Terpenes, or terps for short, are tiny molecular compounds that play a major role in producing the familiar scent and flavors of most plants, herbs, and spices such as cannabis. People are alert and want to know what their herb is made of. CBD and THC are common cannabinoids known for the feeling of being stoned, or high.
What we are slowly realizing is that cannabis plants create another group of teenier compounds named terpenes. These molecules enhance and distinguish each plant’s scent, effects, and flavor.
In the future we could expect to see terpene profiles being the main way to categorize different marijuana strains giving us more in-depth information and choice when it comes to the herb we consume.
Terpenes, although a funny word it is a word you should add to your canna-vocabulary immediately. Oddly enough, you already know what terpenes are because you have smelled them. Terpenes are found in thousands of plants and essential oils and they are very special molecules.
When you go to choose your ideal strain of cannabis, what do you do first? You grab it, smell it, and taste it. Let’s say we have Purple Kush grown at two different times. Although they are the same strain, their taste and scent are unique to each individual plant. Terpenes combined with cannabinoids create the plants original effect, aroma, and taste giving you a new experience with every toke.
Terpenes are tiny molecules, or the oils, that give marijuana plants and flowers their one of a kind smell and effect. These guys are derived from the same glands of the plant as CBD, THC and other important cannabinoids.
These molecules work with your endocannabinoid system just like cannabinoids do. When you consume terpenes, they act as a partner with other cannabinoids working as a team to break through the blood-brain barrier.
When it comes to the wonderful world of plant life, terpenes are an extremely important element in the ever-flowing cycle. They are the building blocks of tiny molecules like cannabinoids, they prevent insects from attacking, and they protect the plant from environmental hazards.
Terpenes are the super hero molecule that differentiates one strain of cannabis to the next. Not only do they provide the aromatic bouquet of scents derived from the marijuana plant, they are the main player when it comes to the physical and psychoactive effects of the strain.
The entourage effect is the relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids. This relationship is what makes one strain of cannabis different than another.
There are more than one hundred terpenes identified in various strains of marijuana. Every strain is original and unique with different terpene compounds providing its make-up. Each cannabis plant, and every other time you grow the plant, has different smells, effects, and tastes.
Most importantly known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to be the only terpene to interact directly with CB2 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system. Caryophyllene is beneficial when treating arthritis, fibromyalgia, pain from injury, as well as neuropathic pain.
Limonene is found in citrus rinds and is also a dominant terpene in sativa-dominant cannabis strains. It has been recognized in treating anxiety and depression and helps your body absorb other important terpenes through your skin and mucous membranes.-Think tincture.
Terpinolene has been used for well over one hundred years to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. Found in plants like conifers, lilacs, oregano, and cannabis, it is also gives the Jack Herer strain its notable scent. The medical benefits of terpinolene are apart of the monoterpene category called isomers. Anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial effects on the body are all benefits of this terpene. Terpinolene has a boiling point of 185˚C (365˚F)
Is found in hops as well as sativa dominant cannabis strains. This is what gives beer its hoppy smell. Just like terpinolene, humulene has major anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a great anorectic, which means appetite suppressant. Its boiling point is 198 °C (388 °F)
Commonly used in perfume scents because of its floral aroma, geraniol is found in geraniums among other plants. It has the potential to protect against neuropathy and can be used as an effective and natural mosquito repellent.
Myrcene is the most common terpene and is present in most cannabis strains.The amount of Myrcene concentration found in the plant will indicate whether the strain will have a sativa or indica effect. Strains containing over 0.5% of myrcene will give you a more calmative high, while strains that have less than 0.5% myrcene will give you more of an have an energetic and uplifting experience. You can also find myrcene in citrus, thyme, hops, and lemongrass. Myrcene has a boiling point of 168 °C (334 °F)
Linalool best known for the lovely floral scent it gives to lavender plants. It kas many names such as: β-linalool, licareol and linalyl alcohol. Linalool has been found in hundreds of different plants aside from cannabis including rosewood, citrus, birch, and coriander. Linalool has been used for several thousands of years to induce sleep and relaxation. Linalool is an important ancestor in the genesis of Vitamin E.
It has been known to help and treat anxiety, mental illness such as mood disorders and as an antiepileptic agent, aiding neuropathic conditions. Linalool has been shown to reduce physical pain, chronic pain and used for anti-inflammatory purposes. Its vapors have been shown to be an effective and natural treatment to get rid of insects like flea, fruit- flies, and cockroaches. Its boiling point is 198 °C (388 °F)
α-Pinene is one of the essential monoterpenes. This terpene is so vital physiologically not only in plants but to our entire environment and animals too! α-Pinene has a tendency to interact with other chemicals, which creates a copious amount of other terpenes such as D-limonene among other compounds.
