Cannabinoids and Terpenes: Life’s Essential Oils
We live in a wide world full of smells; Your nose can detect upwards of ONE TRILLION different scents, and Mother Nature provides a vast canvas of aromas to experience!
Most smells come from “volatile organic compounds”, chemical combinations that easily evaporate into the surrounding air, and fall into a broad category called ‘Terpenes’ - which account for around 60% of all known natural products.
Essential oil Terpenes
Terpenes are found everywhere you look - from the cooking spices in your kitchen and tree resin to nutrients like vitamin A, there’s over 50-thousand different combinations that make up what are commonly referred to as ‘Essential Oils Terpens’ - and the chemicals add a unique set of properties wherever they’re found.
Lavender, for instance, contains the compound ‘Linalool’ - and has a complex & delicate floral aroma; Scientific studies show that oils containing Linalool induce a sense of calm and relaxation, while also boosting the immune system and fighting depression.
There’s also a specialized family of Terpenes called ‘Terpinoids’, containing the set of chemicals we know as ‘Cannabinoids’; These oils & resins are found in many plants, and interact directly with the human Endocannabinoid system.
The best-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD, although there are dozens more that have been identified by modern science (at least 113 so far). These chemicals plug into receptors found throughout the body, and have been known to cause effects like relaxation, reduction of inflammation & nerve pain and sedation - supplementing us with compounds that humans are ‘pre-wired’ to accept. Many scientists agree that cannabinoids are the more ‘active’ chemicals in the Terpene family, causing the most noticeable initial effects.
While cannabinoids are the ‘powerhouse chemicals’, terpenes are the subtler guides for a cannabis experience - creating the most noticeable differences between Indica, Sativa & Hybrid strains.
Examples of terpenes that may cause an uplifted feeling, like Limonene or Pinene, are normally found in Sativa varieties of flower - while terpenes like Myrcene or Linalool (found in ‘Kush’ strains) may cause a relaxing & sleepy experience and create an Indica strain.
Are terpenes important to cannabis users? Most people agree that they are: Winning strains of cannabis at global competitions are always found to have a richer & more complex terpene profile - and let’s face it...we all judge cannabis by how strongly it smells!
Finding the right combination is easier than you think, though...just follow your nose!
Give yourself time to take in all the different aromas that each strain brings to the table, your sense of smell is the best way to choose what will work - and the scents that make you smile will likely match your body’s individual needs for medical cannabis!
The process takes time, but luckily the Budtenders at a Harvest dispensary near you are here to spend as long as it takes to find the perfect flower for you.
This information is for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES only, not for diagnosing or treating any medical condition
The Harvest House of Cannabis blog offers articles about cannabis for dispensary shoppers that visit our dispensaries.