October 18, 2018
Terpenes (tur-peens), are aromatic naturally occurring metabolites found in the essential oils of plants. Terpenes are what gives plants their unique aromatic diversity. It is important to know that terpenes are not just specific or exclusively dedicated to the cannabis plant. Terpenes are in all plants. The amount and quality of terpenes in a plant depends on many factors. Terpenes work together in synergy with cannabinoids to create the “entourage effect”, enabling the endless possibility of aromas and flavors and assist to modulate the specific effects and potency of each individual cannabis strain.
Terpenes are secreted by the resin glands of the cannabis plant and are found in the trichomes. Trichomes are known and described as the shiny, sticky, mushroom-shaped crystals that cover the leaves of the cannabis flower. Terpenes provide the cannabis plant with both a defense mechanism against its predators and an invitation to its allies to assist with the plant's growth and in pollination.
Terpenes are responsible for all those scrumptious aromas and flavor nodes of cannabis. Imagine that incredible citrus fragrance bursting from a freshly squeezed lemon or the unforgettable candied floral aroma that fills the air in a lush lavender garden. Terpenes are what provides those unforgettable aromas. Some of the more commonly known cannabis terpenes are also found in herbs, spices and fruits.
Why are terpenes important to the consumer?
All cannabis strains produce their own unique terpene profile which gives the cannabis strain its “signature” aroma and flavor profile. These unique terpene profiles can include aromas and flavors ranging from sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, woody, musky, savory among many more. Sativa dominant cannabis strains may smell fresh and have strong citrus notes while indica dominant strains may have more of a piney aroma. The cannabis consumer having an understanding of terpenes can be a useful tool in guiding their cannabis journey. Terpenes interact with the human body in many ways. One of the most impactful is by our sense of smell. The sense of smell can allow for the consumer to “sample” a cannabis strain by the smell alone. The aromatic smells can be a good indication to the strain type and the effects it may produce on the body. This gives the consumer the ability to choose a cannabis strain that will provide the desired experience the consumer is wanting to achieve.
When smelling specific cannabis strains associate the aroma sensation to a descriptive word like citrusy or pungent. This will help you to identify terpenes and remember them. Take note on how your cannabis made you feel: calm and relaxed or energized and focused. This will assist you in your cannabis journey and in finding the cannabis strain and terpene profile right for you.
How do I maintain the integrity of my cannabis terpenes?
Properly storing your cannabis is number one. Storing your cannabis properly will keep your cannabis fresh and flavorful for a long time. Cannabis flower should be stored in an airtight container kept in a cool, dark place. Many factors like temperature, lighting and humidity can cause the degradation of terpenes and diminish the aroma and flavor profile of your cannabis flower. Try not to handle your cannabis flower too much as this can damage the trichomes, which will affect the quality and decrease the flavor and effects of your cannabis.
Aroma: Musky, cloves, earthy, herbal with notes of citrus and tropical fruit.
Commonly reported effects: relaxing “couch-lock” effect
Also found in mangos, lemongrass, hops, thyme
Aroma: Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves
Also found in black pepper, cloves, cinnamon
Aroma: Floral, citrus, candy
Commonly reported effects: calming, relaxing
Also found in lavender, citrus, birch, rosewood
Commonly reported effects: energized, focused
Also found in fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
Commonly reported effects: alertness, memory, focus
Also found in pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill
- The Cannabis Management team
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