Cannabis Terpenes 101
If you’ve been dabbling in dabs or concentrates, you’ve come across the word ‘terpenes’ or ‘terps’. As sold, terpenes come in varied forms, yet all products pack the same punch – high powered flavor and scents.
With terps growing in popularity, and research increasingly displaying positive benefits it’s best to learn the basics on the emerging term first. Let’s dive into terpenes 101 and discover more about the aromatic noun’s definition, properties and use.
WHAT IS A TERPENE?
By definition a terpene is,
“a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, and by some insects. They often have a strong odor and may protect the plants that produce them by deterring herbivores and by attracting predators and parasites of herbivores.”.
So, how does that correlate to cannabis? We all know a bag of Blue Dream is going to smell different than a bag of Super Lemon Haze… terpenes are why.
These scented oils are found in the trichomes (sticky crystals) of the plant, are produced in the same centers as THC and CBD and give strains their unique flavor or smell. So far, over 200 distinct terpenes have been classified in cannabis plants. With that said, only 10-20 primary or secondary terpenes are present in notable concentrations.
Now, we’ll learn more about what these concentrations deliver.
WHAT TERPS DO
Not only are terps unique by smell, but also by effects. By knowing more about the terpene content and profiles in your bud, you can better know how your high will actually be.
One of the most notable characteristics of terpenes, other than their unique aromas, is their ability to interact with other compounds in the plant like cannabinoids that deliver psychoactive or medical effects. The term describing this symbiotic relationship is the ‘entourage effect’, or simply – terpenes enhance or direct THC and CBD.
Here’s a quick list of the most common terpenes, their scent style, effects and popular strains they can be found in –
Aroma : Citrus
Effects : Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, mood enhancing and stress relieving
Strains : Cookies and Cream, GG4, Hindu Kush
Aroma : Earthy, clove, fruity/red grape
Effects : Anti-inflammatory, pain relief, anti-biotic and sedative
Strains : White Widow, Jack Herer, Himalayan Gold
Aroma : Floral (lavender), spicy
Effects : Stress relieving, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and anti-anxiety
Strains : Amnesia Haze, Master Kush, OG Shark
Aroma : Spicy, peppery
Effects : Anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, reduce withdrawal symptoms and antidepressant
Strains : OG Kush, Chemdawg, Sour Diesel
Aroma : Earthy, woody, herbal
Effects : Antibacterial, appetite suppressant, pain relief and anti-inflammatory
Strains : Girl Scout Cookies, Skywalker OG, Headband
Aroma : Pine, woody
Effects : Memory retention, alertness, anti-inflammatory and respiratory improvement
Strains : Dutch Treat, Jack Herer, Blue Dream
Aroma : Pine, lilac, eucalyptus
Effects : Antibiotic, antioxidant, anti-tumor, sedative and anti-inflammatory
Strains : White Widow, OG Kush, Girl Scout Cookies
HOW & WHY SHOULD I USE TERPS?
Terp-sauce (or juice) is as versatile in use, as it is in scent and effects. Terp-sauce by definition, is also known as High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE). The end product can contain up to 60% more terpenes than your normal concentrate wax or shatter.
The most common method of intake is to dab the terp sauce. To be more discrete, vape pens can be a preferred option. Terps are also used like any other concentrate, in a joint, blunt or drizzled over a bowl. If dabbing, low temp is ideal as the terpenes are activated between 300 – 450 degrees. Electric rigs or e-nails provide a controller box to choose and monitor your device temperature.
PASS THE TERP TEST
Now that you’ve learned the basis, you’re ready to try your own terp test. Conduct your own research and fine tune the ideal terpene trial for your specific needs – medically, or to wind down. Or, whatever aroma or flavors you normally prefer. Don’t worry – this test you can’t fail. You only get higher from here!