What are terpenes?
The word “terpene” may sound unfamiliar, but you encounter them every day. Terpenes are aromatic oils that create the different smells among cannabis strains– when cannabis flower smells like gas, fruit, or herbs, the aromas are coming from terpenes!
But terpenes aren’t just there for the smells– they’ve been studied for their therapeutic benefits for decades. Previously, our understanding was that the only benefits terpenes provided was the immediate effects of smelling the compound, like feeling relaxed when smelling lavender or energized when smelling black pepper. Now, research shows that certain terpenes may have longer-term benefits, and they are believed to create the different effects among different marijuana strains.
As part of our Spring Equinox Celebration– a time of rejuvenation, new beginnings, and reconnection with nature– we’re highlighting how these simple, non-intoxicating compounds can be used strategically to improve your cannabis regimen.
Please note that the following article was not written by a doctor and this content should not be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult your doctor when adding supplements and cannabis into your health regimen.
Where can I find terpenes?
Terpenes are found in a variety of organic matter like fruit and plants, and they’re frequently extracted for therapeutic purposes. In fact, they’re one of the key components of essential oils. The popular sparking water brand La Croix even uses them to flavor their beverages! Some foods like mangoes and lemons have higher contents of specific terpenes, but you likely ingest terpenes in some form or another every day.
When it comes to cannabis, the best source of terpenes is flower. When cannabis is processed into products like edibles and cartridges, the terpenes are usually the first to be destroyed. Cartridge manufacturers then add terpenes back into the final product to give the cartridge specific flavors and properties. These terpenes can absolutely be effective, but because cannabis flower can contain hundreds of terpenes in a single strain, these products may not include the entire terpene profile of the strain it’s attempting to imitate. Thus, if you’re looking to get the full medical benefits of terpenes, flower is likely your best bet.
Which terpenes should I look for?
Ultimately, we don’t have a full understanding of how terpenes act in the body or which terpenes definitively treat certain conditions. We can, however, report that certain terpenes have been linked to certain properties. As you’ve learned from our previous posts, every person metabolizes cannabinoids differently, so our recommendation is to identify the terpenes in your favorite strain (Leafly is a great resource) and seek out other strains with similar profiles. That said, we’ve identified some common terpenes and some benefits they’re believed to bring:
Pinene: Smells of pine
Also found in: Rosemary, basil, pine needles
Strains with high pinene content: OG Kush, Jack Herer, & Blue Dream
Recommended for those with: Asthma, ulcers, cancer
Limonene: Smells of citrus
Also found in: Rosemary, lemon and orange rind, juniper
Strains with high limonene content: Wedding cake, Banana OG, MAC
Recommended for those with: Anxiety, depression, inflammation
Myrcene: Smells of herbs
Also found in: Thyme, lemongrass, mangoes
Strains with high myrcene content: Grandaddy Purple, OG Kush, Thin Mint Cookies
Recommended for those with: Insomnia, chronic pain
Linalool: Smells of flowers
Also found in: Lavender, birch bark
Strains with high myrcene content: Do-Si-Dos, Kosher Kush, Zkittles
Recommended for those with: Anxiety, depression, insomnia
As we learn more about cannabis and cannabinoids, we’ll likely get a better understanding of which terpenes can provide relief for specific symptoms. For now, you have the opportunity to perform your own research by sampling a variety of strains! The results of your experiments may not be fit for your kiddo’s science fair, but finding the right terpene profile for your needs can be a crucial part of your cannabis journey.
At Territory, our cannabis guides are always happy to answer questions. Keep in mind that your budtender may not know the exact terpene content of individual strains as our inventory constantly changes, but they can certainly help you get your research going in the right direction. We look forward to helping you in the next step of your marijuana Journey!