As a medical cannabis patient that frequents the dispensary, it’s likely you’ve heard the term “terpene” before, but what exactly is a terpene? Terpenes are chemicals that determine how things smell and taste and you’ve been exposed to them your whole life. Terpenes appear in fruits, plants, and herbs; they are what gives pine needles their potent scent, lemon a citrus taste, and lavender its relaxing effects. Terpenes are also the fragrant oils secreted in cannabis flower’s sticky resin glands and are responsible for the diverse aroma, flavor, and unique feeling you experience with your favorite cannabis strain.
There are over 120 identified terpenes in Cannabis plants that range dramatically in their aromas, each responsible for different smells like notes of pepper, fruit, and flowers (i). Terpenes interact with a person’s body chemistry when inhaled, and they play an important role in the therapeutic and medicinal use of cannabis. When choosing a cannabis flower or concentrate, it’s important to smell it first, as your reaction to the scent is a good indication of how that particular strain will work with your body chemistry.
Sativa terpenes are more stimulating and typically smell bright and have strong citrus notes. The citrus smell comes from the terpene limonene, which is found in lemons. Limonene is responsible for the uplifted feeling typically found in sativa-dominant strains. Although not medically proven, limonene may stimulate the immune system and protects the GI tract. Terpenes associated with Indica strains are alpha and beta pinene, which are found in pine trees. Some believe that pinene may have great anti-inflammatory properties, which help with the pain relieving aspects of cannabis. Linalool is also predominant in Indica strains. This floral terpene may be responsible for the sedative effect in lavender”(ii)”.
Here are some common terpenes, that although not scientifically proven, may have the following associated benefits”(i)”:
Linalool: commonly found in lavender. Linalool may help provide anxiety relief, sedation, and pain relief.
Myrcene: commonly found in man go, lemongrass, thyme, and hops. Myrcene may help provide muscle tension relief, anti-inflammation and produces a soothing effect.
Limonene: commonly found in fruit rinds and peppermint.
Limonene may help treat gastrointestinal complications, heartburn, and depression. Some believe it also may act as an antifungal, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogen, dissolves gallstones, and enhances mood.
Pinene: commonly found in pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, and dill. Pinene may be useful for alertness and memory retention, as well as its antiseptic properties, and its ability to counteract some effects of THC.
Caryophyllene: commonly found in black pepper, cloves, and cotton. Some believe that Caryophyllene is a gastroprotective and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Want to learn more about terpenes? This whiteboard explainer will help you understand how terpenes impact how you experience CBD, Cannabis, and Hemp.
If this terpene talk has stimulated your senses, stop in one of our Nearby Medical Marijuana dispensaries located in Phoenix (Cave Creek) or Mesa ( Crismon / Ellsworth / McDowell ) locations and take a sniff for yourself! Do you know what always smells sweet? Our Daily Specials! Check them out and be sure to sign up for our newsletter or text alerts for announcements on specials and events!
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