Terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavors of cannabis, and influence its effects by interacting with cannabinoids. Terpenes are formed inside cannabis trichomes, and their relative presence is directly affected by both the spectrum and intensity of light exposure. The appealing aromas and flavors we experience when we consume cannabis are all thanks to terpenes. Each cannabis cultivar has its own unique aroma because it has its own distinct terpene content. Cannabis cultivated and cured to the highest standards typically exhibits a pungent yet pleasant aroma. Flowers emitting a strong fragrance are commonly referred to as having a “dank” or “loud” odor, indicating the overall quality of the flower. Aroma and flavor are subjective, and different aromas will appeal to different palates. There are a variety of terms for the types of aromas high-quality cannabis emits, including “skunky,” “diesely,” and “piney.” The term “grassy” is often used to describe a smell that indicates low-quality flower, but a grassy aroma doesn’t necessarily denote poor quality. A distinct, pungent, and unmistakable aroma, regardless of its particular flavor, is evidence of terpenes hard at work within the cannabis plant. So what does this mean for cannabis users? Basically, it gives merit to the idea that “the nose knows.” Our bodies and brains subconsciously have a preference for a particular terpene profile. You’ve probably noticed the tiny glandular hairs that cover the surface cannabis plant, giving it a crystal-like sheen and sticky feel. They’re called trichomes, and they’re responsible for terpene production in cannabis. Trichomes contain resin glands that make terpenes and cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which turn into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), respectively, when decarboxylated. In other words, almost everything a user wants from cannabis, including terpenes, are found in trichomes all over the plant’s surface. The most common terpenes found in cannabis are as follows:
Limonene: Limonene has a wide range of benefits, including its ability to help with focus and lift your mood. Think about it: If you smell something citrusy, you don’t necessarily feel like going right to sleep. Instead, it perks you up. Limonene can also quell stress and help fight depression and anxiety. In addition to its positive mental health perks, limonene has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and even anti-cancer properties.
Pinene: As its name may suggests, it is the same terpene, that is responsible for the nostalgic and highly satisfying scent of pine and fir trees. As well as providing various cannabis strains with delightful flavors and taste sensations, pinene is also a player in the medicinal field and has been identified as a potent anti-inflammatory.
B-Caryophyllene: The main beta caryophyllene benefits, effects and uses may be the effective treatment of debilitating pain as well stress/anxiety reduction.
Ocimene: Ocimene occurs naturally in botanicals as diverse as mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mangoes, orchids, kumquats, and of course cannabis. Benefits include antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial.
Terpinolene: It is found in a variety of other pleasantly fragrant plants including nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs, and is sometimes used in soaps, perfumes, and lotions. Terpinolene’s potential medical benefits include anticancer, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal.
Myrcene: Myrcene (or β-myrcene) is a terpene that occurs often in highly fragrant plants and herbs such as mangoes, hops, bay laurel leaves, thyme, lemongrass, and basil. Some benefits included are anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain relief), antibiotic, sedative, and antimutagenic.