One of the hallmarks of cannabis is its potent aroma. It’s instantly recognizable, and anyone with a passing familiarity can likely pick out the surprisingly diverse fragrances that different strains have to offer. What you’re smelling are aromatic compounds known as terpenes. And they do a lot more than just smell great.
Meet the Terpene
Rosemary, citrus trees, lilac, pine needles, and other strongly-smelling plants and flowers all have terpenes. In the cannabis plant, terpenes are secreted in the same sticky resin glands as the cannabinoids we all know and love. It’s the presence of these terpenes that give different strains their mint, berry, citrus, or pine notes, among many others. Close to 200 different terpenes have been found in cannabis, but only a few are present in significant amounts. Individual terpenes are also associated with individual effects, with some that promote relaxation or mood elevation, and others known for memory retention, focus, and stress relief.
- Myrcene – Thought to be the most abundant terpene in cannabis, myrcene is associated with antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.
- Alpa and Beta Pinene – Crisp, refreshing pine and herbal aroma. It’s associated with memory retention, as well as anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties.
- Limonene – Found in citrus fruits, herbs, and pine needles, and known for stress busting and mood boosting.
- Caryophyllene and Beta Caryophyllene – A particularly powerful terpene believed to relieve stress, pain, depression, and anxiety.
Individual terpene development depends heavily on the weather, the plant’s age and maturity level, fertilizers, soil, and climate. Still, strains tend to develop a unique terpene profile that will continue in descendents.
How Do Terpenes Work?
The development of terpenes in a plant began to serve a dual purpose – repelling predators and attracting pollinators. In the cannabis plant, that repel/attract existence means more than just an interesting bouquet. Terpenes have the unique ability to interact with other compounds in the plant, and with cannabinoids in particular. It’s another element in the concept of the entourage effect, which is why anyone on the hunt for potency should be familiar with different terpenes. Their therapeutic benefits add another layer to the cannabis plant as a whole, and that makes them worthy of attention.
As a recreational or medicinal consumer, get in the habit of asking about terpene profiles. It’s one more way to dial into the effects you’re hoping to achieve. We can’t speak for other cultivators, but KYND Cannabis Company includes full terpene profiles in our lab results. It’s information available at dispenders selling KYND products, so ask, read, and learn.