Last week we discussed how THC percentages are only a small fraction of what makes a specific strain potent. One of the more important components that dictate potency in cannabis would be terpenes.
Something important to understand is terpenes are not only found in cannabis. They are organic compounds produced by a variety of plants and even some insects. They produce an odor or taste to protect the plant or insect from predators.
Terpenes in cannabis are aromatic oils that give a strain its distinct flavor and smell. Terpenes can vary depending on climate, weather, fertilizers, soil type and time of day! With this many variations there are countless combinations of terpenes. Also, not all strains contain all terpenes!
There are over 100 identified terpenes in cannabis. Terpenes can be compared to cannabinoids in the matter that both help promote different affects. There are terpenes for stress relief, focus, pain relief and more!
Cannabis works best when all of the components are present. When you remove certain cannabinoids or terpenes, you are interfering with the plant as a whole. Terpenes and cannabinoids work together to cause different affects. When one is removed, it affects the potency and the effects you will get.
To better explain terpenes, here are the 3 most abundant terpenes in cannabis.
The first terpene is myrcene. Myrcene helps in reducing inflammation and chronic pain. Strains heavy in myrcene are usually indicas as it has sedative properties. Strains heavy with it smell earthy and musky but with a fruity like aroma. Mango actually contains myrcene so eating some before smoking can give you a stronger high as it increases the THC absorption rate.
Limonene is next as it's the 2nd most popular terpene in cannabis. Limonene gives off a citrusy scent. All citrus fruits actually contain limonene so that explains the citrus scent. Limonene improves mood and reduces stress and has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Most strains named "lemon" or "sour" usually contain higher amounts of limonene.
Linalool has strong sedative and relaxation properties. Interesting enough, linalool is found in lavender, mint, cinnamon and coriander. Linalool is what gives weed it's distinct smell. If you are looking for relief from arthritis, depression, seizures or insomnia, look for strains heavy in linalool.
One of the most interesting things to me is that terpenes are present in so many different things. When we can show that specific compounds in cannabis are present in other plants, we prove that the plant is useful. Same for cannabinoids. If we weren't meant to smoke cannabis then why do we have cannabinoid receptors in our bodies? It's interesting to learn about all the aspects of this wonderful plant and know why it does the things it does.