It has been used for centuries to treat asthma and enhance the quality of breathing. Think about it, when you stroll through a pine forest on a warm spring day, haven’t you noticed how you
seem to be able to breathe deeply and relax? That is α-Pinene working its terpene magic! The boiling point of this terpene is 155 °C (311 °F)
Aside from different marijuana strains, bisabolol is the main terpene in chamomile essential oil and is known to induce apoptosis in certain forms of leukemia. Some strains that have high levels of bisabolol that are commonly found are: Rockstar, Pink Kush, and Master Kush. This tepene has been known to benefit the body by working as an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, analgesic, ad well as an anti-irritant. It is the ultimate anti and is very helpful in taking a natural approach to healing.
Terpenes are released when they are vaporized, or burned, between 300-450 degrees F. This is much lower than the temp created by a cherried joint or bowl. It is common for cherries to reach temps higher than 1000 degrees F. When a temp gets that extreme the terpenes are incinerated instead of activated. Using too much heat will destroy not only the effects of the terpenes but the flavors too. Dabbing is by far the best way to maximize your terp intake.
Because these compounds are very potent in nature, extracts and concentrates have a large amount of terpenes. Without the proper knowledge and care, vaporous terps can evaporate from your bowl or rig.
As much as it takes an experienced concentrate creator to provide quality terpene enhanced extracts, it also take a well-versed toker who has some experience with dabbing in order to reap all the benefits cannabinoids combined with terpenes have to offer. A few things to keep in mind in order to make the most out of your terpene toking experience.
If you are using a hot temperature, your dabs and all good compounds like terpenes literally go up in smoke. You incinerate your toke which gives you that pain in your chest, and you may not feel the full effects of your concentrate. Taking your dabs at a temp lower than the combustion rate is the easiest way to inhale the most of the terpenes and cannabinoids.
If you want to stay at the correct combustion temperature, be sure to not heat your dab higher than 450 degrees F. Although some people who dab may be discouraged to use a low heat because of the leftover concentrate left on the nail. Don’t be.
When the cannabinoids and terpenes are activated at a lower heat, ideally between 350-450 degrees F, you truly do get the most out of your extract. Burning at a high heat may not leave a puddle behind, it leaves nothing behind at all. Dabbing at a high temp literally incinerates all the beneficial compounds.
When you use a smaller rig and a quartz nail, you are using the right tools to get the most out of the terpenes in your concentrate. While a titanium dabbing nail is great, it will emit high temps that will burn away all your terps and other beneficial cannabinoids before you get to consume them. However, by choosing a quartz nail you can hit your dab at temp lower than combustion ensuring you get the most terpy taste out of your hit.
Terpenes are volatile. When not taken care of properly, these natural compounds will evaporate. If you want to stop the degradation from occurring, you must ensure you have the proper storage in place for your concentrates. Medical grade silicone is a great choice for containing your extracts. They are nonporous and airtight, this means your terps will not be affected by damaging oxygen and light.
The correct container will also protect your concentrate from dust, dirt, and other airborne particles that often float throughout yourself. This is especially true if you have an animal. Trying to keep your extracts hair free can be quite challenging. Keep your dabs fresh and clean by storing them correctly.
Ensure your storage container is sealed tight in order to prevent your terps and other beneficial cannabinoids from evaporating into the air. If you don’t have access to a glass or silicone container, a piece of parchment paper will work, especially if you only pick up small quantities of concentrates. However, if you are making your own big batch, it would be best to get some containers before hand.
It is never a good idea to store your extracts in wax paper. The wax covering the paper can adhere to your extract. You may end up smoking dangerous chemicals.
You will feel like a more knowledgeable, well-rounded toker if you are able to identify the sweet berry aroma or the scent of a spicy pine strain. Associating a particular terpene in your cannabis with just a whiff is quite fulfilling. This is especially true if you grow your own herb. Growing your own knowledge enables you to have more control over your crop and the strain choices you make. Once you are fluent in terpenes you can play with your plants until they produce the exact flavor you have in mind.
More and more research is being done in regards to medical marijuana on all fronts. While most of the attention has been on CBD, THC, and their effects, terpene research is still being conducted. There is no question we will know more about terpenes, cannabinoids, and all other scientific aspects of cannabis this year as it becomes legalized.
Terpenes will give you a wholesome appreciation for the medical aspect and use when you smoke. They are more than just a scent tied to our sensory receptors. Terps are blazing a path all on their own. How much do you know about terpenes?
Subscribe to get updates on products, special announcements and events to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing! - The MMJ Canada Team
Something went wrong.
We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously