What are terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic molecules (produced in the resin of the plant) that give cannabis plants their characteristic flavor and aroma, while modulating the effects of cannabinoids. Most of the aromas and smells we associate with plants are the result of terpenes (and flavonoids). It should be noted that cannabinoids do not have any aroma or smell.
Terpenes are the main component of the so-called essential oils of plants. Aromatherapy uses the medicinal properties of these terpenes to regulate mood, sleep problems, acuity or general health. For example, lavender essential oil is calming and relaxing, while rosemary essential oil increases concentration and produces a feeling of well-being.
Terpenes in cannabis…
The role of terpenes in cannabis is special, as unique terpene profiles help us differentiate through different strains and breeds to discover and unlock their full potential. Each cannabis strain produces terpenes at different levels. This unique combination gives each one its distinct taste and smell. More than 100 different terpenes have been detected in cannabis, and there are many more when you consider the variations of each one.
Here are the 3 most common terpenes found in cannabis:
Myrcene is one of the main terpenes found in the cannabis plant, often being the most abundant and certainly one of the most studied. But it is not only cannabis that produces myrcene; other plants such as thyme, parsley, laurel, mango and hops also produce myrcene.
It is a terpene widely used in the perfume and fragrance industry, although it also has a number of medicinal effects that are being studied with increasing attention by the scientific community.
The taste and aroma of myrcene is common in many cannabis strains, and is probably the most abundant terpene in cannabis. It is often described as earthy, musky, with spicy and even citrus notes that can be reminiscent of tropical fruits. There are several flavour profiles that contain myrcene as the main terpene, the favorites at Astria Farm are Granddaddy Purple and Blue Dream.
Linalool is a terpene found in cannabis and lavender. It has a floral aroma with a hint of spice. Outside of cannabis and lavender, linalool can be found in over 200 species of plants such as mint, laurel, cinnamon and some citrus fruits. It can also be found in birch trees and can even be found in some mushrooms!
In addition to being a natural component of many floral-flavored cannabis strains, linalool is very commonly used as an additive in foods, beverages and personal care products. It is said to have calming effects, but is more focused on relieving stress or anxiety. Astria Farm favourites are Platinium Girl Scout Cookies and Jungle Juice.
Limonene provides a strong citrus aroma found in fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruit, limes and other citrus fruits. Specifically, it is found in citrus peels and is also present in many strains of cannabis.
Aromatherapy has long lauded limonene’s mood-enhancing effects, positioning it as an effective all-natural functional anxiolytic and antidepressant. Some of Astria Farm’s favorite flavor profiles, for example, are OG Kush and Sour Diesel.
As mentioned above, the cannabis industry has begun to create special terpene formulations to match the familiar flavor profiles of the world’s favorite cannabis strains. That is why terpenes and their interactions on the brain are a fascinating subject, opening the way for much medical research. For more information on therapeutic studies attributed to terpenoids read the following study.