Ahh, the terpene, that flavorful element of cannabis that offers a rich display of flavors and physical benefits which are currently receiving a surge of popularity and scientific research. As our knowledge behind the science of cannabis expands, so too does our knowledge of terpenes.
An ever-changing element that can unlock the healthy nuances of our favorite plant, terpenes provide fragrant oils which lend aromatic and beneficial dynamics to cannabis. The scent of cannabis is built by a combination of various terpenes, and different harvests—even of the same strain—can yield slightly different terpene profiles. So keep that in mind when choosing your next strain.
More than 100 terpenes have been identified in cannabis so far, and each strain presents their terpene profile like a unique fingerprint. In addition, the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids like THC and CBD provide a punch of perks through the “entourage effect,” giving way to whole-plant medicine which can provide relief in a number of physical or mental ailments.
Have you always been curious about the primary terpenes often formed in your favorite strains? We culled a few of our top go-tos to help you navigate this unique world of healing aromas.
Blue Dream: Myrcene
Easily one of the most popular strains on the market, Blue Dream is flush with sweet berry aromas and cerebral effects. Myrcene, its most abundant terpene, provides anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities. When you toke up this cerebral strain, pair it with other foods and herbs rich in myrcene, including mangoes, thyme, cardamom, and lemongrass. Bonus: myrcene is naturally synergistic with THC, which opens up an easy pathway for cannabinoids to pass the blood-brain barrier.
Sour Diesel: Myrcene & Limonene
A lofty mix of myrcene and limonene grace the famous Sour Diesel strain. Sour Diesel is uplifting and energizing, and its limonene profile highlights its therapeutic, mood-elevating effects. Most citrusy fruits carry this same terpene in their rinds, so the next time you purchase a gram of Sour Diesel, consider nabbing a few oranges from the grocery store to maximize the effects. Bonus: limonene improves absorption of other terpenes and chemicals by way of the skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract.
Dutch Treat: Terpinolene
Apples, allspice, and cumin contain the piney and floral terpinolene, which is also found in the stress-reducing and uplifting Dutch Treat. An anticancer, antioxidant, and antibacterial element (among other beneficial “antis”), terpinolene’s effects soothe the central nervous system and can provide relief for insomnia. Visit your local farmer’s market and grab a bouquet of terpinolene-rich lilacs to pair with this fragrant and healing strain.
Northern Lights: Caryophyllene
Found in many plants and herbs, caryophyllene boasts a peppery aroma and anti-inflammatory benefits. Load up on cloves, cinnamon, and rosemary to pair with this rich terpene usually bountiful in the ever-lasting Northern Lights strain. Bonus: prefer cannabis over alcohol? Caryphophyllene was shown to reduce voluntary alcohol intake (in mice), so it may be beneficial in reducing overall alcohol dependence.
If you need a boost in concentration, consider a strain coated in the anti-inflammatory and alertness-promoting terpene pinene. The deliciously tropical Pineapple will grant you uplifting effects and is frequently home to a hefty dose of this wonder terpene. Along with dill, turpentine, and pine needles, pinene sources can help counter the short-term memory loss effects commonly associated with THC.
Fire OG: Linalool
Anti-microbial properties and relaxing effects can be felt with the uplifting Fire OG, but also in one of its terpenes, linalool. Linalool is most popular for its lavender-like scent which gives way to anti-anxiety effects. Interestingly, linalool doesn’t stick around in the body for long, but its benefits provide much needed relief for high-stress and depressive moods. Bonus: linalool has been connected to Alzheimer treatments. In 2016, a study was published highlighting the reverse of behavioral and cognitive impairments in Alzheimers-afflicted mice who were provided with linalool.