaxation or focus to name a few.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes can be defined as aromatic compounds found in the essential oils of plants and fruits. Different terpenes can make you feel stimulated, sedated, relaxed and so much more. So far, over 100 different terpenes have been discovered in the cannabis plant.
Terpenes are secreted in the same plant glands that produce cannabinoids (THC and CBD for example). They give cannabis strains distinct smells and flavours, such as citrus, mint, pine and more.
The entourage effect
Not only do terpenes provide scents and tastes to cannabis, they also interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, specifically, cannabinoids. While each terpene has its own unique properties (for example, limonene is known to elevate mood), they also interact with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD to help strengthen their effects.
The effect of any given terpene can actually change when used in harmony with other compounds and cannabinoids. We call this the entourage effect. This is why we differentiate single molecule and full spectrum CBD, for example.
Common cannabis terpenes
To help break down some of the most common terpenes, we’ve collected some amazing infographics from Leafly to share with you:
Vaporizes At: 311ºF (155ºC)
Potential Effects: Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects
Potential Medical Value: Treatment of asthma, pain, inflammation, ulcers, anxiety, cancer
Also Found in: Pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill
Aroma: Cardamom, cloves, musky, earthy, herbal
Vaporizes At: 332ºF (167ºC)
Potential Effects: Sedating “couchlock” effect, relaxing
Potential Medical Value: Antioxidant; treatment of insomnia, pain, and inflammation
Also Found in: Mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops
Vaporizes At: 348ºF (176ºC)
Potential Effects: Elevated mood, stress relief
Potential Medical Value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain, and cancer
Also Found in: Fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
Vaporizes At: 388ºF (198ºC)
Potential Effects: Mood enhancement, sedation
Potential Medical Value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease
Also Found in: Lavender