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Terpenes: What Are They And Why Should You Care?

Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbon compounds found in the cannabis plant. Terpenes are responsible for giving each strain its unique taste and aroma. Terpenes are produced and secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD. When you take a big whiff of your favorite buds, it’s really their terpenes that you’re smelling. But terpenes aren’t just exclusive to marijuana, they’re also found in many plants and even some insects.

Terpenes And Flavor

Terpenes are aromatic oils that produce a wide variety of different smells and flavors. Each strain has a different terpene profile resulting in a plethora of unique flavors and aromas. For instance, strains that smell citrusy probably contain the terpene limonene. Those that give off hints of lavender almost certainly contain the terpene linalool.

There are over 100 different terpenes that have been identified inside of the cannabis plant. This means there are numerous different possible combinations. Luckily, many strains are named after their aroma, taking some of the guesswork out of the equation. For instance, strains with names like ‘blueberry’ or ‘cheese’ will likely contain the terpenes responsible for producing those very unique smells.

Terpenes Have Medical Properties

But terpenes do more than just add flavor to your cannabis. Research shows that terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids to produce specific therapeutic effects. For example, the terpene linalool is known for its relaxing effects, while the terpene limonene is known to elevate mood. 

Terpenes may also work in synergy with cannabinoids to boost their effectiveness. Researchers have dubbed this ability ‘the entourage effect’. For example, the terpene myrcene is believed to potentially increase the effects of THC. However, much more research is needed in order to determine the exact role that terpenes play in co-operating with cannabinoids, and producing therapeutic effects.

Some cannabis oil producers have begun specifically extracting terpenes and pairing them up to produce more precise and profound effects. Terpenes are expected to be a big thing in the future of cannabis. They represent a huge step forward in our understanding and use of this amazing plant.

What Are Some Common Terpenes?

Here are just a few of the most common terpenes found in some of your favorite strains.

Pinene is a terpene that, unsurprisingly, smells like pine. It has a vaporization point of 311℉ and is commonly found in pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, and dill. It is also found in strains such as Purple Kush, Bay Dream, and AK-47.

Myrcene is a terpene that smells like cloves and herbs. It has a vaporization point of 332℉ and is commonly found in mango, lemongrass, thyme, and hops. It is also contained in strains such as Granddaddy Purple, Amnesia, and Trainwreck.

Limonene is a terpene that smells like citrus and limes. It has a vaporization point of 348℉ and is commonly found in rosemary, juniper, and peppermint. It can also be found in strains such as Hindu Kush, Lemon G, and Strawberry Banana.