TERPENES EXPLAINEDOctober 30, 2018
A beginners guide to understanding terpenes.
What do forests and cannabis plants have in common?
Terpenes are the pungent aromatic metabolites found in the oils of all plants, responsible for their unique scents and flavours. It is estimated that close to 20,000 types of terpenes exist in plant life, which give forests and green spaces that fresh and invigorating aroma.
Cannabis, although often broadly known as having a “skunky” scent, actually offers far more varieties of aromas than it gets credit for. In fact, with more than 100 different terpenes identified in cannabis alone, each strain comes with its own unique aromatic profile.
Because cannabis offers such a wide variety of terpenes, cannabis connoisseurs can explore the sensory of strains in much of the same ways food critics examine a culinary dish; observing the sticky, resinous trichome pods to identify and appreciate their terpene’s smells, flavours and unique effects.
Sound interesting? Let’s get started with a little terpene education 101.
Below, we walk you through some of the most common terpenes, their primary characteristics, and the non-cannabis plants that share these same terpenes.
Additionally, due to the fact that it avoids combustion-level temperatures, vaping is the preferred way to appreciate those highly volatile terpenes. As each terpene vaporizes at an unique temperature, we’ve highlighted those temperatures below to ensure you are equipped to have an optimized experience.
AN INTRODUCTION TO SIX COMMON CANNABIS TERPENES
The most commonly encountered terpene in nature is Pinene. It’s abundant in forests and exists in cannabis strains such as Jack Herer, White Widow and Blue Dream.
ALSO FOUND IN: PINE NEEDLES, ROSEMARY, BASIL, PARSLEY, DILL
VAPORIZES AT: 311ºF (155ºC)
Linalool is a terpene alcohol, best known for the pleasant floral aroma it gives to lavender plants. Linalool is found in strains like Purple Kush, Amnesia Haze.
AROMA: FLORAL, CITRUS, CANDY
ALSO FOUND IN: LAVENDER, CITRUS, BIRCH, ROSEWOOD.
VAPORIZES AT: 388ºF (298ºC)
β-Myrcene has been shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor. High β-Myrcene levels in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) are generally found in Indica strains of cannabis, whereas Sativa strains normally contain less than 0.5% β-Myrcene. Myrcene is found in strains such as White Widow, Special Kush 1 and Skunk XL.
AROMA: MUSKY, EARTHY, HERBAL WITH NOTES OF TROPICAL FRUIT AND CITRUS.
ALSO FOUND IN: MANGO, LEMONGRASS, BASIL, THYME, HOPS
VAPORIZES AT: 332ºF (167ºC)
A strong citrus aroma and bitter taste, naturally occurring in citrus rinds. The terpene limonene has been used in everything from food flavoring and cleaning agents, to pharmaceuticals and supplements. Limonene is found in strains such as Super Lemon Haze and Lemon Skunk.
ALSO FOUND IN: FRUIT RINDS, ROSEMARY, JUNIPER, PEPPERMINT
VAPORIZES AT: 348ºF (176ºC)
Humulene is one of the components of the essential oil from the flowering cone of the hops plant, Humulus lupulus, from which it derives its name. Found in both hops and cannabis, both members of the Cannabacea family, Humulene gives beer its ‘hoppy’ aroma. Humulene is found in strains such as Bubba Kush, Chemdawg, Rockstar and Sour Diesel.
AROMA: HOPS, WOODY, EARTHY
ALSO FOUND IN: HOPS, CORIANDER, CLOVES, BASIL
VAPORIZES AT: 222ºF (106ºC)
Caryophyllene, or-β-caryophyllene, is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene found in several essential oils, especially clove oil, the oil from the stems and flowers of Syzygium aromaticum, the essential oil of Cannabis sativa, rosemary and hops. Caryophyllene is found in strains such as OG Kush,Bubba Kush, Skywalker OG and Sour Diesel.
AROMA: PEPPER, SPICY, WOODY, CLOVES
ALSO FOUND IN: BLACK PEPPER, CLOVES, CINNAMON
VAPORIZES AT: 266ºF (130ºC)
THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT
Modern science is diving into how terpenes and cannabinoids affect the mind and body differently. The idea that terpenes and cannabinoids work synergistically is called The Entourage Effect.