By now we have all heard of essential oils. We can use them as alternative medicine or for aromatherapy. Terpenes are a major part of essential oils. They are an organic compound that is produced by plants, in particular, conifers and even some insects. There are 6 common kinds of terpenes, each with its own distinct traits: Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Linalool, pinene, Humulene, and Limonene. Each different kind has a specific duty and function and can be recognized by their distinct traits, different smells, effects, treatments, etc.
So what does this mean for cannabis? Cannabis sativa has over 100 different known terpene substance. The terpenes are secreted from the resin glands of the marijuana flowers, similar to THC, CBD, and various other cannabinoids. When paired together they can enhance the effects and offer distinct differences in the body. This is known as the entourage effect when cannabinoids and terpenes create a particular result.
The terpene responsible for the famous skunky smell of cannabis can be attributed to myrcene. This musky, citrus-scented oil is also known for its relaxing/sedative effects. Some people might feel it’s too sedative and may want to look at linalool as an alternative.
Myrcene: can also enhance the psychoactive experience. Medically it is used for the treatment of inflammation and muscle relaxation.
The Linalool terpene has a calming, sedative effect. It’s easily recognized by it’s floral, lavender, citrusy type smell. Linalool is generally used for treating people with insomnia, stress, depression, anxiety, or pain.
Caryophyllene: has a more woodsy, spice fragrance. Unlike other terpenes, caryophyllene will latch to the pain receptors in the body, instead of the brain receptors, giving more of a body high. There’s high CBD, and medicinal purposes, making it a good option for regular users. These terpenes are best suited for treating inflammation, pain relief, or insomnia.
Pinene: smells like pine. It can be good for the daytime user since people feel energetic, or enhanced awareness and memory retention. However, pinene is not ideal for people who have problems with anxiety. Like several of the other terpenes, pinene can also help with the treatment of inflammation.
Humulene: If you are interested in an appetite suppressant, humulene would be the best pick. This earthy, wood fragranted terpene can also be used as an anti-inflammatory or pain reliever.
Finally, we have limonene. It can be recognized by its citrus smell. Limonene is going to bring the giggles and give a more spacey, feel-good experience. People can use it for stress relief, treating depression, anxiety, or to elevate your mood. It can also be used to help with gastric reflux.
There is only one sure way to test the terpene makeup and potency, and that is thru lab testing. A good budtender should be able to recognize the differences and help you find the best product for each individual. The resulting entourage effect can be different for everybody, but with proper research, trial, and error you should be able to customize the results to best suit your needs. Terpenes will get damaged at high temperatures, or above the boiling point. It is best to use a low heat device, like a low heat vape pen, if you choose to consume thru smoking.
No matter what ailments you wish to treat, or what desired effect, there is a strand out there that can meet your needs. Do your research and talk to the professionals for the best results. There are many resources online, like this video found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/UFW65_YCWbc?start=112"
Just remember, “your nose knows” what you need.