Last month, we broke down all the different cannabinoids that are in marijuana in Part I of this series and we challenged the notion that THC is the measuring stick for a great strain of marijuana. At Smokey Okie’s we know that marijuana strains vary as much as the individuals who smoke them, and that every taste preference, high preference, and medical need is different. So to help the novice marijuana shopper learn how to make selections, we are focusing on all the various features that can really affect the satisfaction that you’ll get from a specific weed strain.
Last month, we talked about cannabinoids, specifically CBD, CBN, and Terpenes. This month, we are going to take a step deeper and break down the various types of terpenes and how they bring unique flavors and experiences to each strain they are a part of. We will also talk about the taste and smell factors that come into play when selecting a marijuana strain. Not every smoker wants a bud that takes like cookies and not every smoker wants to smoke what essentially tastes like diesel fuel. There’s no right and wrong bud, but there is a right and wrong way to pick one, so let’s unpack taste, smell and terpenes.
How Terpenes Impact The Marijuana Experience
Terpenes bring the flavor. Simply put, they are the aromatic compounds within weed, and should be top of mind when you’re shopping for the next strain of marijuana you’d like to try. But it doesn’t stop at flavor or smell. Terpenes, depending on where they originate from, can lend their characteristics to the high that the strain delivers.
To break this down, let’s look at five common terpenes found in cannabis and the type of high and experience that they may present:
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis sometimes making up to 65% of the terpene profile in a strain. It brings with it an earthy, clove or grape flavor and is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain control abilities, along with its sedative qualities.
Limonene is the second most abundant terpene, but not all strains have it. Limonene reacts with the THC in order to help combat any potential paranoia or anxiety that the THC levels may cause and brings with it the tropical lemony twist that some describe as sour.
Linalool is responsible for the recognizable “weed” smell and it’s usually a mixture of spicy and floral, think of lavender mixed with cinnamon. Because of it’s relaxing properties, Linalool has been a terpene used to treat insomnia, seizures, arthritis and depression.
This terpene has spicy and peppery notes and is unique because it is the only terpene that actually binds to CB2 receptors, which makes it a great option for those seeking an anti-inflammatory.Some studies have also found that it has the potential to reduce voluntary intake of alcohol and some have recommended caryophyllene terpene for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Alpha and Beta pinenes
If you’ve ever smoked a weed that smells or tastes of pine, then it likely had one of these two terpenes in it. It also can bring undertones of rosemary and orange with it, which many find to be a pleasant combination. Like the other terpenes, pinenes have an anti-inflammatory effect but can also help the respiratory function. Pinenes are unique in that they play with the THC well and help to reduce memory loss that can be related to THC.
Taste and Smell
You don’t go to a restaurant and order food that you don’t enjoy; why would you treat your marijuana selections any differently? Learning and educating yourself around terpenes and how they can affect flavor profiles is a key step in being happy with your choice. With a little bit of research, you can see the lineage of each strain and the major terpene players. This should lead you to the flavor profile and also how the terpenes affect the high.
We make it a point to smoke and review our strains to help facilitate your shopping. If you check out our monthly strain profiles, you’ll see that we look at the strain terpenes to help consumers make a solid decision when they shop. This month’s featured strain, Tropical Runtz, is high in linalool, limonene and trans-nerolidol terpenes, which delivers a taste of tropical candy and leads to a very heady and relaxing high that slows down time and helps you unwind and loosen up.
There are a lot of terpenes out there, so when you are shopping for your next smoke, be sure to ask your dispensary expert or research the terpene to ensure you’ll be happy with your purchase.
In the next installment, we are going to look at how the actual growing tactics such as trimming, curing and the weed’s appearance play a part in selecting the right marijuana strain for you.
15 terpenes in cannabis explained – cannacon.org – accessed at https://cannacon.org/15-terpenes-cannabis-explained/