People may have passable knowledge about cannabinoids and terpenes, but they’re probably less familiar with the role terpenes play in a strain’s potency. Researchers are just beginning to understand the therapeutic benefits of terpenes, but what we’re learning is interesting stuff.
Meet the Terpene
When you take a good sniff of your favorite cannabis strain, what you’re smelling in that pungent aroma – the one that varies so incredibly from one strain to the next – are terpenes. These are fragrant oils secreted by the sticky resin glands in the flower – right where cannabinoids like THC and CBD are produced. And because they’re so volatile, they dissipate quickly.
Cannabis isn’t the only plant to produce terpenes – plenty of herbs, plants and fruits have them as well. Terpenes offer plants protection against things like bacteria, fungus, environmental stressors, and insects.
Properties and psychoactive effects vary from one terpene to the next. While there are some 200 terpenes that have been found in cannabis, just a handful of them show up in significant amounts.
- Myrcene – This is believed to be the most abundant terpene found in cannabis, and in some strains, it can make up over half of the plant’s terpene profile. Myrcene is associated with antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimutagenic properties.
- Caryophyllene and Beta Caryophyllene – This terpene is a powerhouse, credited with relieving stress, pain, anxiety and depression, even oxidation, which is related to degenerative diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Alpha and Beta Pinene – If you’ve ever registered a crisp, refreshing odor in plants, you’re smelling pinene. Scents can vary from piney to herbal. Therapeutic benefits include antibacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-proliferative properties, along with memory boosting power.
- Limonene – This is the citrusy aroma found in citrus fruits, pine needles and herbs. It’s both a stress-buster and a mood booster, and it’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal.
The Effect of Terpenes on THC
You’ve heard of the entourage effect – the synergistic relationship between cannabinoids that magnify their therapist benefits. Terpenes play another role. Together with CBD, terpenes can mitigate the often wild psychoactivity of THC, dulling unwanted effects like anxiety. Some terpenes, like pinene, can potentially inhibit the effects of THC. That’s because it crosses from the bloodstream to the brain quickly. For users looking for a lower THC effect without sacrificing the entourage effect, a strain with a high pinene profile might be just the ticket.
What does that mean to you, as a recreational or medicinal user? Pay attention to more than just the THC/CBD content, and start reading the terpene profile. Bottom line – terpene profiles vary depending on the strain, and understanding the terpene potency in your strain will help you dial into the effects you want.
Oh, and one more thing – Kynd Cannabis Company includes full terpene profiles in our lab results. This information is available at any dispensary selling KYND products, so don’t hesitate to ask for it. The more you know!