When you first start smoking weed, you’re going to have a lot of questions. When I first started smoking weed eons ago, most of my questions had to do with the basics, namely, what type of weed is this, and how high will it get me. After you’ve been smoking for a bit, your curiosity will broaden a bit beyond “what type of weed is this”. One of the subjects that any knowledgeable stoner should be curious about is terpenes. This is especially the case if you are planning on starting your own grow.
First, What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the oils present in every cannabis plant. They give the different strains of cannabis their various flavors and aromas. If you’re smoking a good strain of Lemon Drop, for example, you’ll note a distinct lemon flavor and aroma. This is the work of terpenes.
What Do Terpenes Do, Exactly?
Terpenes not only make your herb taste and smell dankeriffic, they do plenty of other things too. The really fascinating thing is that we don’t yet know everything that terpenes are capable of. Cannabis researchers are discovering new things about them constantly.
Terpenes have varied reactions with cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, such as the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol aka THC, and the non psychoactive cannabidiol aka CBD. As you are no doubt already aware, these cannabinoids react with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which is what gives you that wonderful stoned feeling. As we have discovered, terpenes also react with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This is believed to be what causes the different effects of the various strains that you smoke. Some cause the feeling of instant euphoria you get after taking a big bong rip. Others are responsible for giving you the munchies. Pretty neat, huh?
How Many Different Kinds of Terpenes Are There?
There are currently over 200 different types of terpenes that are present in the cannabis plant. You are not likely to find all of them in any one particular strain that you’re growing or buying from the dispensary. There are really only five different terpenes that are most common in most cannabis strains. I’m willing to bet that you have heard of most of them, but we will see, shall we?
What Are the Most Common Terpenes?
Myrcene is the most common terpene in cannabis plants. This is the terpene believed to be responsible for that heavy body high that is commonly referred to as “couchlock”. When you’re smoking a heavy hitting indica like Bubba Kush, that sinking feeling you get is from myrcene.
Limonene is the terpene that is most responsible for that delightfully citrusy flavor that accompanies strains such as Lemon Kush, Lemon Drop, and Agent Orange. Limonene is believed to help with things like weight loss and also makes an excellent antifungal.
As you may have guessed, pinene is most associated with giving certain strains that distinct earthy pine flavor and aroma. Pinene is believed to be an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and may possibly be beneficial when treating autoimmune conditions, such as cancer.
Linalool gives certain strains their fresh and fragrant floral flavor and aroma (try saying that five times fast). Linalool is most commonly known as a sleeping aid, but it can also be used to deal with anxiety.
Caryophyllene is a particularly aromatic terpene that gives a spicy, peppery flavor and smell. Caryophyllene is believed to be beneficial to cancer patients. It is non psychoactive, and as such is more often present in strains that are used for medical use.
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What other questions do you have about terpenes? Tell us in the comments!